Lonely Fruit

First, let me say how deeply touched I’ve been by all the support I’ve received regarding my announcement that, contrary to the rumors circulating on the internet, I will not be reading my inaugural poem at the anticipated unpleasantness in DC on January 20th. While I have always tried to be a poet for all people, I have at times found the overwhelming enthusiasm of the Republican Congressional Poetry Caucus for my work somewhat difficult to understand.

Senator McConnell’s fondness for quoting from “The Museum of Hideous Bridesmaid Dresses” is mysterious — he seems to have misread the references to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. I was touched when Paul Ryan referred to my poem “(The Edge of Madness Is)” in the introduction to his proposed budget cuts, but I remain unconvinced the congressman really understood the point I was making.

And, while the President Elect’s glowing tweet (“Huge!”) about “My Last Boyfriend” boosted sales of my book (Everything Becomes a Poem), I’d like to take this opportunity to state that the man in question is not a Russian dictator, but a recognizable Hollywood mogul.

Again, thank you all for your kind words and thoughts at this trying time. And here is the poem I will not be reading:

Lonely Fruit (20 January 2017)

[For Tammy Faye Starlite]

Orange has almost no perfect rhymes. The only word in the 20-volume historical Oxford English Dictionary that rhymes with orange is sporange, a very rare alternative form of sporangium (a botanical term for a part of a fern or similar plant).

To everything there is a season

And there must surely be a reason

Nothing rhymes

With orange

Except sporange

But who cares?


With acid-angry pock-marked skin

Not even the fruit itself looks good in

A shade best suited to

Prison jumpsuits flavored by

A sweaty citrus bite bigly in need of

A violent and repeated pulping.


Simply an over-rated ripened reproductive body or

Unimaginably lonely loser-color?

This orange is not unlike that kid

In the fifth-grade class picture —

There’s always one —

Nobody will sit next to.


To everything there is a season

And there must surely be a reason

Nothing rhymes

With orange

Except sporange

But who cares?


© James W. Gaynor

Everything Becomes a Poem  available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Hear James being interviewed about the book here.


James W. Gaynor is a poet, artist, editor, and writer. A graduate of Kenyon College, he lived in Paris, where he taught a course on Emily Dickinson at the University of Paris, studied the development of the psychological novel in 17th -century France, and worked as a translator.

After returning to New York, Gaynor worked as an editor at Grosset & Dunlap, Cuisine magazine, Scriptwriter News and Forbes Publications, where he was on the editorial staff of the Social Register. His articles, book reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Observer, and he recently retired as the Global Verbal Identity Leader for Ernst & Young LLP.

A silver medalist in the 1994 Gay Games (Racewalking), Gaynor’s found-object sculpture has been exhibited internationally. He is a member of the Advisory Board of New York’s The Creative Center at University Settlement, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the creative arts to people with cancer and chronic illnesses.

An avid urbanite, Gaynor lives in New York City.

3 thoughts on “Lonely Fruit

  1. And yet…pair it with cinnamon, cloves, and warm wine
    It spices and pleasures and turns quite sublime
    Its oil when infused in the darkest cacao
    Is a treat from the ancient ones – they taught us how
    And circled in ribbon and topped with a light
    The orange christingle reminds us we might
    Like the unrhyming citrus, feel lonely and small
    But we’re part of this world that’s important to all

    Liked by 1 person

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