27 January 2010

Voices and Soul

26 January 2010

by Justice Putnam
Black Kos Tuesday's Chile, Poetry Contributor

The indignities of life seem to follow us everywhere. We live in a nation where no part of our existence is outside scrutiny. Banks now acknowledge they investigate our Twitter and Facebook posts and friend lists to deny or approve credit; we are subjected to full body scans at the airport; we have to urinate in a jar to flip a burger. Amanda Johnston tackles these intrusions with a particularly powerful and dark élan. She goes for the jugular when the application for employment asks...

Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If so, explain.

Fighting devils ain’t new to me. Hell, I’ve been fighting them since I was born. They always come looking like men I love. Mama showed me how to cradle their fire until the heat no longer singed my arms. We learned to swallow our salt and peppered tongues with ease. One will sacrifice everything in hell’s kitchen, but not my babies. I always fed them something sweeter, saving the brine and rinds for myself.  I like to bake. Even know how to make most stuff from scratch. I can dice, julienne, and score an apple pie crust like in Woman’s Day Magazine. Didn’t mean to make his face flower like that, forgot I was even holding the knife. Boom, Boom, Boom – ever heard the devil beating at your front door hungry and clawing for neck bones? Forgot exactly how the blood spilled, tried to tell the police that.  I like to bake. My babies need to eat. For years I cooked for other inmates. Guess you could say I’m experienced. Let me show you. I promise I’ll do a good job.

-- Amanda Johnston

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