Poet of the Week: Alan King

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I wanted Bananas—

a bunch of them spooned body to body
like small yellow kayaks. So I missed

what you said about the war
in Libya. When you say Gaddafi,
I think of how they spoil
if they sit too long
on their wicker thrones.

We’re in my car, listening
to WTOP. We passed a Spanish market
that calls what I love platanos.
Just saying plata-, my tongue snaps
like the slingshot’s elastic strip,
hurling A’s like stones.

You complain about the weak radio signal.
I could nod and punctuate your frustrations
with hums, as if I’m listening,
as if my head weren’t full of Hunger’s S.O.S.

I could pretend that the radio static
is annoying, as if the sizzling sound
it makes doesn’t have me thinking
of sweet, chunky rhombus slices
frying in my mother’s skillet,

or plantains boiled whole
with dasheen, dumplings
and potatoes to eat with salt fish
and coconut bake—

plates and plates
of large bananas, edible boomerangs,
nature’s golden sugar-filled tusks,
the moon’s waning frown
or waxing smile.


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