Your flowers pull everything they need
out of the ground—even the sun,
suppurating over lusterfancy morning.
Buds: blooms: I am that I am.
with your Christianity,
you know it sometimes matters.
Self-Portrait As Farmer’s Market
I am the sweetest thing
you will ever put in your mouth
I am orange cherry tomatoes
candy colored beets
stalks and stalks
of red yellow yellow red
gladioli I am poesy of zinnias
and cosmos and snapdragon
I am tassel and kernel
of buttery corn on the cob
yellow plum tomatoes
an arm-length English
cucumber I am ready
to bruise peaches homemade
poppyseed bagels I am local goldenrod
honey oozing in a jar
Travel Guide to a Fictional World
To enter the story means a brief love affair,
comma, pause, a subtle shift in your life—
a young woman might be revving, engine
landscape, exaggerated sky. Entertain me
with your mindgames, linoleum needing
replacing, highways of carpet on the stairs,
haven’t we escaped yet, wrecked spouse with
squinting answers, planting Amaranthus
(love lies bleeding) in the garden we tried
Maybe this is when we need the comma
in our topsoil—love, lies, bleeding.
A double shot
of a chapter closed down.
She is the peace
lily, the weeping fig, gumdrop fungus
on the candyshed, a partially sunny day
cut from a scissor sky.
We are still reading, past dusk and into
clover. I am alone with the pages,
comma minefield, comma hillside to hide.
We haven’t finished reading and instead
have fractured the book, fractured its spine.
We are a number of reasons sleep produces
monsters, pencil juggler, wooden poet
on a park bench. We open to new lives,
stem growing underwater, my kind of theory
includes singing, You have a drifting spirit,
love lies bleeding, in the shade the misshapen
flower still blooms.
are love to the lady
with two children in the back seat
and one under the hood.
Humming a wordless tune
forgetting what doesn’t matter any more.
Flowers mean nothing to the rain.
A small child holds the train
of her white gown
as she drives down the aisle
pushing a grocery cart
and low back pains.
To a Giant Allium
I’m thinking beauty parlor
a seventy-something stuck beneath
a dryer’s desiccating wind
I’m thinking swim cap
from my mother’s time
hat atop the wig she wore
after her hair starting thinning
what we thought only a man
could lose and lose
hat with those hyacinth-colored blooms
you could buy if you never ever
wanted what you held
in a vase to droop
and of course I’m thinking
4th of July that time we walked
the lawns of Squibb and Modess
to reach an even bigger field
lay back on our quilt to watch
a little part of the sky once in a while
explode like a lavender Hostess sno-ball
I have a pair of earrings
clip-ons tight bunches six-petaled
and just like this I’m down to one
the florettes I think they’re florettes
tightly bunched there must be hundreds
if two heads are better how much better
six hundred fifty seven? Some stand out
a little further I hate to say it
but like a Grandma
hat and wig those crazy floral prints
like gawking heads from a crowded train
though no train ever quite this purplish
none so completely arrayed
[from Blue Positive (Steel Toe Books, 2006)]
Purple Flower Poem
(Cambridge University Botanic Gardens)
Among the geranium, a rash of purple campanula begins,
scattering like Chinese fireworks through the delicate tan
and yellow tips of saxifrage, encircling a group of bloody
cranes’ bills perched on rock. I want to name these flowers
for you, a litany of colors that begin where there is hardly
any, only the gentlest hint of evening-flush at the throats
of narcissus and sweet william, sharing a bed with verbena.
Deep blue and slightly furry as a concord grape, the salvia
cardinalis burns: color of intense sweetness like wine
we could have with a curry laksa, or cheese— perhaps
a soft brie or kesong puti sprinkled with peppercorns,
or a whole clove of roasted garlic smeared on the slightly
dusty surface of a saltine cracker. I’m reminded
of my grandmother’s room and the smell of her
lavender-water, distilled from the lavandula angustifolia,
whose spears are so rigid to the touch and announce
themselves with such radiant distinction. I want to glow
like them, a field of me headier than a bottle of decanted scent,
unblushing as a recitation of the contents of antique pomanders
tied with silk string. Petals pressed into the cool ivory
of journal pages: delphinium, pasque flowers, linseed and flax;
linum perenne, the soft-hooded acanthus spinosus, purple phlox,
and velvet lupine. Veronica incana, the powderpuff balls
of hesperis matronalis, the ones they call sweet rockets—
clearer than rain, exploding like breath from the furiously
kissed mouth; fizzy like candy stars in the milky sky.
Spring is time for pretty posies
fun to pick for girls & boysies
[Author note: my first extant poem, written for a sixth-grade English assignment]
As you can see, April showers do bring May flowers, and flower poems. Please click each poet’s name above to find his or her solo poetry feature at Escape Into Life. For more marvelous, edgy flower photography by David LaChapelle, click his name!
Other flower artists at EIL: