Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Practical Banana Promotion

Yesterday's post about Orpheus left me feeling rather miserable last night, and after my 900 calorie cardio session at the gym, I collapsed in a heap in one corner of the 8:07 on my way home. My boyfriend, Yasu, was in Hiroshima last week visiting the Peace Memorial, as a part of his dissertation research, and I think that's how that particular thread of thinking unravelled into a poem.

I am not sure if you noticed in the poem, but Orpheus plucks his lyre 3 times, which is an extremely oblique reference, I think, to the Trinity test site, New Mexico, where the first atomic test was conducted in July of 1945. I don't believe that was the test where they built a small town to observe the effects of the bomb on cities. Evidently, I am conflating those two events. No wonder I had such a headache last night. But I was recovered enough this morning to make a few changes to Orpheus.

Now, what does all of this have to do with bananas? Besides the (generally--though by no means universally) well recognized insanity of nuclear war? Well, I will tell you.


As I slumped in my seat in the train, I somehow found the energy to scroll around the selection wheel on my iPod, flpping by: The Clash, Elgar's Cello Concerto, Gorecki's 3rd Symphony, Kindertotenleider, I ran across Anna Russell's exegesis on the fine art of selling bananas: A Practical Banana Promotion, and I started silently to smile. Did you know that your typical banana has 88 calories--the same number of keys as your typical grand piano?

It's true. It's one of those odd numerical coincidences—like the number of plays by Shakespeare equalling the number of more or less complete extant Greek tragedies (37). Or cheetahs and chairs each having four legs. I'm not making this up you know.

Well, as my smile started to broaden a bit, and various jingles for encouraging the consumption of bananas were proposed by Mrs. Russell, and the obvious associated dangers, I recalled a poem I had written for a writing seminar a few years ago--a sort of loose, vanitas piece--making fun of my weakness for bleakness.

Still Life

You know that big bunch—
those long, green bananas
I bought for my Wheaties—
just sat there on my cracked
countertop for days
not seeming to mind
being left alone: until

I went to peel one—
then all of them
suddenly turned black.

I must do a better job eating my fruit, I thought. Not only is it good for the bowels, it is an egregious waste of money to let it sit around and rot. Besides, I have no desire to wind up my days wearing white flannel trousers, running my tongue along my dentures, wondering if I dare to eat peaches, or not. Do you?

Yasu returns from Japan on Sunday. And I move in with him in Queens. And we are going to spend the whole month eating bananas, peaches, apples, and other immemorial fruit.

See you tomorrow!

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