Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A New Poem (draft)

Reading the News

With each edition of today’s Evening News,
a free banana. And no, this is not a wind-up
or some poetic artifice at work on your
subconscious – the banana means nothing
other than itself. You can read the news,
banana in hand, and with each mouthful,
the page will soften its focus until only
the horoscope feels like harder copy
than the banana’s flesh. If you decide,
on the basis of today’s experience,
that tomorrow’s banana cannot come
soon enough, the early editions will carry
a free DVD of a Hollywood movie no one
has never seen. But a banana will pop up
in the imagination around the one-hour mark.
If you try a banana once, you can’t stop.


However, I suspect the free banana, in reality, had something to do with this story. Someone within the editorship of the Edinburgh Evening News must have a sense of humour.

An excerpt:

"Enter a £7 million programme entitled Lean Thinking - funded by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Sounds good, doesn't it?...

The idea is that your desk is marked out with black tape denoting the locations of every piece of essential equipment. Your pen has a place. Your paper clips have a place. However, that cute picture of your baby boy or the banana you are planning to eat at lunchtime have no place.

Objects are either "active" or "inactive" and - I kid you not - a banana only counts as active if you are about to eat it in the next few seconds. Otherwise, it must be removed along with all those inactive pictures or ornaments that help jolly up a dull desk job."


Larry said...

Well, it's a cute poem. I like it. I agree. Bring on the Banana.


Ben Wilkinson said...

I like this Rob: it's light-hearted at first, but develops (particularly after a couple of reads) into something a tad darker and more sinister.

Rob said...

Thanks. And yes, it's light verse in a way, but I tried to inject something else into it too.

Cailleach said...

Bizarre bananas! Your humour comes across very well in this one, Rob. Slightly skewed.

Rob said...

Thanks, Barbara.

I didn't know other banana poems existed, although I'm told Wendy Cope has one, and Helena Nelson told me she has one too.

Can anyone write an entirely serious poem that heavily features bananas? There's a challenge!

Larry said...

Rob! I'm shocked you don't remember my very own Banana Song (perhaps you blocked it out, trauma does that). Here it is for what it is worth:

Banana Song

Let me state from the start: I am not
a believer. What winters the frost
carries on its own summer, fat root
growing fatter on relics and rust.

All that said, when it comes to a case
of bananas, I falter. What fluke
could have monkeyed such bunches of bliss?
They dangle like claws on a hook

at the grocer's, their jungle-god green
turning sun-sickle yellow, impressed
with a dash-and-dot script of the skin,
annotating tarantula lust.

Think a leopard corset, think the bud
of her oiled pubic hair. Hesitate
just a fabric away from inside,
like a Bond, then unzip the taut suit.

Native words drop their luggage and leave
on the edge of what language can know.
In lean times, I've a mind to survive
just by singing: banana. Ba na


Sorlil said...

I like this poem very much, reminded me of Holub - must be something to do with the sinister feel to it that ben pointed out, I esp. like the last 3 lines, they work very well and leave the reader thinking.

Rob said...

Larry, I didn't remember your banana poem. In fact, I'm not sure I ever read it. But it's pretty good, although a little rough in spots (I think). Did you publish it? It's worth working on the over-modified S3, ditching the pubic hair, and editing for clarity in S1. But really good stuff in there too.

And thank you, sorlil.

C. E. Chaffin said...

"Yes we have no bananas."

Funny idea, soon elevated to a promise of an exclusive DVD--else one no one wants to watch, perhaps because they prefer reading the paper.

"There's no such thing as a free banana [lunch]."

My only quibble with this poem is that it is prosaic, lacking the rhythm, diction, and careful line breaks I expect from poetry. If it is "merely" light verse, that doesn't matter, I suppose. It works well as a prose-poem, a category I have never been comfortable with but must accept in today's climate.

In any case, entertaining and not starchy! (I mean the poem.)

And I loved Larry's sexual take on the banana, reversing the standard poles, as it were.

Rob said...

Cheers, CE. It's light verse but has ambition to be more than that. It is prosy, I agree.

And yes, I like Larry's poem more each time I read it.