Various Flowers/Various Names
Perhaps it is best just to sit quietly in a dimly lit room
undress one another…
Shall I sit here awhile and describe the light that falls
through the leaves, but never reaches the ground?
(How there is a part of you still smoldering in the
woods behind my mind)
Is this the season in which you migrate?
However, let’s begin again:
See that rock there? Watch it long enough and it will
(All the treasures of your body are made of snow)
Curious tho, how quickly one thing loses its shape
and becomes another thing; this world of artificial
imposition of form, I don’t know if I like it yet. Some
piece of celestial machinery gone vacant; my factories
only produce mismatched socks, bent dreams, dead
Did I tell you about the war? Where I was? How I hid
the whole time in the basement? You should have
been there, to keep my company. But yes, the war.
No one will ever admit it, but I think we all agree on
how beautiful it was. So much metal against skin, so
much excess bloomed right from our hands. If we
had been smarter we would have offered it up to the
gods, instead of whateveritwasthatwedidwithit.
Back on the road:
Somehow we’d slunk back into our endless discussion
of when a body becomes a corpse, a carcass, then
nothing. “How strange are the flowers that bloom
here,” she said, gliding her hand over the tops of
Fields of endless…wait that reminds me:
When I was a child my parents took me to see the
king. We were blindfolded as we entered the city, our
ears stopped up with wax. I was made to kneel before
the king, he put his hand upon my head and sunk his
fingers into my skull. I know not the purpose of this.
I know only that he took something out, and held it
before me. Much later we were returned to our
home, and told to burn our fields and slaughter the
livestock. There grew out of the ground such flowers.
Everywhere rain the color of nothing…
The city is still there, as well as the castle. Tho the
inhabitants all vanished long ago, or migrated or
changed into something else. Who is to say? The
abandoned cars crouch in on the horizon, wild
grasses poking up through everything. “The
landscape is eating itself,” you said, but I don’t know
if it was to me.
The masses satisfied by time, by being overrun by it,
the strange ticking that can be heard everywhere if
you just sit and listen for a bit. Had they been
marched out to the river bank, and pushed one by
one into the water? That is what the sign said. But the
river had moved, and in its place grew a stream of the
most terrible flowers. All we could say “No more
water, but fire next time.”
The girl with the wooden leg limps along the road.
She’s carrying an umbrella in one hand and has a sack
thrown over her shoulder. We stop to ask her if we
can take her picture, and she politely declines.
“There’s just not enough room for that.” She says,
and I think she might be right.
Later on in the sick hospital through the window
she’ll watch her children play outside. Still later, the
children will be replaced by crows. She’ll tell her dead
husband about it when he comes to visit.
After the rain, I hid out in the forest. That dark and
lonely forest where everything is breathing, where
everything is alive and mysterious. The sun never
made it in. How the earth tasted, black and full of life.
I shoveled it by the handfuls, filling up the places in
me, these places, these never-ending places. What
does one say to that darkness? How does one acquire
the language to speak to name to gather.
I’m not there yet, or possibly I am still there. They
forgot to remove the blindfold.
Don’t go yet, I would like to wander your fields a bit
longer. Sink my hands into your earth. There’s so
much there—and here. There is so much here. I
They had been marched out to the river bank, and
pushed one by one into the water. This is what the
sign said. But the river had moved, and in its place
grew a stream of the most terrible flowers.
The rate of attrition here is so flighty. I comes it goes
without ever really taking anyone away.
This is to say: ruin.
Or a virus. Something.
There is a story somewhere, linked up shadow by
shadow to my other self. The self that spends the
night pacing in the kitchen, flitting between walls
memories and …
Waking up to realize you have no control…
Another self, split off left to stalk the jungle. Always
the rain always the predator.
The house rattles, wheezes, wakes shudders then falls
off again. Back to sleep. Open ended we are,
constantly rewriting ourselves as the afflicted; all the
while we feed poison into the mouse traps.
The first rule you must truly learn to master, is the
one that allows you to laugh
At your hands
When you remember how useless they are
When compared to anything
Like the wind.
Or the senseless things that keep seeping in and out.
What a wondrous thing it is
To be a corpse in Spring!
Oh, how the flowers do bloom from my rib-cage,
how the earth slowly, in its own time, reclaims the
body and transforms it into something like shit.
Or better (worse) yet:
What a wreck memory makes
What are you going to do?
I shall sit here awhile and describe the light that falls
through the leaves, but never reaches the ground.
How there is a part of you still smoldering in the
woods behind my mind
Later on things will be less discrete
Is this the season in which you migrate?
Would you come here and stay awhile? I would like
to stretch out on your beaches comb the depths of
your thighs make the long journey from your ankles
to your hips
It is strange to me that something once foreign is now
essential How all I want is to be near you
Still there is always something missing from the
picture something unseen hiding behind a bush
waiting carefully in the early light
I have lived my entire life with a hole the size of you
buried within me I have learned the true names of
things and how they linger outside of language
outside of this language
I want to connect the void of my body to the void of
your body The ceaseless intra-neural pathways the
pulse flicker and shedding of one body after an other
to be unmade in your eyes
It is the descent into language that makes this possible
After talking to you I return to bed to lie where you
lie to trace the outline of your body with my own I
take in the linger particles of your scent memory I
open with your touch I close my eyes and think
I love your spine how your body is built around it
Its origin somewhere rooted in deep earth but not
this earth some other earth one where light has not
been split from shadow
Do you think that this is music that we are listening
to? Or some seething some tear which we have
confused for music
Still I am not convinced
That night in the rain where you pressed your lips to
mine and whispered something into my ear what
was it? It seem to have misplaced it somewhere Later
I followed you through wet grass wringing out your
foot prints in the grass into my mouth
My pockets contain more or less the same amount of
uselessness from day to day It is important that you
I have a distrust of forms of hierarchy of the
placement of one thought over another Is it rejection
or rebellion or some other -tion I do not know I
know that I would like nothing more than to curl up
on your lap for a few centuries until we have figured
it out how you pull out from me bit by bit each
instance each molecule of my Self Placing each
section in its correct place and how a relationship is
formed between each piece a connectivity or
All the treasures of your body are made of snow. Is
Is there a memory of us slow dancing in the kitchen
at night? No music your arms around my neck then
I want to kiss you here and here and here…
Shad Marsh is a guy who can correctly pronounce .gif, is fond of cats and taking the train. His poems and short fictions have appeared within the ether and without. His chapbook ‘The Commentaries’ is still out there somewhere. He lives in Asheville, NC where he occasionally runs for mayor.