by Marge Piercy

And thus the people every year
in the valleys of humid July
did sacrifice themselves
to the long green phallic god
and eat and eat and eat.

They’re coming on, they’re on us,
the long striped gourds, the silky
babies, the hairy adolescents,
the lumpy vast adults
like the trunks of green elephants.
Recite fifty zucchini recipes!

Zucchini tempura. Creamed soup.
Saute with olive oil and cumin,
tomatoes, onion. Frittata.
Casserole of lamb. Baked
topped with cheese. Marinated,
stuffed, stewed, driven
through the heart like a stake.

Get tired of old friends. They too
have gardens and full trunks.
Look for newcomers, befriend them
in the post office, unload
on them and run. Stop tourists
in the street. Take truckloads
to Boston. Give to your Red Cross.
Beg on the highways. Please
take my zucchini, I have a crippled
mother at home with heartburn.

Sneak out before dawn, to drop
them in other people’s gardens,
in baby buggies at churchdoors.
Shot, smuggling zucchini into
mailboxes, a federal offense.

With a suave reptilian glitter
you bask among your raspy
fronds sudden and huge as
alligators. You give and give
too much, like summer days
limp with heat, thunderstorms
bursting their bags on our heads,
as we salt and freeze and pickle
for the too little to come.


‘Tis the season of the Great Zucchini Caper. Beware the Overzealous Gardener. She wears a supernova smile. Is generous to a fault. And favors the drop-and-run.

Did you know there’s a holiday for the zany zucchini? It’s called Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night. The brainchild of Tom Roy, it’s American-Idolish tomfoolery.

Back seats. Back porches. Or any out-of-the-way place that has a sign posted will do.

Need to ward off stray dogs while you jog? Speak softly and carry a big zucchini. Got puffy eyes?  Zucchini is the new cucumber. Think like Martha ~ spray them gold and arrange those glamazons into a festive wreath (no image available, yet).  Last resort ~ get a paper route. 🙂

I have a love/hate relationship with this particular summer squash. With zucchini, as with most things, it’s the dose that makes the poison. So when life hands me too many zucchini, I go to Pinterest.

Pinterest connects everyone on the planet through whatever they find interesting. It’s a platform of inspiration and sharing, the hot social networking darling of the world.  It’s visual and addictive. And full of ideas for your summer surplus.

The ideas, like the squashes themselves, run riot.  Grilled, fried, breaded, baked, sweet, savory, raw, sliced, diced, stuffed, hot, cold, pickled, marinated. In a breakfast omelet, luncheon salad, hot or cold soup, sandwich, brownies and breads.

Here’s a slap-up and savory little salad.   Zucchini, tomato and pesto is totally dinner.

Grate the zucchini.

Add julienned sun-dried tomatoes.

Mix in some pesto.

Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with a lovely aged balsamic.

Got a recipe for that gone-rampant plenitudinous veggie?

Quick! Share it here.  It’s August 8 ~ oh, and leave the porch light on.

 Toni 8/8/14


  1. Just to give a reference: “Attack Of The Squash People” appears in Marge Piercy’s 1982 selected poems volume, “Circles On The Water.”

    I think, JT, Marge Piercy would like your enthusiasm for gardening & for veggie recipes, because she too has those enthusiasms in abundance.

    She also has a great poem about a gardener who, during a harsh Cape Cod winter, falls asleep under seed catalogs on the sofa, after going crazy and ordering too much.

    Marge Piercy is on Facebook, mainly in relation to her teaching writing workshops, but she also blogs a bit on FB about her gardening activities.

    She teaches many workshops for writers on the Cape in Wellfleet, Mass.

    She is approximately 78 yrs of age, born in ’36, and despite difficulties with her knees — she just had a major knee operation and is rehabbing, and she will soon get the other knee fixed — she continues to garden actively.

    She also has a piece (one which I have not found yet) about wisteria taking down the side of a house. She loves writing about her gardening passions. It is one of her subjects.

    She also writes about social democracy issues, and she always has been a vanguard social reformer.

    She writes about the lives of women: One could argue she is among the foremost poets of women’s lives in the era since the 1970s.

    She has produced many novels that regularly get reviewed in the NY Times Sunday Book Review, etc.

    — Much good luck JT, — Mike Mooney


    1. Mike, THX for all this info on Marge, I’m so taken with poetry. When I went to my garden journal today to make some notes for next year, I thumbed through some past entries and found this poem taped to a page from four years ago. I’d love to be part of her workshop. If you enjoy garden prose, try Anne Raver’s essays from her book, Deep in the Green. One more female brilliant gardener/writer on my list of faves. Toni

      First sown
      by Marge Piercy

      Peas are the first thing we plant
      always. We lie full length
      on the cold black earth and poke
      holes in it for the wrinkled
      old men of the seeds.

      Nothing will happen for weeks.
      Rain will soak them, a white
      tablecloth of snow will cover
      them and be whisked off.
      The moon will sing to them:

      open, loosen, let the pale
      shoots break out. No,
      they are pebbles, they sit
      in the earth like false teeth.
      They ignore the sweet sun.

      Then one unlikely day
      the soil cracks along miniature
      faults and soon baby leaves
      stick out their double heads
      and we know we shall have peas.


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