Monday, July 2, 2018

Pouring Orange into GRAPE and Grape into ORANGE Forever


Muriel Rukeyser

After you finish your work
after you do your day
after you've read your reading
after you've written your say –
you go down the street to the hot dog stand,
one block down and across the way.
On a blistering afternoon in East Harlem in the twentieth
Most of the windows are boarded up,
the rats run out of a sack –
sticking out of the crummy garage
one shiny long Cadillac;
at the glass door of the drug-addiction center,
a man who'd like to break your back.
But here's a brown woman with a little girl dressed in rose
    and pink, too.
Frankfurters frankfurters sizzle on the steel
where the hot-dog-man leans –
nothing else on the counter
but the usual two machines,
the grape one, empty, and the orange one, empty,
I face him in between.
A black boy comes along, looks at the hot dogs, goes on
I watch the man as he stands and pours
in the familiar shape
bright purple in the one marked ORANGE
orange in the one marked GRAPE,
the grape drink in the machine marked ORANGE
and orange drink in the GRAPE.
Just the one word large and clear, unmistakeable, on each
I ask him : How can we go on reading
and make sense out of what we read? –
How can they write and believe what they're writing,
the young ones across the street,
while you go on pouring grape in ORANGE
and orange into the one marked GRAPE –?
(How are we going to believe what we read and we write
    and we hear and we say and we do?)
He looks at the two machines and he smiles
and he shrugs and smiles and pours again.
It could be violence and nonviolence
it could be white and black          women and men
it could be war and peace or any
binary system, love and hate, enemy, friend.
Yes and no, be and not-be, what we do and what we don't
On a corner in East Harlem
garbage, reading, a deep smile, rape,
forgetfulness, a hot street of murder,
misery, withered hope,
a man keeps pouring grape into ORANGE
and orange into the one marked GRAPE,
pouring orange into GRAPE and grape into ORANGE forever.


  1. 1)in a comment on the ecopoetical review/essay at the la review of books you link to, alan contreras states

    A great overview of two books that I will order, many thanks. For readers of poetry for whom the natural world, that distant field, is not their accustomed habitat, I suggest John Felstiner's Can Poetry Save The Earth? A Field Guide to Nature Poems (Yale, 2009) as a useful source. It is essentially a sampler of the work of a wide variety of "nature poets." It includes few if any poets of color but has a good selection of women poets.

    1a)there is a bit of ambiguity in contreras's reference to 'two books i will order' - it seems to me there are three he might mean which are mentioned in the piece

    )Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field

    ii)Recomposing Ecopoetics: North American Poetry of the Self-Conscious Anthropocene

    iii)Remainders: American Poetry at Nature’s End

    2)and speaking of ambiguity, the author of the review/article is described using the gender-fluid plural possesive pronoun

    "they will serve as assistant professor"
    "their writing has appeared"

    2b)their photo, however, shows what appears to be a youngish white man with facial hair

    2c)on the basis of appearance, i would assign them to the second category of adult age groups

    i)young adult
    ii)still young
    iii)not so young
    iv)you look wonderful

  2. Obama supporter in a nutshell: vor 21 Minuten
    "Tim Geithner is a smart and decent person. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he presumably was unaware of what was going on in the Mariner weeds of Warburg Pincus .

    Now that he knows, he must either resign or have the courage to shut down Mariner and make good its victims.

    If he does not, he has betrayed President Obama and the values he received from his family."

  3. Perhaps too hasty, for, indeed, the Rama has advocates whose views range biggly:
    vor 1 Stunde
    "I voted for Obama twice and have no regrets. However, it seemed that some of his appointees were not ideal. I always thought Geithner was a sleazeball: thanks for proving it."