The Adolescence of Tangerines - Ainslie Campbell


Someone claimed that our generation
has ceased to exist as anything
but the poet’s fruit, rotten tangerines.
People with cardboard voices
and eyes like cracked glass marbles
speak in sermonic tones
about the dangers of text message poetry
and staying up too late just to see
what the sun looks like when it rises
over the parking lot of the only Wal-Mart in town.

When these tall marble men in robes tower over us
and pour down condemnation upon our bodies,
we just laugh and lounge and make love
in the church pews, which we treat like
the cracked leather seats of our fathers’ cars
where we played make-believe,
something about how it feels to matter,
to be worthy of our younger siblings.
Our mothers like to take notes during church services,
and are always telling us to eat more fruit
so we hold apple slices in our mouths
like red red smiles.

St. Peter’s scripture dictates that it is right and good
to make bouquets of lilies and leave them
on people’s doorsteps like offerings
to hieroglyphic gods. It sounds a lot like
giving something up, and gods don’t seem to care
about tangerines, so instead we build homes
out of the people of four AM,
fill our mouths with agony
and let our teeth rot out of our faces.

Ainslie Campbell is a senior Creative Writing student, graduating in May and hoping to become a book editor at a publishing company.