The Green Car­na­tion


Fash­ion is cur­rently pineap­ples

and send­ing peo­ple

home with home

made party favours. Fash­ion fades,

but also, fades are in.

My barber’s stu­dents want

to give each man on earth a killer

fade, to sort the men, to make men sort

of fade away. The pineap­ple plant’s

a bac­te­rio­phage

that hides poorly in the jun­gle cor­ners

of Big Is­land, top-heavy,

kiss­ing li­p­lessly

the black­est sands. In Vic­to­rian Eng­land,

the gift of a pineap­ple

meant wel­come, meant when

I say you may stay I

mean it, I’m not just be­ing

Vic­to­rian about it. Fash­ion is cur­rently

geo­met­ric shapes,

like the fox I home­made out of pa­per.

In Vic­to­rian Eng­land, foxshit

meant el­e­vate your chick­ens.

It is more than okay

to shove air plants in the gaps

of your geo­met­ric shapes. Fash­ion is

air plants. Air plants

are crea­tures there is noth­ing

hid­den about, known

to bloom, though I

can­not de­scribe to you

their flower, nor can I de­scribe to you

the flower of the pineap­ple.

Fash­ion has al­ways been

flow­ers. If this were

Vic­to­rian Eng­land, I’d wear

a green car­na­tion

to ask men if I could show them

my pe­nis. Back then,

aris­to­crats placed para­sols

be­tween sun and skin.

Not sweat­ing was the fash­ion. Brit­tle

and white as king­fisher chins,

women and men

sum­mered in the cloud­i­est cor­ners

of their lit­tle is­land. Four tons

of clay roses

sum­mer in a lawn near my home,

whis­per­ing cities

in­dige­nous into deaf

ears. I wanted to steal one,

a favour to my­self, but

there was sig­nage. A friend of mine

hates this in­stal­la­tion—

the roses take up

space he prefers to take up

him­self, sum­mer­ing in sun­shine,

shim­mer­ing in short shorts,

mak­ing his skin cop­per, a colour

that asks men if they would like

to see his pe­nis. This is a ques­tion

his body is ex­cel­lent at.

This time last sum­mer,

he and I ran across that same lawn

in pur­suit of digital goblins it

was all the rage to catch.

The fash­ion sub­sided, boy

did it ever, but the pro­gram­ming

re­mains: in the grass and on the street

crouch those lit­tle code-ghosts

no­body wants and no­body sees.

You’d need to place, be­tween

man and crea­ture,

a screen. Even I

don’t want to talk about it,

so why do I write it

down? To­day I want a sim­ple life.

I want to be a florist,

talk­ing with flow­ers

all sum­mer, all breathy, or a dandy,

walk­ing in the shade

with a trop­i­cal tur­tle whose shell

I’ve ham­mered jew­els onto,

talk­ing with flow­ers

and fash­ion and eye­brows to men

across the lawn, be­yond the shade.

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