charles simic | roadside stand

7 08 2010

PoetryDispatch No. 329 | August 8, 2010

ROADSIDE STAND

In the watermelon and corn season,
The earth is a paradise, the morning
Is a ripe plum or a plump tomato
We bite into as if it were the mouth of a lover.

Despite the puzzled face of the young fellow
In scarecrow overalls reading a comic book,
It’s all there, the bell peppers, the radishes,
Local blueberries and blackberries
That will stain our lips and tongue
As if we were freezing to death in the snow.

The kid is bored, or pretends to be,
While watching the woman pick up a melon
And press its rough skin against her cheek.
What makes people happy is a mystery,
He concludes as he busies himself
Straightening crumpled bills in a cigar box.

[from THE NEW YORKER, July 24, 2000]

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6 responses

8 08 2010
Ralph Murre

I know that kid in the overalls; like most of us, he goes off to school, earns a master’s degree in the appreciation of what you had back home.

8 08 2010
Don

Norb, great post. I particularly love the frown on the face of the fish above the door. It instantly brought to mind another poem of Simic’s I first read 30 years ago, the first poem I ever read by him, which I really love. Here it is. Don

Watermelons

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

9 08 2010
Robert M. Zoschke

Nazzzzzz…wonderful choice from Simic’s cannon…which ripely proves what an ultra fine storyteller he can be without any MFA Halitosis….Zeeeee

9 08 2010
suz

you have offered a wonderful piece of writing
for me to enjoy this morning
simply delicious

9 08 2010
jeanne

Always grateful to receive your choices of poetry. There are sooo many stands on the side of road here. None that look like that. and.. still they are full with summer’s delights.
Give me those blue lips.

10 08 2010
MaryAnn Grzych

Thank you for a morning smile. The boys are being boys, showing off how strong they are, but the little girl inside is not to be outdone. She is subltly showing off, too–holding out the hem in her dress. A delightful picture, a wonderful poem (Buddhas, also). I’m going to sign out and go eat some blueberries and milk…relishing every bite as the season winds down.

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