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"Ben's Chili Bowl" (2005) by Walter Irving Ray, Jr., Excerpted from "'De Colored Section"


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About a month ago, I was browsing the bookstore at Busboys & Poets, and came across "'De Colored Section," a book of poems by Walter Irving Ray, Jr. published in 2005.

I've talked with Mr. Ray and he has graciously allowed me to reprint one of the poems here: his beautiful little jewel, "Ben's Chili Bowl."

"'De Colored Section" was published in 2005 by Esoray Publishing Company, Washington, DC 20012, and is copyrighted by Mr. Ray, whose impressive biography is here.

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Ben's Chili Bowl

Put 'de Chitterlin's in 'de freezer
To eat on another day,
Wipe 'de chil'rens mouf's,
'Den put 'de Collard Greens away,
We're goin' to BEN'S CHILI BOWL
Dat's what i heard my Momma say.

Chili dogs, cheese fries, half-smokes,
My pulse begins a new romance,
I order one half-smoke to start
Jes' to satisfy my heart,
'Den i bow my head in prayer,
And bless 'de food i'm eatin' 'dere.

-- Walter Irving Ray, Jr.

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