Friday, April 08, 2011

A Word to the Pudgy Kid

If I could go back through all the rainy mornings
to Larkspur Loop where birches dangled catkins
and laced their ghostly shoes against the sky
to find that pudgy troubled boy at work
on smudgy maps of mountain-studded lands
and marshes wherein dwell unnaméd horrors,
what would I say?

I'd say hang on. You'll find your people;
they'll find you. You'll find your work.
Mike Ribka, who makes your life a misery,
he's going to stock shelves at the local mall
till his heart gives out at fifty. The boys
who fly around the track now will forget,
go fat and feeble, and waddle from garage
to door, while you ride in the rain,
in your prime when they are old.
Those muscles you craved -- not showy
bulging biceps, but cables curling
shoulder to elbow? You'll get them
without ever seeing a gym,
from walking your fists up oiled spines,
and planing hamstrings with your ulna-blades.
You'll be pudgy forever, poor kid! But strong
as an ox, and indefatigable.

Your eyes will be
blue as paint and full of mischief:
you're fated to be loved and understood.
Your longing to write of heroes far away
will dwindle. Because gods
and goddesses are coming to this world,
here, the world of green beans and potatoes,
to be friends and lovers, heralds from countries
much stranger and farther
than Koshtra Pivrarcha or the coasts of Demonland.

The poets are coming. Just wait it out.
The world is not going to be made of Tolkien
and stashed Playboys forever. The shame
is going to unravel, the straw will spin to gold,
and this earth, here, will be the miracle. Hang on.


Dale said...

I'm sorry it's such a long poem, but (v Schiller) I didn't have time to write a short one.

ntexas99 said...

This was delicious and had me nodding with appreciation, cheering that pudgy little boy on, coaxing him to believe what you've written, and urging him to understand that even if you can't escape the pudgy part of the equation, you can still realize many of the boyhood dreams.

Then your borrowed "didn't have time to write a short one" had me giggling. I might have to borrow that some day! Sometimes the bits that get taken away are the ones that resonate most with the writer, and if the writer ain't happy, ain't nobody gonna be happy!

As a reader, it's always nice to come to the end of a piece and feel like you got served a full meal. Yummy!

rbarenblat said...

Oh oh oh, I love this a lot (and boy, does it resonate.)

Zhoen said...

This is just, exactly what it is supposed to be. Don't change a word.

Kat said...

oh, this is great. i might need to write a note to the frizzy-haired girl with the braces.

Anonymous said...

Koshtra! (points) :)

Sarsparilla said...

Sorry that was me, pointing upwards.

Dale said...

:-) Yup. The secret's out. (E.R. Eddison, The Worm Ouroboros.)

Anonymous said...

i adore this pudgy kid. he sounds like this poet i met online and once had dinner with at deb's house. but ... no ... couldn't be ....


Kat said...

So sweet.

Uma said...

Dale, just just love this poem.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...


Dale said...

Oh, dear, the horrible sameness of all those iambic pentameter lines starting with conjunction or prepositions in the first stanza! Remember, this is April, folks, and don't hold it against me.

Alexandra said...

Beautiful! If only we could send poems back in time :)

Lucy said...

Was it a long poem? I didn't notice...