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No California Cuisine
Ellaraine Lockie

       It’s the only café open in Wolf Creek Canyon. And I need a driving break. 
To drink from the well of images that floods the landscape on Highway 15 south of Helena. My 
hand contracts in welcomed cramps after weeks of poetic drought.
       I hum along with the cook, who is helping the Beach Boys confess fantasies about 
California girls. Of which I’m geographically one. Genetically I’m full-blooded 
       The waitress doesn’t believe it because I order an egg white omelet. Says I’m definitely 
Californian if I’m eating divorced eggs. And besides, the cook refuses to separate what 
the good Lord has brought together. Brings me bacon and the best biscuit I’ve ever 
       I don’t mention cholesterol. An alien concept in beef and cream country. But I eat the 
biscuit without butter. The only way to tell if it’s good anyhow. With butter they’re all 
to die for. Like Montana itself, this biscuit needs no deceptive assistance. My hand 
tightens again in metaphoric anticipation.    
       Espresso has reached certain regions of Montana. Tourist trapped and movie star 
entrenched. But I know better than to ask for it here in Folgers territory. For fear 
of having my pedigree replaced with a Starbucks franchise.
       It’s the only café open in Wolf Creek Canyon. And I don’t need to drink strong coffee in 
it to refill my creative cup. The caffeine is the camaraderie. The coming home. My 
hand holds tight this muse called Montana.


From Where the Meadowlark Sings (2015), winner of the Encircle Publications 2014 Chapbook Contest.
Used here with the author's permission. 


Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded author of poetry, nonfiction books and essays.  Her collection, Where the Meadowlark Sings, won the 2014 Encircle Publication’s Chapbook Contest and was published in early 2015.  Other recent work has been awarded the 2013 Women’s National Book Association’s Poetry Prize, Best Individual Collection from Purple Patch magazine in England for Stroking David's Leg, winner of the San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest for Red for the Funeral and The Aurorean's Chapbook Spring Pick for Wild as in Familiar. Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh. She is currently judging the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contests for Winning Writers. A resident of Sunnyvale, California, Ellaraine is also a professional papermaker who has worked with community projects in that capacity in South Africa and for various U. S. businesses. A video featuring her poetry, handmade papers, and handbound books can be seen here


Post New Comment:
Hi Ellaraine, I have read and re-read your new book. One of your best. Will be in touch soon.
Posted 06/23/2015 05:29 PM
Larry Schug:
I'm still dreaming of California girls! The cook is the muse in this poem, along with Montana, I think. And yes, a poem is whatever you call a poem in 2015. Thanks for taking me for a ride to Big Sky Country.
Posted 06/23/2015 01:48 PM
Wonderful! I once - years and years ago - spent a lovely month in Great Falls. This delightful poem brings it all back. Thank you.
Posted 06/23/2015 09:45 AM
"divorced eggs," indeed. :-) Fine work. I'm forwarding it to a California friend who spends a lot of time up in big sky country.
Posted 06/23/2015 08:44 AM
A prose poem? Whatever the form, it is full of poetic images. Yes, I love the divorced egg idea too but would love one of those biscuits more. Love it!
Posted 06/23/2015 08:42 AM
I'm with paradea here...interesting, amusing, but not a poem.
Posted 06/23/2015 08:30 AM
Took me a bit to think that yes it is a poem. I agree with the cook about divorced eggs. Have to look up "Where the Mockingbird Songs" after three readings I've decided I love this poem and want to see more of her work.
Posted 06/23/2015 08:29 AM
I went to Helena and back last weekend!
Posted 06/23/2015 08:27 AM
Is this a poem or vignette????
Posted 06/23/2015 08:20 AM
hello Ellaraine! fun and o so true poem--love it!
Posted 06/23/2015 08:09 AM

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