Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 15 was the one-year anniversary of this blog, and  I can't decide if I feel like I've just started the project or have been writing these posts forever. So in honor of the blog's birthday, and of the Harmony Free Fair--which at this time of year infects the citizens of Harmony like typhoid--I will once again post "The Skillet Toss," a poem from Boy Land that appeared in my first post.

But I also have some questions for you. Is this blog interesting? Should I keep writing it? Should I make changes? And if so, what? Writers are, by their nature, self-involved; yet they also want to communicate, to converse, to share. I want this blog (have I mentioned how much I hate the word blog?) to be an open letter to you, newsy yet not self-indulgent. So if I can do better, please let me know.

The Skillet Toss

Dawn Potter

Harmony Fair, September 2002

A loose, laughing huddle of women

gathers alongside a swath of packed dirt,

hot children milling underfoot

clutching half-empty cans of soda;

and now husbands drift over, and we

arrive, who don’t throw skillets,


ready to cheer on our friend Tina,

who baby-sits our kids and doesn’t take shit.

Ask the contestants what they’re aiming at

this year, they’ll all say husbands.

Men are proud to have a wife who can

fracture skulls, if she thinks it’s worth her while.


They watch, amused but unsurprised—

married too long to doubt the plain lack

of vanity a high school sweetheart

acquires by forty. Tina practices her swing,

all knees and elbows under the sun;

the crowd watches, relaxed


and easy-tempered in the heat,

last hurrah of a Maine summer:

such weather can’t last; frost on the way:

in this town we never forget January;

so oh, the pleasure now of watching

sweat run down a brown arm,


first arc of a skillet in the heavy air

and the slow rise of dust when it lands:

Applause, laughter; Tina wipes

her forehead and takes aim for the next,

all eyes on her target: invisible Everyman

in the haze, asking for it, his voice


a low grumble of content, like oxen

flicking their tails in the barn—

and just fool enough to turn his back,

bare elbows propped on the fence,

watching a couple of ponies drag

their burden of concrete across the ring.

[from Boy Land & Other Poems (Deerbrook Editions, 2004)].


Scott said...

Hi Dawn, I like your blog (an ugly word, like the aftermath of a sneeze) the way it is. You have great insights into life and our town, and I enjoy your comments on poems you've read.

I don't post often, but do read your blog. (I'm a blog lurker, does that make me a blurker?)

Dawn Potter said...

It's a real comfort, Scott, to have a Harmony reader. For all I know, you may be my only Harmony reader; and since you're way more Harmony than I am (I mean, you actually married into Harmony), the idea that you don't go crazy over my town anecdotes makes me feel like I have a friendly fact-checker on staff.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, I really love reading your blog. I love that you have questions for us to ponder; as well as, stories, dilemmas, menus, poems and comments. Please keep writing it.

Ruth said...

so that anonymous would be me!!!

Dawn Potter said...

. . . and Ruth, you are so not Anonymous! . . .

Scott said...

Heh, I live in Harmony, but will never be a part of it. That's partly due to some locals who exclude me from the club, not understanding I don't want to join.

Also, I wasn't born here (No roads or cemetaries named after my family), have all my teeth and fingers, and didn't use tar paper on my house when we built it. (Uppity!)

I'm mean, I know, but sometimes I get exasperated with how things are here.

Dawn Potter said...

Yes, Harmony is very exasperating. And the funny thing is that our own kids think they are from here.

Mr. Hill said...

"the funny thing is that our own kids think they are from here"

This should be the first line of something.

O, and I think it's time to add photographs to your blog.

Dawn Potter said...

But I never take any pictures.

Scott said...

Not sure how I ended up in town. Twenty years ago I thought it a dusty dead end, and never, ever, thought we'd live here!

My oldest son remembers and misses our old house. The younger, not so much - we moved when he was four.

Our kids are from Harmony, but do they want to stay?