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I grasped the fruit in my left hand
and checked, so gently, for ripeness
and wondered about its name
so simple to remember
So why was I distracting myself
with thoughts of names
when my stomach called me to duty
I never liked peeling oranges
I stick my thumbnail under the skin
and the scent was nice and clean,
but I didn't know if the peel
would dig under my thumb,
or if I'd stick the fruit and cause it to bleed
or to spurt
I never liked peeling oranges
I didn't know if the fruit
would be better off untouched
so pulled and ripped off
one small section of skin,
exposed the white-and-orange underneath
the skin still clinging on
and I didn't know how that might taste
I never liked peeling oranges
The skin came off, bit by bit
and I was afraid to split the fruit
for fear or rupturing a section
of that closely guarded center,
and what if it was far too tart
or if it was too sweet
if the skin still on ruined everything?
if it had no flavor
A valueless fruit.
I never liked
I split it
and sampled one section
It was a flash
a burst of taste, so powerful
that though I tried to be slow
I could not wait for more
and the lingering aftertaste
seemed to say
that I had done right
Ridiculous, of course,
liked peeling oranges
when I finished, I was forever reminded
why I ever peeled one
in the first place
| Refreshing. That is such a wonderful word. That is this piece. I am glad you had no hidden meaning, because it would be easy to take this the wrong way. But what’s wrong with writing about something as simple as peeling oranges without implying anything else? Nothing. It’s awesome. |
The repetition of “I never liked peeling oranges” added a certain je ne sais quoi that helped it be exciting, whereas without the repetition, it may have been too ordinary (for some readers).
Only a few mistakes... In Line 3 of the thired full stanza, you need the word “I.” It says, “so pulled and ripped off/one small section of skin,” which confused me until I realized that it should be, “so I pulled and ripped off/one small...” After the second full stanza you forgot to add a space between the end and the next “I never liked peeling oranges.” And did you mean to put the fourth repetition of this phrase on two lines? I suggest keeping your pattern and perhaps changing it only at the end.
Speaking of the end, I like it so much! It could relate to life itself in a way: though life is sticky (hehe) and troublesome, and you have to do things you don’t like, it will be worth it in the end. I won't go on about metaphors though, since you said this was a literal experience...actually your description really confused me. Perhaps sometime I will comment again on the metaphorical meaning. Sometime. The ending is perfect. Great job on this simple, refreshingly original piece.
|| Posted on 2006-04-05 00:00:00 | by prettybaby | [ Reply to This ] || it doesnt sound like sex to me.|
I really liked the overall metaphor of your poem... it reminded me of... things... it's interesting to read and disect... i'll let you know what i think when i've disected it further.
|| Posted on 2006-04-01 00:00:00 | by FaintShadow37 | [ Reply to This ] || Yeah, I'm sorry, this does sound like it's about a first sexual experience. If that's not it, I'm sorry, but it's just what it sounds like to me. It sounds like you were at first afraid to take the other person's virginity, but after it was done, you knew why you did it in the first place. And the way you describe each step so carefully, if this were to relate to sex, it sounds like slowly taking off clothes... Anyway. Like I said, if this is wrong, I'm sorry, this is just my interpretation. If this was not your intention, I would like to know what was. ...bb...|
|| Posted on 2006-03-30 00:00:00 | by Phoenix2004 | [ Reply to This ] || This is a very good metaphor. I think you could apply this to so many experiences but the one I got out of it was passionate and sensual. It read to me as if you were talking about sex with someone. Your descriptions here are great and I could imagine all of what you are saying here. Even in the literal sense of the actual orange and the experience with it, although I know that is not what you meant here. Your writing is very good and well expressed. You turn something as trivial as peeling an orange, into something very vivid and sensual. Nice work. Take care.|
|| Posted on 2006-03-30 00:00:00 | by lmz | [ Reply to This ] || I don't think there is anything you can do about preventing someone from reading personal epiphany into a piece written about an experience that granted you one. It will be theirs once the poem has left your hands. And if you change it to not suggest something you don't want it to suggest... then would it still suggest what you want it too? |
I think part of me would like to see some parts of this poem a bit more internally consistant. Such as your refrain. What I mean by that is to keep it lookinglike a refrain. Why do you change the lineation in places when it's obviously the same line?
The use of the word duty strikes me as a bit odd and out of place but I'm sure you have a reason for it.
|| Posted on 2006-03-29 00:00:00 | by DavidHirt | [ Reply to This ] || As well as peeling oranges, which was described quite expertly, this poem reminded me of the loss of virginity, the peeling away of innocence, the need to experience and fulfil desire...The tentativeness of trying that 'unspoken thing', not knowing whether it will be enjoyable or not. Once tried, it becomes part of your past, present and future and sometimes you may not enjoy it as much as other times...kinda like peeling oranges?! lol||| Posted on 2006-03-29 00:00:00 | by litllost | [ Reply to This ] || I guess I'm pretty literal; no double meanings that I saw. However, as a metaphor, the poem applies well to personal relationships and most other time-consuming endeavors.|
Great write, sincerely uplifting.
I get the feeling you're fiddling with the "peeling oranges" lines the first few times you used them, but after the "valueless fruit" line, the additional variation seemed more necessary. (That line was wrenching, in a good way: nothing is worse than being valueless. The acid edge that keeps your poem grounded in reality.)
I love your close, strategic, tactile description. There is a painstaking art to peeling oranges, and I sometimes end up using a tableknife to get started, to protect my thumb, as you pointed out. Oranges are a fun fruit to explore, but not so good for quick eating, and you captured that worry and impatience quite well. Funny how trivial things can become so consuming.
Here and there you have an awkward phrase. The "peeling oranges" lines themselves are awkwardly stark, giving any other ungraces a sort of a free pass, but I wish there was something better at the end than "I was forever reminded". Passive tense winds a bit slow.
Thanks for bringing me on this Journey to the Center of the Orange. Great poem, loved it, loved the description and honesty.
|| Posted on 2006-03-29 00:00:00 | by Rokhal | [ Reply to This ] || Anyone who has gone through the laborious process of removing the peel from an orange knows exactly what you are talking about and your description is vivid. Yes, this could be a metaphor for any number of things -- undertaking a particular task, getting to know someone, and so forth. Thanks.||| Posted on 2006-03-29 00:00:00 | by robbie111999 | [ Reply to This ] |