Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SOCIOLOGY OF TOYOTAS AND JADE CHRYSANTHEMUMS, by HAYDEN CARRUTH



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THE SOCIOLOGY OF TOYOTAS AND JADE CHRYSANTHEMUMS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Listen here, sistren and brethren, I am goddamn tired
Last Line: Four-wheeled jade chrysan- / themums around here
Subject(s): Dilthey, Wilhelm (1833-1911); Modern Life


Listen here, sistren and brethren, I am goddamn tired
of hearing you tell me how them poor folk, especially
black, have always got a Cadillac parked in the front
yard, along with the flux of faded plastic and tin.
I just blew fourteen thou, which make no mistake is
the bankroll, on a Toyota Celica. "The poor man's
sports car," the salesman said, which is the truth.
(I'll write about the wrongs done to car salesmen
another time.) She do look mighty good there in my
front yard too, all shiny red and sleek as a seal.
It means a lot to me, like something near or almost
near what I've always wanted, and it reminds me of
the Emperor Tlu whose twenty-first wife asked him what
he wanted for his birthday, and he being a modest man
said the simplest thing he could think of off-hand,
a jade chrysanthemum, and thirty years later he got it,
because you see that's how long it took the master
jade-carver and his apprentices to make it, and when
he got it -- Tlu, that is -- he keeled over on the instant
in sheer possessive bliss. Why not? Professor Dilthey
once said history is the science of inexactly recording
human inexact passions, thereby giving birth to sociologists,
as every schoolperson knows. Well, let them have a look
at all these four-wheeled jade chrysanthemums around here.


Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org




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