"To bring the poem into the world / is to bring the world into the poem."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011



The Great Recession

Steadily employed for more than twenty-four years.
Then one day, my supervisor called me into her office.
I was laid off.
Let go, downsized, RIF’d.
It all means the same thing.
Kicked off the Cube Farm.
Funny how those dusty rose plastic walls that felt so confining suddenly
seemed so comforting, as I took a last look at them,
and hugged my banker’s box to my chest.

Terror. Shock. Cautious optimism. Crushing disappointment.
I had to make myself take a shower.
I scanned the want ads online, every day.
I pondered how to fix chicken yet another way.
I lived lifetimes of anxiety in an hour.

I became a part of the quiet crowd haunting the unemployment office.
One day I was told, no more benefits.
I emailed every recruiter I knew and said OK, I will take ANYTHING…
that doesn’t involve illegal activity or nudity.

Contract assignments came and went.
It’s a buyer’s market I was told, again and again.

Year one, we didn’t buy new clothes or eat out much.
Year two, we didn’t get the car fixed or go on vacation.
Heading into year three of uncertainty,
I prayed, please let me keep the house…

Finally, two years down the road, a real permanent job, but only part time,
And making far less money, but still -
To have somewhere to go, every day, a reason to bathe?

The front patio at Dee's house, for which she "prayed, please let me keep the house...", with "my flowers I put out there every summer. I like it because it looks peaceful."



The recession hasn't affected my poetry negatively, since I now have more time to write since I'm not working full-time.



[Note: The recipe within this poem is a real recipe.]


Who is not comforted by eggs and cheese?
The following should be cooked on a Sunday night,
When food is about comfort.

Take an onion and chop it up fine.
Throw it in a pan of butter, salt, and pepper.
Saute away, til it’s translucent and soft.
Smile as the delicious smell wafts through the house.

Heat the oven to Hi broil. Crack open the door.

Look in your fridge for veggies on the verge
Of rubber horror.
Open the veggie drawer.
Pick and choose.
What to use?

Mushrooms – yes.
Ham or turkey lunchmeat – yes.
Cauliflower and carrots – no.
Broccoli? No!
Lettuce – don’t even think it.
See a beer?
Drink it.

Chop. Throw it all in with the onions.
Add some garlic powder, seasoning salt, a drop of Tabasco.
Hum your favorite song.
How did that tune go?

Pull out the eggs. Crack four in a bowl and beat them
with a fork, until foamy and subdued.
Eyeball the simmering veggie mixture. Inhale.
Throw in another egg. Pour it over all.
Cook over low medium as the mixture sets.
Don’t walk away and forget.

Open the fridge.
Look for cheese. Not feta. Not blue.
Almost any other kind will do.
Preferably grated.
Place the skillet into the oven and watch.
Pull it out –
before you really think it’s done.

Cover everything liberally with cheese.
Abundant cheese.
Put the skillet back under the broiler, briefly.
Stand and watch.

Pull it out and serve it on paper plates, with a dill pickle garnish, if you must.

Put on a bathrobe and fuzzy slippers before eating.

Frittata. Free-TAH-tah. Savor the sound.

It’s a one dish meal



Dee Thompson was born in Augusta, Georgia and raised primarily in Knoxville, Tennessee. She has been writing for more than twenty-five years and her first published poem appeared in a national magazine at the age of thirteen. Dee holds a degree in Drama from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Tennessee. She is a published author of three books: a personal memoir Adopting Alesia, a children’s book, Jack’s New Family, and a juvenile adventure e- book The Warrior's Box. One of her essays appeared in the award winning book Call Me Okaasan, [Edited by Suzanne Kamata.] She also has an essay in Snowflakes: A Flurry of Adoption Stories [Editor Teresa Kelleher], and her poetry appears regularly on the Vox Poetica website. Additionally, Dee has been a daily blogger for more than six years and her blog [The Crab Chronicles] has a wide readership. Dee lives with her son and her mother in Atlanta, and enjoys gardening, cooking, knitting, reading, and movies.


1 comment:

Ellenelizabeth Cernek - Kashk said...

Love to cook my self. Your poem "Frittata" made me smile, thank you.
Now I have to go and fry some pork chops for my crew!