a Sarah Kay poem and a sweet treat for Valentine’s Day

You know what they say. When it comes to love, opposites attract. Spoken word poet Sarah Kay gets us into the mood for Valentine’s Day with her grin-inducing, soft bristled verse (no gargling required).


They told me that I was meant for the cleaner life;
that you would drag me through the mud.

They said that you would tread all over me,
that they could see right through you,

that you were full of hot air;
that I would always be chasing,

always watching you disappear after sleeker models—
that it would be a vicious cycle.

But I know better. I know about your rough edges
and I have seen your perfect curves.

I will fit into whatever spaces you let me.
If loving you means getting dirty, bring on the grime.

I will leave this porcelain home behind. I’m used to
twice-a-day relationships, but with you I’ll take all the time.

And I know we live in different worlds, and we’re always really busy,
but in my dreams you spin around me so fast, I always wake up dizzy.

So maybe one day you’ll grow tired of the road,
and roll on back to me.

And when I blink my eyes into morning,
your smile will be the only one I see.

~ from No Matter the Wreckage (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014)


Clever, refreshing, quirky, unexpected. This poem made me an instant Sarah Kay fan. Love the extended metaphor, the fearless puns. I admit I hadn’t considered love between inanimate objects before, but that’s precisely why Sarah’s work is such a joy. You may not know where she’s going to take you, only that the ride will be worth it.

Sarah’s a performance poet extraordinaire from New York who is founder and co-director of Project VOICE, a team of poet educators who use poetry to entertain, educate, and inspire. “Through captivating performances and innovative workshops, Project VOICE is dedicated to promoting empowerment, improving literacy, and encouraging empathy and creative collaboration in classrooms and communities around the world.”

Have you seen Sarah’s 2011 TED Talk, “If I Should Have a Daughter”? It’s gotten 10 million views thus far, and is well worth 18 minutes of your time if you haven’t already seen it. You will definitely be wowed.

Love that Sarah first began performing when she was only 14 at the Bowery Poetry Club in the East Village. Apparently someone had entered her in a teen poetry slam there (she still doesn’t know who). She didn’t realize the club normally featured adult poets. But that was okay, she kept going back, always the youngest poet in the crowd, listening and learning, developing her craft, strengthening her voice, gaining valuable experience. And she went on to participate in many, many more poetry slams.

Sarah’s passion for spoken word poetry is the natural outgrowth not only of her love of words and language, but of singing, songwriting, and musical theatre. She believes everyone has a story to tell, a unique view of the world, and a distinctive voice to share emotions, ideas, discoveries, perspectives.

Since it’s unpretentious, spontaneous, free-flowing, bold, energetic and accessible, spoken word is a genre widely embraced by teens. It’s both old and new — old as poetry itself, which was born of an oral tradition, and as new as rightthisminute — with its immediacy, modern cadences, rhythms, and “anything goes” attitude. Unlike poetry written just for the page, spoken word more overtly demonstrates the musicality of language, the inherent drama in a narrative piece.

But back to the toothbrush and bicycle tire. That poem was written to be performed, so enjoy Sarah at the Bowery Poetry Club, NYC:

Oh, and another good thing. Sarah’s a foodie. Hungry?


❤️A Little Cheesecake❤️

With Valentine’s Day coming up, a little voice kept saying, “Cheesecake, Cheesecake — you know you want me.”

Perhaps it was because we hadn’t eaten cheesecake in years. Love it, but it’s definitely a high calorie indulgence. Everyone in the Alphabet Soup kitchen decided that this year we definitely deserved some.

Usually my go to recipe is Aunty Ella’s New York Style Cheesecake, but it’s made in a 10″ springform pan, and that’s too much cheesecake just for the two of us.

The perfect solution: a small, cute cheesecake — one that says, “I can satisfy your craving and you don’t have to feel guilty!” Kind of like getting to have our cheesecake and eat it too. 🙂

We found a yummy recipe for a 6″ cheesecake at Homemade in the Kitchen: Small Batch Recipes and Recipes for Two. Blogger Carla has written a delectable post with detailed instructions and lots of valuable tips, which we followed to the letter. Very smooth, no lumps! No soggy crust! No cracks across the top! Baking the cake in a water bath meant it cooked evenly and the estimated cooking time was perfect.

Luckily we did have a 6″ springform pan on hand. Le Lapin Rotund and his sous chefs had a marvelous time. This is a simple, basic recipe that’s sure to please. We had ours topped with some fresh berries, but of course you can be creative with other toppings like whipped cream, cherry pie filling, a homemade fruit sauce, or melted chocolate.

