Thursday, November 12, 2015

"The Orange" by Diane Wakoski


Driving through the desert at night in summer
can be
like peeling an orange,
the windows rolled down, the prickly scent
of mesquite and sage
blowing through the car, the
of the twilight shadowed earth lingering,
as if the sticky juice
of the orange
were shading and matting your hands,
the acrid spray of the peel;
with its meaty white pillow
nestles into your fingers.

You are driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas,
running from your loneliness, an empty house,
an ocean which brings neither father nor lover.

For one hour, the wind streams through
your car, a
three-year-old Pontiac you have named Green Greed;
for one hour, the scent of all the desert
plants makes you feel
loved, makes you
forget you have no one
to talk to. You do not care about the
myth of the West, about
the City of Angels and its beaches.

You are not yet even slightly
interested in
You are 32
and feel you have a destiny. Somehow
in that car,
on that night, alone on the wind-cooled highway between
and Nevada, for one hour,
the fragrance of sage, especially,
made you complete,
moving swiftly over your face, through
nostrils, the car, you warm,
from desert day fire.

You were not even looking
yet, for Beethoven in Las Vegas,
Snake Mother in the desert.
Your life was over, or
had not yet begun. Did you see
a map of Michigan filling your hand
as you peeled the big navel orange,
the one which glowed like fireflies
that wink
in Michigan summer nights?
The white membrane, the orange raindrop
textured meat of the fruit
saturating your hands with sugar
as you drive, as you drove,
as you remembered one

Source of the text - Diane Wakoski, Medea the Sorceress.  Santa Rosa, CA: Black Sparrow Press, 1991, pp. 13-14.

TJB: Navel gazing. Desert-driving, orange-peeling, loneliness-escaping: all converge in this prophecy-lyric with oddly-articulated metaphors.

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