Spraying For Aphids

A fondness for tomatoes is just more lies.
The leaves are ugly,
the stems weak, sagging like a tubercular outcast waiting for her next beating.
And "love apples"? 
Poets are dreamy defectives who should be drowned like cats at the earliest convenience. 

No.
I kill aphids because they are so smug.
They crawl around on their stupid stalks,
fat with sap,
experts on everything except what is that big brick thing with the patio,
what are seasons?
and what garden, what planet?

Aphids have never felt any ache and rush
at the sight of you, undressing.
They do not run into traffic like some inevitable idiot,
talking nonsense to the gorgeous grille that will kill them.
They do not bury their dogs or their children.
No aphid feels unable to contain the moment's misery,
and they don't--wise vermin--hope next time will be different.

And so, stupidly unwilling to bring myself to burn
these poems, 
these pretties, 
these pictures from a shoebox kept like guilty dope in a drawer,
I spray for aphids instead.
I watch them fall, from the noxious cloud,
never having felt or thought about anything at all.

The same heart-drop that wrecked me
at certain suitcases and closing doors overtakes me now as the aphids die.
I realize I haven't changed them,
just stopped their motion.
There will be so many mocking Beefsteaks and Early Girls to give away,
almost begging,
as if they held all my mistakes and desires in their dumb meaty red hearts.

I will clutch the arms of near strangers, piping
"Take one! Take them all!" 
A pathetic madwoman for whom "no" has become an expectation, a way of life, a savagery,
like the gardening so many of us take up.
_________

for Sunday Muse where Chrissa presides, faithful dog at her side.



Comments

Carrie Van Horn said…
Those that cannot feel now never will no matter what we do. This poem is powerful and both hits you in the gut and holds your hand at the same time. I love so many lines, but "these pictures from a shoebox kept like guilty dope in a drawer," really blew me away. You always paint a picture with words making it a complete masterpiece. I love this Shay!!
Sherry Blue Sky said…
I am delighted by that first line! And even more by "Poets are dreamy defectives...." LOL. And then the heart-drop of those suitcases and closed doors snuck up and laid me flat. Wow.
indybev said…
I'm not sure I'll ever feel quite the same about tomatoes! Your poetry, for me, is a bit like a roller coaster. I hang on, desperately hoping I haven't been flung off mid-ride! Your word-mastery is impressive.
C. Sandlin said…
OMG, love this! Those poor aphids...I'll waste a little sympathy on them while I recover from the rest of the lines.
Helen said…
How does my garden grow you ask .... not as verdantly as yours .. running wonderfully rampant with all manner of critters, poets, beefsteaks, early girls and stranger things. Stellar.
kaykuala said…
for whom "no" has become an expectation,
a way of life, a savagery,
like the gardening so many of us take up

One has to move on and not to succumb. It is certainly a bother. Pests are always there, true enough! Gardening certainly is a big fight against a wily and mostly unseen enemy! Great lines Shay!

Hank
hedgewitch said…
This is such a rich series of metaphors, a kaleidoscope of visions, damning, visceral ethereal, cruel, yearning and a thousand other adjectival emotions embodied, that it really makes it difficult to see how the magic show is mounted, but I know magic when I read it, and it permeates every line here, a Voodoo Child,(slight return) circling riffs through a deliberate ritual that is on fire with a spontaneous combustion. Really, amazing and one of your best and I could quote from it so much, but I'll stick to just a few of the aphids, who "..do not run into traffic like some inevitable idiot,/talking nonsense to the gorgeous grille that will kill them..." or that perfect snap of a line "I kill aphids because they are so smug." And of course, the stunning clock-chime of the very last stanza, which feels like an epitaph of these times we are enduring, chiseled on a baffled heart. This is pretty damn impressive, Shay--even for you.
qbit said…
Oh yeah!! Tomato Roundup Soup for the Soul of Aphid Poems Poet as Bug as Bugger All. Spray for us all.

qbit said…
I'm with Hedgwitch on the Voodoo Child.
Truedessa said…
For the love of tomatoes...poets are dreamy defectives...perhaps, we are but, I think our roots grow deeper into the earth exploding with seeds of thoughts.

loved the shoebox part...I think those little bugs try to eat at our souls.

Sioux Roslawski said…
Who knew aphids could be part of a gorgeous poem?

I especially loved these lines:

"Aphids have never felt any ache and rush
at the sight of you, undressing."

and

"There will be so many mocking Beefsteaks and Early Girls to give away,
almost begging,
as if they held all my mistakes and desires in their dumb meaty red hearts."
Susie Clevenger said…
"Poets are dreamy defectives who should be drowned like cats at the earliest convenience." Lord I love that line. We can go romantic about so many things when authentic poetry is such as you write. It hits you in the gut and makes you take a close look at all the idiocy in you you treasure. Sigh, I wish I had a bit of your talent.
I love your portrayal of aphids, poets, and early girl tomatoes, which I never had any luck with. Great poem, Shay!