Poet Express

reasons for raisins

1) digging for seeds we
kneel on the ground little weasels
scratching in the dirt
so we dig and dig
we dig until we hurt
until we are tried and thirsty
and require rest we
drink wine and our son
eats raisins a fist
full at a time
and we dig and dig so long
and it goes on
and on
and on
until nothing escapes us

2) we are at odds
with how to do this we
so nearly beg for
a storm to come crashing
through our lives
we are calling for rain
to save us the need
to pace and stomp or throw
our hands up to the sky
so we think on how a
dance might do it
or maybe a riddle
or a poem
or a song
or maybe just a little
of them all

3) you don’t actually see
the vines growing
they grow very slow

4) we know to let them do this
they know to make us wait

3) she likes the sweet ones just
the very green ones without seeds
the ones that pop in your teeth
like cherry tomatoes spraying
across the inside of your mouth
these are the ones she
wants and so do i and
our son also likes them sweet
but small so we give him
all the small ones
and secretly we are amazed
or maybe more disturbed really
how quickly they disappear
one after another
some for her
some for me but
mostly for him we divide them so well

6) tell me you know something
of the love lost on grapes
of skin peeled away
very carefully
and while eating the grapes
skinned and exposed
for what they really are
think of those of us who crave them
who want only to eat them
and again
and again
who want only to hold them
to save them for another day
to do the very human
thing and change them
into raisins or wine

7) call it age if you like
or experience or maturity
just as wine matures with age
or call it a stem in the cycle
through which all living
things must pass
in order to survive as
humans we believe
in the pleasures of life
this is why we eat grapes
or drink wine
or plant such seeds
and as humans we ultimately
mature so as to provide for
ourselves and the ones we love
this is why we must grow old
so it is also with grapes

8) collecting them
was the hard part they
came down on us like hail
it went on
and on
for days we wondered
where would it end
and we collected them
in whatever we could find
instantly out of bowls
pots and pans
we knew we could
not keep them all

9) here is the first raisin
the sweet one
to some the one
most likely to dissolve
in your mouth or hand
or afford such devotion
the one with thick skin that is
frustrating and hard to penetrate
the one that cracks and
is brittle like glass
this is the one
that becomes bitter

10) this is the raisin that
while bathing becomes plump
as a young grape again
the one most certain
to satisfy a thirst or hunger
or something you cant
quite place like desire
the one so pumped full of life and
a need for more than is here
here is the one
that must go

11) and here is the smallest of all
the child grape
unripe and undone
the sweet one
the i dont want to go
and please
dont leave me grape
i will be as you are

12) better than thirteen
are twelve
each a story
little secrets of a child
each a dream
better things to come

13) here are the ones
that got away the ones
so cocksure and cool the ones
who ran so electric
as they slipped under the
stove the refrigerator and the sink
how sad they all seem now
cloistered in the corner dust

14) we place it on the table
the last one and
we gather around to stare
we are dogs licking our lips
but we dont dare
eat it or split it
three ways afraid
each of us in our own way to
be through with the thing

15) empty boxes
what happens now
is they become one another

16) protect these seeds
keep them healthy watered
and warm
allow them space to run
let them multiply
spread their species
far and wide


Copyright 2006 by Jeffrey Spahr-Summers.