Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.

(This title is a quote from poet Mark Strand.)

I typically scroll through my WordPress Reader during lunch hour at the office. Today I came upon two gems. One – a collection of summer moments – made me write a poem (And I mean forced me – immediately!) while the other, read post-poem, seemed to perfectly celebrate the tiny thing I’d just birthed in a river of Bic ink. It included the words:

And Van Gogh’s little drawing on the cheap note paper was a work of art, because he loved the sky and the frail lamppost against it so seriously…

So. Here’s my lunchtime poem, written because – for a moment – I loved a grapefruit very seriously. Please send feedback, as I haven’t edited a word. (I never post without rigorous revision but… it’s almost the weekend. Let’s loosen up a little.) Long live the poetry munchers!


It’s raining outside.
A phone rings down the hall.
I am eating a grapefruit,
mind utterly divorced
from the juicy flesh speckling my hands.

Suddenly, mind hurtles back to body.
There was a story, once…
Pay attention!

In my palms, a pink globe transported from – where?
I pick through the trash for a be-stickered slab of rind.
Ah – California.
The variety? “Star Ruby.”

That’s beautiful.

The rain has smudged my window, now.
The view is nothing but grey streaks and
those two lumps made of trees.

The story… it was about Alaska.
An Inuit girl saw an orange for the first time.
She found its warm solar glow
more precious than the promise of flavor.

She cradled it, intact, to her heart.


22 responses to “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.

  1. Well, I want a grapefruit really badly now.

    But, seriously, that was beautiful—especially with the Inuit girl. And the quote in your title is fantastic. If I could write poetry, that would make me want to.

    • Thanks for the ringing endorsement! I’m still not sure… I like conveying that I was so out of touch, sitting in the office like a zombie, when that grapefruit taste reminded me of the story, which then reminded me to be in the moment, which was quite lovely after all… but general consensus seems to be to focus more on drawing out the story of the girl at the end. Maybe I’ll do a few different versions!

  2. This makes me dream of summer days! I love the idea of devouring words too, the ink running down the corners of your mouth, your chin and dripping onto your clothes. So cool.

  3. So much going on inside and behind this poem. I love that you tell stories with your poems — this was a rare treat.

    Now — what to do with grapefruit. scoop the grapefruit into a glass. Add about 2-3 oz of Grey Goose vodka. Let it sit for a half an hour or so. THEN eat the grapefruit.

    • YOU’RE a rare treat. (Hear this in your head like it’s an insult… “YOUR mom wears combat boots.”) Except it’s actually a compliment. Why does my strange head complicate everything? Perhaps what I mean to say is that you’re the opposite of a couche-tard.

      ANYWAY. Thanks for your thoroughly delightful comment, and YEPPERS to that recipe! I spent my weekend visiting 13 wineries in 3 days… there was nothing unlucky about the number in this case.

      • Penny had a job for a while at Starbucks, where she coined the phrase “Your FACE is a tall hot chocolate” and that has become our “insult” banter… your FACE is a rare treat!

        • There’s really no way to come back to that. It’s why I adore it. Did I insult you or compliment you? You’ll never know… Yeah, well, your FACE will never know!

  4. The last little bit about the Inuit girl treasuring the orange is quite beautiful. The whole thing is great, but that last little bit is a real treasure.

  5. I think you could write about Alaska forever and never get tired of it. It was the most impressive and wonderful place I’ve ever been. Now if I could only talk my wife into coming with me again….

    • I so badly want to go. One of my best friends spent a summer there and said it was so refreshing he could count on the memories to uplift him for a lifetime. Why is your wife reluctant?

      • Let’s just say that the constant debate in my house is which direction to move in when we retire. North or South. I like Maine, Alaska and Montana. She likes Florida. Since we can’t afford two houses, divorce (or just a long distance relationship) is imminent.

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