Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Poem: How to peel a banana

How to peel a banana

Separating it from its bunch
sometimes cracks it open,
soft skin splitting to expose
pale, fragile innards.
But if it doesn't
hold firmly in your right hand.
With your left, pull across
and down, repeating
until each tender flap
surrenders to your fingers
Only then
             hold the flesh
              to your lips.

How to peel a baby banana

Today I found them
    at the market, a dollar a bunch.
    They are small and plump,
    promising sweetness
    fat and sturdy.

You have never seen
    such a fruit before.
     You watch as I peel
     the tender, fragrant skin.
      You hold out your hand,
      open and close experimentally
      pluck at the lustrous whiteness
       tongue between lips.
      Finally, you take a bite. Squish and swallow.
                            Take the whole thing
                            and cram it into your mouth.

I have to thank Jo Emeney for running this exercise at the writing workshop we taught on Monday, "write a poem about a fruit starting 'how to'..."  It's broken a longish 'dry' spell I've had as a poet - I told myself it was because I was a mum and never had the time, but the real reason was that I never quite managed to find the time.  There's a subtle difference there.  As I tell my students, you can always find time for the important things, and with poetry, the wonderful thing is that it often forgives or even rewards having only a very short time to write.  So it was with this pair of poems - they appear here pretty much as I wrote them longhand into my exercise book.  Those who know me will know what 'banana' codes for.


Rethabile said...

I'm going home to peel a few bananas and read your poems in-between peelings.

Michelle Elvy said...

Nice! And I like the way the second one seems to be written to your daughter -- or so I think, anyway. Lovely.

Mary McCallum said...

Just found these Renee. I love that an exercise like this broke your poetry drought. And these two poems are especially delicious and dense. You know what I think? Being a mother is such a creative thing that the desire to write poetry goes on the back burner unless we grab it back. For some of us it takes years. Don't let it take you years for you, Renee. We'd miss your poems too much.