The Kitchen is Empty

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of resources.

The Kitchen is Empty
‘I’m never a reliable narrator, unbiased or objective.” “I have a tattoo on my arm, that says, in ancient Greek, ‘I am certain of nothing.’ I think that’s a good operating principle.” Anthony Bourdain

the boy at the beach has traveled to places
we could not imagine.
the stars no longer follow his parents
as they drive through the night to their home
from the Jersey shore he so dearly loved.
The kitchen is empty –
his great story telling voice like
dark chocolate ganache is silent.
his narrow face no longer wrinkles with laughter
or sorrow nor do his eyes peer out to the end
of the horizon, seeing things only
he could see.
The kitchen is empty –
the knives lying in their coffin drawers,
stories are silent –
no longer being told with
understanding and humor,
with sorrow and truth.
the kitchen is empty.
the kitchen is empty.

35 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. map195
    May 25, 2019 @ 23:08:06

    nice share

    Reply

  2. Magaly Guerrero
    May 26, 2019 @ 17:29:55

    This gave me chills, Toni. So much loss… so much emptiness that can never be filled again.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      May 26, 2019 @ 19:03:01

      You are the only person to comment on this unusual portrait of an unusual man. I guess i didn’t write the usual portrait of the usual DNA based portrait. Thank you for recognizing the loss.

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  3. Glenn Buttkus
    May 30, 2019 @ 15:20:29

    Who knows what kind of a person Tony was in real likfe, but your portrait and tribute is bang on; makes me emotional. The cinematography and narrative were excellent in every episode of his show. Most of us felt that he shared more of himself each week than he did the area he traveled in.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      May 30, 2019 @ 15:38:09

      But I knew Tony in real life. He was as he showed himself, except there at the end. We are coming up on the one year of his suicide.

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  4. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    May 30, 2019 @ 15:35:02

    The emptiness left behind is so heavy to bear for those left behind, but the saddest thing is maybe the pain he carried when he was alive…

    Reply

  5. kim881
    May 30, 2019 @ 15:42:42

    The echo of ‘The kitchen is empty’ throughout your poem emphasises the loss, Toni. I love how you bring the man to life again by describing ‘his great story telling voice like dark chocolate ganache’, even though it is now silent, and his narrow face that used to wrinkle with laughter. The saddest thing in this poem is the image of the ‘knives lying in their coffin drawers’.

    Reply

  6. charliezero1.wordpress.com
    May 30, 2019 @ 15:45:12

    A great tribute to Anthony Bourdain.

    The way you expressed yourself telling it like a narrator is sad and beautifully heartfelt.

    Reply

  7. Jane Dougherty
    May 30, 2019 @ 15:45:55

    I don’t know the man in the poem, but this goes right to the empty heart of things.

    Reply

  8. whippetwisdom
    May 30, 2019 @ 15:48:44

    It’s so very sad when someone leaves our world this way and you’ve captured so well the emptiness left behind. We hope he found the peace he was looking for and that those he loved can find peace in that knowledge too 💞💜💞

    Reply

  9. lillian
    May 30, 2019 @ 15:58:18

    I’ve known for a long time through your writings that you were hit hard by Anthony Bourdain’s death. This line “the knives lying in their coffin drawers” to me is the most devastating. Some say suicide is selfish. I’ve never believed that. The level of despair must be so great….the emptiness and absolute lack of hope….that it takes a will….a decision… and a true belief that no one will care. That is taking into consideration how one truly thinks others will feel. It is a definite misread….because so many do care….but it is a misread that is truly believed in that black hole. Bourdain’s emptiness…..the act…..and then emptiness transferred to those left behind who in his wildest dreams, he did not conceive of.
    I am sorry for your loss. If I remember right, you went to school with him? Worked with him?

    Reply

  10. Charmed Chaos
    May 30, 2019 @ 16:12:29

    Toni, this is so fitting and beautiful. I cried when I heard the news, and was stunned. I don’t cry too often when I hear of a celebrity dying. He was an amazing man.

    Reply

  11. sanaarizvi
    May 30, 2019 @ 16:20:18

    “his great story telling voice like dark chocolate ganache is silent,”… this is incredibly poignant, Toni!

    Reply

  12. msjadeli
    May 30, 2019 @ 16:40:08

    It is difficult to know what to say beyond I’m sorry he is gone and it has to hurt for the loved ones left behind.

    Reply

  13. sarahsouthwest
    May 30, 2019 @ 17:10:59

    This is such an emotional poem, Toni. What stands out for me is your use of kitchen/food images, as if the man was part of the kitchen, or the kitchen was part of the man, inseparable. I feel the grief in this, and the repetition at the end is very poignant. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Reply

  14. Frank Hubeny
    May 30, 2019 @ 19:45:25

    Nice line: “the knives lying in their coffin drawers”

    Reply

  15. Mish
    May 30, 2019 @ 19:59:08

    This leaves me speechless with emotion,Toni. So sorry for your loss. I’m sure it was a great honour to know him personally.

    Reply

  16. Nan Mykel
    May 30, 2019 @ 23:19:57

    What lovely and apt kitchen imagery. “The knives lying in their coffin drawers” gave me goosebumps.

    Reply

  17. Misky
    May 31, 2019 @ 07:24:22

    But I can still hear his voice when I read his books.

    Reply

  18. Dr. Crystal Grimes
    May 31, 2019 @ 12:16:32

    A heart-breaking piece, very well written, especially the repetition.

    Reply

  19. robtkistner
    May 31, 2019 @ 19:27:17

    Certainly knew of the man, and had seen a little of his work. We was very engaging. Being someone you knew Toni, must be sobering to see him in reruns. I have had two good friends kill themselves in my lifetime. One whose body and aftermath I discovered the next morning. It is profoundly shocking! In neither case was there any indication in advance, although one I was sort of able to stitch together in hindsight what could have been a clue. This was a very powerful, moving write. The refrain about the empty kitchen was very effective!

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      May 31, 2019 @ 19:47:58

      Within two weeks I lost two friends to suicide and my mother to Alzhiemers. June was a hard month.

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  20. Anna
    Jun 02, 2019 @ 00:58:21

    And I imagine all of this is even more painful in an age where anyone can comment instantaneously, ignorantly, and anonymously. The deep and private pain of friends and family is contrasted against the shallow grief tourism of strangers. This is a potent tribute you’ve written.

    Reply

  21. Frank J. Tassone
    Jun 02, 2019 @ 11:09:27

    I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch any of his shows since his death. The grief and emptiness you portray is so vivid and piercing.

    Reply

  22. memadtwo
    Jun 02, 2019 @ 18:26:15

    Has it really been a year? The emptiness is still raw. (K)

    Reply

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