Bobby Jester's Dandelion Blues, a Little History
Here in Greensboro, the dandelions are blooming in my yard, along with every sort of wildflower and weed—I don't really like a grass carpet. I think of this poem, the second of the Donahaw County series (Please see the poem for March). My fictional county is very large, stretching from the Yadkin River, the eastern border of Yadkin County, and including Wilkes and Watauga to the west. Stretching my domain to the Tennessee line, I can include a college campus, Appalachian State, where Bobby Jester works on the grounds crew.
The poem grew out of an earlier poem, "Dandelions," inspired by an unhappy experience from my days at ASU. It was the first poem I shared in A. R. Ammons's poetry workshop at Wake Forest. Sometime later, in the English Department lounge, Archie and I were discussing a revision, and he remarked, "She couldn't get to your roots." Something I hadn't thought about, that I needed to think about. Archie understood that the poem described a shallow wound, a shallow relationship. The dandelions keep on coming back.
What if the girl who mowed me down had decided to use a shovel and mattock, to do the job right? Too much trouble. And Archie would have said that there is an essential self, inviolable, that no weed eater or spade can touch.
Long live the dandelions!