Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Eating an Orange

One day, with all the politics and unrest
with all the crime and bigotry I grew tired
So, I went to a coffee shop on Baum past
all the swanky rich folk places on Liberty
and on the way I picked some flowers out of
someone’s world, their POSSESSIVE, and then ate
an orange. I paid the clerk with change, loads of it,
she muttered bitch. I sat, drank coffee and ate an
even bigger orange.
I went to see a building I used to live in, a place I loved
and ate an orange on the steps of those now rich folks
that live there and protested being kicked out for frigging
re-gentrification by leaving my peels in itsy, bitsy pieces
everywhere. INSTEAD of someone’s bigotry towards me
or disrespect for my sex, my age, my physical manifestation
of my ability to gulp down a barbecue burger as if it was
one lone champagne grape, I ate oranges in the department store
oranges in the restaurant when the news came on, oranges
even in the parking lot of Home Depot, as I sat in beautiful
lawn chairs for sale there I can not afford, and an older Black
man sat with me talked sunlight and philosophy and enjoyed
an orange from my bag of dissident peacefulness as well.
Felt left out of love and acceptance as well. I left orange peels
on store shelves, on porches with hummingbirds, beauty I can not afford.
I left orange peels for mean bus drivers
and bank clerks that worry too much about your money but
not their own. Oranges peels in the purse of a woman who
didn’t like me shopping in the same snooty store as her. Orange
peels in conservative books that sprout prejudice as if
no one else but them would read them.
I gave oranges to women with bad children and no husband.
Oranges to children with shitty mothers.
Oranges to people on water boils with dirty sewers.
Oranges to people whose doctors don’t care whether they
live or die, who just want money. Oranges to tax payers.
Throngs and throngs of tax payers. And working poor, workers
without pensions and store clerks that have to greet you like an ass
and chirp, “Howdy.” And WE’RE IN PITTSBURGH!
In the Godfather movies an orange is a symbol some
one is about to get slammed. Here in this poem’s world
it simply means acknowledge love, acknowledge people.
ALL of us. And eat an orange. They and hope are very good things.

Romella Kitchens is a published writer in the areas of poetry and short stories. Poems from her can be found in the online Medusa’s Kitchen, Uppagus, The Pittsburgh Post (multiple times), Rune (Robert Morris University) and many other publications.