Poems by Adriane Howell


‘Never feel guilty about pleasure,’ she tells me, presenting her slow-roasted pork belly: tender, fat-softened meat with viciously crunchy crackling. I can almost taste the fat that dribbles gold down the pork’s exposed flesh. My stomach quivers and my taste buds swell. But it’s only a photo, a partitioned strip, a hint to pleasures that can be mine if I buy her whole book.

I spend my nights recreating her recipes, sliding my knife through fudge and veal, just as she instructs – with precision and ecstasy. ‘Is it wrong that I am salivating?’ she asks, and I shake my head, saliva flinging either side of my mouth and onto the computer screen. A gob lands on a photo of her salty Slut Spaghetti, just as it would have if she were really here, feeding me.

‘I want! I want!’ cries that naughty little cook, teasing me with her oh-so-sweet dessert. ‘Ripples of pleasure,’ she promises. She wraps her painted digits around a lettuce leaf brimming with Thai crumbled beef – it’s a new technique, showing me that with age comes experience. ‘I love food you can eat with your hands,’ she says. I pick up my computer mouse and lick its sensitive skin.

‘To bed,’ she announces, after gorging herself on cod cooked in bacon fat, cinnamon, ginger and cumin. She often informs me when she goes to bed. As if to say, ‘I’ll leave the door unlocked.’ But she really is a tease, because I don’t even know where she lives…yet. ‘I think it’s time I showed you my Love Buns,’ my temptress says. My finger clicks her link. Her recipe can be delivered to my door for just $29.95.

Author’s Note: This piece explores the ‘food porn’ sensation and creates a narrative from edited Nigella Lawson tweets to question the relationship between reality and fantasy, tweeter and reader, pleasure and promotion.


London calling.

Everyone from all sides meet up tonight at Oxford Circus.

Shits gonna get smashed.

Where was George’s comment on Alannah’s dish?

Heading to Tottenham to join the riot!

Who's with me?

I hate Ellie can she get the fuck off this show.

FUCK the Feds, we will riot them back.

FUCK you Ellie, you should be booted.

There’s no black in Union Jack.

Contestants were not given enough time to complete the challenge.

Bankers looted the economy, now we loot the shops.

Feds get what they DESERVE.

You see a brother, SALUTE you see a Fed, SHOOT.

Ellie does not DESERVE to be in this competition.

Finally, the bitch is in ELIMINATION.

Be inspired and rise up.

Let’s ELIMINATE the Feds tonight.

FUCK the Feds, I hope one dies, Ellie DIE.

Author’s Note: This poem blends edited Tweets from the London Riots and the 2011 season of Masterchef, to highlight how social media has led to hyperbolic language and social disconnect. #Masterchef #LondonRiots


Hi friends. Yes I’m back. Back from the doctor, which went well. He invited me in and asked me if I was a Twitter girl. I said, ‘you bettcha’ and then he put me on my back, spread my legs and had a poke around. He said there was nothing wrong with my vagina, which was good news, although it was not my vagina that was the concern. So he flipped me back around and with some squirming on my part, it was decided that I have polyps. Which is not the best news, but better than being told you have cancer. So anyway I decided to celebrate with pizza, which yes I know, is one of the reasons I was there in the first place. But oh well. Well it was back to the doctor for me. And no I guess I’m not surprised. The sushi did have gluten - a rookie mistake. And yes, I do admit that there was chocolate involved, but who am I to turn down chocolate? When I walked into the room, the doctor laughed and said, ‘the Twitter girl is back.’ I smiled and spread my legs. At this stage, one of the polyps was rather large and as you can imagine it was causing a little irritation. Anyway there was little the doctor could do, so he gave me a lollypop and sent me on my way. I promised to be a good girl and that night I was.

That night I had steak, Brussels sprouts and spinach. The following night I was good too. Shazza came over and we decided not to eat. She was also suffering from a bleeding bowel, so both of us put paper towel down our pants and talked about our doctors. Anyway when I woke up, I had a horrible churning in my stomach. I just knew it was hunger pains so I went to the nearest Dominos and had a large pizza. The pizza had extra salami and cheese and I knew the doctor would be terribly unpleased, but what could I do? I was starving. Well it was back to the doctor for me. That whole day I was rolling on the floor in agony and blood and I just couldn’t put it off any longer.

When I walked into the room the doctor slapped me and told me that I’d been a ‘bad Twitter girl,’ that the fat content was melting my stomach and soon I’d be delicious foie gras. As you can imagine I was terribly upset, so I agreed to an ultrasound and gastro-scopy. Well friends I had such a surprise when I woke, I found out that I had a gastric ulcer. The doctor told me that ulcers appeared to be trending amongst young people. This made me a little happier, so I decided to go to Amigos Burrito, which is food heaven.

Author’s Note: This piece utilises food-obsessed Facebook statuses and Twitter updates to create a narrative that juxtaposes junk-food nutrition with self-reflexive social media commentary.

Also in AltTxt:

Ellena Savage's personal essay, What is the Obligation to Beauty?

Patrick Lenton's series of micro-non-fictions, People I've Never Met From Places I've Never Been

Ryan O'Neill's many multimedia takes on Henry Lawson in The Drover's Wives