I want you to live without me,
the time has come for you to spread your petals,
to hop and flutter.

I knew I couldn’t fly
but still I left her, not without regrets
or longing, but knowing I was
so much more than the helianthus
I once was.

I was ready to seek another light.

flash back

We need to make some changes
in your environs.
You won’t be sunning in the garden
with your new genetic sequence.

I was just a slothful sunflower,
but Dædelia transformed me: chlorophyll
to hemoglobin, bilaterally symmetric,
bipedal, my leaves and florets—all reshaped.

She made me human, near enough.

You’ll have a tendency to stare
into the sun. You’ll have to wear
these welding goggles.

I grew upward, climbed through windows
and apologized, took staircases
wherever they were found,
and in the darkness I hibernated fitfully
with horticultural memories whispering
advice that I ignored.
And so the days passed by.

I didn’t make a lot of friends,
but soon enough I swapped
my goggles for Armani’s.

flash forward

I found paid work in a tanning salon:
Salon de Tan,
rented a small suburban box
in Florianópolis, and every night
I gazed into a sunlamp
in heliotropic solitude.

On one passing Sunday
I visited Copernicus Park,
and chanced upon a stand
of sunflowers.

I thought I was discrete
in my fluorescent lemon track suit
with matching jogger’s headband,
but they recognized their long lost kin
and turned themselves to face me.

How far I’d risen in my gyre,
Icarus with UV warning signs.
I’d left Dædelia far behind,
but in a solar flash, I saw her
in my mind
with the one who took my place.

I have no explanation,
no rationale or logic,
but on an impulse I returned
that very night
in a fire-retardant track suit
with a box of matches
and a flamethrower.

I burned those carefree sunflowers
to blackened stubble and floral smoke.

about the sun

artwork waterfall

33 thoughts on “girasol

    • A more creative piece tends be tangential as the ideas flow better than when you are trying to tackle a theme that makes sense only within limited contexts. That is why i like to write the Wallace Variations or more imaginative poetry sometimes, its like there are no right or wrong answers.

    • I love your Variations. 💙 From what I’ve seen in the writer’s group I rarely go to, everyone is different. We have a list of words as prompts and write a piece using them in a half hour, then read out. I never use any of the words, and if I do, it’s by accident. (I don’t know why they put up with me.)

      As soon as I have the feeling that I have to follow rules, I can’t produce anything. I suspect my path will lead me to complete incoherence sooner or later, and I’m envious of people like you who don’t have that hang-up.

    • Sounds like you’re a laugh. I agree with you, but if i can offer some advice, look for balance, to find a thread or threads that offer freedom & a clear intention isn’t all bad. In your case i’d look to either narratives or at least characters you can build on & your readers can get to know. But now i’m doing what stops you producing & i don’t want the oddness you offer to stop so I’ll shut up.

    • ‘Entertaining’ is great. I once drove 200km to search for someone’s missing sunglasses. Turned out they were in the car with me for the whole trip. Hope they enjoyed it. 😎 Thanks Vanessa.

    • I found it in the car when I reached the destination, a small hamlet on the shores of a lake, quite beautiful at sunset. It wasn’t a very happy trip back 😾 but a glass or two of red definitely mellowed my thinking. 😸

  1. Loved this! I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know the meaning of “Girasol” (should have, sol = sun) so I googled it and the images were sunflowers…duh…but I always learn so much from your poems. Thanks!

    • You’re very welcome Clarissa. There is nothing to be embarrassed about because I took the Portuguese word for sunflower ‘girasol’ = turn (as in gyroscope) + sun as you said, and before I used it I thought I’d better check its English meaning. It turned out to be an opal with a reddish glow, but I like the word and its sound so I used it anyway. 😜

      Seat-of-the-pants translation can be dangerous. An embarrassing example for me the other way around was the Spanish word ’embarazada’ which looks and sounds like ’embarrassed.’ It turned out the speaker wasn’t embarrassed, she was more ‘pregnant’ which is what the word actually means. 😳

    • LOL! Yesterday, when I wrote the poem about dragons and used the Gypsy (Romanes) word “draxo” I recalled speaking to an aunt years ago and trying to impress her with my very scant knowledge of the language. I thought I told her I love her but I used draxo instead of drago/dragosta and she laughed and said some people thought of her as a fire-breathing dragon at times 🙁

  2. Wonderful, I really enjoyed this, so creative and very clever. Love the image of, “fluorescent lemon track suit
    with matching jogger’s headband”. Take care. ~ Mia

  3. Oh wow. That packs a punch! I love how you weave a story out of bits and pieces that only hint of logic. I guess that’s why it’s called poetry. It evokes a thing without spelling it out. Right? A brilliant gift you have.

    • Thank you BG. I don’t really know about having a gift, I’ve never really thought that way. We are who we are: I know I enjoy what I do and it’s great to know others do too. 💚

      They say that in conversation more than half the communication is non-verbal. In writing, I think there’s more than the immediate meaning of the words, and more even than symbolism and allegory. In poetry you have rhythms and tones, sounds in your head, and flavors of language. That’s the way it is for me when I read. Sometimes I eat a few pages, but only when there’s nothing in the fridge. 🙂

  4. Amazing. You got me on the ending. My mind was leading me to seeing the “transformed” taking a moment and being still with the sunflowers, but no. Sometimes we just want to torch that which reminds us of our past. Hopefully I’m not reading too much into it, but the ending was perfectly surprising. And I was laughing on the line of “I thought I was discrete in my fluorescent lemon track suit”. Great poem, as usual. I experienced laughter, sympathy, and some shock. 🙂

    • I knew when I reached the ending what had to happen, and it didn’t feel like there was any choice. At the same time I can understand seeing the sunflowers as kindred children, reminders of childhood and innocence. We grow up, we’re transformed, and as Joni Mitchell said (more poetically) there are losses and gains. If I wrote it tomorrow instead of yesterday, who knows? It might end differently. 😃 Glad it made an impression. 🙂

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