The Gardenia Blooms and Fades

The photographs don’t lie;

southern beauty in perpetual decline.

The gardenia blooms;

its blossoms scent the air,

but then the whiteness of its petals browns,

and they drop,

decay in the dirt.

 

Likewise, the columns of the mansions stand,

but their white paint peels, houses without lands.

The gardenia blooms;

its blossoms scent the air,

but then the whiteness of its petals browns,

and they drop,

decay in the dirt.

 

There was a land, a mythic one,

but the legends ignore the damages done.

The gardenia blooms;

its blossoms scent the air,

but then the whiteness of its petals browns,

and they drop,

decay in the dirt.

 

Honeysuckle, wisteria, and sweet shrub wait

on the queen of summer in regal state.

The gardenia blooms;

its blossoms scent the air,

but then the whiteness of its petals browns,

and they drop,

decay in the dirt.

 

Sunhats and prom gowns, cutoffs and tuxes,

all the social rituals in redux.

The gardenia blooms;

its blossoms scent the air,

but then the whiteness of its petals browns,

and they drop,

decay in the dirt.

 

The dreams are mostly in retrospect,

futures mired in past regrets.

The gardenia blooms;

its blossoms scent the air,

but then the whiteness of its petals browns,

and they drop,

decay in the dirt.

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

 

 

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Pink Azaleas

The pink azaleas fade the fastest,

their festive petals turning a nasty brown.

All year they’ve waited for their glory moment,

the sudden burst of bloom that makes them

special among the other shrubs,

but their faces once revealed begin to crumple

and decay, so that within in a week

they’re like aging drag queens

holding out for one last show

before saying goodbye to the stage.

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

 

It Rains

Cheap wine in a plastic cup.

That’s what things have come to,

as I sit on the porch alone

in the overripe loneliness

of an endless summer afternoon

punctuated only

by a pop-up thundershower,

and ponder the inevitable decay

represented by a neighbor’s

flag, its stars hanging heavy,

its stripes tattered at the ends.

 

There’s a season for chasing dreams,

a time to pull away

from  the dead ones.

The hawk still circles

up toward the clouds,

but the squirrel lies

car-flattened in the street.

 

The rain grows harder,

washing in on me,

but I still feel unclean,

and if there’s meaning in it,

I don’t know.

 

Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper