Plastic flowers: A poem

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Hannah Cooper/Senior Staff

I like flowers and sunshine and sweet satin dresses,

I like blue skies and ocean tides and the seashore it blesses.

Poetics of summertime fill sweet in my chest

Of hilltops and valleys and blooms which they dressed,

And I’m wondering now if these words do sound

Like a collection of marbled sea glass that I found,

Pretty and clinking with musical charm

Superficial appeal incapable of harm.

Superficial, shallow, just like the grin

That graces these faces of nothing within.

Oh but summertime, yes, the bees are so soft —

But who am I kidding. You’re already lost.

Let me start over.

I really do like flowers, but mine always die,

I cannot keep them alive no matter how I try.

I really do like sunshine but I haven’t seen it in so long

The last time I felt it’s warmth was in the lines of a song

Played on the radio so many times

it lost its meaning and made me despise

The lyrics that once spoke so well to my heart

Then again, it’s an organ now broken apart.

Not to be depressing, I’m sorry, I really should go,

I really don’t want to bug you or have you truly know

That I’ve stopped buying flowers and stopped seeking the sun

I’ve finished the race, and really, no one has won.

Because I’m burned-out, I’m numb, I’ve become so hollow —

No, I’ve said too much, and I hope you don’t follow

Because I can’t stop the words now, and I’m crying too

Let’s — let’s change the topic, back on to you!

How are you doing, are you OK?

Me? Oh, me? Well what can I say.

The sun is lovely and the flowers too,

Though the petals are plastic and affixed with glue.

They cannot die if they aren’t alive

Maybe that’s all you need to survive

To kill your mind and put on a face

Your heart cut out and beat replace

With quiet stillness, a polite sweet smile —

Oh yes, let’s meet again in just a little while!

For I can be plastic flowers, lovely and bright,

But if you look closely, it’s possible you might

See that all of that is terribly fake

And how my fingers do tremble, my body shake,

Overtrained, overworked, body falling apart

Around the standing shadow of a makeshift heart.

My muscles always ache, and my skin will split

Around the knuckles and joints I repeatedly hit

Against leather, against concrete, well at least I can FEEL

At least I know that within the pain, I am REAL.

Wait wait, oh no, I’ve — I’ve done it now

You can’t think about this I won’t allow

You to know so much, no, this isn’t me

This isn’t the one you were supposed to see.

You shouldn’t know how I tear myself apart

Burn down my own bridges and light my own heart

That once was ablaze with passion and life

Now simply smoulders on the end of a knife

I drove through it just so I could finally say

With an empty sort of echo

Yes

I’m “OK.”

So let me start over, please, one more chance

To convince you I’m the lead in this dance

Yeah, I’m doing great! In total control

I feel great, feel alive, feel totally whole.

Have you seen the weather? It’s cold, but it’s so nice,

Though I do miss the flowers under wintertime ice.

The smell of blush roses is simply the best!

I like the flowers and the sunshine and … well, you know the rest.

Contact Olivia Staser at [email protected].