PALMETTO POEM: Strange Fruit

By Damarius Allen, special to Charleston Currents

Strange fruit swinging from those trees
The strangest fruit you’ve ever seen

Picked before it could ripen
Ripped from its home that tree of life
And hanged on another

Shipped across vast oceans to an unknown destination
Bearing bruises and marks of their journey

This fruit sure looks strange

Tear apart the bushel
Separate the groups
Send these fruits to different farms

Leaves falling from limbs broken
Red rain falls from the skies

Passin beneath old oak trees
More fruit hangs in the win

This fruit sure looks strange

Cut open the fruit bare all its beautiful insides
Force it to pollinate so they can bare more fruit  

Never giving those seeds a chance to grow
Entrapped in a skin like prison never to bloom

This fruit sure looks strange

Give the fruit freedom to bloom
but not too much continue to control it
Still hanging from trees

Not their own
On lands not their own

Tell the fruit it’s amazing the best fruit you’ve ever had but it’s still inferior

Give the fruit knowledge but not too much
Water the fruit to fit your needs and wants

Make it harder for that fruit to achieve
Make it harder for that fruit to achieve
Make it harder for that fruit to achieve  

Watch the fruit every chance you get
Tell it
It’ll never be good enough

This fruit sure looks strange

Give the fruit pesticides to kill other fruit so the farmer won’t have to
Harvest the fruit use it till every last bit is drained

Flood the fields with poison
Watch that fruit wither away
Decomposing in the unforgiving summer sun

Repeating the cycle over and over
Till it’s no more

Give the fruit a glimpse of hope
Then snatch it away like the reaper reaching for a soul

This fruit doesn’t swing from trees anymore

Some buried in the ground
Some gone in the wind never to be found

The most beautiful of fruit
But you think it looks strange

Damarius Allen is a twenty-two year old second year fashion design major and poet at the Art Institute  of Charleston. His poem “Strange Fruit” was written in response to photographs of the Slave Dwelling Project.   Photo is from the McLeod Plantation Historic Site on James Island.

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