Journalism In Verse


The Human Condition

in Obituaries by

RIP Anthony Bourdain
June 25, 1956 to June 8, 2018

It’s all about blood, organs, cruelty and decay;
danger, risking the dark, going to bed
with sweats, chills and vomits.

He wanted it all:
the cuts and burns on his hands and wrists,
ghoulish kitchen humor, the free food,
rigid nerve-shattering chaos;
the sheer weirdness of kitchen life;
a last stop for misfits,

the dreamers, crackpots, refugees,
and sociopaths; roasting bones,
searing fish, and simmering liquids;
the noise and clatter, the hiss and spray,
flames, smoke and steam, he said
it’s a life that grinds you down,

you’d think chefs would kill one another with regularity;
jam a boning knife into another cook’s rib cage,
or brain him with a meat mallet, but not dry age.



Denise Sedman is an award-winning poet from the Detroit area. Recent work has been featured in San Pedro River Review, New Verse News, and Gravel Literary. She’s included in the 2017 feminist anthology Nasty Women Poets by Lost Horse Press.

This poem is an erasure of Bourdain’s 1999 New Yorker article, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This.”


Chefs declare ‘Bourdain Day’ in celebration of late friend



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