• My Breakfast With Ronald6:09

frank stemper

My Breakfast with Ronald  (1985)

for soprano, clarinet, and piano  6 mins.

poetry by Kevin Lynch


MY BREAKFAST WITH RONALD Breakfast With Ronald was written in 1985 at the request of The Clarion Trio, who gave the premiere performances of it on the East Coast.  The Clarion Trio included Jeanine Wagner – soprano, her brother, and pianist Margaret Simmons.  The piece is scored for soprano, clarinet, and piano, with poetry by Kevin Lynch, the former Music Critic for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a regular contributor to Downbeat Magazine, and the founder of the arts and music/jazz blog www.kevernacular.com — check it out.  Lynch’s scattered poem alludes to the apprehension at that time in regard to Ronald Reagan, the former MGM STUDIOS contract player, who was appearing in his final role for USA STUDIOS, as “President of The Free World.”  President Ronnie, among other things (not the least of which was jacking up our national debt more than any other president in our history before or since, and was caught illegally selling arms to enemy forces in the Irangate scandle of the late 1980's), regularly fell asleep during cabinet meetings, setting a precedent for the – at the time – brand new, Post-Watergate, Republican Party.  That the travesty of the Ronald Reagan presidency pales dramatically in comparison to the election of Donald Trump in 2016 is even more depressing than the President falling asleep during cabinet meetings.   Trump's embarrassing and completely ineffectual administration (at this writing, the government just shut down a few days ago) is an absolute bewilderment.  —But if you'd like to learn more about the political situation in our current world, go to Facebook - LOL - BTW - WTF! 

MY BREAKFAST WITH RONALD concerns a world that has gone bonkers, and thus remains current.



22 Jan 2018


By Kevin Lynch

The day I woke to brew,
cupboards bare but toe jam,
was like the old same day.
Or was it? Yes, my hair still stood
at six angles that never add up
to a hole lined with fur
from which they stole my egg.
Can’t fry wit no brains (sung with blues phrasing)
To what wit is it?
A package from Saskatoon arrives,
I plunked it on the settee.
My nose has been crooked lately,
Jules and the elevator operator
stared and stared.
I'm a bit unhinged in the closet,
knew I'd stay in too long –
the shoes I never wearever I go
have stepped already. I stumble,
grab a coat that grabs
my snout in a cuff.
Ah, best to stay in the closet today.
To chilly to walk the cat.
My sister has a baby
While the hound pouts and
the president naps in the cabinet.
My doorbell rings.
It's a singing telegram,
for the deaf man next door,
I find off-key and needlessly gay.
I'll sing it to him at three.
I opened the package and
“There’s my egg.” T’was quite good
though the griddle spat “so-so.”

November 19, 1984