Friday, September 02, 2005

Found Objects

I held the record in the shot put, the tug-of-war,
the long jump. I made houses out of milk cartons,
origami fire trucks with bent straw hoses.
I'd squeeze the truck and shoot milk out of the straw
to quench the flames erupting from the houses.

I used to hope you'd sit with me. I watched you
choose somewhere else. I wonder if you're
happy now. I wonder if your husband drives a race car or
hunts caribou or is an astronaut.

My friends and I were awkward and loud,
badly dressed, spastic. Tom ate his pencils in class.
Brendan head-butted the tether-ball poles
and said his daddy was in the mob.

I don't know why I'm thinking about all that now.
We're behind the Grange Hall where Tom is grilling ribs for the VFW.
I worry a length of string in my fingers, chew a stem of grass.
My stained hands are restless.

I can't picture you now.
I forget, too, how I folded milk cartons into little bitty fire trucks,
into tiny burning homes.

Tom says the ribs are done but
I wonder.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

boyoboy, this is really fine. it's the accumulation of objects, then and now, that does it. their reality will not allow us to ignore the reality of the people who lie alongside them in that incredible toybox of memory. and isn't it strange we can recall so vividly the things people did in our childhood, who they were, how they acted ... but not how they looked. i knew a little girl like her. name of sissy. and i was crazy about her. now, though, all i can remember is she took her scissors and cut my face out of the class picture. the mark of a really fine poem like this is not only in the individuality of its images, but in the way it gives rise to our own past and all the things we thought no longer belonged to us, till here comes this guy with the key to unlock them and set them tumbling forth.

1:43 AM  
Blogger deirdre said...

a terrific walk through those found moments.

I come here lots, don't often comment, but always enjoy & take something away with me, then I visit Yolanda's site and am wowed all over again, then I wander her friends sites and then I wonder where my morning has gone!

7:08 AM  
Blogger Radish King said...

Tom ate his pencils / ... I folded milk cartons into little bitty fire trucks, / into tiny burning homes. This kind of detail is what I look for in poems. This kind of detail lifts the poem from reflection into art. The artist codes, the audience decodes. The details give us a the key. Wonderful. There is so much heartache every this morning, that I find myself hungry, hungry for poetry. I am grateful to find it here.

7:54 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


Thanks for stopping by, buddy. And for the kind words. I'm trying to bust out of this block, telling my editor to shut the fuck soon as a post a poem I immediately want to tear it down (an impulse I know you're familiar with) but I force myself not to do it, figuring that whatever comes out is at the least a kind of momentary honesty. I figure I can live with the shortcomings and awkwardness of the poem long enough to get to know it, anyway.

I'm grateful for your warm welcome for this one, Jim.


I hang around your place in much the same way, I'm afraid. I love having a connection to the life you live. I especially enjoyed your 'list and tomato' post the other day...

Glad to count you as a friend.


Well, yr welcome.

I suppose it's out of all proportion and sense, but I feel a strong connection to you, your voice, your work, the way you see and report upon the world, so I'm always grateful when you stop in and share your reaction to something I've been up to. Esp. when it's a nice reaction.

Ah, ego.

Anyway, been enjoying your blog a great deal. Hope all is well with you and you are happy as you can figure out how to be...



9:53 AM  

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