The Green Car­na­tion


Fash­ion is cur­rently pineap­ples and send­ing peo­ple

home with home­made 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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