Springside Park is located in the mountain town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, my brother Donnie and I’s hometown. We grew up with park as our backyard. Here’s our collaboration project on the Park: A poem by Donnie Welch ( originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Stone Walls II ) and photographs by Jonathan Welch.
Springside Park by Donnie Welch
Two old men ice fishing on the pond
not expecting to catch anything.
They nurse cans of Genesee
and talk about friends in Vietnam.
They could go to Onota Lake,
actually catch pike, but this pond
is closer to home. They agree
pike is too gamey to eat anyway.
The cold makes their joints stiff,
the rods sit in holders on their chairs.
Three children search the melted brook
for crayfish and frogs, filling a bucket
with the unfortunate creatures they catch,
amphibian gelatin greasing their hands.
Back home, standing on a second story porch,
they begin dropping frogs, one at time,
onto a concrete patio below. Two giggle,
while the third, helpless accomplice, stares
at the off-white stomachs of the frog corpses
with limbs spread out on their smashed backs.
A couple retreats from a rock out cropping,
a party fort, that keeps light out of sight
and noise stifled from the road.
They stumble, nervous and drunk
(or just drunk from the nerves)
towards the back of her mom’s car.
Meanwhile, a cop continues breaking up the party,
but he knew exactly where to go
for that reason he’s lenient
and doesn’t write any of the kids a ticket.
Once all the teenagers are gone, he sits
remembering when, back in high school,
he kissed his first wife for the first time.
An old man with a limping dog
Makes his way up the old zoo trail
past the two huge cement blocks
where the archway and lion cage used to be.
He has a bag full of littered beer bottles
and cans he finds along the way,
he’ll redeem them later at Price Shopper.
The ground is smooth with wet leaves
so both man and dog walk carefully,
swinging their legs wide and to the side
in silly half-waddles for extra stability
as if pantomiming mirth or dancing.
Scattered Seasons of Springside Park
Photographs by Jonathan Welch