War Of The Toast

Written By: David Tyrus Coursey

War of The Toast


David Tyrus Coursey








In the beginning there is this earthy scent of salt hay, luxuriant, moist, and damp with morning. Swimming. I am swimming, up, up from a dream. There is an emaciated young Guernsey loosely tethered to a maid leapt from Millet‘s “The Gleaners”.           Intuitively, perhaps, I almost hear her deaf exchange of gesture with theShelterIslandferry mate. But this wind, this wind blots all artifice of language and the spray of waves wets the air between us and I watch this tableau through mists, of time.

The gentle bovine is looking at me and I feel a tug from some distant past, of want, of hope mixed with twilight and memory, the heave of the ferry in early squall. I imagine some misunderstanding about a correct parking lane and puzzle at the fee for such passage as the maid and her charge. The Revolution is just spent inFranceand the bronze clang of a channel buoy in the distance marks tempo of gathering weather, and there is an edge of stars disappearing into the mouth of this storm.

Suddenly the maid’s movement stops and the winds ease and the mate resigns himself to the lee of the pilot tower and the cow’s gaze remains; remains fixed on my eyes. It feels as if she were, somehow, in deep examination of the quiet parts of me, of my self.  Me, drenched and dreaming there, hands fast to the rail, waiting for the squall to engulf this moment.

Her gaze reaches, it seems, across the rolling deck until we are, as if, one, she and I, in a most strange exchange, as if a seaweed tangle of minds. It felt as if all of time’s love and truths, ambition and contest; bore a sweetness of unimaginable rarity. The very hosts of time, all are present in this union of … of… spirits? And then, suddenly, all distance between us dissolves in one final spray of mist.


Untwisting my fussy back off bale wire, and half opening a champagne cocktail eye to an already developed morning sky, I terror at what time it must be and flail to find my phone, somewhere, I think, around the edge of this bed of salt hay on Sandy’s birthday. It is late, it must be late, it must be almost 7 o’clock and Pierre’s Patisserie will have opened and the sidewalk will already be drying from the morning scrub and the almond toast will be warm, still, if I can just rush fast enough to beat the hoarder who makes it a point to buy up all the toasts before late risers we may have a chance at this most prized Sunday morning cause for happiness; Pierre’s Toast.

I have recent experience, more than one, of an8 o’clockvisit yielding but crumbs behind glass, disappointment and melancholy. But today I have slept near the driveway in theSandy’s new birthday garden under oak leaf and moonlight; that I might, by proximity to the car, be better prepared for the exact hour of departure. I rise from the bed of bales and, finding my telephone, read the time ~7:55.


Toast. Toast can be a simple thing. Dry, unslathered with butter and jam, a country coarse mill, fired to a golden brown, dipped in soft boiled egg yolks is heaven, true. Toast, too, can become a miracle of marmalade and confettied mint, a succulent tower of strawberries holding a bouquet of elder blossoms and splashed with an sweet orange liqueur, or American-French ~ swimming in maple syrup and walnuts, cinnamon and dollop of freshly whipped cassis and cream, dusted simply with confectioners’ sugar, or touched with honey. Yes, there are toasts, and there are toasts, and then there is Bridgehampton Pierre’s and Sunday morning and it is a birthday breakfast to consider and I cannot find the keys to anything to drive and that champagne cocktail is a caul and the birds are everywhere exciting me to action.