Where the pulp lifts its germ and the sludge of beauty sighs, where the leaf pulls the branch to the breathy earth, where the rind cracks and buds rust into petals, where the clove steams and cinnamon bark spits out cinnamon air, where roots sweat and the earth boils in curds of steaming mud, where the stem draws up the seed and holds it like a lamb to the sun, where flowers rest their animal heads, there, full throated, limp with seed, lush and smiling is Vegetable-Life. To come upon her you must journey through the rains, and sleep through a night of fish smells; there must be a dead man in a hot room, there must be a basket of figs and plums on the pier, there must be no new ship in the harbor, there must be the sound of flowers falling upon flowers, there must be no children swimming in the salt pools. Where the Flamboyant spills into the vulcan dust, where the wild pig chews up the door frames, where the leper kneads his bones, where the sun is stuffed with guns, where the water flows like honey from the tap, where black flies swell in the gecko's translucent belly, where these are, there is Vegetable-Life: The Sultana of the Vine, The Goddess of the Harvest Gone Bad, The Spectrum Swallower. In an ointment of wild saps, ripe fronds and mosses, tumid wheat, and bareley, Abundance pours down over the head, heavy with pollen and in the puce interrogation of the harvest the intellect sprouts leaves.
From Five Seasons of Obsession: New & Selected Poems, by Ned O'Gorman, published by Books & Co. Copyright © 2001 by Ned O'Gorman. Reprinted by permission of Books & Co. All rights reserved.