Notes on the Peanut
For the Poet David Henderson
Hi there. My name is George
If you bear with me
for a few minutes I
will share with you
of the 30,117 uses to which
the lowly peanut has been put
since yesterday afternoon.
If you will look at my feet you will notice
my sensible shoelaces made from unadulterated
peanut leaf composition that is biodegradable
in the extreme.
To your left you can observe the lovely Renoir
masterpiece reproduction that I have cleverly
pieced together from several million peanut
shell chips painted painstakingly so as to
accurately represent the colors of the original!
Overhead you will spot a squadron of Peanut B-52
Bombers flying due west.
I would extend my hands to greet you
at this time
except for the fact that I am holding a reserve
supply of high energy dry roasted peanuts
guaranteed to accelerate protein assimilation
precisely documented by my pocket peanut calculator;
May I ask when did you last contemplate the relationship
between the expanding peanut products industry
and the development of post-Marxian economic theory
which (Let me emphasize) need not exclude moral attrition
prehensile skills within the population age sectors
of 8 to 15?
I hope you will excuse me if I appear to be staring at you
through these functional yet high fashion and prescriptive
peanut contact lenses providing for the most
minute observation of your physical response to all of this
ultimately nutritional information.
Peanut butter peanut soap peanut margarine peanut
brick houses and house and field peanut per se well
illustrate the diversified
potential of this lowly leguminous plant
to which you may correctly refer
as the goober the pindar the groundnut
and the ground pea/let me
interrupt to take your name down on my
pocket peanut writing pad complete with matching
peanut pencil that only 3 or 4
chewing motions of the jaws will sharpen
into pyrotechnical utility
and no sweat.
Speak right into the peanut!
Copyright © 2017 by the June M. Jordan Literary Estate. Used with the permission of the June M. Jordan Literary Estate, www.junejordan.com.
June Jordan was born in New York City on July 9, 1936 and attended Barnard College. She was an activist, poet, writer, teacher, and prominent figure in the civil rights, feminist, antiwar, and LGBTQ movements of the twentieth century.
Jordan’s numerous books of poetry include The Essential June Jordan (Copper Canyon Press, 2021); We’re On: A June Jordan Reader (Alice James Books, 2017); Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2007); Kissing God Goodbye: Poems, 1991–1997 (Anchor Books, 1997); Naming Our Destiny: New and Selected Poems (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1989); Living Room: New Poems (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1985); Passion: New Poems, 1977–1980 (Beacon Press, 1980); and Things That I Do in the Dark: Selected Poetry (Random House, 1977).
Jordan also authored children’s books, plays, the memoir Soldier: A Poet’s Childhood (Basic/Civitas Books, 2000), and the novel His Own Where (Crowell, 1971), which was nominated for the National Book Award. Her collections of political essays include Affirmative Acts: Political Essays (Anchor Books, 1998) and On Call: Political Essays (South End Press, 1985).
Of Jordan’s career, Toni Morrison writes, “I am talking about a span of forty years of tireless activism coupled with and fueled by flawless art.”
Jordan received a Rockefeller Foundation grant, the National Association of Black Journalists Award, and fellowships from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
She taught at the University of California, Berkeley, where she founded Poetry for the People. Jordan died of breast cancer on June 14, 2002 in Berkeley, California.
Date Published: 2017-11-10
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/notes-peanut