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I was eating scrambled egges in the Shamrock Restaurant

and the eggs tasted like Chinese food

so I said to the waitress I'm a person

who likes Chinese food but doesn't like

my eggs in the morning to taste like chicken fried rice

and she laughed and said it must have been

the green onions and suggested the next time

I come into the Shamrock for breakfast

I specify that I want Canadian green onions

with my scrambled eggs or I'll get Chinese again

and I said there won't be another time,

this is it, I'm a widely respected blah blah and blah

and well-regarded in the community too

and shouldn't have to subject myself

to such bad food. I'm finished, I said.

This used to be my favourite Irish-Chinese restaurant

in the entire West Kootenay

but this is it, I'm never coming back -

and through the kitchen door I could see

the Chinese chef covering his ears with his hands.

And so I went to pay my bill

and this is the really embarrassing part,

this is why I'm writing this poem

by hand, pencil on paper, because Margaret Hollingsworth's

typewriter has a three-prong plug

and all the outlets in the house are two-prongers

and her adapter is up at the college

and I begged her to let me cut the third prong off

so I could use her typewriter

because I had a simply overwhelming

desire to write this poem and she refused

and I told ... oh, never mind all that.

This is the embarrassing part. After complaining

so vociferously about the eggs I went to pay my bill

and discovered I had no money with me

so I had to go home and get my wallet

and bring it back to the restaurant

making myself a liar for having said

this is it, I'm never coming back.

The waitress was very nice about it all.

Is it hard to write poetry?

Yes, I would say it is. For instance

in this poem I didn't know whether to start

by talking about the scrambled eggs

or the Smith Corona. And I didn't have

a lot of time to think about it

because I simply had to start the poem,

it was that urgent,

and then you have to torture yourself

wondering if it's all right to write about

writing in a poem and you keep resolving

never again to write about writing

and you always break your resolve.

It's as if writing has a will of its own

and wants to be written about

just like Margaret Hollingsworth's

typewriter.

Margaret Hollingsworth's Typewriter


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