Friday, June 3, 2016

Ekphrasis on an Old Cucumber


Kissing cucumber.
(Perhaps the most unattractive kiss I've seen in a while).
Yellow like mango flesh.
Spotted with green, nobs of white and brown.
blind and hungry
firm and rubbery
soft at the end, brown as caramel.
Pouting. Duckface. Jowls.
saffron pufferfish
deflating balloon egg yolk
shriveled head.


Warty (acne?)
faint scrapes & scars.

Flower-end. There I dropped my flower.
Little scabby hole. Belly button.
Lateral veins.

Black spots forming.
Withering a bit. Wrinkles appearing.
Sad and deflated, aware that "no one wants me"?

Or secretive and hissing out gassy, quiet
laughter? "I have seeds; nobody knows."

Such an agreeable size and shape. Like something
you'd give a child to hold.
Or grasp in the palm just to feel it.


This cucumber is monstrous and yellow.
That is, in part, because I picked it too late,
and then allowed it to begin decomposition
on a chair in the kitchen
for about 3 weeks.

Unfortunately, most of my cucumbers met this fate.
Invisible or puny green things
that progressed immediately, it seemed,
to a kind of golden yellow horror,
bitter and tough-skinned and seedy.

I've been imagining it pouting and grimacing at me.
I'm trying to see things another way.

Mom says,
"It's too bad they gave up so soon."


It's like the great, damp, steamy nose
of some animal.

Looking at it makes me want to sniff sharply.

White mold is growing in some of the crevices.
In some of the pores as well.

Everything seems to be centering into that
brown rotting end/nose/mouth/nipple.
Curling in on itself.

That festering end is soft as raw chicken,
but the rest of the cuke is firm still.
Tensed up and holding it in, even though constellations
of gray mold are showing,
translucent, through the skin.


Snowy, milky, foaming in the folds

                      is mold.

It is a cascade now, this rotting,
     gaining momentum
        gathering an avalanche.

Tending to disorder -
what happens to a rotten

Do the black spots, like flattened
fruit flies, cluster and darken
all the flesh, until it moulders
into earth?

         Will it reek?

Will this color, approaching "pumpkin",
ever succumb
                       to brown?


Hello, baby. Hello, warthog,
skunk cabbage, kangaroo. Yo,
potpourri lychee.
Witch of the Waste's nose.
Underside of a tongue,
a humpback whale.
Hail, King Midas.
Everywhere gold.


There is a mouth. It has withered
smoker's lips, cracked from
puckering. Sagging from slow

Even the cheeks are sallow, age-spotted.
These freckles use to be cute,
and now look cancerous.

Does death make us rabid,
foaming at the mouth?

Because here it is a settled
dissent, a disapproving scowl, a last
attempt at showing mortality
disgust and then

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