To all appearances, I inherited my poetic ability from my maternal great-uncle, the WWI British poet, Isaac Rosenberg. Rosenberg was a painter as well as a poet. While I didn't inherit his chops in visual art, I have always been drawn to ekphrastic poetry, writing about works of art, generally visual, but sometimes including other media as well. Following this inclination, I have completed a manuscript of ekphrastic collaborations with mostly visual artists, Together, which is now seeking a home. It contains about 76 pages, about 35 of which consist of mostly color plates. If you have any ideas about publishers who might be interested and who have the graphic know-how such a project entails, please let me know.
The night-blooming cereus,
Queen of the Desert, perfumes the yard,
giving her one-night-only performance.
Everyone knows this show for what it is:
an effort to employ olfactory wiles
in service of the seed, attracting
avid Sphynx moths and bats,
metallic scarabs like bouncers
in their glittering regalia.
A scent strong as a snare,
tangible as the bug-eyed peepers’
insistent shrilling in the sodden leaves.
For a week, the bud hung heavy, until
just yesterday it began to turn
up toward the light, green bodice
beginning to swell, as the double
flower prepared to meet its suitors.
Fully open now, it holds itself out
to be tasted, petals a cupped palm
nestled in a jagged ruff of lower leaves,
crowned by a yellow starburst.
As I watch, a moth’s proboscis
unfurls like a fiddlehead.
Before morning, the flower will wither,
and the moon too deflate
like a day-old helium balloon.
I too play a role, as surely
smitten as the moth or beetle,
the peepers, compelled to stitch a song
out of the perfumed air.
-first published in 3Elements Review
All winter, this Phaleopsis orchid,
domesticated in its plastic pot,
sits astride the kitchen sink,
back to the window blind,
staring like a prisoner.
Fuschia and cream, reticulated
as a topographical map, its rivers
and its plains, the purple-veined
bodies in an anatomical atlas,
It has known only
the scented air of a hothouse,
the steam and stink of simulated tropics.
But after months of dormancy,
The flowers slowly turn
their blank, abstracted faces
toward the light as if
discovering it for the first time.
One flowering spike
spirals the window frame,
climbing up and up
toward the high ceiling.
External roots snake everywhere,
grasp at anything solid,
turning everything they touch to jungle.
Rubbery tendrils probe the recalcitrant
knife block, red plastic dish drainer,
bottle of Palmolive liquid, searching
for succor they can never find.
Yet fueled by sunlight, the plant
remakes the world.
©2016 Robbi Nester