Kiss The Flowers
Blue bonnet baby nods in the breeze. Tulips for your two lips and pansies like lions lying in wait. This is the garden dear friend, filled with les iris burning in bright violet and yellow like suns, eye scorching suns of squiggling violet and yellow.
I found les iris dear friend, long after the curling poster was torn and crinkled and lost. You wouldn’t believe they were real if you were me and had never seen the real thing before. If you were me you’d think that you’d gone mad, completely, at last, that you were living in a poster, dreaming yourself inside of a painting. These things are real, it seems, or as real as anything else which might not be as real as we like to think.
Dear friend. Dear friend. Did you kiss the flowers? I did not kiss the flowers in the garden, only watched them nod. Much like life, how I only watched life but rarely held it hot and broiling in my bare hands.
Because I was too afraid. I was afraid of getting burned. I was afraid it was too real. Irrevocable.
That was the word I used, after Tomalyn died and I realized I could never take another voice lesson from her again. I had been practicing, preparing for another lesson. Then she died, like Michael died and I thought of them both and said, “Irrevocable.”
But it is life that is irrevocable, is it not? Life which can be played one way, but not all ways, unless you come to the garden, but inevitably you will be cast out and find yourself in just one life. One irrevocable choice.
That is the trouble that I am having, leaves scattering, reeds rattling, stream babbling, gurgling under the bridge. The trouble that I am having, not knowing whether it is all the same or never the same.
Take you, my dear friend, are you really a “you” or another myself? A fragment of my imagination, colors bleeding, blue bonnet blue, emerald green, violet and yellow.
Did I mention red? Red, I am seeing red and did I mention that I was wearing red when that car hit us? I may have died then. Really, I would like to know, did I die then, or was it really Tomalyn a week later, cancer eating her up.
You said that big fish eat little fish and I was frightened because I had always considered you a slippery old fish. I did not want to be eaten by you. I would rather be the one doing all the eating. I would rather be the cancer it seems, seeing red and growing colder and colder, gorged and alone. Anything not to get burned.
Cronos ate his children didn’t he? Swallowed them all up, except Zeus gave him indigestion, didn’t he? Didn’t he? Dear friend, did your two lips touch the tulips?
I know you never touched the rose, not with your lips, or fingers or even with what you liked to call your poems. I know because I guarded the rose, guarded it fiercely, even hid it from the light so that it closed to sleep, tightly clasped, folded in upon itself, a sleeping beauty, a briar rose.
Did you know that thorns have roses? That thorns draw blood and tears just as roses draw poetry? This is the reason that chaste maidens should be avoided, as well as widows and spinsters, they see red. Like I do.
Do you see red too? Red irrevocable? Searing burning red?
Before I came here I learned the art of smiling and crying at the same time. I could speak with a steady voice in neutral, almost cheerful tones, my lips curling up at the corners while a tear fled from one eye.
“Why are you crying?” you might ask and I would confess that it just slipped out, that it was accidental, that things were not properly sealed.
“Are you sad?” you might ask and I would shake my head, even say no, and it wouldn’t quite be lying because by then I knew I couldn’t be sad, I couldn’t be anything at all. Sorrow or happiness might pass through, but there would never be one permanent resident to fill the blank behind the words “I am…”
I was subject to a number of transient states. In addition to conflicting emotions vying for possession of the rose, a number of conflicting agendas might also be present, swirling about the sleeping princess, none master of the house.
Honeysuckle smells sweet whereas irises have no obvious scent. Not like jasmine. Not like roses, not like fish or even cancer.
I was afraid of being afraid. What if being so careful as to suspend all choice and defining action became THE DEFINING ACTION? Would that too not be irrevocable? As irrevocable to have not kissed as to have kissed the flowers, dear friend?
Cancer is a very discreet eater. You never notice her taking those dainty little bites, hiding the chewing behind a red napkin, until the meal is nearly done.
What a cold death, the eating to not be eaten, the hiding indoors to avoid the burning colors of the garden.
I found les iris dear friend, long after the curling poster was torn and crinkled and lost. You wouldn’t believe they were real if you were me and had never seen the real thing before.
If you were me you’d think that you’d gone mad, completely, at last.
These things are real, it seems, as real as anything else, which might not be as real as we like to think. They are irrevocable. Blazing in bright violet and yellow like suns, eye scorching star bursts of color. Irrevocable.