11/3/06

"Oranges"


The first time I walked
With a girl, I was twelve,

Cold, and weighted down

With two oranges in my jacket.

December. Frost cracking

Beneath my steps, my breath

Before me, then gone,

As I walked toward

Her house, the one whose

Porch light burned yellow

Night and day, in any weather.

A dog barked at me, until

She came out pulling

At her gloves, face bright

With rouge. I smiled,

Touched her shoulder, and led

Her down the street, across

A used car lot and a line

Of newly planted trees,

Until we were breathing

Before a drugstore. We

Entered, the tiny bell

Bringing a saleslady

Down a narrow aisle of goods.

I turned to the candies

Tiered like bleachers,

And asked what she wanted -

Light in her eyes, a smile

Starting at the corners

Of her mouth. I fingered

A nickel in my pocket,

And when she lifted a chocolate

That cost a dime,

I didn't say anything.

I took the nickel from

My pocket, then an orange,

And set them quietly on

The counter. When I looked up,

The lady's eyes met mine,

And held them, knowing

Very well what it was all

About.

Outside,
A few cars hissing past,
Fog hanging like old
Coats between the trees.
I took my girl's hand
in mine for two blocks,
Then released it to let
Her unwrap the chocolate.
I peeled my orange
That was so bright against
The gray of December
That, from some distance,
Someone might have thought
I was making a fire in my hands.

--Gary Soto

This is one of my all-time favorite poems. Thanks Dr. Wink's husband's wife for making me memorize this one @ OBU. Even though it talks about December, the colors remind me of Fall.

3 comments:

the hamster said...

i always enjoyed the way that a wink could leave the room on the airy wake of a poetic verse. sadly, i am seldom so transported by language. there is still time... and plenty of words. thanx for sharing.

corey green said...

"Why I am Not A Painter"
--O'Hara

I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,

for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
"Sit down and have a drink" be
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. "You have SARDINES in it."
"Yes, it needed something there."

"Oh." I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. "Where's SARDINES?"
All that's left is just
letters, "It was too much," Mike says.

But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven't mentioned
orange yet. It's twelve poems, I call
it ORANCES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike's painting, called SARDINES.

Janna said...

You are a poet Corey Green, and you make me laugh. Do you have a blog?