Phil Wilke’s “Elegy for a Toaster”

Toaster of warm, browned bread
You have made your last slice

Marbled rye, artisanal sourdough, English muffins
All have succumbed to your heart-warming glow

Raisin bread, my dear departed toasting partner,
You raised raisin bread to an artform

There are secrets that you and I will take to our graves,
Or in your case the Butte County landfill,
Like “l’affaire du Pumpernickel” with the fork and the outlet.
Neither of us covered ourselves in glory that day

Melter of butter, melter of hearts
You charred when ignored, like a scorned lover bent on revenge

Another will take your place, but you will be forever in my heart
May all your slices be medium brown, and
May your crumb tray be forever clean

Was there ever a poem more demanding of an “Amen!” than this one from my friend, Phil?

Phil Wilke is a radio station manager, an actor, a journalist, a great baker, a husband, a father, a dear friend, and one of the funniest, sweetest guys I know. (Phil: you’re not the funniest, sweetest guy I know, but you’re like, you know, in the medals, top three. When was the last time you heard anyone say that, eh?) He loves to tease me about being born Canajun, and I, him, about being a Murrican.

Phil writes too few poems, but when he does you can rest assured that they are absolute gems of humor, with real love, humility, and humanity hidden in them like pearls.

And just so we are clear: I taught him everything he knows about writing poetry. Just sayin’.

Thank you for reading Elegy for a Toaster. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.

Sadly, I do not have a photo of Phil’s kaput toaster. What you see above is the ever-faithful, chez Etheridge model toasting two slices of Old-Fashioned Sourdough, which, as you can see, since it has been treated kindly, still works. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem, and notes © John Etheridge; all rights reserved. The poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Work 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original written work found on this site unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is © John Etheridge, The photograph is not licensed for use in any way without the expressed consent of its creator.

Comments Off on Phil Wilke’s “Elegy for a Toaster”

Filed under Poetry

Comments are closed.