Not just a pretty girl with flowers

Here are two poems I wrote in April 2015, during the Baltimore Uprising after the death of Freddie Gray. The Uprising overlapped the Floralia that year very closely.

Dead boys and pretty flowers

If dead boys still became flowers,
every sidewalk in America
would be split with roots.
In Baltimore, Freddie Gray;
in New York City, Eric Harris;
in Ferguson, Mike Brown.
Brown skin and black hair
and white, human bones
lying everywhere, and not even
a chalk outline: Execution
is no murder. O goddess Flora,
is every flower a death?
is every bloom a tragedy?
Narcissus, Hyacinth, Crocus
joined by Michael, Eric, Freddie,
Trayvon Martin standing with
Polydeukion, young Memnon,
young Achilles. O goddess Flora,
help us make sense, help us
to mourn as well as rejoice
in a world where every flower
is an open vulva, is a dead boy.

A ballad of spring flowers

Flora wears a pretty gown
but her feet are in the mud.
Her hair is twined with flowers
but there’s shit between her toes.
Without manure and mud
her flowers will not grow.
She waters them with blood
if nothing else will flow.

You may dance with Flora
but she’ll outlast your art.
Her feet can never tire
unlike your mortal heart.
But she will not forget you;
she’ll bring flowers from your grave
and wear them when she dances
in her next immortal rave.

Do not curse the goddess
for she is not the cause
of deaths that have no answers
and anger without pause.
The Fates ordained that flowers
should come from shit and mud;
but Flora will weep over them
when they have sprung from blood.

Flora gave me fairest flowers

It’s almost May, and all around the blogosphere I hear the yearly cries. On the one hand, witches and pagans of various kinds anticipating the arrival of Beltane, festival of flowers fertility and fucking fun; on the other, Irish and Scottish polytheists and devotees of faery lore decrying Beltane as being utterly unlike Bealtaine, the Gaelic fire festival when wells are dressed and cattle are blest because the Fair Folk are abroad.

And in the middle, your humble blogger, not particularly caring because I’m not celebrating either Beltane or Bealtaine. As a devotee of Antinous and the Roman pantheon, I’m celebrating the Floralia from April 28th to May 3rd, in honor of the goddess Flora, and the Floralia is unequivocally a festival of flowers, fertility, and fun. There were plays and spectacles, gladiatorial games, brightly colored clothes, releasing of hares and goats, throwing beans and flowers at people, and even nude dancing and mock gladiator combats between prostitutes, as well as (no doubt) a lot of eating, drinking, and making whoopee.

I’m going to observe Floralia by (eating, drinking, and) reposting some of my poems for the goddess from my older blog, along with music I associate with the season. To kick things off, here’s our titular madrigal sung by the Cambridge Singers.