The Poetry of
Jack Scott

Pro Bono Consultation

Some say that orphans never cry
because no one will heed them.

Client: Young female entrepreneur
juvenile orphan,
with no experience or training
aka, The Little Match Girl

Client should carefully research the market to ascertain what products or services might be needed or wanted, but which are currently not offered or available.
To fill that void or niche, client should create, assemble or locate a product or service to serve that need.

Client should carefully estimate cost of start-up including inventory and overhead and arrange for adequate funding. Client should be wary of underestimation as it is easier and simpler to arrange one loan than return for additional financial assistance. Credibility is a factor.

If not intending Internet commerce client should study physical marketplace, , in terms of best location re exposure to largest number of intended buyers. Client should then establish most propitious vending territory.

If product is seasonally or weather affected the timing of market exposure should be carefully applied.

Task: Research, analyze and advise
market and sales strategy for client’s product

Product: wooden kitchen matches.
Versatile, dependable, familiar.
Strike them almost anywhere, anytime.

Capital: $5.00 cash.
Stolen from purse of caretaker.

Risk: Prosecution unlikely if theft is discovered,
but thief/orphan can’t return
to scene of crime (orphanage)
Initial investment: one hot dog $1.00
one Coca Cola. 1.00
Matches* 3.00
*(two boxes, 300 matches each;
Cost: half a cent per match)

Initial tactic: To sell matches for one cent each,
or three for a nickel.

Goal: With net profit after living expenses,
(hot dogs, Cokes, soup)
initially buy one pack of cigarettes
and sell onesies for higher gross profit
in upscale market.

Subsequent investment: Cigarettes at 7/11 cost about 27 cents each/
$5.36 per pack of 20. Sell for 50 cents each.
Must sell minimum of three boxes matches
to afford this investment, more if vender eats again.
Note: Since vendor is too young to purchase cigarettes legally.
a proxy might charge for the service, increasing cost of product.

Subsequent goal, simplified: Sell them on street @ 50 cents each.
More than this the market might not bear.

Further recommendations: A franchise operation might be feasible
staffed, perhaps, by other orphans, who return to
orphanage at each day’s end to minimize their overhead.

Options (singular): Sell some matches wholesale for greater profit if possible.

Other options: Consider different product(s)

Possible complications: Legal

Client currently operating in marketplace without benefit of counsel.
The Marketplace
The wind is high tonight,
finds its way erratically,
storming down mountainsides
and valleys
like a pack of hungry wolves
raping into every crevice
rooting into every nook
every way at once
as if searching
for what cannot be found.

Little match person
fending against the bully, cold,
up to her knees in snow
must draw her wits
like blanket around herself
imagining at least what warmth
what might be gained from that.

Is she lonely?
does it matter?
It’s said that orphans never cry
because nothing ever comes of it.

The child is near the end
of the road
she didn’t know she took.

She has matches, only that.
her future thus invested
bitter economics, true.

A match gives little heat
in proportion to its meager light,
not enough to warm enough
the fingers of the other hand.
Like all good friends,
they must take turns
to keep it even as they can.

She could survive, with luck,
while she still has her matches,
and her will to sell them
but what then
when she runs out
and can’t buy any more?

That will be tomorrow,
a day like this but worse
because it will have to be
the last, her final day.

To complicate the issue
there are no customers
anywhere in sight,
they’re eating, drinking,
laughing, Christmas,
in the city and the suburbs,
at home or in the cheery taverns
in this cheerless night.
What makes it ho, ho, holy-

The protest of ousted squirrels
can’t be heard above the banshees
loosed into this frenzied night
Dry leaves insist a dreadful chatter.
The wind: banging forests around,
caroming down fallowed fields,
calling home stray dinosaurs,
refusing rest to travelers
until it has its own,
blasting, blustering wind
blowing away
whatever’s unattached to larger things
then back again,
flapping, snapping all the rest.

Of course it has the force,
the blind and blinding power
to blow her puny matches out
almost before they’re struck.

Too soon to strike
a single match this way,
equally too late.
A match is best struck
against another match
or two, or three if necessary.

In this dire need the briefest light
within the cold enormity
is the only warmth there is
if only to the freezing mind.

There is desolation enough
for all the senses,
more than enough to go around.
The smallest gain is scanty.

The little light,
though not enough to read by,
(there’s nothing here to read,)
and if there were
she’d better burn it.

There are no cardboard boxes
to be found.
She knows, she’s looked.
All the stores are closed
and fuel of any sort
is buried by the snow.

What is the sound,
the timbre of its voice?
What is the depth
of its open throat?
Her mind’s not on that;
loneliness is a luxury
she can’t afford.

It’s come for her,
to her faintening heartbeats
in the darkening dark,

She boldly marries courage
to irrationality,
knows she holds
a tiny bonfire,
potential in her hand.

She mounts the icy diving board
above the frozen water,
mirror holding all the stars.

She strikes
before the impulse shrinks
from admission of her inventory,
acting upon a wiser reasoning
counseling her to have it all,
as much as she can get,
reality for an instant,
over illusion for another day,
and night if she’s unlucky.

She’s been told
the worst of it is over;
she’s paid her dues
to join the largest club,
She’s been told
it’s much like sleep,
no more, no less.
Not likely,
but possibly a farewell gift.
We’ll see.

L48 ®Copyright 1974 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.