A Poem by Carl Terrence

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When I Chop Wood
by Carl Terrence

When I chop wood
I get the axe blade good and oiled up with baby oil and then look at my reflection awhile on the shiny axe head.

When I chop wood
I think in cords. Like that truck is about 4 cords. That cloud up there is probably 9. My leg is like 1/8th.

When I chop wood
The blisters on my hands pop, finally, and whiskey comes out and I suck on ‘em.

When I chop wood
My beard grows faster. When I’m done I shave off my 2 foot beard with an oily axe blade while looking in a puddle.

When I chop wood
Forest animals come out and sing a song in perfect rhythm to my chops. They sing a song called, “Man a Choppin’, Man a Choppin’”

When I chop wood
I build great stacks of chopped wood. Art scenes I guess. The scent overcomes the neighborhood and they open their windows to get some chopped wood inside.

When I chop wood
Blood comes out of the tree stump and floods over the grass and onto my boots and I stand hacking in blood up to my laces.

When I chop wood
They close down the farmer’s market and the singer / song writer of the week comes to listen to my song.

When I chop wood
I’m doing a godamn service to mankind so don’t go chattering to me about whats for dinner or whatever.

When I chop wood
I sometimes start chopping other things too. I chopped some floors and some ladders once. If it’s made of wood then I’ll chop it. All I see is wood. And chopping.

When I chop wood
I feel like people in the 1800′s did when they were working. I don’t need clean water or a car. I just need this godamn wood chopped.

When I chop wood
The neighborhood kids gather ’round and say, “I’m gonna chop me some wood one day.” I look up say, “Not like this you won’t.”

When I chop wood
I go over to a boulder when my axe blade gets dull and I rub it on the boulder and get it so sharp that it could cut another couple dozen cords. 7 cords.

When I chop wood
I don’t even bother getting up unless there’s about 10 cords needed. That’s about 10 long beds full. You’re truck will probably break down before I’m done cuttin’. Then I’ll cut your godamn truck up with an axe and get back to my wood choppin’.

When I chop wood
I get real mad and pretend the wood is my old day job. I pretend I’m cutting up my old jobs and then I just start hacking and soon there’s nothing but kindlin’ and just wood dust flying up in the sun rays and on my face.

When I chop wood
It’s like going to church or taking a shower or maybe driving. All the good ideas come when I get to choppin’ and then I know I should be rich because I was the one who thought of the steak sandwich anyhow.

When I chop wood
I think about writing down all the things that happen in my life every day, like when I got in a fist fight inside the Bank of America, but more like a reflection or a memoir or a story on cable starring Sam Elliot when he too, has to chop wood.

When I chop wood
There’s no one better. There’s just no one out there who can chop more wood than me. I mean no one and I welcome all challengers.

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