Monday, January 8, 2018

#2 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 THE  POEM 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 poem?
I wrote the first draft of “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Cafe,” in December of 2016.

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, 2017

Anything you would like to add?
       “82 Miles From 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 that.
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.

Contact Information?

82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Cafe

The neon flashes “Lobster” and “Fresh!”
The parking lot is crowded. We’ve been driving since dawn.

The lobster must be good here, you say.

The harried, Korean waitress seats us near the kitchen.
She's somewhere between forty and dead.

I show you the strand of her coarse, black hair
stuck between the pages of my menu.

Undeterred, you order the lobster for two.

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.

Alexis 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 elsewhere.  Her 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.

Alexis Rhone Fancher

001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange”

004 January 22, 2018
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny”

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “The Natural Reflection of Your Palms”

011 March 10, 2018 
Arya F. Jenkins “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph, “History Abandoned"

012 March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE”

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment”

016  April 27, 2018
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

020 June 16, 2018
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes”

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel”

023 July 20, 2018
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie”

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s (It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details”

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