Self-Portrait with Flowershop Idyll and Nihilistic Love

Our love licks salt, cracks fleas. Plucks hairs. It knows the name
of each of its organs. Like this. It, being itself obsessive,
has its obsessives stroke the other’s face, as if to figure out
what it is they stroke. It augments and it dignifies;
it excites. It, being itself tumultuous, has its recusants shelter
from the storm that clatters in the doorway when there is no storm.
Our love’s renunciation. Lawless. Selfish. Hates everything
but itself. Like this. We are lost in the flashmob of blooms.
Attentive to each other, inclined to touch, to fondle,
we have
hands in each other’s pockets, hands in each other’s hands,
talk in each other’s mouth. Our love, being snarly and kept,
misleads the flowergirl; she thinks every word she speaks is heard.
It will, being hungry, have us as victims. It makes its victims not know
how strange they are, strange to others, not strange to themselves,
it has its victims bear perpetual witness to themselves. Like this.
It, being unkempt, doesn’t know, they say, what damage it does,
what grace it earns, advice deletes. It, having a gorgeous smell, is effluvial
as this green gas, has a smell-less smell like certain orchids. It is thick
as baby breath, like tears inside a particle, particled in summer cumulus,
bottomless as flower-baskets, vacuous as flowergirls;
it, being turgid, in such turgid oxygen, among the lily-tongues,
the most extreme of specimens, longcoated, bespectacled like this.

from The World Before Snow (Carcanet, 2015), © Tim Liardet 2015,, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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