The Dirt King


Harvey Schwartz

“It’s a lot easier to use chemicals,” a friend says. I know he’s right, as I rip through weeds with my ice ax, whose pick is a whirling dervish in my organic garden.

With regal clang, a dirge to weeds, he is immune to the avalanching armies of dullness that darken the sky, poised like sharp arrows with feathery tails, aimed at me.

I hide my indelible eye, as if dullness cares, while my muse shapes a garden that tries so hard to teach me.

Dirt King, your orange handle shines like the sun, unlike your green and blue mattocks kin. You and I blaze fire through the garden.

Why? How? Mean nothing to you, who just is. You are whole, unlike your green brother who has lost his adze. And your blue sister deserves a moment of silence, buried in mulch somewhere…lost. But life changes, beyond seasons and civilizations.

Someday, perhaps a warm December when the tropics return, your sister may become a goddess—found object of antiquity. And bulbous pink persons may bow down to her


I respect your sadness when you were buried beneath a spade and shovel in my shed. But you’re not proud. Only complain when I dress you up with three-in-one oil.

I understand our differences. The repugnance I feel, using you to toss dog poop off my driveway, contrasts to your oneness with everything natural… like distant mountains, cold and white.

I think you like your nickname, Dirt King, and imagine yourself free from the garden… flying through arrows of dullness, over clouds, reaching the on-high, where your Doppelganger saves lives that might otherwise plummet into mediocrity

And I dreamt of you being six feet high—wide side, and two feet high on the other. Soldiers poised behind you, no-chance enemy ahead.

The sergeant yelled Charge in Japanese, Hebrew, and Arabic, French, and German--all at the same time. Fearless warriors jumped out of hiding and raced toward the arrows of dullness. But they were gone.

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