‘Ensalada de Bacalao’ by Tristan Franz


Ensalada de Bacalao
(a found poem composed of interview transcript from Chef Tania of Coqui the Chef)

The Bronx, the South Bronx, Hunts Point Ave and Southern Blvd
whatever happens to you happens to you – single mom
laid off tryna survive for the kids – fast food frustration
Hunts Point gets the leftovers – the worst leftovers
but if you know where to go and how to go about it
become a mad scientist and fall in love with cooking
mind body soul – every little bit of it – the taste
makes you who you are – Puerto Rico – bittersweet

Ensalada de Bacalao is never gonna come out like grandma’s
avocado-red onion-potato connect like a circle – smooth
just taste it and you’ll know
white vinegar – grandma didn’t know about different types of vinegar
in Puerto Rico you have what you have
and it tastes better the next day

Hardboiled egg-bell pepper-tomato
like Hurricane George – like people helping each other
not just Spanish food – a little of everything

My grandmother died at the age of 95
what kept her alive was
½ cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
and her faith, protein
after all that struggle


Tristan Franz is a writer from Brooklyn, NY. His poetry is driven by the power of place and the human need to explore. He is also inspired by full moons, new languages and the small mysteries of life. You can find his work in a variety of online publications.