The tangled bittersweet looks like my brain
tracing tiny explosions of red and yellow,
tearfully still, like a photograph, I wish I had my camera.
I’d like to paint these rambling brambles so I
hold them in my mind imprinting the details,
for future paint then recall how my friends
made fun of me back in Kentucky. Our star
reporter remarked I was off somewhere
painting the insides of my brain, I was crushed
in youth and never went back, and look at me now,
she was right, and I’m still doing it! I have seized
upon this overgrown thicket’s tumult of shrubbery,
and want to capture it, as if it contains revelations
of my own inner workings or my soul’s progress, already
evoking un-related memories, I have not changed at all.
I render spiraling limbs of interlacing, unrestrained galaxies,
a wilderness symphony of intricate turmoil and elegant blessing,
and, ambling through this rampant jungle,
these electric tendril’d spines, I recall my selfish,
fledgling sexuality, growing in phantasms and determining
most of my atrocious behaviors and uncultivated ways,
and which, clipped the living graph lines forming
between a girlfriend and me, and I miss her.
How would the vine of our relationship have grown?
Like some of the berserk coils of Bittersweet looking like
the desperate path of a trapped fly, or like the
soft arches of Wineberry, reconnecting with earth?
I just stumbled into this jumbled bramble bog
of trailing possibility and collapsing waves
and suddenly I wonder where she is. I feel sure
she is still in touch with him, he was one of our
heroes, a combination of Woody Allen, John Belushi,
and Burt Bacharach, with his rock band, Brain Damage.
I learned somewhere that he joined the Peace Corps,
was living in Sri Lanka and I wonder which of these vines
most resembles the trajectory of his life.
Has he become bitter himself? Is he Nightshade,
exotically beautiful and deadly, climbing up
the jagged teeth of a seeded Virgin’s Bower?
The wind blows, a white cherry haze of sun
illuminates the uproar of Honeysuckle and Russian Olive,
like dancers swaying, anemones pulsing with ocean.
I don’t respond to reunion notices, but I remember,
and I know she would laugh and understand
my mind as Bittersweet, that invasive weed,
in this splendor grove of preposterous brush
Purple Clematis, Virginia Creeper,
(and, why is it that Virginia creeps into everything?)
delicate and furious, wild as spider webs,
in boisterous enthusiasm, furious, turbulent,
gracefully unrestrained and undisturbed.
…“Here, along this strip of herbage strown
that just separates the dessert from the sown,
where name of slave and sultan is forgot
and pity Malmud on his golden throne.
A book of verse underneath a bough,
a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou,
sitting beside me, singing in the wilderness…
Ah wilderness! is paradise now.”