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Friday, April 20, 2007
Fungal Love
As Shuna announced at the beginning of April, this is poetry month. Initially, that thought made me whince, but I enjoyed her poem and thought... hmm... perhaps I should contribute something. Ten days later, Amy mentioned a tofu haiku contest, which I entered (and will most likely receive an angry letter from the Soy Board). Now it's my turn.

I admit to having written poetry in college. Precious little, which is most likely a good thing. Somewhere in the universe, there are notebooks dotted with odd and pained verses brought on by reading too much Plath and listening to too much Bauhaus. I cringe at the thought of their discovery.

Last year, my friend Doralice handed me a copy of a poem I wrote in culinary school. I thought it was all but lost. You may wish it was, too, after reading it.

It was performed in front of our Safety and Sanitation class at the California Culinary Academy in early 1996. I was asked to give a presentation on, and here's what the 3 x 5 card said, "Interesting facts about fungi". It was read in a Dr. Seuss-like manner because, well, it has a Seuss-like rhyme scheme. I was surprised at the poem's reception-- no one threw anything at me or threatened to beat me up after class. Enjoy it or, at least, give me a fake smile and a polite golf clap. Letting the world read your poetry is no easy thing.


With fungus, there's mushrooms,
There's molds and there's yeasts.
We've so much to learn
From these wee tiny beasts.

They aid in our whiskies
And hot steaming toddies.
They hide in our bathrooms
And inside our bodies.

There's fungus on puppies
And bunnies and cheeses.
There's fungus involved
In sexually transmitted diseases.

It lives where it wishes.
It grows where it pleases.
On the best petrie dishes
We find many diseases.

There's Cryptococcosis
And Histoplasmosis
There's ringworm and thrush
And Blastomycosis.

There's rusts and there's smuts
That grow in our grains.
There's even a fungus
That alters our brains.

Which fungus, you ask?
Please let me elucidate.
It's called Psilocybin.
It makes you hallucinate.

It's taken orally
Or it is injected.
(The legality of said fungus, however
The U.S. has rejected.)

I learned from the most
Reliable of references
That fungi abound
In all sexual preferences.

There's heterothallics
And homothallics.
(The latter you'll note
That I wrote in italics.)

When treading with naked feet
In gym showers,
Beware, for it's there
Tinea pedis flowers.

To cure it, make haste.
Use something fast actin'.
Most sufferers choose
To use Tinactin.

Mycotoxin (a fungus-tainted food derivative)
Perennailly bad-ish
Was considered by villians
A weapon quite faddish.

Biological warfare
Was used by Hussien
Who upon Kurds and Persians
Poured toxins like rain.

In the 1970's
Mycotoxins were got
By a genocidal despot
By name of Pol Pot.

In his part of Asia
He caused great commotions
B y using them on
Cambodians and Laotians.

Rhizopus nigricans,
Or bread mold, will thank
Any fool who puts bread
In a place dark and dank.

The truffle, one teaches,
Prefers it much damper--
Round oaks and some beeches
Where the truffle pigs scamper.

To many a man
There is no sight more dear
Than a woman in hot pants
Bringing him beer.

If said woman ne'er washes
Nor changes, at least,
Could be more than the beer's
Been affected by yeast.

In France and elsewhere
Sweet wines are got
By a wond'rous mold
That is called noble rot.

Botrytis cinerea--
Its true appelation
Dehydrates grape juice
Into high concentration.

Without such a beast
How then could we try
a glass of d'Yquem
or my favorite, Tokaj?

The gods are with you, fungus,
And so I am told
That when they made you,
They broke the mold.

Labels: , ,



Blogger Catherine Nash said...


4/20/2007 11:16 AM

Blogger wendygee said...


4/20/2007 12:40 PM

Blogger shuna fish lydon said...

Hysterical! Educational! Creepy!

You rock. Thanks for taking the string and going all the way!

4/20/2007 6:41 PM

Blogger Michael Procopio said...


Wow. Thanks for all the great feedback! Look for my upcoming Ode on a Nematode next April...

4/21/2007 10:28 AM

Blogger Rick said...

Michael - I love the poem. Great job.And a much better way than to give a speech in a sanatation class...now - off to buy some cowgirl creamery cheese!

4/22/2007 1:46 PM


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