Chimera Song Mosaic
Sunday, March 20, 2005
I'm worried I didn't get the right kind of bulbs, the forcing kind, because the stalks haven't yet escaped their leaf sheaths, and the flowers haven't yet opened. Still, I can't wait to smell them. I can already smell them a little.
Here is my hyacinth poem, written in Montana, where I first started growing hyacinths. The poem came out in an issue of Pierogi Press (volume five, Spring/Summer 2000, edited by Susan Swenson). I haven't seen Pierogi Press in a long time, but I should look for it. It's based in Brooklyn.
I won't wake, but be awakened--by a call,
or hyacinth, or heat. My feet don't move
they scull & skim like silvered needles.
I'll bind them, use my arms when I swim the ocean
at the level beneath just breathable
oxygen. Surrounded by a rare reticulum
of paths--so many wormholes. I tried to knit
my lungs in air too thin, too dry to wet
my tongue. I tried to clean the green pith from beneath
my nails. I have smelled hyacinths in glass jars,
learned their obsequious musk, prayed
the dusty crystals of their petals
until their husks were under my skin,
the prickly, the feverish, miserable poisons.
At low air, I once pruned and pinioned my lungs.
They lapped the briny tonic, were stoked
in heavy oxygen. In the front yard, elephant
ears dip like waxy parasols beneath sterling
beauties and climbing blue girls,
& the smooth, thick fingers of st. augustine
cool in the wind & the sun goes down, again
I am in the shade of my own planet.