Tuesday, June 17, 2008


So, I had someone just point out to me that there is no such thing as a grape tree. And I said to them, "duh!" Yes, I know it's grape VINES not grape TREES. Yet the concept of the name of this blog - Under the Grape Tree - comes from a poem I wrote a few years ago (it appears in my book, ALL THE GHOSTS IN MY HOUSE THINK I'M STRANGE). I'll share it with you guys, so that you may better understand the method to my madness...


I grew up in a great neighborhood;
I loved that old house on Woods Drive.
I loved each and every season that roarded up and down our street,
as the pears grew outside my bedroom window,
and the grapes swelled to the size of grapefruits,
each and every Spring,
Born from my old grape tree.

I watched the sun sitting high in the sky,
And I would like beneath that grape tree
Dreaming of Star Wars,
Playing Baseball,
and writing short stories.
I dreamt of warm summer days
and lazy afternoons
As I fell into a gentle malaise of eating grapes by the handful
And letting day turn into night.

I used to hide old KISS records in a box under there
Because my mom thought they (the band) were gross,
And I used to talk to the robins
That had a home they came back to each Spring,
Nestled at the very top.

I'd climb that grape tree whenever I had the energy,
But for climbers it wasn't much of a challenge.
It was just better to lie there
Languishing with an innocent indulgence,
Leaving troubles and turmoil far behind.

My mother would make grape jelly that was ambrosia
For my sister and I.
It helped create the ultimate peanut butter and jelly sandwich,
and fueled numerous dreams of endless adventures
And happy visions.

Sadly, we moved away when I was twelve,
The grape tree hung low in our neighbor's yard,
and the kids up and down the block
Came and plundered its wondrous bounty.
Its limbs and leaves would no longer shade my dreaming head
And wandering eyes,
And its nectar would no longer serve to instigate my imagination.

I think of that place now that I am older,
and a grin comes across my face so many times.
(Especially now that I know that there is no such thing
as a grape tree.)
I realize that the vines were ancient
And that I could imagine Tecumseh making wine
For his people, after a battle or a hunt,
And I could envision settlers partaking of its splendor
And making celebrations of simple meals.

It makes me smile knowing that my cousin Katie
Now has the place that I once held so dear,
and has made it her own.
I don't get back there often enough.
To be truthful, I haven't seen that old place in nearly a decade.

But not a day goes by,
and not a drop of wine passes my lips,
without remembering that old grape tree,
and the happiest times of my youth.

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