Treasure Island

Hayden Carruth

(August 3, 1921 – September 29, 2008 / Woodbury, Connecticut)

Block


Right up there this side the Five Chimneys Corners
about a mile south the Oneida line, this goddamn
granddaddy sugar maple block I tell you it's
what you might call a real out-size block a old-time
ball-busting son of a bitch of a block laying by the side
the road where that house with the busted porch is
the worn-out gray asphalt siding? the lawn sale
going April to November? you know where I
mean, this block if it was a redwood you could cut
a hole in it for the tourists to drive through, a good
12 foot high just laying there by its stump, maybe about
20 foot long. Well these guys are standing around
they got their chain saws, their malls, their axes, wedges,
cant hooks, six-packs, a couple dogs, four five
kids, two pickups and a old Cat tractor covered
with rust, these guys got pretty damn near anything
a man could need, four of them, wearing these greasy
John Deere and Agway caps and old plaid shirts
half the buttons torn off. Day before yesterday is
when I seen them about 7 A.M. I'm heading over
the city to that parking-lot job, yes ma'am is what
I say all day just put it over there and no sir
you can't park that thing here withouten you got a
sticker--a hell of a way to make a living, ain't it?
So next day, that's yesterday, I'm going by again
and these guys are right there standing around
smoking talking looking at that goddamn block same
as before only I seen now they got maybe a cord
of stove wood busted off of it, and then this morning
damned if there ain't a woodpile near as big as a Grey-
hound bus when I go by must be a good twenty cord
and these guys still standing around looking at what's
left of that block a big old bastard of a knotty
chunk laying there on the ground sort of reminds me
of a big heart a hell of a big heart like a bull's heart
or a elephant's only of course a different color. Chips
and bark everywhere sawdust the yard's all littered
snow and ice mud and beer cans why shit you know
how it looks you been working up firewood the same
place three four days in a row. So this evening what
the hell I stop off at The Point myself for a couple
what you might call compensating Friday-afternoon
beers on the way home so of course it's near dark
when I get to Five Chimneys. The block is gone.
The woodpile is humungus. Like it's a new hill
growing right there on the landscape and this lady
wearing baggy pants a red sweatshirt setting on what's
left of the porch steps smoking a Winston I seen
the red pack right there on the step beside her
and the guys are squatting on their gas cans leaning
against the pickups they got a case of Coors they're looking
at each other with their caps tipped onto the back
of their heads like they think they done a hell of a good
day's work setting around and talking and taking
a swipe at that goddamn block every once in a while.
And you know what, I reckon they have. Ain't that
the life? How you figure those guys get so lucky?

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Friday, July 29, 2011

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