On Eggs

The water mustn’t be rolling, only glittering like an early idea at the bottom of the saucepan. Silver. It must be warm to touch and the eggs must be fresh. Spin around your water like she’s your date to a disco. Have a good time together. Let loose. Dropping slowly, crack in the jewel and watch it spin, uneasy and drunk. It comes together, sobering up in shock and solidifying. A towel let go of in the wind. It is the opposite of a dream leaving you, a memory fading. It sharpens in focus. The yellow thickens only slightly. With the useless bucket of a hole slotted spoon, pick her up. She is nearly limp, out of breath. Let her gather on toast, buttered. Delectable and peppered black with gravel spice and salt.

Let her colour run.


Your knees, located between where you meet the stained carpet and where life starts, are loose socketed from a fall and you are hungry from the easy task of sleep. The rest of dinner, left on the side, has been fly trodden and you quickly place a plate atop the grooved sauce to ignore the looming task of tidying. You crack the egg as you rock on stilts. Its housing falls in. Shelly. Sandy. Silted.

You imagine them, the eggs, painted with eggs in history. The colour mix is a temporary tool before oil paint and acrylic. Tempera. A fancy dress party on canvas. Mixed egg as immortalized egg. Human dressed as portrait.

Painting an egg in the hopes of presenting beginning or origin is like painting a kiss to present love. Catching the idea is impossible ––like using a slotted spoon to catch albumen white. A sinuous, wretched effort.

In Fragonard’s Progress of Love,  there is only one fragment of love. One sliver. It’s also important to remember that a kiss, if named A Suffocation, is seen as something different entirely. Inside of one moment, cocooned and sheltered, the image of love could also be one of passion or desperation, fear or hunger. Maybe even hunger for eggs.

From reading, research and brief online wandering, the egg in any scene is a reference to Beginning. Origin.

Including an egg within a frame is like Kubrick cameoing at a table in the background of Eyes Wide Shut. Seeing the eggs, the director, the source of where all else came feels like finding some secret door.

You wonder though––do the exsanguinating, dilapidated husks really represent the loss of virginity in Greuze’s Broken Eggs? You grab for the heavy doorstop book and read about the symbolism that Greuze may or may not have been channeling while filling a hole in the canvas.

Over at the island, wood planed smooth and mug ring stained from lip-grooved vessels, is the carton. It is a black hole of time, stood still. You pretend you’re looking across to a dusted photo frame of your younger self, bottle toothed and bowl cut. Look how much I’ve grown! Look how far I’ve come! The eggs sit, unknowing of their stardom or wonder. You think of the way you pick them up so brashly and smash them against a bowl like they mean very little.

Few simple natural objects have such self-explanatory yet profound meaning as the egg.

A few weeks ago, a trend rippled across the internet. Mums the world over, pulled phones from stretch-denim pockets and recorded off-spring carrying eggs across hardwood floors and grass gardens with care and attention.

“So they say if you give a baby an egg, they’re gentle with it. They’re not lying”.

You watch looping videos of cooing mothers for fourty five minutes.

In the hallway, you slip between kitchen and living room. You are audience to another throbbing yolk. Another throbbing sun. It jabs at its walls with each of your steps to the sofa and the hot gloss of it goes cold beside a wasted mustard smear, curtained by a thick wall. The poor white is upstaged by the alarming yellow mound.

MYTH: Happier chickens = sunnier yolks.
TRUTH: Shoppers are charged nearly twice as much for eggs with yolks described as "sunny" and "golden".

"Golden yolks" aren't always a sign of happier hens, they have simply been fed paprika, carrots, red peppers or yellow peppers.

You imagine someone claiming that happier people have pink urine. You imagine eating beetroot in secret, trying to deceive relatives into believing you are of a stable mentality after months of ignoring calls.

You tell your parents you’re doing well. On the phone, tucked between your chin and shoulder skin you um and argh at their over-cooked rendition of the weekends unfurling. The bathroom tiles are surrounded by pasted dust, rust, rose pot-purri, toast crumbs, shaved hairs, cotton wisps from buds. The laundry pile is high.

