I’ve been occasionally posting one of the poems from my book, Music from Words. My hope is that some dear readers will buy one or more copies of the book. The best place to buy Music from Words is either from the publisher, Bellday Books or from Amazon or another online book store. You can also order it at virtually all brick-and-mortar book stores.
This time, I present “Liana to Rafflesia” from the section of Music from Words titled “Love Songs. “Liana to Rafflesia appeared in Ellipsis about eight years ago.
The rafflesia is the largest flower in the world, more than a yard in diameter. It is an epiphyte, which means it doesn’t grow in soil, but rather on bark or other surfaces. The rafflesia spends most of its life as a filament of fiber inside the liana vine, then pops up on the liana bark and a few weeks later is this enormous flower. The narrator of this poem is a liana that is in love with a rafflesia.
Liana to rafflesia
And still I love you,
rootless, leafless, stemless parasite.
Your filaments entwine inside me, vegetate,
migrate to my woody skin, form a knot.
The knot becomes a bud becomes a globe
becomes a russet cabbage slowly swelling
becomes enormous leathered flower,
vermillion petals stretch a meter.
Stamen and pistil embrace, create
a white corona at your center
seven splendid days until you shrivel,
plummet from my bark to steamy jungle floor.
And still I climb the lower slopes
in love with you as you deplete me,
as I deplete you, be your rafflesia
and you as my liana, letting me
suck life inside your vine,
complete my blooming
in and on your body.
Our parasitic sport
becomes our need becomes our love.
– Marc Jampole
Originally published in Ellipsis #41 (Spring 2005) and Music from Words (Bellday Books, 2007)