Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pumpkin Center

Pumpkin Center today.  In the 70s, it belonged to my grandparents.
Some of my earliest memories take place here.

Pumpkin Center sits just off Highway 7,
and it shakes with big truck traffic -
Peterbilts and Kenworths growling,
Macks grabbing gravel on the hill.
The diesel drenched air shimmers,
and the tires on the rigs in the parking lot
are high as my head and fat with heat.
They black the back of my shirt
if I lean against them.

Inside, there is man talk,
the whir of the coolers,
the crackle of the CB radio.
I have a book of dogs
from the American Kennel Club with all the breeds,
and I see at least a dozen that I want.
I list them neatly on a yellow legal pad.
When I get bored with dogs, I sit on Papa's lap;
he lets me run the register if it's not busy.

At the back of the store is an Employee's Only door.
My cousins and I run in and out, banging the door
until Grannie yells at us all
to go outside and play, for God's sake.
We climb the fence and run the winding path
through the cow pasture to the caved in cellar.
It's a dark, open mouth in the wildflowers
with treasure on the tongue of the stairs.
I find an arrowhead and an old, blue, glass bottle.
When I look through the bottle, it colors the world.

For Real Toads


Buddah Moskowitz said...

You sketch this and I can see it all and it is done with a deft, effortless touch. Superb!

Sylvia K said...

I do agree with Buddah! A great "picture in words"!

Kerry O'Connor said...

If the best fiction is based on fact you could turn this into a novel - such is the keen sense the reader has of setting, character and the rites of passage that make us all. I love this poem.

Kerry O'Connor said...

PS. I wanted to say I also had a book of dogs and, even now, I can name most breeds.


Marian said...

Nice! I remember the treasures I found while adventuring outside... like your blue glass.

Anonymous said...

What a great place for a kid (and your family). Even if it smells of diesel fuel.

Anonymous said...

You took me right there with you. I feel so happy and free. : )

Sherry Blue Sky said...

How I love your childhood! My grandparents were big in my world, too. You took me right there and I especially love the blue bottle that colored your world. And the dog book, of course.

Hannah said...

Goose-bump-good!! Mama Zen...this is so rich. :)

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

That was a cool read! This is just so real in the writing

Outlawyer said...

Ah lovely--agree with Kerry's comment. Thanks. k.

Ella said...

I kept thinking this should be a story! Yes, do it...there is magic woven throughout. I had a diamond shaped window and I could see the world, blue, gold, green or orange. I preferred blue. I had a book of birds-wanna trade~

Other Mary said...

I love this! The memory and the writing of it.

Susie Clevenger said...

Yes, I too feel this could be a story. Kids can make the best of wherever they are planted as long as imagination thrives. Love the ending.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

A lovely reminiscence!

grapeling said...

killer close. it does color the world. this is so vivid, MZ ~

Anonymous said...

Its the happy intimacy with this world, almost offhand yet sharpened so to a point in the whittle of the verses. Such a distant world--how far that innocence from today--yet how close indeed. That list of dogs continues today.

Magaly Guerrero said...

I didn't know you could time travel and take passengers with you. I enjoyed the trip tremendously! ♥

Fireblossom said...

I absolutely love it when you tell these poetic stories from your past. You bring the place to total life with your descriptions of the trucks and the place itself, but it is the last stanza which makes this unforgettable.

kaykuala said...

Very fascinating MZ! It would have been such a colorful childhood that many were not privileged to have.