This blog consists of PhotoFeature Stories on artists of all genres, human interest stories, guest blog posts, book reviews, and book excerpts.
CHRIS RICE COOPER is a newspaper writer, feature stories writer, poet, fiction writer, photographer, and painter.
She has a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice and is close to completing her Master's in Creative Writing.
She, her husband Wayne, sons Nicholas and Caleb, cats Nation and Alaska reside in the St. Louis area.
Jesus Was Not White! Jesus Was Not Norwegian!
Monday, January 8, 2018
A New CRC Blog Series: BACKSTORY OF THE POEM . . . Alexis Rhone Fancher’s "82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”
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***This is the second in a
never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice
Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that
specific poem. Links to other BACKSTORY
OF THEPOEM features are at the end
of this piece.
Backstory of the Poem
“82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The
Lobster At Clear Lake Café”
by Alexis Rhone Fancher
Where were you when you started to actually
write the poem?And please describe the
place in great detail.
I wrote this poem where I write all my poems, on my desktop computer in my
studio/office. The room is small, with a huge desk (which I share with my
husband), and shelves of books on every wall. There’s a high window behind the
desk; I look out at sky and a few houses & apartments. There’s a telephone
wire in front of the window where the huge family of crows who live nearby
often congregate. I love crows, and always stop to listen to them when they
visit. (Above Right photo attributed to Alexis Rhone Fancher)
What month in 2016 did you start writing this
I wrote the first draft of “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Cafe,” in December of
How many drafts of this poem did you write
before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts
with pen markings on it?)
I only wrote 3 drafts of this poem (I usually write six to ten or more
drafts of my poems before I’m satisfied) but this one came together more easily
than most. I edit only on the computer - no pen markings on anything!
I always knew the last line of the poem and wrote to it.
Were there any lines in any of your rough
drafts of this poem that were not in the final version?And can you share them with us?
“I count six Harley’s in the parking lot.”
“Maybe it’s a sign?”
“The lettuce is paltry and wilted.”
“I feel the eyes of a dozen bikers. This may be their favorite cafe.”
How did you first meet your husband?
We met in June of 2000, on a
fledgling website called MATCH.COM. We were married 2 1/2 years later.
Has poem been published before?And if yes from where?
Yes.First published in Slipstream,
Anything you would like to add?
the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Cafe,” was written in 2016, about
events that took place nine years before. It was July of 2007, and my husband
and I had fled Los Angeles in search of a respite from our then chaotic lives.
That was the year he was enamored of mountaintop hideaways, and routed us
through Clear Lake, in Northern California. North of Napa and San Francisco,
Clear Lake is the largest, natural freshwater lake in California. It’s nestled
in the hills, and a tranquil haven to vacationers. We thought we needed some of
By the time we arrived
in the little town we were tired and hungry. When we saw the signs for lobster
outside Clear Lake Cafe, we decided to stop for dinner.
I wrote “82 Miles From
the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Cafe,” as a love poem to my
husband. I’ve never forgotten his kindness to the waitress as we made our
escape. It is indicative of the generous, compassionate person I married back
in 2002, and just one of many reasons why I adore and admire him.
82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Cafe
The neon flashes “Lobster” and
The parking lot is crowded. We’ve been
driving since dawn.
The lobster must be good here, you
The harried, Korean waitress seats us
near the kitchen.
She's somewhere between forty and
I show you the strand of her coarse,
stuck between the pages of my menu.
Undeterred, you order the lobster for
I investigate the salad bar.
Yellow grease pools in the dregs of
blue cheese dressing;
a small roach skims the edge.
Before the waitress can bring the clam
chowder, I kick you under the table.
I’m sorry, I say brightly. We’ve changed our minds.
I’m responsible for the look of defeat
on her face.
As I head out, you stop and leave a
twenty on the table.
I have never loved you more.
Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and
other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies,
(2015), and Enter Here (2017). Her
chapbook about her first marriage, Junkie Wife, will be published in
March, 2018, by Moon Tide Press. She is published in Best American Poetry
2016, Rattle, Hobart, Pirene’s Fountain, Plume, Nashville Review, Diode, Glass,
Tinderbox, Verse Daily, and
photos are published worldwide, including River Styx, and the covers of Witness,
Heyday, The Chiron Review, and Nerve Cowboy. A
multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of
Cultural Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles.