Honest Persimmons…(A Poem, Honest)

Balls of orange.  Piled.  Farmstand-style.  In fat squares of wafer-thin balsa baskets. Honest, plain.

On a ledge, a cobalt sign with freehand lettering reads: “Persimmons.”

Come one, come all, take one, leave your honor dollars in a jar.

While nearby like clockwork, around eleven, squirrels in deck chairs with wheels, roll-up for the buffet.

(Much enjoying the guard’s daily nap.  Not leaving, so much as a “thanks” you set the table. None I see, brings change. 

Those persimmons call me too, from the curb.

I try to shoo-shoo them from my mind, like the fly trapped inside this morning.

The last of a consortium of buzzing undertakers revealed.

Between storm windows now freed. Hangar-on-ers from last summer someone invited from the porch step when we sought a breeze.

Still those persimmons, persist as I drive-by over days.

Color strikes my joy-chords. A five-alarm-bell bangs in my head.

(If Bergdorfs did fruit, this is what fruit would look like.)

Honest and plain. (They’d figure it out in cash-irony).

Monday comes and goes, I drive by, nodding in the general direction.

Two hands on the wheel, schooled calm. 

Tuesday, faltering, a palm sweat trigger pulled. 

“Plain indeed!”

By Wednesday my unraveling will pay trice the price.

Thursday looms, a fruit zombie fighting head voices drives my car. 

“Take me to your leader, take me to your leader.” 

Friday, pulling over, my toothbrush in hand,

ready for the spaceship launch, daisy coat,slung over my shoulders, a Hollywood tourist come to see stars.

Humble sinner, though no crime done — yet.

I approach the manger scene — on all fours. So many persimmons, so little time. (“Another poor woman,” they sigh from the kitchen.)

Poor exchange, yes, but I leave an anonymous poem under the basket.  Do an army-crawl (too, like a squirrel, a quick-grab), leave my wadded dollar, I spin back to my car, 

“Stop right there, missy,” a head voice calls. 

Zowie, I’ve been had. 

Aaaagh! 

By a two-sleeve gusher — a Tchaikovsky symphony, taste-bud busting, down-throat juicer.

The chin extravagance of it all in a sound, in the squish.

Suddenly, “I’s gots all kinds of time,” do a slow-mo’ crawl to a lawn chaise.

Ambrosia, is slow-food (and dinner theatre).

A clouded sky breaks open with afterlife limelight, birds chirp “our song,” the mailman, now handsome, has seen it all before.

This truant’s feast, a royal welcome for drooling, dazed, smiling fools.

(if only fruit owners had an App for this new religion, on their phones, and one number – my number.

Off-hook, I am gazing into this galaxy of fruit riches, wondering, “can I train squirrels across town to use an iPhone to text me from their satellite fruit stands?” I will take the call.

For persimmons.

I thought, my issue, under control — yet, I am slack-jawed silly in persimmon season, undone by that one, rough, peeling wood house with it’s trick display! 

Save the scene for a cold night, I tell myself.

Today I rush home, paint the sound! Hang the perspective for another day. Vivid “furiousity,” the giddy, exclaiming, extolling kind of “hello, stranger.”

Color that back-slaps me, without lifting a finger,

Closer to the fire, second chance happiness, piled high.

P4 now, digging for quarters in my car, then, in somebody else’s car. 

(My derriere up in the air, who cares?) my shirt – an apron hammock, I bag full with what I can. 

Leave my honest dollars.

Honest.

Roux

It is one of those mornings. 

Cool, warm at the same time.

I walk into church having been away for a spell.  Sunshine on my back.  The church dark, oak.  The Spanish kind.  Old French glass streaming color onto faces. Our hues — rose, amber viridian.  Borrowed spirits. 

Everyone looking good, good morning-ing everyone else across pews and aisles. 

The sight, sound, smell of the place makes me think how small and low a roux I let my life boil down to being away.  How okay life really is where it counts.  Might even make sense once in a while.  Life too short to hold a grudge I chide myself filing down the aisle. 

