We scoured the waterfront, the next morning, for eggs,
the fried kind with a crenellated coast,
only that city had been recently re-veined,
the harbor hemmed by chains, as in
where everything’s the same,
and, too weak to walk any farther, we wandered at last
into a pinkish franchise
not because it had a name we recognized
but because there was no where else
for the unwheeled,
and when I was handed something brown
around a  “beware it’s hot” hockey puck,
my hungry face cried “what the —–   (let’s call it–“yuck”)
and the guy, whose striped shirt sensed
my discomfiture, replied, “we only have scrambled,”
and I managed, “but it’s square,”
and he smiled, “isn’t that neat?”

So, I did not bother to say, “and it bounces,”
“you call this,” pressing the puff,
“a bagel?”

Only vowed to better love New York City, my then
home, dingy to its very piers, but at least a place that knew
bagels and sported on every corner
eggs fried into whatever shape
their whites might flow.

But the truth is that this is just the middle
of this story, which is perhaps why the square egg
seemed horrible to me in a way I am not
the part I didn’t tell you
was how the night before
a very old young friend, welcoming us to the hotel’s
banquet room, edged along the skirted tablecloths
on the outsides of sliver slippers, the chemo having burned
the bottoms of
her feet, which may be why
the idea of anything at wrong right angles and
heated some strange hot–
the idea of anything so very not
what it was supposed to be–
just didn’t sit well with me.

Maybe I should tell you the end
of the story too, though I suspect you’ve already
guessed it, and yes,
is all I can stand to say anyway,
even as everything else inside me
still cries, no.

Here’s a drafty poem for my prompt on With Real Toads to write about dining out in some form.  The pic is one from the prompt–I appreciate that it does not show a bagel! 

Explore posts in the same categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

20 Comments on “Unnatural”

  1. jazzbumpa Says:

    Very powerful and sad


  2. I have been in that situation before. I have waited until I get home or to a place where I can have something resembling food. I loved the honesty of your poem. Loved it. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  3. Brendan Says:

    The virus of suburbanization of this country is so complete that in so many locales you don’t know you’ve passed from one ‘burb to the next except by the next WalMart and McDonalds and Chipotle Grill. Such a brute disfigurement of the local … That starting point here is hard enough, but the pathos behind it — the suffering figure (who may have gotten cancer from the singular menu choice the speaker faces off with) — is almost dire. “Strange hot,” indeed. I’m grateful at least that our neighborhood and town is so old and motleyed. But the armies of the same are closing, closing in.

  4. Sometimes the modernised food really pushes us into being square ourselves.. I would prefer to cook myself rather than being forced something like that upon myself,

  5. I honestly thought, oh, ok, so you got a weird egg bagel, big deal… then you brought in the big guns… your friend, chemo, bottom of feet burned, and then the end of the story.This is amazing. Brilliant. Moving.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Debi– I am having a hard time going on WP except on my phone where I am staying because of some disconnect where the router blocks me– even going to my own blog! It is very frustrating– on phone now– I went to one site I thought was yours but different from the normal one– do you have two? K.


      • Yes, three actually but one I use infrequently. I do have a hard getting other people’s blog to accept my site and end up having to use my google
        acct. Frustrating.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        It’s gotten worse and worse on that end. This is a weird thing with the router at the apartment I’m in, but the google/wordpress divide drives me crazy! k.

        On Sun, Mar 15, 2015 at 9:59 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  6. hedgewitch Says:

    So many unnatural things come together here, k– with an inevitability that is wholly human and, of course, natural after all–the revulsion, the artificial shaping to convenience, and the impossibility of winning at that game in this world, so the square egg is perhaps a comfort to some who need that kind of order(thinking now of Hercule Poirot and his passion for square eggs and crumpets) but which in the end only proclaim how vain and superficial their pretense really is. A very moving and effective poem, full of insight and skillful construction.

  7. othermary Says:

    Your beginning had me chuckling, especially with:

    and when I was handed something brown
    around a “beware it’s hot” hockey puck,
    my hungry face cried “what the —– (let’s call it–“yuck”)
    and the guy, whose striped shirt sensed
    my discomfiture, replied, “we only have scrambled,”
    and I managed, “but it’s square,”
    and he smiled, “isn’t that neat?”

    But the middle brought me up short with the seriousness of this unnatural world. And as always you are so skilled with word choice, rhythm, and all that poety stuff.

  8. I can hear the tears… see the disgust and fear… The unknown, especially the “unknown” that hurts and steals away the things we like, want and need can leave so lost… and confused.

  9. Sherry Marr Says:

    Oh how this story develops and creeps into the heart till the reader at the end cries no, right along with you.

  10. Jim Says:

    I am sorry for the young friend but more sorry for those who lost her. She will be missed, so young.

    I do not eat square eggs, burgers, or whatever at my favorite fast food place. I do have crispy chicken with Monterey cheese, the chicken is natural size.

    McDonald’s English muffins (Egg-McMuffin breakfast sandwich) are tough and chewy. But in London those English muffins are very soft and tender, and Yummy. Like English should be.

  11. Amazing juxtaposition of poem and photo!

  12. claudia Says:

    oh heck k. – that is a moving write – often the outside things upset us so much cause we’re upset inside.. so tough..

  13. Marian Says:

    Ohhhh, man. I was about to lecture you about ordering bagels anywhere outside NYC but then… well, you know.

  14. Perhaps you were a little raw in the scramble….My stomach often rebels.

  15. M Says:

    Hey k, I’m waiting in line at DMV and phone posting, given a few minutes, ok hours, to try to catch up. You seamlessly segue between amusing annoyance to sharply caught intake of breath, illuminating the casual disgust that is our national pastime and concurrent cultural tidal wave, overwhelming all in its path. Finely penned. ~

I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: