Produce Poems
Doug Tanoury


I stood before a pile of potatoes
In the grocery store today
That somehow strangely seemed
To awaken memories in me
For they were large
With irregular bulges and scars
With a sandpaper texture
Dirty and rough
Like my father's hands

And in the middle of crowded store
I stood alone touching the potatoes
Running my hands over their skin
Gently stroking them
Caressing them
Cupping their roughness and
Holding them in my palms for a long time


It is tear shaped for this fruit is the face
Of the battered wife whose
Bruised and beaten flesh
Is ebony with traces of cobalt blue
Like summer nights just after sunset

Winter Pears

On a wooden swing hanging
From the highest bough
Of his backyard pear tree
We learned to fly at the
Speed of dreams on summer
Afternoons, leaning back
And gripping rusted
Chains and looking far up
Into thick foliage that hid
The dark limbs that held us.

From the tall tree that grew
Small winter pears
I'd fly with him across the
Summers and briefly
Forget for a moment
My parent's marriage,
The family finances,
My sister's sickness.
In quick motion sweeping us
Upward, we learned to fly.

Before I knew of fallen fruit
Or how spring winds
Waste pear blossoms,
I knew him. He flew
Unfettered and without
Cares where dreams
Grew slow like winter pears
On the highest branches
To ripen and fall only
In late summer.

Today, under a pear tree
Drooping with fruit
I dreamt him here.

Sweet Spanish Onions

Not white not red not yellow
But sweet Spanish onions that I seek
In the bins of the supermarket produce aisle
Looking for the color
That is the sepia underside of sycamore leaves in November
And the tan leg and upper thigh of a woman in July

Felix Culpa

I walk through an open-air market
On Saturday mornings in the Spring,
As I did with my grandparents as a boy,
And with my father in years before, but now
I hold her hand as we cut a path through
The crowds past stalls where farmers,
And flower peddlers bark goods and prices
With voices echoing from a cathedral-like
Clerestory and high ceiling.

The market is a long awning with red brick
Entrance arches in the Roman style,
Creating a patchwork of light and shadow.
We steal large purple grapes to feed each other,
And pick strawberries as big as apples from
Cardboard flats and hold them up to each
Other's mouth tempting one sinful bite.
I whisper chewing stolen fruit: "Felix Culpa"
She laughs and pushes another grape in my mouth.


Her breasts like little pears were
Sharply pointed at their tips and
Resembled the farthest horizontal
Peaks of twin parentheses

With Oranges

I thought today of her awakening
Her movements a shadow
In the predawn darkness
A phantom floating
No more than a chimera of shape
A nude that Picasso might sketch
No more than a few sloping lines that curve
Toward soft inclines and rise gently
Toward feathered intersections
And fall toward full divergence
Backlit in silhouette from the bedroom window
Her breasts and buttocks
The simple elegance of lines in
Erotic waves and fluid motion
And as she moves near
I smell the citrus of orange slices
That is the fragrance and scent
That forms a perfumed wake as she passes
And the "sh" and "ch" sounds of her dressing
Are a bird's wings flapping
A slight rustling of fabric
A finch in the shrub
I am the slave of her motion
The serf of her smells
The prisoner of her naked beauty
Who wakes each morning in bondage
To the changing shape of curves
To the texture of delicate sound
And a still life with oranges


Bananas on the
Kitchen counter have grown
Spots like leopard skins


Picked tomatoes ripening
On the kitchen windowsill.
Neatly lined against the glass
In descending order of size.
Always gives me a warm
Feeling of home.
A reminder there's a woman
About, a woman's touch,
A woman's caring,
A woman's patient waiting.
Pale pink growing toward
A deeper scarlet will mark
Them for a special salad
Sometime next week.


Two coconuts on the kitchen counter
Awaken primal urges in me,
Lying one against the other,
Looking somewhat feminine,
The rounded curve of breasts
Or buttocks, picking them up
With hands stretched open
To see how much can fit within
My grasp, weighing each with
Gentle lifting motions, and
hearing the slight slush of inner
Juices. Ah, coconuts, call up
A savage hunger.

Autumn Inside Me

I pick a pear from a branch
Hanging low
And take a small bite
Just to test the taste
It is sweet
So the second
And all subsequent bites
Are larger

It is cool after sunset
I no longer walk
Barefoot on the blacktop
In comfort
It is a marble floor
Against my soles

I eat the pear
Seeds and all
And only the stem is left
To twirl between thumb
And forefinger
As I wish
I had plucked two
From the tree
With branches
Hanging so low

I walk in darkness
Just after sunset
A remnant of light
On the horizon
Is the color
Of fall nights

I have tasted the season
On my lips
Across my tongue
And there is no doubt
It is autumn
Inside me

Las Sandias

In Rivera's painting melons are
Sliced and resting ripe crimson
Bordered in bone-white rind open
And inviting on a green wooden table

That is the matching color of the melon
Skins themselves and veins of black seeds
Dot through the meat and accent its
Redness and deepen its lushness

The one piece bitten waits for the unseen
Hand that set it down to pick it up again
And lift it to lips and tongue that are the
Matching color of the melon's ripeness

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