confessional

Three Poems by Arthur Turfa

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Three Poems 

by

Arthur Turfa

 

Weekends at Woolworth’s

For $18.49 a week

I got to spend my Weekends at Woolworth’s:

Sundays not included because of the

Blue laws in and around Philadelphia.

 

Friday nights and all day on Saturday

To avoid a conflict with a school night

And ruin my grades, or so the folks said.

Actually I would have had the choices

Anyway of Penn State, Temple, or Nam.

 

Mr. Fox, the cool assistant manager,

Told us about his tour of duty there

As we waited for customers to come

And check out so they could beat the traffic.

Heading both ways along Germantown Pike.

 

Miss Fogg, her frosted blond wig attempting

To disguise her five decades on this earth

Handed out our pay envelopes with cash

And told us where we were supposed to work.

 

Fridays on the upper level, two men

Regularly bought lots of plastic flowers.

Saturdays spent on the lower level

Talking with Linda from the Ancilla

Domini Academy wondering

If Vatican II would help me date her

And learning men’s wear from suave Mr. Knox.

 

Friends would stop by sometimes or I would see

Them during my hour-long meal break as

I passed on the 10% lunch counter discount

To head to Sal’s Steaks and Wee Three Records

Who had much cooler albums anyway.

 

A few weeks after the Mall fire

Water damage closed the lower level

And the upper level became crowded,

A real shambles for the next couple months.

 

Fully expecting they would lay me off,

On Saturday night a petulant man

Fired me for the inability to remove

Slushy black scuff marks without use of solvent

From the speckled linoleum floor.

 

Trudging to my Dad’s station wagon as

The first one in the family to be fired,

In adolescent anger I told him.

Dad suggested that the manager

could go to hell; much relieved, I concurred.

Thus ended my last weekend at Woolworth’s.

  

Observation Point 13, Ft. Drum, New York

 

Tree stretching toward Canada

Wispy clouds hover in summer sky

Vacationer’s paradise unfolding

Except for the large orange circles

On a small, man-made hill

Surrounded by the rusted wrecks

Or yesterday’s automobiles.

 

Radio transmissions crackle

Over in the Fire Direction Center

As bratwurst and kielbasa sizzle

Over on several hibachis.

 

Fire Mission! All human activity stops

As the hundred-pound rounds

Slam into the circles from a distance

Of classified information.

The plates have already been passed,

And as an FM rock station plays “Tommy”

By The Who, the howitzers blast away

At a few more wrecks.

 

Every shot has been in the box

And everyone his happy.

Like if good on OP 13 as

Lunch continues and I regret

Having taken so long to enlist.

Had I known the Army could be

This good, I would have joined earlier!

 

People along the way

 

Going half-way across the country

Thousands of faces flash by

In rest areas, attractions, streets, businesses.

Some of them stand out

For one inexplicable reason or another.

 

Shuffling from their SUV,

A family heads to the Lone Star

Leaning at the Sabine River Rest Area

Standing in front of thick gray clouds

So they can take each other’s picture.

 

Far from Hessen, in the Hill Country

German cuisine is served in a frontier house.

For a moment her native language

Floats in the air amid the Texan drawls

As it used to not so long ago.

 

Praying silently in the cathedral

With arms stretched along the railing

Her daughter converses as well

Discretely, impatiently speaking

Into her I phone.

 

Couple of our approximate age

Unhappy at everything

She fusses at restaurant hostess

Then unleashes a torrent of spite

At his day-long negativity.

Later I intentionally walk by them

As he slowly eats while she

Sits clutching her elbows

Not even caring to look at him.

 

From several feet away from the fountain

Tawny-tressed girl and mother standing.

Daughter appears to want a drink but refuses an offer

As her mother expresses her thanks anyway.

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Bacon

Posted on Updated on

BACON

by

Shelby Stephenson

Did Lord Bacon write the works attributed to Shakespeare?

I do not know much more than this: bacon’s
The back and sides of the shoat, cured by salting and drying.
(We had a salt-box in the right-hand corner of the corn-crib.)

I had an FFA project one time − a baconer.
Her name was Shelby’s Lady.
She was a pedigreed Duroc.
Billy Wright Stephenson grew her from a piglet to a nice-sized pig
And he brought her to me in a hog-box.

My word! Carolina Pride!
Oscar Mayer Delicious Hand-Trimmed, Super Thick Cut Applewood Smoked!
Hormel Natural Choice; Uncured Smoked Duck Bacon; FUD Tocino Original Sliced Bacon;
King Cotton Hickory Smoked Bacon; Wright Bigger, Better Bacon; My Essentials Hickory Smoked Bacon; Smithfield Naturally Hickory Smoked; Gwaltney Hardwood Smoked
Premium Sliced Bacon; Farmland Foods; Plumrose USA; Butterball Turkey Bacon; Tyson Foods; John Morrell; Blue Ribbon Bacon; Boss Hog Beef Bacon; Bacon Ranch Crunch; Bakon; Boar’s Head; America’s Favorite Bacon; Rogue-Voodoo-Bacon-Ale; Baconnaise; Candied Bacon.

I can hear my mother say
Shub, get me some streak of lean to cook with the turnips − fresh hogmeat’s better than cured.”
Frankly I prefer side meat − fatback.

Bio:

Shelby Stephenson’s Family Matters:  Homage to July, the Slave Girl won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize, Allen Grossman, judge.