SmokeLong Quarterly

Share This f l Translate this page

Capitalist Brunch

Story by Stevie Edwards (Read author interview) September 19, 2016

Art by Melissa Cundieff-Pexa

The hostess at Sunrise Bistro Xpress says to sit wherever I want, so I sit on the man with the dirty blond beard and beanie cap. He is sitting on the kitchen floor because he can sit wherever he wants, too. It’s an open kitchen. The cooks cannot sit wherever they want because of capitalism. We can watch the cooks stir a pot of three meat shrimp and grits the size of a small child because of capitalism. I cannot see my brother’s first small child in a city a $475 flight away from Charleston because of capitalism. I can eat a breakfast burrito and grits out of this man’s lap and choose the degree of pain I want in my hot sauce. I can eat myself into a bigger pair of jeans and call it embracing my body type. The man with dirty blond beard has a type of body. It’s a little bonier than mine. I think I could like to feel his starkness in the dark, but the hostess hasn’t been clear about if that’s allowed, if turning the lights out is part of our seating accommodations or a surcharge. I imagine the cooks might like it, not being watched, but they might get burned. Hot grits on the skin. Cooked skin of a quiet man’s hands. What if I want to sit in the grits, I mutter. But it’s not true, never will be. I bet I could lose my skin to the heat for a fee. I could be as ruined as I don’t want—a Lifetime documentary. A memoir that sells.

About the Author

Stevie Edwards is the author of two poetry collections: Good Grief (Write Bloody 2012) and Humanly (Small Doggies 2015), the former of which received the Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze in Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from SIU-Carbondale. She is the editor-in-chief and founder of Muzzle Magazine and senior editor in book development at YesYes Books. She holds an MFA in poetry from Cornell University and is a PhD candidate in the creative writing program at University of North Texas. Her writing has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Indiana Review, The Journal, The OffingPloughshares BlogSuperstition ReviewNashville Review, and elsewhere. She is currently working on her third book of poetry, tentatively titled Lush.

About the Artist

Most recently a finalist for the 2016 Four Way Books Intro Prize, as well as the University of Wisconsin Press’s Brittingham and Pollack Book Prizes, Melissa Cundieff-Pexa received an MFA in poetry from Vanderbilt. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in places such as Best of the Net, Ninth Letter, Linebreak, Mid-American, Bat City, and Iron Horse Literary Review. She lives with her family in Minneapolis.

This story appeared in Issue Fifty-Three of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Fifty-Three

Support SmokeLong Quarterly

Your donation helps writers and artists get paid for their work. If you’re enjoying what you read here, please consider donating to SmokeLong Quarterly today.

The Hybrid Flash: How to Dual-Wield Genre

Book Now!

The Hybrid Flash with Erin Vachon

In this webinar/workshop, you will harness the experimental power of hybrid flash. You will discover the intertwined history of hybrid and flash, and read published flash crossed with image, poetry, and creative nonfiction. You will learn the rules of each genre, so you know how to break them.