Catapult Alumni | Poetry

I’m First Cut Today

This poem was written by Sophie Christenberry in a 12-Month Poetry Collection Generator taught by Angel Nafis

The chef Gabrielle Hamilton says she is joining with Ken Friedman, who has been accused of sexual harassment by women who worked at his restaurants, to run the Spotted Pig, the West Village restaurant where much of the harassment is said to have taken place.

New York Times


  about Anthony Bourdain.

      I approach the table to ask

      have they dined here before

        why is the restaurant closing?

  was close to him, we know.




            My boss lives in Vegas.

      they mean.

  the restaurant guy?

       the #MeToo guy?

          On television?

               And I can’t help myself

               at all.

               I say


    I say ?

    I say ?

    I say Ken Friedman?

    I say ?

      They don’t know who that is.

      , , ,

    now, it’s hard to own

          a restaurant,

    it’s New York City, and then

to the point of sale.

                     Twelve day countdown to the end

                       of this world and in the morning

                       we sat

                           O sunflower early

                         and read in silence

                   in new whites,

                             in t-shirts,

                          in pre-shift,

                    inside the red of rice bowls,

              inside our bowls

              of tomato salad, before

              putting on our make-up, after


                         grains of rice hot handful

              into plastic bags,

                       we read in silence how everyone,

           despite whatever deep transgressions

            despite violences without respite

         violences with entire rooms dedicated to them

              violences that echo

                   everyone deserves to make money.