Go ahead, help yourself.

🍓Happy Valentine’s Day🍒


by Sarah Kay
illustrated by Sophia Janowitz
published by Write Bloody Publishing, 2014
Poetry Collection, 100 pp.

♥️ Visit Sarah Kay’s Official Website for more info about her poetry, upcoming events, and other projects. Her shop has signed copies of all four of her books and cool merchandise like pins, t-shirts, mugs, etc.

♥️ Learn more about Project Voice here.

♥️ Sarah and her co-director Phil Kaye discuss Project Voice in this introductory video.


The beautiful and talented Molly Hogan is hosting the Roundup at Nix the Comfort Zone. Take her some cheesecake, then check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. Have a love-filled weekend!


*Copyright © 2021 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

26 thoughts on “a Sarah Kay poem and a sweet treat for Valentine’s Day

  1. Good morning! I needed that poem today! How did you know, Jama! I will definitely look up Sarah’s website! Happy Valentines Day from snowy NYC!❤️❄️☃️❤️🗽ps I loved the tiny cheesecake idea!


    1. My husband is jealous of your snow. We were supposed to get some yesterday into today, but it’s been very light and has already melted away. Have a good Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend, Joanne!


  2. Such a clever poem! And how intriguing that she still doesn’t know who entered her in her first poetry slam. Sounds like it was Fate 🙂
    Cheesecake is my favorite food. Thank you for the smaller cheesecake idea! I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that before!


    1. Yes, it does sound like fate — maybe she has/had a fairy godmother. 🙂 I think cheesecake is one of the four major food groups, along with chocolate, right?


  3. I’m always a fan of “extended metaphor, the fearless puns”, and now, Sarah Kay! Thanks for the introduction to this amazing poet. Oh and thanks for the cheesecake – yum! (my hub’s favorite for his birthday which is Saturday 2.13 – we have a ‘sweet’ weekend ahead!) Happy Valentine’s Day, Jama! ❤


  4. Did you share before or how do I know her? I have the book, & have loved it, especially when I need a new look at something & a big laugh. But now it’s passed on to my daughter! Maybe I’ll visit Sarah’s page? This time, laughing at the “I will leave this porcelain home behind. I’m used to/twice-a-day relationships, but with you I’ll take all the time.” is so clever I think I’ll smile all day! I’m not sure I want to bake one, but you’ve made me put the cheesecake on my grocery list, Jama! Happy Valentine’s Day!


    1. No, I haven’t shared Sarah’s work here before, Linda — so you discovered her all on your own. I’ve only just purchased one of her books and am really enjoying being surprised and amused. Glad cheesecake is on your grocery list. Now that the cute little one is gone, I’m craving another . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You completely sold me, Jama, on the quirky delight of Sarah Kay. I adore this relationship between the toothbrush and the bicycle tire – reminding me of something I often say to students: “You can write about anything in the universe.” Discovering the interrelatedness of things – is that not why we write?? Once again you sweep me away with your photographic artistry … those plates! The cheesecake! The lovable bears and – lol – the inserted toothbrush! I came away smiling and visually sated (and scribbling ‘cheesecake’ on my to-do list). Your creativity always astounds. Happy Valentine’s Day ❤


    1. Thanks for your enthusiasm and lovely comment, Fran. Yes, here’s to the interrelatedness of things ! Sarah’s poem has had me wondering what my toothbrush has been up to while I’m sleeping at night. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you for sharing Sarah Kay. She is a new poet to me, but I am looking forward to reading/hearing/learning more. The Toothbrush to the Bicycle Tire is delightful. And cheesecake is on the menu for tomorrow.


  7. So inventive. And I love the cheesecake! Cheesecake definitely says love! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com


  8. Sarah Kay is such a talented performer! I’d never heard of her but now I do, so thank you, Jama. Happy Valentine’s Day! Your site always inspires me to bake a cake, and I just might, to celebrate the day.


  9. “If loving you means getting dirty, bring on the grime.” Oh! What a fabulous poem and I loved listening to her perform it as well. Her book is going onto my “to buy when I have more money or just give in to temptation” list. This post was a delight from start to finish! And with a mini-cheesecake finish, who could ask for anything sweeter? Yum! Happy Valentine’s Day, Jama and thanks for introducing me to Sarah Kay!


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