“Fussy” by Malia from her 2019 album Ripe is a song that I would consider poetry. If poetry can either expand or deepen your experience, this song falls into the “deepens” category. It describes personal growth– growing up and learning to leave behind things and people that don’t make you happy, despite the judgement you might face, so that you can be more fully yourself. The song is directed at the people from the speaker’s past who had once held them back, and adopts a tone of peaceful freedom.
The song maintains an extended metaphor surrounding plants and nature, shown through lines such as the repeated “The fruit off the tree ain’t sorry to be where it’s sunny.” Fallen fruit is typically a negative symbol, because it means the fruit will begin to rot, but in this case the speaker subverts expectations because they aren’t at all sad to be distant from the “tree” they grew up on; instead, they’re happy to have left it behind for the better times represented by sunlight. These references to growth in nature, to trees in particular, symbolize the speaker’s growth that is the theme of the song.
Like the food I eat
That comes from the trees
Save flowers for bees
Only take what I need
Just keepin’ the peace
These lines show how the song also uses the nature metaphor to suggest peace and security, like everything in the speaker’s life is now in its proper place, just as every organism has a place in an ecosystem. The speaker is focusing only on what they “need” to be happy, and this mindset has allowed them to exist much more peacefully in the world, without the stress that they used to experience from trying to fit into a role dictated by someone else. The food from the trees represents how their personal growth has become a force that sustains them.
The speaker also explicitly addresses their audience at times, with lines such as “I’ll be here when you come for me.” This line, particularly the use of the very direct “you” pronoun, shows their confidence– they’re at a place in their life where they’re happy and don’t care what others think of them. They also aren’t afraid of these people “coming for” them, both in the slang sense of trying to start a fight or argument, and in the metaphorical sense of the rest of the poem– these people can no longer disturb the speaker, who will continue to do their own thing in this nature-filled happy place.