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

 

 

Pine

Hand-sized pine-limb tips,

wind-blown to the ground,

crunch and slide underfoot

during a walk after rain,

their needles still green,

a tiny burr already formed

on one stem that, picked up

and snapped, releases

the South’s essential scent.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Southern Produce

Okra

Youth at produce stand

speaks fondly of fried okra;

I know I’m in the South.

 

Home-Grown Tomatoes

Ripe red tomatoes

handpicked from my parents’ vines–

tasty with iced tea.

 

Boiled Peanuts

Eating boiled peanuts

on front porch; friends not from South

just don’t know what’s good.

 

Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper