Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A blessing on a snowy spring morning

I'm not sure this is legal, but what the heck. Here's a wonderful poem.

I'm not making this up
--they bolt through
traffic all year long--
"G.O.D." plastered in black

on their fronts, sides, backs,
--letters spaced by periods
big as brake drums--
on rigs roaring all over town, for

Guaranteed Overnight Delivery.

[That there is such a delivery service is news to me, but I doubt nothing. Their tagline seems to me to be an eye-catcher, and catching eyes is good marketing. They caught the poet. Read on.]

Six-to eighteen-wheelers
--Volvo engines,
Bendix brakes--
dispatched across New England's
gritty roads and city grids
--loading kayaks, anoraks,
porn, or petunias--
kept track of on G.O.D.'s ledger for:

Overnight Delivery--guaranteed.

[Don't have a clue how Laure-Anne Bosselaar, the poet, knows they have Bendix brakes, but maybe it's not a secret. And now, six stanzas in, a pattern is emerging--those single-line stanzas (although the wording is skewed) suggest she's ordering things. Word choice in that last four-liner is cute, no?--listen: "gritty roads and city grids," a verbal reminder that she's having fun here, not playing Job, even though the subject is, well, the Almighty. Sort of. Anyway, she messes with her pattern in the next chunk, when the three-word refrain gets possessive-d so that the finale of this little heart-pleaser is umbilicaled (there, I made up a word) to the one preceding it. Oh, just read on--and be sure to note the italics. They're hers.]

Why didn't I think of it before
--it's been in my face
all this time for Christ's sake--
their 800 number the one to call:

no more shrinks, no novenas
--rosaries clicking
like phones hanging up--
I'll call them for a date with

Guaranteed Overnight Delivery's

roving rep, show him my load
--how it piles up, weighs,
chokes up my days--
sign a contract, swear I'll pay

overtime, taxes, tonnage and tips
--anything you
charge, sir, is okay--
I'll pay. But take it away:

Deliver me. Overnight. Guarantee it.

End of poem. Isn't that wonderful?

I don't know Laure-Anne Bosselaar, but I know she's a believer because she's caught in that human trap in which only believers get ensnared--only believers feel abandoned; after all, if God wasn't there in the first place, how can his absence be torturous?

But I overstate. There isn't a dime's worth of real torture in this poem, only frustration. Show me the believer who hasn't felt the italics. Get me out of here. Heal this woman. Change his life. I can't take it. It's driving me crazy. Are you sleeping, Lord? Why don't you answer me? How long, O Lord?

That last line is straight out of King David. Shoot, the poem is biblical.

Been there. Done that. But then, maybe the real reason I love the poem is that I'm in it. That's self-centered, isn't it?

Okay then, forgive me. I still like it. It's a variation on Calvin's favorite benediction: Lord Jesus, come quickly.

With a touch of New England and just a bit of a smile.
"G.O.D.'s Trucks" from Small Gods of Grief, by Laure-Anne Bosselaar. BOA Editions. 2001. Used without permission.


Cara DeHaan said...

Clever. I like the first line for the relationship it sets between speaker and audience.

L.L. Barkat said...

Oh, this is really good.

Funny, at first I wasn't sure if the stuff in brackets was yours or hers. In a way, you became part of the poem, which was SO COOL.

Yes, I loved the sounds in this poem, fun little quick reversals for the ear... and ultimately for the mind and heart too.

sojourner said...

I liked the speed at which the poem travelled - I read it really really fast and it made my head spin :0)

Laure-Anne said...

Thanks for a most generous and touching reading of my poem -- I'm delighted you enjoyed it!

Joelle said...

Whoa! Awesome word play and Word pray. Feel like I've encountered my own self in her images and desire, God speaking my longing through another's poetry. Thank you for sharing both Laure-Anne's gift and your conversation with it.