Cliff Friend had a hand in writing “Big Butter and Egg Man.”
I moan his “Lovesick Blues”−don’t want to butter up my churning−
So I hum Come, come, come to the wildwood.
Mama’s in the kitchen cutting up a chicken.
February’s filled with butter and eggs.
Let’s go out to Mama’s Hedge and see the jonquils.
Butterball Paige played electric guitar for Ernest Tubb and the Troubadours.
Butterball Turkey’s mostly a Happy Thanksgiving, though not free of battering banter!
Mama says her mother crept around the hedge, lowering her apron to scoop up the eggs.
You know the chickens, rooster, and biddies ran out all the time.
That’s what I like about the South!
Way down where they say You All!
Come on−come, butter, come.
I was a good churner, held the dasher as if I really wanted some
Butter that would not melt in my mouth
And clabber the top of the churn.
The “stone” crock glowed glazed, yellow-white curdles.
That buttermilk tasted like the cow was in the pantry!
I’d finger the curds just for fun.
I was not butter-fingered while I churned.
I never got butterflies either−
Butterflies! Solid, awesome Ephemerals!
When I was a boy I got a butterfly kiss from a girl!
I’d like a butterfly-bush so our yard would whirl.
Oh I wish I had Mama’s wooden butter-mold with that little-set-flower-design inside the top.
The flower in the wood would never wilt.
This is a country for dreamers.
In August butterflies fill the meadow.
They come without explanation.
Sometimes I get the milk-cow blues.
Our cow−Lady−appears in my premises.
I do not know what missing milk and butter is like.
In childhood nothingness and vanishment work hand-to-mouth with butter and eggs.
With a paddle I slap a ball of butter, leaving a little puddle of water.
Mr. Victor Clifton cuts my hair first.
He puts a board across the chair to raise me up for his hands, comb, and clippers.
I sit in a chair and watch him butter up Mr. Hector’s face before shaving.
I never butt in on anybody’s conversation.
Still water runs the deepest, dependable, warm, loving.
Cream’s left without unctuous flattery.
I neither want to be fat as butter nor demure as one whose face never melts appearances.
Give me two shades of yellow and I’ll cook you butter and eggs.
A flower I’ll set in the middle of the table, along with a butter-boat.
It looks like a vessel locked in the fridge.
How I love butterfish, my favorite fry.
I like to butter my bread on both sides.
Butternut’s a beautiful brownish-grey in winter.
Buttery fingers don’t work good on buttons.
1 ½ cups sugar
1 stick melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk
Mix all ingredients and
Pour into unbaked shell
375 for 35-40 minutes
Ole Buttermilk Pie
I’m keeping my lips locked on you
No one knows our secret
I’ll share you anyhow
Ole Buttermilk Pie
Can’t you see me at Maytle’s table
We’re as pleased as mother and son can be
Waiting to slice dessert
Ole Buttermilk Pie
I’m telling you now
Maytle Samantha made the pie for me
Our recipes are tasty, and therefore superficial.
It is not open-mouthed entirely−like a pan for stew.
Neither is it the edging of dishes dressed with certainty−
as if a chickbiddy were looking for its mother: memory:
my mother would call the chickens at feeding time, her apron
balanced with grain she scattered on the ground, her fingers fraying timelessly.
No one will ever know how I miss her call−chick, chick, chick−the hen
there, head down, her chicks just fluffs.
Some boys at Cleveland High would play chicken with their cars.
You make up the scene (I’m lucky to be here).
Where is the poetry in a game of derring-do?
Are all boys born to lose?
The nature of the “I” desires the eye−wide-open−bolting
forward into the Dream Girl, the “chick,” shuffling close by,
even as the fuzz on the boy’s chin
grooms a teenager’s song busy with booty,
a beauty unwinnable in the senses, for they are superficial, too,
lasting out finale: Death rears its shoulder-blades
the curve takes or the alcohol no doubt prompts
the contest of two boys who lie down in the paved road
not far from Paul’s Hill, saying “chicken” to one another
to remain lying there until night brings headlights and the killing tire treads.
Every time I’m faced with a casserole I’m dealing with unimportant matters.
The blue heavens all around: here I’m sitting with chicken feed.
I’d much rather eat a gizzard.
Chicken in the bread pan
Pecking out dough
Granny, will your dog bite
No, child, no
I don’t know what to do with a casserole.
My chickens come home to roost.
I much prefer a spring chicken.
I shall not chicken out now, however; I’ll live low today.
O, Chicken! Feathers!
Make no mistake: I can count my chickens before they’re hatched,
for I have seen too many wire-fence-picnic tables sag in the middle with chicken casseroles.
Have you ever been to a Family Reunion in a churchyard,
the table of wire strung between two Southern Oaks the size of North and South Carolina?
It’s the spring in me.
I just as soon eat chickweed.
1 chicken (cook: remove from bone)
1 cup chicken broth
1 package herb-stuffing mix
1 stick melted margarine
(Mix package HSM with SMM)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small can condensed milk
Mix broth, soup, & milk together
Add onions & celery
Make sure you mix stuffing-mix & margarine
In casserole dish, place layer of stuffing-mix on bottom
Add deboned chicken
Pour mixture of soup over chicken
Sprinkle with parsley flakes
Add other half of stuffing-mix to top of casserole
Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees
You shall long for warbling in the trees and for the eternity an Easter morning brings to
air−which is music−in your eyes−and mine−Reunion not closed off to waiting for that beauty
inexplicable, with no end in sight−and out of hearing.
O casserole! Colossal−fossil verbiage!
Chicken Stock Soup
I’ve made it twice!
Nice carcass with herbs and veggies diced.
Herbert’s collards could lose color
And back-up singers−The Collarettes−
Could shake loose their barrettes
Or arsy-versy−burning my cheeks for dolor.
I’ll take a chicken out of the bin,
A Food Lioner−I get excited over the roaster,
So big it’s cool−best smell ever−close to sin!
I’ll bet my Kentuckians quiver
Because I don’t catch a chicken and kill it
And put it in a skillet−
Grab your partner−do not pat on the head−
Take off your coats
And roll with the possums
Out in the far pasture−show the crowd you’re not dead!
Put everything except the fridge in the pot−sassafras
Bark is fine. Whoa! No cow-pies−basics for justice: carcass,
Carrots, onions, celery, peppercorns−
Water to cover: simmer couple hours or long as you wish−forecast?
A good Eat. Leave to cool overnight: skim any crap that adorns
Your desire to throw in the pantry dust,
Though you cannot add or subtract any difference, even the rust
Which may cling to the Colonial Stainless Steelware−
(“Good for Your Health”)
To be honest−Taste could never outlast
The best chicken stock soup in the world.
Julia Child could not top such a festival.
I’m going to become a chef better
Than my love for a home-grown tomato
I know, if that’s possible: I appreciate Plato.
I’m qualified: Miss Apple, my first grade teacher, taught me to use Play Dough.