Anything but—

Carnations never garnish the caskets of kings

But the flaccid sprigs serve well

As the empty promises of thieves

The half-hearted perianths

The pastel stalemates posing as foliage

Plucked by idle hands in the dead lands

Of can’t manage sincerity

The leafy little demons

The roughage of recidivists

In their much ado-about-nothingness

Clutched by teary-eyed ingenues

In darkened confessionals

Carnations call for the encore

Of desperation’s requiems

He loves me, he loves me—

Not with these serrated edged dimwits

The redolent little villains

Arsenal of pitiful afterthoughts

Be still, bare minimums

Quiet down, subsidiary stigmas

These perennial dissertations

Distinctly lack citations

Carnations placate unremarkable fates

Riling the immutable empress in me

I grow incredibly restless for ranunculus

I plead emphatically for poppies

For the fugue state

Subsequent to opium’s kiss

For vein’s inundated with nightshade’s daze

I unfurl for the frenzy of foxglove

For the stamen’s bliss

Filling up my piston cup

Laid in tufts of clover over and over

I beg for begonias on bruising knees

For the intimacy of Irish roses

I whimper like winter jasmine

For love fallen and petals shaken

With a mouthful of pollen

I ask you for these, for anything

Anything but—


| a. duncan, 2019 |



{ featured artwork by the incredible Pierre Schmidt aka drømsjel | }

Posted by

Amor et melle et felle est fecundissimus || Love is rich with both honey and venom

92 thoughts on “Anything but—

  1. Another wonderful piece, April! Such stark contrasts in this – between the bitter rejection of carnations as a feeble gesture of love to the yearning for other blooms and their hidden intricacies – you’ve expressed it beautifully. ‘Subsequent to opium’s kiss / For veins inundated with nightshade’s daze’ – you always weave such vivid images throughout 😀 🔥🌺🌹🌸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, as always, Tom darling! Always front and center for my creative endeavors. Means so much to me. As do you.

      This was written as a sort of… continuation? Or, perhaps as a sibling to a previous poem (which also featured the crazy sexy artwork of dromsjel) entitled “le quatrième mois”. French for the fourth month, which, naturally is April 😚 That piece had similar allusions – the inherent sensuality of flowers, references to The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot. But it centered more on a secret garden, waiting for discovery, being doused in pleasure/rain.

      This, as you pointed out, was designed to compare the lackluster gift of carnations versus the thoughtfulness of… literally any other flower in existence. Haha.

      I truly hate carnations in real life and always have. They have always seemed so lackluster to me!

      They’re still flowers and therefore beautiful extensions of nature. But it seems the suitors of my past – the ones who chose carnations….? always ended up being lazy idiots. Coincidence? I think not! Lol.

      I wrote this for my husband. Who, thankfully, has always chosen roses or wildflowers for me on special occasions. It was written as a sly request… that we never become the kind of couple who exchange carnations.

      But it’s funny/strange. He doesn’t actually… read my poetry. He’s a salt of the earth type. Artistic in very traditionally masculine mediums. He is a man of few words and I am a woman of SO MANY words. He finds my poetry… beautiful, but lofty and confusing.

      But I still occasionally write poems specifically for/about him. Knowing he likely will never see them unless I pester him to do so. It used to hurt my feelings but I have come to realize it isn’t a rejection of my passion, it’s actually out of respect for them. He supports my writing in all ways – he just isn’t sure how to interact with it and doesn’t want to seem…. oafish.

      Still, it amuses me to think of something untimely should ever happen to me…. he will look through these and see how I chronicled our struggles and also my immense love for him in metaphor.


      Liked by 2 people

      1. This is a wonderful tribute to him! 😀 Sounds like you both compliment each other’s strengths really well & glad you’ve found that mutual understanding between you.

        I totally agree – carnations are pretty lazy as a cheap tacky gesture, so it’s always nicer to receive prettier blooms that smell lovely. 🌹

        Thanks for recommending your previous poem to this! Sounds like an intriguing read 🙂 Glad to hear your voice sounds much better & hope you get well soon ❤


        Liked by 1 person

  2. Today I was constantly opening your page, reading your work, trying to comment because I’m taken to magical places by your talent. It’s so spectacular. Burning with dreamy lines. So stunning. I hope you know that.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Right Ms April. You have no need to worry, because your kindred spirit over here also hates fucking carnations passionately. They actually fill me with dread, especially when combined with gypsophila. I mean, no matter how old I get, I hope I NEVER think those staid and creepy flowers are ok. Not on my coffin, not on my table, not in a brooch, not in a coach, nowhere!!

