POEM: The Endrow, or: How To Survive a Cornfield

I was once a kid in the corn.

News at Eleven ran a story
about a child found dehydrated
and on death’s door — deep in a field.

Any farm-boy will tell you,
you can’t get lost in a cornfield —
not truly lost.

Pick one of the two directions
that your row runs,
and walk.

When the rows re-align at right angles,
that’s the endrow —
you’re almost out.

Sure, it sucks if you hit the river,
because then you’ve got to walk
all the way back past where you started,
moving in the opposite direction.

But a kid has a lot of walk in him.

The only way to get lost in a cornfield
is to panic, and lose all faith
in the logic of a field.

In nature, one may walk oneself in circles
’cause one leg is stronger than the other,
and nature’s chaos is omnisymmetric
to an order-loving human brain.

But, in a field, the rows run true,
and the only way to walk in circles
is to feed your fear
and lose faith in the straightness of rows.

One can’t teleport a harvester into a field,
it needs to be driven there on a road.

Find your endrow, find your road.

Five Farm Haiku

gleaming steel
plow blade turns the dirt, but
dirt taxes the blade

 

a weed pulled
in due time, beats one hundred
plucked too late

 

stalk stubble,
the haggard mourning face
of the field

 

mile high crazy quilt
viewed by climbing passengers,
brooding nature’s mood

 

when light is short,
but field days are marathon
harvest gloom

POEM: A Mythical Child of the Corn

Whenever I tell anyone that I grew up on a farm,
I get a certain reaction,

“REALLY?”

As if, of all the lies I could tell, that’s the one I’d pick.

You believed me when I told you I’d met the original Hamburglar,
but not that I grew up on a farm?

[Incidentally, I did meet A Hamburglar, but I’m pretty sure it was a sweaty teenager with limited job prospects.]

I don’t really think these people think I’m a liar.

Perhaps they thought farms are like Conestoga wagons and cave paintings,
quaint reflections of simpler bye-gone days.

Maybe they thought their corn chips were grown in petri dishes in a subterranean factory.

[Bad example. Maybe corn chips are manufactured that way, but I’m pretty sure somewhere there is a hose through which good old Hoosier-grown corn is fed in; maybe it’s just defective kernels that weren’t salable to the makers of feed for hulking Angus cattle, but still…]

Anyhow, I suspect they are just excited to come across someone so rare — if in a workaday way.

It’s nothing like meeting Neil Armstrong or Beyoncé,

but rather like meeting the guy who did Neil Armstrong’s tire alignment or who cleans Beyoncé’s fish tanks.

A mundane superstar.

A mythical child of the corn.