Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

You were wearing your Edgar Allan Poe printed cotton blouse.
In each divided up square of the blouse was a picture of Edgar Allan Poe.
Your hair was blonde and you were cute. You asked me,
"Do most boys think that most girls are bad?"
I smelled the mould of your seaside resort hotel bedroom on your hair held in place by a John Greenleaf Whittier clip.
"No," I said, "it's girls who think that boys are bad."
Then we read Snowbound together
And ran around in an attic, so that a little of the blue enamel was scraped off my George Washington, Father of His Country, shoes.

Mother was walking in the living room, her Strauss Waltzes comb in her hair.
We waited for a time and then joined her, only to be served
tea in cups painted with pictures of Herman Melville
As well as with illustrations from his book Moby Dick
and from his novella, Benito Cereno.
Father came in wearing his Dick Tracy necktie: "How about a drink, everyone?"
I said, "Let's go outside a while."
Then we went onto the porch and sat on the Abraham Lincoln swing.
You sat on the eyes, mouth, and beard part, and I sat on the knees.
In the yard across the street we saw a snowman holding a garbage can lid mashed into a likeness of the mad English king, George the Third.

by Kenneth Koch, American Poet, 1925 - 2002

This humorous yet earnest sartorial poem reads like a shopping list of all the things you might like to pick up at the souvenir gift shop, especially if you were on vacation in Washington, DC.

I'm sure I could use a George III garbage can (to hold my recycling!), and some George Washington shoes would be trendy. John Greenleaf Whittier hair clips and Herman Melville tea cups would make great gifts for my girlfriends. And I'm pretty sure I had one of those Edgar Allan Poe blouses back when I was in 4th grade.

Shopping On The Streets Of Frederick, Maryland

As a matter of fact, on this trip, I did purchase some terrific "Savage Soaps" from Le Savon, The Soap Company. So many choices! I finally picked a bar of the politically correct "Whitehouse" soap and a bar of the inspiring "Barbara Fritchie Fromme Pear." The fragrance is mesmerizing and the packaging is irresistible! At airport security they double-checked my bag to get a closer look at my all-American soaps. Not to worry, it turns out you can transport them in your carry-on; and when you finally get them home, everyone will be delighted!

All I need now is a "Kenneth Koch" beach towel, and I think I'm set.

"How about a drink, everyone?"

Then we went onto the porch . . .

...and sat on the Abraham Lincoln swing.

Also in Frederick: The Barbara Fritchie House

"Shoot if you must this old gray head,
But spare your country's flag she said."

from the poem by John Greenleaf Whittier
American Quaker Poet, 1807 - 1892

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