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BOOKS & THE CULTURE Omelette I cooked three eggs a cheese omelette. Suddenly as the eggs bubbled and the cheese melted I saw my mother now almost one year dead healthy again in front of me my hand went to the air where she was plump about 55 smiling loving and alive. I did not burn the eggs and the cheese had to melt. Mother, where have you been? Being dead is no excuse. And why were you in my apartment for 5 or 10 seconds only smiling and fleshy and no longer old and sick, so that I remember you taking me to the doctor to basketball practice in high school remember you during those teenage years though thinking of you when I was a child seems difficult. Did you love me? Then, mother you were gone. I looked at the black phone waiting for my lover to call she who said she needed a night alone to hear herself again. But she’s here with me too so young in this air I’m touching her intensely and she doesn’t disappear. You see, mother, I can cook an omelette. You see mother, I can eat the omelette. Partial Portrait One foot is rooted that much I’ll say. The other is all air. And look at me here. People keep saying “look at him, he doesn’t go anyplace he doesn’t do anything!” And they’re right. I’m hardly married to myself. Then one arm that has broken free serves up an ace and wins Wimbledon. What a man that tiny part of me turned out to be. No Job No work where I want to go. No money given to me for my productivity. No product I think worthy of making that I want to make. And the circle of art does not allow in employment. Still, December’s first California rain thrills me. Its pigeon-breast grayness takes me places. It’s not that I don’t want to be here; it’s that I was a college student once in such gray weather in Wisconsin, and before that, New Jersey. Mornings then meant love of donuts and an early courtship with coffee. Some gray matter in my brain however, fell short of some other thinker’s expectations. I loved only air, and found all the atmosphere I needed But, the teacher was a collector of rocks and he wanted me to cut his diamonds succinctly. The book, the course, the college closed on my soul and what was clean and gray and in its own way the touch of liberation blocked my way. I’m still facing some old wall I didn’t build right now. My brain, suddenly good for one hopeful thing: in becoming a moral wrecking ball. ANDY BRUMER At ndy Brumer’s poems have appeared in literary journals around he country. He is the author of Turtle, and the former poetry editor for The San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in Alhambra, California, and continues to write book and art reviews for newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Daily News, Vision Art Quarterly, and Artscene, among others. Naomi Shihab Nye 18 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JANUARY 16, 1998