    In stark contrast I LOVE the poem, and the blooming sensuality of the rest of the flowers., And, that art by Pierre Schmidt… Seriously beautiful. Your poem makes me want to turn into a bee and have some kind of love affair with the flowers, intoxicate myself with them.

    “I plead emphatically for poppies
    For the fugue state
    Subsequent to opium’s kiss
    For vein’s inundated with nightshade’s daze
    I unfurl for the frenzy of foxglove
    For the stamen’s bliss
    Filling up my piston cup
    Laid in tufts of clover over and over
    I beg for begonias on bruising knees”

    Not sure I’d bother coming up for air.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ….. you also loathe carnations?!! I…. have never loved you more than I do at this exact moment! Hahaha!

      That’s so amazing to me. They’re not an overly common thing to despise (though they should be!) so this can’t be random coincidence! You truly are my twin flame. Let us rebuke all the carnations in the name of poetry.

      (Fun fact I had to look up what gypsophila was – out here we call it “babies breath” and I had never heard it’s proper, genus name before! So you taught me something!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I seriously do. I can’t explain it, I associate them with depressing occasions. Yet I adore flowers, I am one of those people who randomly photograph flowers in all their glory (and quite sensual) detail. Twin flame 🔥 🔥❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I couldn’t agree more Rachel! I associate them with awkward sadness of funerals and as tokens of half assed affection from all-too opportunistic individuals. I also cherish flowers (and the outdoors in general) so I can’t be mad at carnations for their core function/existence in the natural world. It’s just that unfortunately they have been chosen by – and are now irrevocably associated with – awful people and occasions. Lol. 💜 it’s so nice that we hate the same things haha


      1. Hahahahaha! I love it! 😂 you and I are both delirious from the combination of illness and the cold medicine. There’s no better time for floral puns than when you’re exhausted and intoxicated 😍


      1. …… Charlie, wow, I have never heard this before. Not even once. Which is sort of astonishing to me because I am a (self proclaimed) music connoisseur!

        This is giving me “if you like pina colada vibes” but with a little bit of bee gees…. the chorus is catchy as hell

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, it does have both elements of it.

        Speaking of Bee gees. I love bee gees and I love the movie ‘Saturday Night Fever’. john travolta kicks ass in disco dancing. 🙂 He rules in dancing.

        And speaking of rules…Why can’t everybody wants to rule the world.


        Liked by 1 person

      3. I love the bee gees and liked SNF but it hasn’t aged well, in my opinion. And OH!!! I adore tears for fears. Like literally adore them. This song is very… VERY special to me. The lines:

        “I can’t stand this indecision
        Married with a lack of vision”

        is pure poetry!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Agree. Tears for fears has a psychology about their lyrics and the way they suppress it to music and listeners.

        They are pure poetry and I hope they release a new album as they said they we’re working on one for a long time now. 🙂

        Also, do you remember this:

        I love her voice and the piano version. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Like you…I’m always listening to all kinds of music, and I dig deep into the obscure of music and what emotional beat it provides for the listener. 🙂

        I’m glad you loved her voice and the song. She is amazing. Also, have you heard of this song:

        Mono – Life in mono

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Here is my short and oversimplified list of my 10 FAVORITE 80’s songs (not including the ones we’ve just discussed):

        1. GOLDEN BROWN – THE STRANGLERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        2. Love is a Stranger – Eurythmics
        3. Holding Back the Years – Simply Red
        4. Never Let me Down Again – Depeche Mode
        5. Come Undone – Duran Duran (I always wanted to get pregnant to this track hahahaha)
        6. The Beautiful Ones – Prince
        7. Lost in the Supermarket – The Clash
        8. Song to the Siren – This Mortal Coil
        9. Drive – The Cars

        10. The Brazillian – Genesis

        I’m separating this one out because if you aren’t familiar with it…. wooo boy are you in for a treat. This is right up your alley, Charlie. It’s an instrumental but it’s a masterpiece. They recorded this in 1986 with experimental sounds and effects that were totally unknown at the time. It’s got this very … eerie, but immensely cinematic, clockwork-esque, layered drum looping…. The synth is moving and lofty … it’s got this semi-apocalyptic ambiance. It was SO AHEAD of it’s time and to this day is one of the most brilliantly arranged and mixed tracks from the 80’s

        And now I must close my eyes because I have to up in a few hours but we shall continue this absolutely riveting musical discussion tomorrow ❤ sweet dreams my friend

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Impressive list.

