Monday, July 07, 2008

PAUL ALOOJIAN: The Melon Pickers

This poem is about the Westside of the Valley in 100 degree heat.

The local dropouts relayed stolen
watermelons from the sidecars
of stalled field trains
to a pickup badly needing a paint job.

Above the field, beyond the mountains,
a blistering cherry shot through
a blue jellyfish of pyrotechnics.

Body aching from the days before,
another day picking melons one by one,
and one’s mind wanders,
as the dragonfly wings of the loading machine,
as young girls drink lemonade on back porches,
watching vines grow.

Between the furrows,
gravity strapping us to the ground,
we bite the flesh of cantaloupe,
blue chambray shirts and red bandanas
soaked through with juice and sweat.

Bending back and legs, lifting the balls of fruit
onto the rolling conveyor
12 hours a day for three weeks,
then back to school or Mexico,
whichever comes first.

ARMENIAN TOWN: poetry by Paul Aloojian, James Baloian, Y. Stephan Bulbulian, Ronald Dzerigian, Michael Krekorian, Brenda Najimian-Magarity. Foreword by Dickran Kouymjian, copyright 2001 by the William Saroyan Society.

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