Bellday Books
Bellday Books
Showing off the Roses
Move slowly,
  see everything, always saw everything, always saw.
More time now,
  pushing muscles pushing back, more time now.
Show plants and bushes,
  dirt bulge like sponge cake round small ceramic ladies.
Then have lunch,
  search for legs, stopped inside my frozen moment,
embarrassed by this stiff,
  slow sadness. Would show you every flower
but you came
  two weeks early, nothing but tight green buds,
Royal Bonica,
  Boule de Neige, Candelabra, Morden Fireglow,
other names too slow to open,
  all have stories after lunch, after cake,
after drift,
  after pink and red unravel.
In that row
  Gold Medals grow. Later we’ll play
Benny Goodman.
  Fifty-three bushes, rose details:
in that row
  Gold Medals grow, First Light, French Lace.
Always saw everything,
  never had to say because I was the good boy,
with the good head,
  the good study, the good reward, the stained substantia nigra.
Without twinge,
  without sever it happened, my secret,
Benny Goodman
  always made me sad. Now the slow squeal exhausts
and the sadder not-roses,
  amaryllis and birds of paradise, forget this other.
Can’t bend to grab
  that weed, would petrify, sound on plastic.
You need that twisted
  piece of metal tool.
Try it with fingers
  while I move the other foot,
roots and dirt.
  Slide my hip toward the walker,
toward the mulberry.
  About the amaryllis, what do you mean
it wasn’t Benny Goodman?
  It was drift, bleak slowness then eruption of tremble,
lava limbs
  blasting from my torso, but you won’t see.
Good boys are slow,
  careful, recommend Benny Goodman.
Dug these
  years ago, Boule de Neige, Royal Bonica.
Someone else
  mows and clips, not Benny Goodman.
Lift my right leg
  near the walker. Go to lunch and yellow cake.
Take my pills
  in three hours. Let’s stop here.
Soon complete
  the trek across the grass and patio.
Only the good boy
  gets sweets, ravish the cake,
flay it with the spoon,
  carefully balance the sweet yellow quiver,
take it to the lips,
  chew it for days, because I am still the good boy.

-Marc Jampole

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