This is TRUE: Bread

To Whet your appetite for the THIS IS TRUE show tomorrow night, I thought I’d share one of my favorite poems from the show: Bread by Darryl Ratcliff. Following the poem is a short video where artist Jerod Alexander speaks about how he turned this poem into a visual piece.




I saw poets so hungry that they swallowed

their pens and pencils; traded their magic

for bread; their idealism for bread

their hope for bread

I saw how their bodies had become Braille

How they were a mass of exposed spines,

of cracked nails, of sagging eyes

I saw how tired they were

And I crept closer, began to touch the hands of starving poets

because I wanted to read their ribcages.

As the ink spilled from the corner of their mouths,

as their bellies became full,

I wanted to clasp their dying dreams

draw a crucifix by dirt side

because though they might live

this sacred ground is their burial place

This is the day they swallowed their swords

I needed to see them try to write poems again

Struggle with meaningless words

Watch their skeletons rise up,

go to Slams and get tens,

Watch the applause absorb into their dead eyes

Watch the hollow heart, their never ending ache

Watch how they can’t even taste the bread

going past their own lips

I needed to see how hard it gets

When one has to choose between dreams

and bread. Between soul and bread.

Between love and bread.

I wanted to cradle the heads

of these dying poets as they ate and they cried

And they ate and they cried

I wanted to tell them that they were my heroes

That I had watched them run themselves weary

Chasing poems that glowed brightly

Poems that didn’t love them

Poems that made them whole

How their poems lit a trail

bright enough for me to follow

And even though they gave their inspiration

for a full table, traded their magic for a bag of beans

That I still love them, that I will sing of them always,

that I will never forget their sacrifice,

this death place between bread and dreams

And as they exhale their last poetic breath

I will promise them that the poets

who come after me, won’t ever have to choose.

– Darryl Ratcliff

Here’s a facebook event page for Saturday night if you want some more details or to confirm you’re attending.

One Response to “This is TRUE: Bread”

  1. […] Wish I had caught more pics, but I was running around most of the night hosting, performing, and listening. If you want to see a bit more from the show, check out the pre-show coverage here (covering three of the collaborations) and also here (an in depth examination of the collab between Darryl Ratcliff and Jerod Alexander). […]

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