from Banana [ ]

I’m going to tell you about some of my experiences working in the banana sector261

200 of us crammed into shacks eating boiled bananas
out of empty kerosene cans262

the most gorgeous of all food-giving plants
the banana, is everywhere263
country near the coast
within the tropics where the wild banana

they threw in tear gas

they insulted us and they harassed us
later they put us in a banana container
if they shut you in a container like that then after 10 minutes
the air runs out,266 banana

plantations were gone, there appeared a child
naked, walking slowly267
banana and indigo fields were set ablaze268

the bunches of bananas
were so large
that sometimes it was really difficult for me

to remove the banana flowers
from the bananas at the top of the bunch
I had to stand on tiptoes107

we are not asking

for people to stop

buying pineapples or bananas

but that they demand

respect for labor rights259

to enjoy a banana
you need only274 the banana’s name

it is275 Banana Farmers who276 Nurture and Grow Banana277 Revolution

Banana Worker278 who Cultivates Bananas and is their Light and Glory269

the banana’s name, it is283
Radical Meristems in Banana284 Weapons

The Banana Collectives285 of Banana Regeneration286

O Wild Banana,280 Parakeet Flower
Macaw Flower, Crane Flower
Banana281 of the Right Hand
Amid Thornless Lote Trees and Banana Trees282

the banana’s name, it is275
Banana278 Leaves Around the Bud Unfold
and Banana Blossoms are Revealed279
Oval Shaped, Dark Purple

Bud, Banana Blossom or
Banana Heart289Dug in the Rich Earth
a Banana Head Dropped in the Earth290

in Hopes That Banana Breeders
Will287 Live
For Ever and Ever
the Banana288

Author’s note: References for the footnotes can be found with the chapbook Banana [ ] / we pilot the blood (3rd Thing Press, 2021).

Paul Hlava Ceballos is the recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo, Artist Trust, and the Poets House. His work has been published in the Best New Poets Anthology and translated into the Ukrainian. It can be found in Narrative MagazineBOMB, the PEN Poetry SeriesAcentos ReviewThe LA Times, among other journals and newspapers, and has been nominated for the Pushcart. Born and raised in Southern California, he has an MFA from NYU, and currently lives in Seattle, where he practices echocardiography.