Still Fruit

Still Fruit
by Carolynn Kingyens
Comfort is cruel as still fruit
tucked inside the warmth of whicker,
left alone to the inevitable –
that bruise-brown rot dimpling the skin when touched,
or the subject of a novice painter’s whimsical translation;
either way doomed.
Lennon knew about the addiction to creature comforts,
how it keeps us away from our best selves when he said:
Life is what happens to you while busy making other plans.
I imagine my father was busy making plans.
Now he is the perfect example of the potato –
preferring the confines of a couch over a car over a rolling stone
over the choices of some hot drifter from California,
whom I once invited home to dinner.
Like Jesus, he has nowhere to lay his head –
a lie told over the phone for affect, and, of course, it worked.
Everything the earth-smell, dreadlocked nomad owned could fit inside a knapsack.
The rest, he said, is immaterial. The rest, he said, is dullness
and dullness, he said, is a switchblade held to a throbbing throat during a soul-jack.
The drifter’s absolute freedom irked my father,
bound to his loyalties: his dying mother – material wife – a refi-mortgage – and me –
a lone wolf line of broken boxcars he could never escape from,
at least in good conscious.

0 thoughts on “Still Fruit

  1. Wow! The author inspires me to stay off the couch and find a happy medium between a couch “potato” and “a rolling stone.” Very moving poem. 1st stanza is my favorite which could be a poem in itself. However, my favorite image is the next to the last line: a lone wolf line of broken boxcars…
    The poem left me with the feeling that sometimes true strength of character means being willing to never escape the choices we’ve made.
    Nice poem.

    1. Excellent observations, beemamma! I thought there was clever use of craft thruout the poem. I appreciated the occasional alliteration (The repetition of an initial consonant sound) as in: “comfort is cruel”; “warmth of whicker”; and “bruise-brown rot” to name a few. The title, “Still Fruit”, i immediately made the connection to ‘still life’ in the painter’s world. The father in the poem is compared to ‘fruit’ because he is still. Like I said–clever! I also thought that was pretty cool how the author mentioned a quote from John Lennon in the 2nd stanza and in the very next line slyly adds another tip of the hat: “I imagine…”.
      I agree with beemamma’s opinion of what the point of the poem would be–“The poem left me with the feeling that sometimes true strength of character means being willing to never escape the choices we’ve made.” I don’t think that could be put any better.
      When i read the poem, i feel pity and even shame for the father who could not, apparently, find that balance between survival and zest for life. If he had shaken off his worries, somehow, and spent time with his daughter and took her places and seen things then this poem would be entirely different. I sympathize with the father cause I know as a father of 3 how the ‘weight of the world’ can sometimes overtake you and overwhelm and immobilize you. Life’s logistics just suck the life right out of you. It’s a constant challenge. I often feel like a zombie but manage to do stuff with my kids even though i’m tired as hell…and i have fun doing it. The pitfalls of life are many, take heed to know where you are and where you’re going.
      Great read!

    2. Beemamma,
      like Quasi, I liked your comment “true strength of character means being willing to never escape the choices we’ve made.” if you’re a poet, you should use it one of your works.
      having said that I’d also like to say that I’m not quite sure it’s completely true. I think that strength can come from the willingness to contradict oneself as well.

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