Black Tulips Grow Best in Missing Gardens
Places lost to us or places we go to do our losing,
mourn our lost. Statues there, and on good days
they’re not us. I say it but I don’t mean it—not today.
I’ve hurt myself at least three different ways
and I’m missing nine-hundred things or more.
I lost my rent check, my willpower, my way.
I’m missing the sycamore, the ill-love
at the root of it, the someone who told
me if you rub the bark, it releases
the scent of vanilla. A someone to magicize trees,
to see features: each crease on that old man’s face
risen true from the oak. The someone to see the dice
of expressions on faces framed in windows
from a faraway train. (His voice the only voice
that makes me cry.) I’ve hurt myself three times
today and counting, but nothing like memory:
the bamboo fence, our saint-rabbit’s grave
robbed, the dainty-bones gone and what gave
anyone the right to take them away? The painted stone
we placed there to mark the place--gone
too--and who knew how cruel any one
season might be? I miss it. Most of all on days
like today, where the snow follows sun follows snow
again and I don’t know if what I’m missing
is what I miss or the other way or if I’ve just braced myself
as the tulips have closed their mouths before they can say:
You invited us. Why treat us this way?
The B.T. Encyclopedic Entry on Longing
It isn’t what it used to be, back in the day, The throngs of shadows from the tetradactylic sky made us uneasy, reminded us of the shapes of Things-Before: four score and so many years ago, we longed richly, longed like the longers of old. Consider Longfellow, thus named for his rhymed-yearnings. Longfellow knew a good longer when he tried one, the bouquet of it just so, and the good legs it hung down the sides of a wine glass. Alexandre Dumas, a longer like no longer. And Proust, and so on. These days, no longer is a good longer. Better no impact, be able, as my friend, Eliot says, to insert some platypus lasagna anywhere and lose nothing and when I speak, Friends, of monkey juggling, let me say that it matters not whether I am inferring to that unkind sport of primate-as-bowling-pin or if I mean to say that a monkey steps on a stage and spins four chainsaws in the air, three torches of fire and we all applaud. The juggler, the juggled, nevermind. We’re in the midst of defining (and by defining, I mean dismissing,) longing as the plaything of mortals, of the tender-hearted, the bleeding hearts, the hearts-on-sleeved who hurt when they want a thing, love a thing, lose a thing. Longing is for losers and we’re beyond that sort of thing.
Black Tulip Hour at Our Cottage
If a time were a place then this
would be utopia. We might be
married, our cottage with its grass
roof keeping the weathers audible
but in their place. Our place
is daily and each other,
where flowers can be soot-dark
as the throw-pillows of charcoal
briquets we Sunday-grill
our garden’s skewered harvest:
the sexy tomatoes in their sheaths
of olive oil, their oregano trinkets,
the cavernous peppers, hollow
and hopeful, and the yellow squash
discs of suns within suns and blooming.
Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis' first book, Intaglio, was published by Kent State University Press in 2006. Her chapbook, EMUseum, a collaboration with Caleb Adler was published by Dancing Girl Press and a collaborative chapbook with Cynthia Arrieu-King won the 2011 Dreamhorse Chapbook Prize. Poems have appeared in Anti-, Boston Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern & Hotel Amerika. An associate professor at Columbus College of Art and Design, she is the faculty advisor for Botticelli Literary/Art Magazine. Along with Kathrine Wright, hosts www.sweetlydisturbed.com
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