In my part of Pennsylvania, the Dame’s Rocket is out. On various roads/ I zip by small waves of it on rolling hillsides/ the whites and the pinks and the subtlest violets cresting and capping before they crash down onto the country road in a heap of beauty I always seem to miss. I always manage to pass the scenes, no matter what, as the waves are just breaking/never right after they’ve broken: when the damn road would be flooded with petals and stems like a casket in the old days/ in the parlor/ to mask the stench of death and decay.
Spring’s green here is lush and deep. The flowers of Dame’s Rocket stand out radically. It is a natural pairing of such enormous power that I sometimes find it all hard to believe, that the biology itself, that forces of dirt and water and sky and light could all paint a masterpiece so immensely satisfying and yet so… common.
The plants are abundant. Down the road, up the lane, wherever I go/ there they are.
But, soon they will be gone- and with their disappearance- a somewhat insolent reminder that all is temporary. And that everything is hardly forever. It pisses me off. First, the eastern redbud trees explode the pink insides of their veins all over the hilltops and creek bottoms and the spring announces itself with some sort of electrified grandeur and I am rendered breathless, astonished. In my older age, I snicker at the reality of it all. I used to smoke cigarettes in the skyscraper wind tunnels of scattered metropolis across a 10,000 mile stretch of Earth. Now, I nudge a weathered Honda up and down the exact same roads/ passing the same places/ considering the same farms and fields and barns and distant front porches and faraway kitchen windows from a local distance that both welcomes me and makes me feel at one with a much smaller piece of this world, but also shuts me out as all but a mere visual witness/ my presence forbidden in the rocking chairs of places that have never welcomed me to approach directly. And never will.
Why do these wildest natives, or these Cezzane-ish natives, show up just a short time before they slip back into the omnipotent green of summer, when everything is hot and still, melted emerald jelly dripping down off of all the trees, off of all the dark forest edges out past the creek and off behind the outbuildings and along the roads and in the isolated slashes of disconnected woods where I take the recycling. 5pm bugs that sound like hissing power lines. Sun sparks from a fleck of broken glass. The cool dark hollow of the newly emptied aluminum can hole. I could climb in here if I wanted to. I could squat off to the left of the metal door and hide in here completely unnoticed when people showed up here to dump their crushed and empty cans of Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Mountain Dew and organic black beans and Busch Light and microbrews and tuna fish.
I could scare the shit out some old Christian farmer as he throws his cans into this abyss. I could pop out of the dank and just scream at him as loud as I could:
He could die. I could end up standing there over him laying dead on the ground, I guess. Or I could get hit too. He could slam me with a sunbaked loaf of wrinklefist and I could go reeling back into the can with my ears ringing and my eyes fluttering. Blood worming down out of my nose as I sit there in the salad of empties. I imagine him racing back to his truck to grab his pistol under the seat. At long last: a real bonafide reason to shoot a man in the chest.
I’d deserve it too, honestly. I mean, what the fuck was I thinking? You don’t do that kind of shit. You don’t scare another person just because you can/ just because it might fill some kind of erratic void in your own soul.
Imagine the Dame’s Rocket bobbing, weaving, ever-so-slightly, in the faintest afternoon breeze. Growing up out of discarded grist dirt. Growing up out of old construction sand dirt. Three feet high, dressed in Easter colors, like Victorian church girls huddled on the side of the road, staring down at a dead cat, it’s head smashed in with a rock that looks like the crescent moon laying there in a small cracked pond of baked blood.