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Dirt Has A Taste For People

by Tom Goss


1.
From a young age I learned that
dirt has a taste for people.

Dad was a gravedigger,
and behind the cemetery was our home.

Sometimes I helped set up chairs
alongside the freshly dug holes.

I imagined I could hear the hungry belly
of the earth yearning for another bite.


It was as if I felt the frustration of the soil's microorganisms,
for whom the meal was kept wrapped in concrete and wood,
or (eventually) in advanced polymers.

What do you do when
the reaper becomes ordinary?


2.
I died a trillion times
down there in the cold drafts
of my basement-like room,
but such is youth for the oversensitive
mama's boy type,
whose shyness is debilitating
and whose mother is far away.

While my mind yearned for comfort,
my body starved for sensuality,
but when you are terrified to reach into
the shadowy chasm of other people,
loneliness comes to fill the empty spaces,
rising like the smoke of the crematorium
that regularly filled the air with scent of barbecued people.

The building looked like corrugated aluminum,
thirty feet from my basketball hoop,
sixty feet from our kitchen!

In went the coffin-sized cardboard boxes,
out came the ashes of human discontent.

3.
Hey, at least I get to bury people!


Dad's hilarious signature wit
was masterfully delivered with a wry smile;
though it may have been difficult for him
to find common ground with his strange boy,
he often applied the balm of humor
to my teenage wounds.

In fact,
such lessons of creative humor
helped paved the way for poetry,
though that road only began senior year.

It seems so odd that I hadn't found an outlet
for my intensely creative nature, but I am naturally obtuse,
with a memory so poor I often felt like drunken aliens dropped
me off with hastily imprinted memories of the past.

Perhaps that explains my enduring fascination with space-time:
I was a preteen time-traveler,
skipping my early youth,
parachuting into adolescence
with no boot camp training whatsoever!

What do you do when the reaper becomes ordinary
and your conscious connections to the universe
haunt you with blatant ephemerality?

You laugh!
(Hey, at least Dad got to bury people!)


4.
Dad was a gravedigger.

Behind the cemetery was our home.

From a young age I learned that
dirt has a taste for people.


12/18/2011

Author's Note: Please check out my website! ;)>

Posted on 12/18/2011
Copyright © 2021
Tom Goss

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Linda Fuller on 12/18/11 at 08:27 PM

Quite a departure from everything I've read of yours - really like this (into favorites), especially the title and the first two stanzas of section 2.

Posted by Lori Blair on 12/19/11 at 12:00 AM

Dirt knows from where we come we must soon go...Brilliant work indeed!!!

Posted by George Hoerner on 12/19/11 at 02:18 PM

I have always just considered it a return to nature with another chance for our atoms to be reused. I really enjoyed your perspective in this write. I lived 2 blocks from a cemetary when I was young. We played there amongs the cold marble statements of remorse. Again nice write.

Posted by Mo Couts on 12/20/11 at 01:12 AM

This is absolutely brilliantly done!

Posted by Joe Cramer on 12/21/11 at 08:50 PM

... excellent.....

Posted by Rob Littler on 12/25/11 at 09:29 PM

A mamma's boy knows what he is missing, even if some say he can't possibly kno--not having that which is required.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 12/26/11 at 04:57 PM

Really an interesting look into your life, the relationships with your parents, your father's work and your part in it all.

Posted by Rachelle Howe on 01/28/12 at 07:36 PM

"While my mind yearned for comfort, my body starved for sensuality, but when you are terrified to reach into the shadowy chasm of other people, loneliness comes to fill the empty spaces, rising like the smoke of the crematorium that regularly filled the air with scent of barbecued people." Brilliant.

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