I read a poem in which the writer said that people who write about flowers are colonizers, which I think makes me a colonizer. I wish it didn’t, but she has a point. The clunky prism through which my soul is funneled fits the bill- white, heterosexual, non-disabled male.
My worries are abstract. My ability to experience routine existential crises is a luxury, an opportunity granted to people who do not have to confront racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, and every other hue on the spectrum of targeted hate. There are writers who spin poetry from pain I will never know.
Flowers are an easy target because they are beautiful. The purple ones near me right now are, indeed, quite lovely, and to write about them is to try and colonize your heart with my conception of beauty, the way the pollen uses bees to gently colonize the flowers’ off-white pistils. Colonization is everywhere, I guess, in poetry and in nature. These thoughts will scatter in the wind, find some place to merge with others, and in doing so, become something more.
Is that not in part the aim of a colonizer? More. Always the need to do and be and obtain something more, something not innately one’s own. Sure, I consider doing away with flowers, though inevitably I would find some new symbol to appropriate. Perhaps it is worth turning the tables on flowers with a reminder that soon they will be dead, radiating the pungent, foul breath aroma of rotting organic matter.
If I could clarify one thing, though, to be fair,
I write about flowers not because they are beautiful
but because of how often I am unable to see their beauty,
how often I view them and see them as nothing more
than reflections of my inner emptiness and discomfort.
Writing about flowers is an attempt to salvage joy
from the joint wreckages of depression and anxiety.
I write about flowers because I am in pain,
and pain is a blind bridge between all souls.
Before these flowers die, then, perhaps we can
rip off their petals and braid them into a
makeshift rope, tie together pain that,
combined, might make an understanding
more beautiful than flowers.