The Papier Mache Milton Acorn
By Mark Sampson
For J.J. Steinfeld
Still surly, sunken
even as a papier portrait
I mistook his likeness for a farmer
as I passed while biking with my mom
Squealed my brakes and yelled
“Holy shitballs – I think that’s meant
to be Milton Acorn”
and made her double back
even though she,
Islander all her life,
had never heard of him.
Sure enough, there it sat
in a chair outside an art gallery,
scruffy, sculptured icon in checkered shirt,
like a scarecrow meant to frighten tourists.
He smoldered over tony Victoria Row,
all neat cobblestones and patio restaurants,
this potato city’s best attempt at chic,
disapproving, of course.
Disapproving of this Island’s course
I stared at that verisimilitude
of exhausted fury,
was bedazzled by the mysteries of mache
(all those unwholesome angles)
and doubted my eyes.
Doubted what I knew to be true.
I took another writer back there
to where the hideous thing sat, said
“Is that Acorn?”
Oh yes, he replied
as if it were the most obvious fact
He knew Milton, see
in the last five years of his life.
Knew him when he forsook the
booze for orange juice, a vitriolic,
diabetic Communist carpenter crank;
knew him when he would crash down
at your restaurant table,
slap the Formica top with a copy
of The Globe and Mail and scream
(inadvertently – perhaps – spitting all
over your lunch);
knew him when Islanders would
cross to the other side of the street
if they saw him coming;
knew him before they named a festival
in his honour,
before he was immortalized in papier mache.
Months later I learned that teenaged hoodlums
had made off with the sculpture.
Got all the way to Victoria Park
before abandoning it in boredom,
propping Milton gingerly against a tree.
There the authorities found him, unharmed
(too ugly to destroy?)
and returned him to the gallery.
I asked the other writer
if he thinks the thugs knew who they were stealing.
Of course not, he says, impoverished roll of his eyes.
Again, so obvious.
And I learn why I don’t live here anymore.
I learn the thing was sculpted by an ophthalmologist.
This poem originally appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of All Rights Reserved. Copyright belongs to the author.
Ed Baker has left a new comment on your post "The Papier Mache Milton Acorn - Mark Sampson":
dead or alive
have a red flannel shirt
hanging in their cedar-closet mind
Posted by Ed Baker to Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 23 August 2013 09:44
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On 2013-08-22, at 10:30 AM, Conrad DiDiodato wrote:
Conrad DiDiodato has left a new comment on your post "The Papier Mache Milton Acorn - Mark Sampson":
A remarkable poem, Mark!
Great image of Milt Acorn as "scarecrow meant to frighten tourists".
Posted by Conrad DiDiodato to Riffs & Ripples from ZenRiver Gardens at 22 August 2013 07:30
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thanks, Conrad, for the nice comment on Mark's poem : )
Fresh back fro TO - only one beer under my expanding belt so far, & I've cleared off 50 emails! Had a nice visit - Chase too : ) I planted stuff in Sylvia's new front garden & painted her bathroom ceiling in her Victorian row house. We also made a day trip to Buckhorn, where we visited the Whetung Gallery on Curve Lake Ojibwa Territory & The Gallery on the Lake. Draught beer with dinner at the cafe by the Buckhorn locks. Also visited the McMichael Gallery for third time In recent years for the photo exhibit which pairs Ansell Adams & Canuck photog Buryanski (sp?). Lots of suShi, NorthViet. dinner, dog walks at Cherry Beach etc. But good to be home & back to matters poetic.
peace & poetry power!
Chris & Chase Wrfffffffffffffffffffff!
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