Stealing, Freely & Burgers and Pies by M.J. Iuppa

Stealing, Freely

A bit of small talk gears up when she sits down with her full weight on the wooden chair and stares at the scatter of miniature candy canes stuffed in individual wraps on the table. “Gave up sugar,” she says, touching the candy canes with a finger. She looks sideways, “Not wine, though, never giving up on red & white.” She pulls her bangs over her eyes — her hands open like starfish and pulsate twice above the tabletop, and with a skilled swoop that once captured all the marbles, she swipes twenty canes and stuffs them in her coat’s pocket.


Burgers and Pies

That age of only being able to do so much, he sits sidesaddle in the diner’s chrome chair and cranks a whiff of oxygen from his portable tank; his girth pulls at his work shirt’s buttons, a peek of raspberry flesh.  He’s sore. His eyes have made him the man he is. He glances at the daily specials, at the menu he knows by heart. He knows what he wants, and says it one more time for Sugar, who only hears every other word. He’s all set, waiting impatiently in the corner; cracked hands folded across his chest’s labored breath.


Stealing Freely


M.J. Iuppa is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program, Writer-in-Residence (1999-2015) and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College; and since 2000 to present, a part time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with students, K-12, in Rochester, NY, and surrounding area. She has three full length poetry collections, most recently Small Worlds Floating as well as Within Reach both from Cherry Grove Collections, 2010) Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003)); and 5 chapbooks; most recent is Between Worlds (Foothills Publishing, 2013), which is a collection of lyric essays, flash fiction and prose poems. She received Writers and Books’ The Big Pencil Award, honoring her lifelong contributions to Rochester’s Literary Community. At St. John Fisher College, she has received the Part-Time Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, May 2000; The Father Dorsey Award, 2000-2001 and 2002-2003, and a Certification of Recognition from The Monroe County Legislature, April 2003. She served as the poetry advisor for New York State Foundation for the Arts, 2007-2012. She and her husband Peter Tonery live on a small farm in Hamlin NY, where they have been practicing organic food sustainability for the past 15 years.


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