W. and T. say hello to me.  W. surprises me.  Stands.  Gives me a hug.  I thought she and I weren’t talking, that she’s still mad at me.  I dive in. Snatch a deep breath too.  Smell oil perfume on her neck.  Patchouli. 

It is not a yoga breath, therapy breath I take, but an ancient breath.  The kind breathed before by others. 

Leftover church air, I do not know where from. 

Lungs of Christ, bought over in the fold of someone’s robe.  Maybe Buddha’s, Tsao’s, Gandhi’s, Martin’s, elder Rachel’s, Sarah’s, Mary’s, W.’s, T.’s.

Borders be damned.

A time from before I was born.  Angel air, pre-breath whisper wished into my essence, into babies, the best and worst of us, our parents, forebears, mixed with our highest good, bid from Heaven.  Who I am meant to be, want to be at my journey’s end.

A good day to begin again.

Ant Season

California.  We have four seasons.  Mud, fire, moths, and ants. Moths gone.  Summer must be over. 

Without even opening my eyes I know what’s next.  Ant season.  Opening my eyes confirms this suspicion. 

A fuzzed black line pulses along my kitchen wall, up past where I can reach, through the bath linen cupboard, inside the shower rail, in the wall, under the lineoleum, where they think I cannot get them.  But I do.  To this, I am committed.  I will get every last one.  At first just by pressure, squeeze their bodies to the counter, one by one, black on white, dance on their tiny heads. 

Bloodless, silent. 

Day three I take out whole clans, stand at the sink, contemplate the exact shade of quiet (it is deep green), wait for the water to boil for my morning coffee, eggplant to finish baking, the sun going down.  Wipe the roving poppy seed crumbs to the floor.  Break down, go find the old can of Raid in the basement on a high up shelf, spray the threshold, the garden wall, a powder fresh scent where the underbelly smack of oak should be. 

A new yellow crisp cornered sponge in my hand, when I know I should make the effort to reach for the faded cleaning one.  I smear the lot of them off the backsplash, clear.

They do not care. 

In fact, will send more, they are going to win.  Already have.  I try to care they are so ingenious, ancient, committed creatures, figure a way to carry their injured members to some fort I wish I could find. 

We are playing army.  Theirs, mine. 

This morning’s Cheerios, not personal.  Tonight’s chocolate bar.  Personal. 

Chicken bones near last night’s trash, they can have.  If only they clean up after themselves, take the whole thing, enough there to last them into the next millennium…

Next season, mud.

Moving Day

Closing Cottage, oil on panel, 26″x48″, by M K Smyth 2012 (c)

We roll away from the house in our new car.  Our uncle’s aqua ’66 Chevy station wagon.  From the flip rear seats our old world goes by.  Our new one still to come.  The car windows, our road TV.  We keep up with the moving van, packed with everything we own.  Everything we don’t know we care about most in the world now too small behind us.

The English copper beech tree we see for one last time.  A specimen tree where we discovered who’s best climber, told crybabies to go home, they were too little to climb, probably couldn’t get down.

Our house, a village Tudor Mom and Dad try to sell as a ‘package deal’ with the tree lot when we are 3000 miles away. Dad’s company buys from them.

Our fort unguarded.

No turning back when you don’t have money and a somebody who does plants a fast buck.  History is leveled.  Something strange now where something grand stood.  A tree whose whole measure is three cooperating children around — fingers stretched, palms flat, tippy tippy points touching.  A rare planet spot with river view leveled in slices to ordinary.  Chunks again

st the grain that lean for years against neighbors’ sheds for the hundred conversational coffee tables that don’t get built a mile around in every direction.

Traitors.

Something different in the old neighborhood.  With our parents too when we return to live across town near the Links.

Yet today we are on our way.  To California.  Amnesia settles, brightens our mood.  I will not have to share my bedroom with a sister, remember what happened in that room upstairs.  Go to a place where tiny white carnations with red edges are planted on hills, my house look just like my neighbors.  Where the first week, a movie is being filmed on our cul de sac, and a star asks for my autograph.

“Me?  I’m nobody, just the new kid,” I say. My hair curled this morning, my best dress on, Mom’s mascara on powder lids.  School uniform in my lunch bag.

(c) M.K. Smyth 2012

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