Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Busy day

I was an industrious little bee today. I mailed off manuscripts to contests and spent nearly $200.00 in the process. Why are these things so damn expensive?

***

After my month of rapid writing, I'm feeling kind of tapped. Out of the flurry, I think I wrote about ten or twelve pieces I can revise and submit. And I need to toss them out of the house soon or I'll go mad.

***

Reading Ann Lauterbach's book of essays as well as Steve Scafidi's new collection (thanks Pat).

Check out this poem by Mr. Scafid from his book For Love of Common Words:


The Boy Inside the Pumpkin


At five hundred and thirty pounds it won the blue ribbon
at the Fredrick County Fair and because all such vegetables
are too bitter to eat something had to be done--

and it was decided to haul the pumpkin to the river and the boy
inside the pumpkin meanwhile lay curled in the dark mash
while they rolled it to the edge of the tailgate and heaved it

to the ground and he must have been in there all spring and all
summer and through the long hot hours must have grown
restless in the goop although he looked almost peacful lying

naked by the river among the broken leaves and the seeds where
the ambulance drivers stood on their knees amazed
beside the boy opening his eyes as the slow Potomac moved

to the Chesapeake bay and the ocean where the waves make
their way to every coast in the world and the boy inside
the pumpkin lies quietly in this world like a fact of the unlikely

and the most unlikely things happen everyday in this world
and we go on unchanged and a body was found
on a baseball diamond in Frederick Maryland last spring

wearing only a t-shirt face down with both arms underneath
the body and the details are listed in the Metro Section
of the Washington Post and so when you read about the child

you learn he was only nine years old and had a faint birthmark
the exact shape of Kentucky on the small of his back
and could talk like a duck when he wanted to and you learn

the most unspeakable things in the slender Metro Section
of the Washington Post and it corrupts your sense
of the world to know how often the impossible happens upon us

without mercy and it is not the fit subject of poetry and it is
offensive to redeem the horror of that boy's last hours
but I can't stop trying to salvage something from the murderous

and the poisonous and last spring some small ordinary blossoms
grew suddenly more gigantic everyday and the boy inside
the vine became the boy inside the pumpkin who became

a turning in the darkness no one noticed although for a week
hundreds of people at the fair stroked the fat sides of
the pumpkin and were amazed and a boy leans up on his elbows

now in the moss beside the river and looks around bewildered
and asks for his mother and his father and they are delivered
amazed and these things never happen. They happen everyday.

4 comments:

Suzanne said...

It really adds up, doesn't it? Uggh.

Rick said...

Hi Oliver--

This Scafidi poem is amazing. I'm going to pass it out in all my classes today! Thanks for typing it out. I hadn't known about his work; now I do...

R.

Oliver de la Paz said...

Suzanne: that estimated cost doesn't include postage and the cost of paper. So I'm looking at almost $230.00

Rick: Steve's first book, "Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammner" is equally as amazing. Check him out here.

Susan Allspaw Pomeroy said...

O, I posted the one poem I wrote for your assignments on my blog. whaddya think?

Email me your new addy; i have an old one. I need tips on where to send the ms right now.