Monthly Archives: September 2014

Stargazer (Temple of Flowers)

Outer edges creamy, smooth, white, powdered
as the proverbial baby’s bottom,
then edge inward toward the indelicate
flush of happy pink. So many flowers
hold our memories in their names and hearts —
tales and tears, blessings and blood, gods and griefs.

Daisies are the souls of stillborn children;
lilies, the breastmilk of Hera betrayed.
Hyacinth and larkspur are dark with blood
of those whom gods loved and later wept for.
Iris is Mary’s Sword, and it is said
lily-of-the-valley sprang from her tears,

as well as ladies mantle, spiderwort,
sundew, lagrimas de rosario.
Roses are tears of Venus; asters are
the stardust wept down from the night sky by
the constellation Virgo; and lotus
is the bed of the infant Nefertem

when he cried the tears from which we were formed.
So what is it this flower remembers?
The shading of petals edges inward
toward the indelicate pink, then the throat
is speckled with dark red like sun freckles
or beautiful bloody scabs lacing skin.

The baby boy had been beaten with a
wooden spoon to give him reason to cry.
When his diapers were pulled away, they were
spotted with red flecks like the throat of this
lily, and elsewhere powdered soft and white
like the edges of these petals. Stamens

break forth crusted with ruby-gemmed crystals
of pollen. This flower remembers what
the grownup child has forgotten but still
acts out — that breaking bursting forth over
and over again. Oriental is
place, a style both shy and bold, this lily,

the name given to any star rising
just before the dawn and hiding before
the night. Dawn is budding, morning opens
the flower’s silent memory, and dusk
is the spent and faded bloom fallen down
beneath the leaves, thrown away like a rag.

Sometime in 2004-2005, I believe.

Reading Aloud

Thumbnails of a few of the images selected for the UM Library Talent Show 2014.

Thumbnails of a few of the images selected for the UM Library Talent Show 2014.

Our Library System had a talent show. I try, as much as I can, to be supportive of bonding activities at work. I interpreted this as such an event. My first thought was, let’s talk with Alex and do a martial arts demo (ie. Asian weapons). My second thought was, that would mean finding something vaguely familiar of both of us (working from different martial arts traditions), not to mention practice and time I don’t have. SOoooo, that’s out. What’s easy and fast? I have this poetry blog, you see, and I can read. OK, that’s what I’ll do.

What I did NOT know was that they were going to videotape the performances, with multiple cameras on booms, lights, music, the whole shebang. OH MY! Reading is easy. Reading for people I work with is different than reading for other poets, or my friends. Being camera ready is WAY different! So, caught by surprise, but here I am.

FYI notes. All the poems read in this video are on this blog. They are also all sonnets. In the performance, there was a series of photos projected on one of the screens behind me. All of the photos were selected to thematically connect to one of the poems to be read, and were my own photographs. You can find all of them here.

Patrica Anderson @ The Library Talent Circus