You hang up and fry another egg with Carla on your screen; a salt and peppered American woman who wears an apron to the dinner table and talks about her son like you’re meant to understand.

I’m putting enough oil to completely coat the bottom of the pan and that's key and it seems like alot and I can already hear the comments but it's not going to stick and it's going to bring flavour. I like to crack my egg on the surface–a flat surface because when it shatters it doesn't push the shell into the egg so I always smack it on a flat surface. So right away, a lot of puffing alot of snapping and crackling and I already have brown edges and this hot oil which there's a little extra of, I’m going to spoon on to the white of the egg and avoid the yolk. Look how dramatic. It’s puffy and lacy and it takes less than two minutes and it's done. If you tried this with butter and no oil the butter would absolutely burn, blacken, char. It would be a smoky mess, it would not taste very good at all. I'm going to have another bite. Oh yes, that’s delicious.

Pick him up– your white with yellow daisy. Scalloped edges frilled in the oil slick heat. Elope to the dining table, tongue ready, making sure to steady the tray with two hands. Maybe sauced, or slicked with salt. Maybe laminated with vinegar. He is handsome and still. Sunny. A painting on the table.

Light beams down on your own son. Your own making.

Punctured, a cheerful, happy jam bleeds out in acute motion, singing.

You eat the yellow.

It’s common thought that Vincent Van Gogh swallowed cadmium yellow paint in an attempt to consume happiness. However, from medical notes taken in Saint-Remy asylum, Dr. Peyron explains that Gogh attempted to poison himself on multiple occasions by ingesting paraffin or swallowing the colours he used for painting.

The orange in your throat and stomach licks the lining of you.
Inside is now a happy place.

The albumen coats your abdomen and you smile with a jammy-jaune-and-suntan taste in your mouth. The sound of television presenters telling you about the day incoming is a little more palatable now that you have been fed. 

You mop the rest up with bread.

The result of an inconceivably complicated decision made somewhere very, very, very small- that’s what you are. There were many possibilities - literally thousands and thousands swimming about, but an egg only admitted one.

Maybe unwise in self-assuredness: you are the result of blunt judgement and for a while- pretty close to jelly. Yolked and choked with umbilical leash, tugging for release. Your head can’t fully fathom it.

It is morning time and you are peeling shell into a ceramic bowl. It sounds like skin on skin–– the cracking, scraping, dragging of the shards–– and you are thinking hard about your origin. Do you know the case in which you came? The context?

Are you the result of a reeling argument? A broken vase? A slurred r or long hard thought? Aligned stars? Just-a-quick-and-unassuming, lights-off-because-we’re-steaming-kind of––

Fuck, it’s underdone.


The white isn’t quite white or binded and the yellow is still wrapped up tight in itself, cold and self conscious. A butter knife wouldn’t burst it open, the blurring cooked and uncooked bits  threat being rotten.

Try again. Just an accident. 

To discern a bad egg from the good, submerge it in a hood of water.

Flood it deep and mull it over.

If it floats, it’s for the bin.

If it sinks, tuck in.

Your parents call again.

The catalogue grey-plastic shrills through the hallway and you guess how many more needle rings you can take. They don’t give in, and wait.

You pick up, hesitantly resurrected from the underside of sleep (your favourite shaded feather lightless spot) and they’re at it again with their voices. You slump against the wall. Bit late for breakfast, don’t you think? Anyway, Happy Lent. Agnes called ––what they call a good egg. Don’t make us beg you. Just show face. We’ve emailed you the time and place.

Their presence is punctuated by the tone. 

Spluttering, spattering oil muck from the sides or all around, the cracking teeth of shells and bound up sour. I rolled them in the heat for six minutes, almost seven, then skinned them with my skin and hard nail edge. To colour them crows foot brown, I drown them in the mixture. I hold them, soft and supple, in the murky water, soy sauce, vinegar, chili flakes, bitter in the simmer of the rippling skin that withers by the minute in the marinade. The eggs have made themselves up for the dinner. They are the jewels. The main courses main event. Jellied yolk throbbing by the step from hob to table top, breathing sulpherous and bronzed from the holiday drowning. Browning outer coating. Frowning from the nudity of this new dish. Delish.

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