Bananas

Published on . Updated on .
Tags: poetry

This was commissioned by the Fruit Art Project, a group which develops creative projects that incorporate the history and geography of fruit cultivation. When I learned that wild bananas were originally tiny brown nothings, and that the wealth of modern cultivars are the result of intensive human breeding, I imagined what that breeding process would have looked like if it had taken place all at once, under the control of a 21st-century organization.

Our teeny-weeny lumps of brown bananaflesh are worthless.
We can't sell these. We need new products, of which we can boast.
Our wholesale customers are vicious, money-grubbing, mirthless.
If they can't snag consumers, we'll be toast!

We of Bananas, Inc must guide development of nanners
That grow up larger, sweeter, firmer, easier to store.
Big supermarkets only then will deign to fly our banners,
Sell patrons our bananas, and buy more.

The only object of Bananas, Inc must be succeeding
At rising from the red into the moneyed heights of black.
Before the breakup of Big Fruit, our brown nanners were leading
The market: an advantage we now lack.

As one division of a bigger firm, we had the freedom
To discount buyers' preferences since no one could compete.
Those days are gone. Barbarians are in what was our kingdom,
And their bananas are what households eat!

I see your faces. Pass this mic, and share your hard-earned lessons.
Bananas, Inc. requires a breakthrough in this fiscal year.
Please speak your mind. I hereby call an all-hands brainstorm session—
Beginning now, and happening right here.

2020-08-06: Today, I noticed and fixed a line in the original where I completely broke the rhyme scheme, without noticing. While rewriting that line and its rhyming one, I noticed confusion in the narrative structure of the last two stanzas. After 46 minutes of poetry, the two stanzas merged into one.