Startling Poetry: Banana Palace

Banana Palace by Dana Levin

I want you to know
how it felt to hold it,

deep in the well of my eye.
You, future person: star of one of my
complicated dooms —
This one’s called Back to the Dark.
Scene 1: Death stampedes through the server-cities.
Somehow we all end up living in caves, foraging in civic ruin.

Banana Palace — the last

of the last of my kind who can read
breathes it hot
into your doom-rimed ear.

She’s a dowser of spine-broken books and loose paper

the rest of your famishing band thinks mad.
Mine was the era

of spending your time

in town squares made out of air.

You invented a face

and moved it around, visited briefly
with other faces.
Thus we streamed
down lit screens
sharing pictures of animals looking ridiculous —
trading portals to shoes, love, songs, news, somebody’s latest
rabid cause: bosses, gluten, bacon, God —
Information about information was the pollen we
deposited —
while in the real fields bees starved.
Into this noise sailed
Banana Palace.
It was a mother ship of gold.

Shining out between happy bday katie!

and a photo of someone’s broken toe —
Like luminous pillows cocked on a hinge,

like a house

with a heavy lid, a round house of platelets and honey —

It was open,

like a box that holds a ring.
And inside, where the ring would be:
I think about you a lot, future person.
How you will need

all the books that were ever read

when the screens and wires go dumb.

Whatever you haven’t used

for kindling or bedding.

Whatever made it through

the fuckcluster of bombs
we launched accidentally,
at the end of the era of feeling like no one
was doing a thing
about our complicated dooms —
Helpless and braced we sat in dark spaces

submerged in pools of projected images,

trying to disappear into light —
Light! There was so much light!
It was hard to sleep.
Banana Palace.

Even now when I say it, cymbals

shiver out in spheres. It starts to turn its
yellow gears
and opens like a clam. Revealing
a fetal curl on its temple floor,
bagged and sleeping —
a white cocoon
under lit strings that stretch
from floor to ceiling —
a harp made of glass
a covered
pearl —
We broke the world
you’re living in,
future person.
that was always our end:
to break the jungles to get at the sugar, leave behind
a waste of cane —
There came a time
I couldn’t look at trees without
feeling elegiac — as if nature
were already over,
if you know what I mean.
It was the most glorious thing I had ever seen.
Cross-section of a banana under a microscope
the caption read.
I hunched around my little screen
sharing a fruit no one could eat.

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