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FIGS

are trending,
apparently.

Image by Joanna Kosinska

I hadn’t thought about figs for a while

until Google Trends returned results for the search term, inspiring me to write a poem about the fruit. 

ficus carica

like the quince tree

she came / with the property,

seeds / sown long ago.

A few months ago, I discovered Google Trends while racking the search engine for content ideas.

Usually, I just write about whatever I want in unashamed fervour. However, since I had just starting writing for my university's student press, I figured it was time I start paying more attention to the headlines.

I quickly became aware that I had no idea what I was doing. First, I googled "trending story topics," and "trending types of stories," but most of the results were geared towards genre fiction writers, of which I am not. 

Hoping that I had spent enough time on literary Twitter to get a hint of what's up and coming, I started scrolling. Given that I mostly follow local writers, editors, and publishers on my personal account, my timeline was nothing but ads and politicians at 4 am.

 

I thought I might have better luck browsing from the various magazine profiles I'm currently logged into. I thought wrong. One was rampant with promotional material, and the other switched rapidly between all too entertaining personalities and genuinely depressing poetry.

 

Someone has to be tweeting something relevant to my search, I thought. I just wasn't seeing it. So, in one final attempt with my social media resources, I checked the hashtags for anything vaguely related to either storytelling or slices of life that might interest me. I needed to figure out something, whether it was the style or the topic. Did I find my next pitch in a tight string of title case words?

Nope. Instead, the pound keys only stood by my greatest fear.

Sports.

As I attempted to crawl from beneath my rock, I realized that I couldn't even point to anything that had happened recently in pop culture. After spending all summer working—between my three graveyard shifts as a support worker, two days at my 9-5 non-office job hauling boxes of books on a horse ranch, a sprint of graphic design, and a neverending web project—the last event I could recall was when that submersible imploded.

 

I couldn't even think of what was trending fashion-wise. My most likely lead was from Shein, based on their somewhat recent collaboration with Carebears. Still, although it felt like yesterday, I knew time had passed because I had already played several rounds of hide and seek with the belt of my Carebears bathrobe.

(Yes, it hid in the laundry basket every single time.)

So, I went back to Google with a newfound sense of urgency:

what is trending right now

This search pointed me towards celebrity drama which, honestly, wasn't dramatic enough. Sometimes hot goss' can be just as thought-provoking, but even if there was a story there, it wasn't for me to tell. 

Surely, Buzzfeed couldn't be the only resource on current global cultural phenomena. I then asked Googled what kind of tools it had for discovering and learning about trends, and it told me it had something up its sleeve. 

Most of the keywords Google Trends listed involved technology. I didn't really care for Bitcoin, and I was already planning to tackle AI at a later point. I browsed all the different categories I could, including the culinary ones. That's where I first found "figs" online. 

My thought process wasn't too crazy at first. Is it a seasonal thing? I wondered. Thinking back to the five-foot fig tree at my childhood home, I figured that sounded about right.

 

I remembered slipping away from intoxicated festivities, using the mid October petrichor as cover so I could sneakily pluck a few fruits from our backyard ficus before my mom could finish gathering them all in freezer bags for some delicacy she wouldn't make for months.

By this point, I had already started writing a poem in my head. Still, I had to confirm my hypothesis. I looked at the trend's timeline, but "figs" weren't trending the same time last year. The trend was brand new.

Maybe it's the charcuterie boards, I thought, but it seemed like everyone had learned that word during the pandemic and that its usage was dying down.

I knew my last guess was a long shot, but I did consider that it could be connected to Twitter user @F1ggyPudd1ng, a cryptic comedic profile I'd heard about via @whatsinthekoolaid on TikTok.

she lived to edge our herbs;

beauty slept drooling

sap on fennel pillows.

unbaked quince left fuzz

in mouth & memory, yet

i craved all fruit forbidden,

fertilized her with flower-

power potions. a temptress,

she knew my tricks & tried

 

to say she’s self-sufficient,

symbiotic, our wasping

of the wrong kind. sinners,

 

we fed her summer’s ashes,

shame-stopped in breezes

she commandeered. heart

 

breaks brought her back,

it seemed, as if driven

by fire, catastrophe,

she flourished with desire.

AI illustration of a fig fruit

lemon balm meadows 
crept from compost,
suddenly invasive—

unto her, even unripe
with candies like card-
board-flavoured-foam.

Image by Auguste A

drunk on tannins i showed her off

then sheltered underneath

her neighbour / a swingless set.

in damp soil

in another

 

 

 

this rusted A-frame opened 
bean fort curtains 
to a bed of

parsley,

sage,

rosemary and

thyme

 

 

 

i planted

lips

upon

a boy, felt

power

first

Photo by Auguste A on Unsplash

But why are “figs” trending?

Finally, I clicked on the search term. And to my surprise, the trend had nothing to do with the fruit. 

Instead, it was a clothing brand: FIGS.

FIGS Scrubs is a clothing company based in the United States. Apparently, wewearfigs.com had been gaining traction, and that's all it was. 

Slightly disappointed that society was not, in fact, finally coming to appreciate the fruit as much as myself, I continued writing the poem as an ode to figs.

 

But imagine if I hadn't have clicked on the link. I would be spreading totally false information!

Plus, I wouldn't be telling this story now. 

one has teeth

to sink within warm

tendrils / newton can’t

compare; thalmus

to imagine fairy

fingers caress / her

heat swollen, striped;

and temporarily, security

to let canines

graze skin unstripped,

ai figs realistic.png

drink

juices

dry.

Illustrations via Imagine AI

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