Poppycakes Wakes to a New J Month


Like those San Diego fireworks that went off all at once, July begins finale-first. Trees down, power poles atilt, Mr. Poppycakes with a new company owning the company that employs him. Before Sweetcakes does her check-in from that big rectangular cake of Utah, a corner slice cut-away by Wyoming I'll report from where we too  are heated-up here in that jigsawed, jagged-heartly muscle of Ohio.  The plants look tired, sometimes downright burnt and no water convinces them that the summer should be this relentlessly hot and dry. 

When it does rain, it rains torrents and highest winds and a yard full of maple branches. But there is relief: a Fourth spent with a great friend and a new guilt-less cobbler.  Mr. Poppycakes at the grill made buffalo burgers and chicken brats and I desserted us with a cobbler-recipe found here.

Weight Watchers Berry-licious Cobbler Recipe

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
Serving Size: 1/12 at 4 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving

  • 1 box Sugar Free Yellow Cake Mix
  • 12 ounces Sprite Zero
  • 24 ounces Mixed Berries (Frozen-unsweetened)
  • 1 dollop Fat Free Cool Whip


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  3. Evenly distribute frozen berries in the bottom of the baking dish. Just spread them out so they cover the bottom of the dish.
  4. Sprinkle the entire box of cake mix evenly over the berries.
  5. Pour the can of sprite zero over the cake mix trying to get all of the cake mix moist.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes.
  7. Top with fat free cool whip and Enjoy!

I am not crazy about asparatame and so have been trying different things, including a mixture of seltzer and pineapple juice--which works as long as you halve the can of soda and compensate with the juice. Too much liquid means a runny cobbler. Mr. P.C. declared to our guest: "it isn't really firm" but it held up pretty well for being cut the afternoon it was prepared. The cobbler does set up in the fridge but expect it to be very filling-heavy and cake-light. (I love that, as who needs the carbs?) I confess to taking the amount of cake mix down and even trying angel food mix. Some of these things can work but all of the adjustments together (light mix, angel food, lots of liquid,) will lead to more of a berry soup. I enjoy the cooked berries so much, that I find ways to salvage even the botched versions (Greek yogurt served over it for breakfast!) 

I hope your Fourth of July was safe and fun too. We had lots of swimming time and sunshine, great company and though we skipped the fireworks, which for me, this year, sparked wildfire worries and reminders of how much of my lovely west is in flames, the sky was all lit-up with color and bloom. 

In the spirit of July, here's an old poem about fireworks: 

Litote, Smoke Trees, Fireworks Over Water 

Gorgeous emptiness you've been here all along, 
splintering off a flame-thrown night somewhere.

A red one first: a tasseled crimson pom-pom. 
A green chrysanthemum spirits out then

sputters down. Then light rain strings lake to sky. 
After, the kind that open like a hand,

sprinkle a slow handful of foil confetti. 
Next, a gaslight crown spurts blue: volcanic

bloom, a gush of blood from a well-deep wound. 
But, like the right dress, isn't it so me

that it's not the fireworks that move me
but the smoke after, when the night becomes

a kimono stitched in vines of used light.
I mean, a garden of them grew from nothing.

First, flowers made of fire. Afterwards, smoke. 
The sky up there, the lake's other sky. Both

make the city brocade, then brocade in-
to a world reflected so there are two,

and not one of them habitable. This past 
year's written out in the longhand up there.

What flowers now flowers in burnt air 
punctuated with spent light, ash, cinder.

For emphasis, note: an orchid of smoke. 
Exegesis: see us here below: footnotes

to the dandelion asterisks blown 
just a moment ago. Just yesterday

wasn't it high noon? Wasn't vacancy
a motel's yes? The bedspread, the same blue

as our blue-faced sky freckled with starlings? 
One face holds a skyful of lost balloons.

One night's a kimono with worlds repeated 
in its pattern. I envy them: vanished

rings, pistils, roundels, palms, like I envy 
geese for belonging to nothing but sky

and water. And now, white poppies burn off 
the gunpowder sky. I wanted to wear it,

wrap the whole clothy mess around me, and walk 
across the bridge, wearing ashes of roses,

smoke lilies, asters, the little village,
and the people dragging like a bridal train.

I am thinking of your mother dying
in that dark kimono robe that held slim

ornaments of history, odd villages, 
embroidered cherry blossoms, peonies,

bamboo, and another plant that reminds me
of a smoke tree—those desert shrubs that slouch

in their aridity. That sky in the lake 
must know the other sky this way. Inside

me is the pocket mirror of how you felt.
Her dying every day in a robe that held an Orient

of loss. I am the lake face spitting back
the smoke vineyard, the flashpowder moon,

the spangled, ghostly space we leave behind 
threaded in smoke-white through the satin lake.

She pulled a used and tired sky around her 
body and took worlds away with her.