Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday's Poetry: "Ode to the Yard Sale"

by Pa Rock
Poetry Appreciator

My son and I are on our fifth day of a yard sale, and I am just about sick of it.  Fortunately for me, Nick is doing most of the work.  Even so, it is fairly labor intensive for both of us:  getting things out each morning, replacing tags that have fallen off,  setting up artful displays to draw people in, answering questions, negotiating, putting things away in the evening.  Yard sales are perhaps the purest distillation of capitalism - the very core of the business process.

Nick is cleaning out a storage unit, one that he says is packed to the brim.  That makes for plenty stuff to display and peddle every day, so we have lots of repeat business.

The hardest part of having a sale like this is letting go of things that have been underfoot for decades, items that haven't been used since Carter was in office seem like tired old friends on the verge of disappearing forever.   That quarter will not have nearly the significance or sense of permanence that the old flowerpot did.    But the flowerpot had been gathering dust and cobwebs on a shelf for years and not getting to serve its intended function.    Perhaps in someone else's home it will proudly hold aloft a blooming geranium, or a begonia.  And the quarter?  Well, it's gone already.

Here is the poet, Gary Soto's, take on a yard sale.

Ode to the Yard Sale
by Gary Soto

A toaster,
A plate
Of pennies,
A plastic rose
Staring up
To the sky.
It's Saturday
And two friends,
Merchants of
The salvageable heart,
Are throwing
Things onto
The front lawn –
A couch, a beanbag,
A table to clip
Poodles on,
Drawers of
Potato mashers,
Spoons, knives
That signaled
To the moon
For help.
Rent is due
It's somewhere
On the lawn,
Somewhere among
The shirts we've 
Looked good in,
Taken off before
We snuggled up 
To breasts 
That almost made
Us gods.
It'll be a good
Day, because
There's much
To sell,
And the pitcher
Of water
Blue in the shade,
Clear in the
Light, with 
The much-handled
Scotch the color
Of leaves
Falling at our
Shoes, will
Get us through
The afternoon
Rush of old
Ladies, young women
On their way
To becoming nurses,
Bachelors of
The twice-dipped
Tea bag. It's an eager day:
Wind in the trees,
Laughter of 
Children behind
Fences. Surely
People will arrive
With handbags
And wallets,
To open up coffee
Pots and look
In, weigh pans
In each hand,
And prop hats
On their heads
And ask, "How do
I look?" (foolish
To most, 
Beautiful to us).
And so they
Come, poking
At the clothes,
Lifting salt
And pepper shakers
For their tiny music,
Thumbing through
Old magazines
For someone
They know,
As we sit with 
Our drinks
And grow sad
That the ashtray
Has been sold,
A lamp, a pillow,
The fry pans
That were action
Packed when
We cooked, those things
We threw so much
Love on, day
After day,
Sure they would mean something 
When it came
To this.

1 comment:

Mineko said...

Take it easy, for both of you.