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Block Analysis

Author: poem of Hayden Carruth Type: poem Views: 14

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Right up there this side the Five Chimneys Corners

     about a mile south the Oneida line, this goddamn

granddaddy sugar maple block I tell you it's

     what you might call a real out-size block a old-time

ball-busting son of a bitch of a block laying by the side

     the road where that house with the busted porch is

the worn-out gray asphalt siding? the lawn sale

     going April to November? you know where I

mean, this block if it was a redwood you could cut

     a hole in it for the tourists to drive through, a good

12 foot high just laying there by its stump, maybe about

     20 foot long. Well these guys are standing around

they got their chain saws, their malls, their axes, wedges,

     cant hooks, six-packs, a couple dogs, four five

kids, two pickups and a old Cat tractor covered

     with rust, these guys got pretty damn near anything

a man could need, four of them, wearing these greasy

     John Deere and Agway caps and old plaid shirts

half the buttons torn off. Day before yesterday is

     when I seen them about 7 A.M. I'm heading over

the city to that parking-lot job, yes ma'am is what

     I say all day just put it over there and no sir

you can't park that thing here withouten you got a

     sticker--a hell of a way to make a living, ain't it?

So next day, that's yesterday, I'm going by again

     and these guys are right there standing around

smoking talking looking at that goddamn block same

     as before only I seen now they got maybe a cord

of stove wood busted off of it, and then this morning

     damned if there ain't a woodpile near as big as a Grey-

hound bus when I go by must be a good twenty cord

     and these guys still standing around looking at what's

left of that block a big old bastard of a knotty

     chunk laying there on the ground sort of reminds me

of a big heart a hell of a big heart like a bull's heart

     or a elephant's only of course a different color. Chips

and bark everywhere sawdust the yard's all littered

     snow and ice mud and beer cans why shit you know

how it looks you been working up firewood the same

     place three four days in a row. So this evening what

the hell I stop off at The Point myself for a couple

     what you might call compensating Friday-afternoon

beers on the way home so of course it's near dark

     when I get to Five Chimneys. The block is gone.

The woodpile is humungus. Like it's a new hill

     growing right there on the landscape and this lady

wearing baggy pants a red sweatshirt setting on what's

     left of the porch steps smoking a Winston I seen

the red pack right there on the step beside her

     and the guys are squatting on their gas cans leaning

against the pickups they got a case of Coors they're looking

     at each other with their caps tipped onto the back

of their heads like they think they done a hell of a good

     day's work setting around and talking and taking

a swipe at that goddamn block every once in a while.

     And you know what, I reckon they have. Ain't that

the life? How you figure those guys get so lucky?


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