        I’ve not heard of #1, #3, or #8.

        The rest I’m such a huge fan and listen constantly to their music. Depeche mode is my heart and my go to for listening. Prince was a genius and that album is my favorite. 🙂

        I love the clash & the Eurythmics. And I love Duran Duran, come undone is such a soothing and beautiful melody of pure brilliance. And of course Genesis rules! phil collins musicial genius. In the air tonight. 🙂

        Indeed most of this musician are very much ahead of their time.

        The tracks I never heard before…man, beautiful and so interesting that I’m not exploring more of their music and really am feeling their instrumentation.

        Bless you so much for those 2 tracks.

        Here’s a list now from me to you.

        1. Patsy Cline – You Belong to me

        2. The Five Satins – In the still of the night

        3. Glenn Miller – Tuxedo Junction

        4. Armen Miran – Nani Jan (Original)

        5. Martijn Ten Velden – Feeling of Sa Peñya

        6. The Coasters – Down in Mexico

        7. The Platters – My Prayer

        8. Focus – Hocus Pocus

        9. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Bellbottoms

        10. The Folk Implosion – Natural One

        Hope you enjoy. Let me know if you’ve heard some of these or not. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      8. No, bless you my friend. it’s so special being able to exchange our musical preferences and experiences. I feed on this type of artistic exchange!

        Oh my gosh I am unfamiliar with several of these and can NOT wait to dive down the rabbit hole and have a little musical adventure. Patsy Cline is a goddess! Will report back tomorrow on my day off on how these landed with me. ❤ ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I’m honored to share musical exchanges with you as well. Also, I’ve learn a lot of music by you as well electronic and others.

        I revisited the song: Song to the Siren – This Mortal Coil. If I’m not mistaken She covered tim buckley song, am I right? I’ve heard his version and she did a fabulous job at covering. 🙂

        I have been listening again to (THE STRANGLERS) and (Simply Red). Can’t get enough of their music. You have great taste. 🙂

        Trust me…you’ll love the recommendation. I have a list on my folder documenting a lot of old school music to new/and underground electronic.

        If you want me to send you more of a list let me know and I’ll write it here for you. 🙂

        I sure hope you enjoy the music selection. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      10. I am so charmed that you enjoyed my little list and especially that the Song of Siren piqued your interest enough to do some research. Yes, it’s an ethereal, goth-wave cover of Tim Buckley. This Mortal Coil wasn’t a band as much as it was an art project – a rotating cast of musicians/sounds – an evolution. It was designed that way. To be “alive”, meaning it was never a set sound or had official members. But their most memorable tracks feature the vocals of the endlessly talented Elizabeth Fraser. She is the vocalist on Siren. Everything she ever touched was angelic and haunting.

        Which brings me to an interesting factoid. They indeed covered Tim Buckley, father of the late Jeff Buckley. Coincidentally – Fraser later collaborated with Jeff on a song (one of my favorite songs EVER) entitled “All flowers in time bend toward the sun”….

        That song. Jesus. It’s beautiful. It’s lyrically evocative. It’s delicate but aching. Both of their voices are so outrageously pretty on it.

        My eyes are a baptism
        Oh, I am fuse
        And sing her into my thoughts
        Oh, phantom elusive thing

        [Jeff Buckley]
        Oh, all flowers in time bend towards the sun
        I know you say that there’s no-one for you
        But here is one
        All flowers in time bend towards the sun
        I know you say that there’s no-one for you
        But here is one, but here is one…
        Here is one

        I actually tell people I care about who are having a difficult time, not to fret because “all flowers in time bend toward the sun” in homage to this song. It’s written to be the sweetest reassurance to someone in darkness. That they are seen, loved. They will open and bloom again, reaching for sunlight 🙏🏼🖤

        Liked by 1 person

      11. (All flowers in time bend toward the sun)

        is now my official favorite song. Beautiful acoustic and the voice and lyrics heartfelt at its core. 🙂

        The last thing you said, is my far moving and it got me emotionally happy. April, bless you so much and thank you for this song.

        Also, this song got me somewhat through a dark period of losing my mother in law and grandpa.

        Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill (lyrics)

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Oh my goodness Charlie I was finally able to settle into a comfy spot and give your list a thorough listen. You have so many amazing and interesting choices here. As previously stated I am obsessed with Patsy Cline. Her voice is so rare, so evocative and soulful. I listen to her frequently and always hear nuances in each performance that inspire me, as a woman and as a writer.

        “In the still of the night” is such a timeless classic and no matter how many times I’ve listened it melts me the same each and every time. Glenn Miller has never had a song that I didn’t adore. The Moran track was interesting because it allows my mind to drift. I felt some Philip Glass and M83 influence – repetitive, unraveling emotion. Though this track had a more ‘house’ ambiance, I loved the exotic notes interwoven, and then of course her voice. That track was a desert journey on peyote. Reminded me of a song by Orange Blossom entitled ‘Habibi’… though that track is much more mysterious and dark.

        You have exceptional taste my friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Interesting thing about the song ‘In the still of the night’ it comes out in the movie ‘The Irishman’ on Netflix. martin scorsese plays it in the beginning on my film and the end of the movie. If you haven’t seen it yet, please watch it. It’s very emotional, betrayal, and lot of depth from the characters. Brace yourself for a 3 hour and 30 minute movie. Trust me, its worth it. 🙂

        I’m glad you enjoyed my list of music.

        And the song linked you added at the end. I love it. Orange Blossom is now on my list of music to go and listen to a lot. 🙂 The song has a trip hop feel and electronic ambience to it. Man, you have a wonderful taste in music. 🙂

        Do you have more music like Orange Blossom?

        Liked by 1 person

      14. Oh my gosh! I remember that song. It’s so beautiful and such sad at the same time. It reminds me of those good old days where things seem simply but complex for the future. Do you know what I mean? Thanks for reminding me of the song. I know what you mean about the lyrics.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. The most special line in Don’t Dream it’s Over is ………. “now I’m walking again to the beat of a drum and I’m counting the steps to the door of your heart”

        like are you serious that is the most soul aching thing ever said

        Liked by 1 person

      16. There is freedom within, there is freedom without
        Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
        There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
        But you’ll never see the end of the road
        While you’re traveling with me

        Liked by 1 person

      17. Charlie you are such a darling. I will eventually get these – but I already have so many other tattoos ahead in the line! There’s at least 15 others I planned out first. And yes I know the exact lettering and placement. The first “word” tattoo I’m going to get is the beginning of The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot across my collar bones

        Liked by 1 person

      18. T.S. Eliot. Great choice and that would be awesome!

        Fun trivia fact: Did you know ‘William S Burroughs’ was influenced by ‘Wasteland: T.S. Eliot? He got to experiment and went all out. 🙂

        I wish I could get a tattoo but I’m never going too cause I’m afraid of needles. I love when people get tattooed. Everyone has super cool art that represents them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      19. Fun trivia fact: The Wasteland is everything to me. It’s my greatest literary inspiration. I didn’t know it influenced Burroughs – but at the same time I am not surprised. It’s a masterpiece. It feels like he wrote it *for me*… in fact I choose to believe he did. Without even knowing me. It’s that transcendent.

        Oh no – the fear of needles is awful I’m so sorry. I know a few people like you who truly want tattoos but can’t stomach the needle aspect. I will say this: you don’t even see the needles. It just looks like a pen. They move far too fast for your eyes to even perceive them, and, depending on the placement? In my humble opinions tattoos aren’t painful. In fact I find the sensation rather pleasurable.

        But I know it’s probably not a response to seeing the needles so much as knowing. And that my friend is when you pop a couple Valium and throw caution to the wind 🌬

        Liked by 1 person

      20. I can see why Wasteland book speaks to you. It has a big affect on the literature world of poets. 🙂

        My girlfriend has this friend whose a tattoo artist. One day we spend 8 or 9 hours at his shop. He showed me the needle aspect of tattooing and how the ink and everything is applied. It did scared me and the needles are a no no to me. But, the process is interesting and my girlfriend did get her wonderful tattoo that she wanted. 🙂

        You know what tattoo I want to see on someone? William Burroughs face or a ‘Nine Inch Nails’ lyric on the arms. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      21. I love the colors in the background and the electronic feel of it is brilliant and captures my mood of today. 🙂

        Here’s a good music mood for a dance feel of the day.

        Ferry Corsten – Black Velvet (Album Version) (Feat. Julia Messenger)

        The vocals pick up at 1:42 seconds. Trust me this is an awesome song. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it. Enjoy and let me know.

        Liked by 1 person

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