All Stories, General Fiction

Get off My Back, Saugus by Tom Sheehan

Hey, Saugus, get off my back! Get off my back, Saugus. Yes, you who preaches from Appleton’s Pulpit, ranter and raver, extraordinary tongue wielder, who yells in chorus from Stackpole Field when wind brings from banks of the lost pond voices forgotten except by you, a chorus of faces and spirited one shows many times fallow for quick generation of yells.

Take back your yelling, Saugus, and your cries. Get off my back, Saugus! Saugus, get off my back!

You who hastily harangue from the Town Hall floor, a bending of principles and fundamental yields your seeded and spirited politics have given the ages; or your echoes, oh echoes of told timbre and tonic Riverside throws up for grabs the one-day trumpets cut to the quick of small arguments advancing outward, when one falling leaf, nurtured by one, old friend, comes, October’s breath and daring, to my footed path, saying his name to me, her name to me, saying we to me.

Get off my back, Saugus! Saugus, get off my back!

That trail over there, pond-sided, that a boy once knew; new here, that boy, brought to duck and carp and fox, summer’s sweet immersion, winter’s scissored ice, brought to this place out of all places, brought to you, to be layered on, to be imposed, scribed and etched, by what makes you what you are, and that boy, that boy lured here to the burned edge of the pond, which lingers in the mind one second longer than all.

Get off my back, Saugus! Saugus, get off my back!

You do not come at me softly except night-shaded where the wetted, youthful, endless kiss ends sixty years later when her last picture is delivered to New Jersey, to another, an older flaming moth who knows you inside so deeply the ache is read; who knew your waters blessed us, pond, stream, river bend by bridge, marshy pools’ awesome pair wearing summer’s threatening horseshoe crabs down back of Sims’ arms-wide spread of glass, and sticks for miles and miles of reeds promising fire, and antennae-slick worms marsh-dug for a nickel apiece, for Atlantic bait, bye the bye.

Get off my back, Saugus! Saugus, get off my back!

You take me past the good lady of iron who talks from under granite these days of settled touch, who, landing here from Cork’s land and loving this place of yours, stays now forever.

Get off my back, Saugus! Saugus, get off my back.

Today, trekking all the trails on you, I thought of Philadelphia’s Athletics and local Cornet’s old-time catcher, Sam Parker, next-door neighbor, fiendish gardener, tomato and corn supplier for our hungry table, who died on Sir John Harrington’s hopper (1592), the master-piece device, sat there alone for a full day.

Every day you take me back, grasping, clutching, your claws wrenching my soul, letting me know you’re on Pirates’ Hill, Standpipe Hill, Catamount Cove, where Charley’s Pond was, where our river runs dim and crooked to the sea, and on all artifacts of being, illustrious bones, tossing them up, oh one by one, tossing them up.

Ah, Saugus, will you never let go?

Tom Sheehan

View of Saugus Massachusetts USA center rotary and town hall.}} |Source ={{own}} |Author =Anthony92931 |Date =2008-10-12 |Permission = |other_versions = }} [[Ca

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