The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Frying an Egg...and our New Poet Laureate

Bessemer Opinions is taking on a new role, well, actually just going in a new direction for a day.


I was invited to write for Frying an Egg where we are challenged periodically to write a 100 word story or poem using a particular phrase. "Frying an egg" is named after the phrase associated with the first challenge, "She was just frying an egg when she expired."

My story using that sentence is:

At daylight she arose and put the coffee on. She sat the cream on the table, and would wait. One cup was all that she would allow; caffeine had ceased to be her friend. A bowl of grape nuts, and her day would begin. Since her husband had passed, this was her morning.


Today would be different. After three years of grief, she would start over. Her dress had been ironed; today would be sunny side up. She poured herself a glass of juice. The toast was in the oven.

She was just frying an egg when she expired.

Ther next phrase was "There's a lot to be said for cold meat", and here is my story (which is in no way biographical):

A bruised jaw and a black eye was not what mom expected. And a raw filet was not what I expected to be slapped on my face, after the backside of her hand slapped my bottom. “There’s a lot to be said for cold meat,” she said, adding “the rest of the family will have theirs on the table tonight, “Warm, grilled.”

I felt like cold meat while my father was pounding me in the stairway. He called me a faggot. “Filthy faggot.”

That was 6 years ago. I am a faggot. A good faggot. Father is dead. Cold meat.

And the most recent phrase is "That would look lovely on your living room wall." Here is that story:

I wasn’t even sure the painting was hanging right side up, but in spite of that, the colors were marvelous. Sophie snickered at me just for lingering. “That would look lovely on your living room wall,” she whispered, sarcastically.

I had already been chastised for suggesting a flea market as a source for décor, and Sophie’s reluctance to touch anything lest she dirty her white gloves gave me a slight tickle.

I glanced at the piece again. “She’s right,” I thought. Devilishly, I slipped a twenty to the clerk, and silently mouthed, “I’ll be back.”

Anything to irk big sister.

If you are interested in posting stories or poetry let me know and I will put you in touch with Alison. Visit Frying an Egg and read the stories...some are posted in the comments, so read those as well. And join, or short of that, post a 100 word story or poem as a comment.

Speaking of poetry, we have a new poet laureate in the United States, Kay Ryan.

The other shoe

Oh if it were
only the other
shoe hanging
in space before
joining its mate.
If the undropped
didn't congregate
with the undropped.
But nothing can
stop the mid-air
collusion of the
unpaired above us
acquiring density
and weight. We
feel it accumulate.

"Poets rehabilitate clichés," Ryan said in an interview with The Christian Science Monitor. The article continues:
Some do, perhaps, but many wouldn't dare to enter such familiar territory. Ryan, however, adds depth and so many surprises that the silliest clichés become fertile ground. "The other shoe," from 2003, is a classic example.

Frying an Egg authors rehabilitate cliches as well, and I think I can speak for the group in saying we would welcome Kay Ryan to join us.

This being an election year, and Barack Obama's mantra being "Hope", her poem by that name is worth noting.


What's the use
of something
as unstable
and diffuse as hope -
the almost-twin
of making-do,
the isotope
of going on:
what isn't in
the envelope
just before
it isn't:
the always tabled
righting of the present.

Ryan lives in Fairfax, California with her longtime partner Carol Adair.

Her poetry has been compared to the poetry of Emily Dickinson:

Love is anterior to life

Love is anterior to life,
Posterior to death,
Initial of creation, and
The exponent of breath.


Not in vain

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Watch this video of Kay Ryan reading some of her recent poetry and see what you think.


Anonymous said...

I love Kate Ryan's poetry. Thanks for posing the video.

Anonymous said...

Sure Tom. I like it too. As well as Dickinson's.

Christine McIntosh said...

Catching up after a trip - thanks for all this, Joe! You're right about Kate Ryan.
FanE has gone a bit quiet just now - I think a lot of us are flitting around on holidays.