I come from down south, where vegetation does not know its place. Honeysuckle can work through cracks in your walls and strangle you while you sleep. Kudzu can completely shroud a house and a car parked in the yard in one growing season. Wisteria can lift a building off its foundation, and certain terrifying mints spread so rapidly that just the thought of them on a summer night can make your hair stand on end.
So are you turning out like them? Do you still write and draw?" "yeah, but I don't do anything personnal or profound. My parents take life way to seriousely. I lke to make people laugh. I had a regular cartoon feature in the school news paper and created some for the year book. Social satire stuff. I've done a couple of political cartoons for wisteria's paper and just got one accepted in Easton's, which has a much bigger circulation. Impressed?
'Established' is a good word, much used in garden books, 'the plant, when established' ... Oh, become established quickly, quickly, garden! For I am fugitive, I am very fugitive - Those that come after me will gather these roses, And watch, as I do now, the white wisteria Burst, in the sunshine, from its pale green sheath. Planned. Planted. Established. Then neglected, Till at last the loiterer by the gate will wonder At the old, old cottage, the old wooden cottage, And say, 'One might build here, the view is glorious; This must have been a pretty garden once.
Louis found me in the rear parlor, the one more distant from the noises of the tourists in the Rue Royale, and with its windows open to the courtyard below. I was in fact looking out the window, looking for the cat again, though I didn't tell myself so, and observing how our bougainvillea had all but covered the high walls that enclosed us and kept us safe from the rest of the world. The wisteria was also fierce in its growth, even reaching out from the brick walls to the railing of the rear balcony and finding its way up to the roof. I could never quite take for granted the lush flowers of New Orleans. Indeed, they filled me with happiness whenever I stopped to really look at them and surrender to their fragrance, as though I still had the right to do so, as though I still were part of nature, as though I were still a mortal man.
But Robin: their dear little Robs. More than ten years later, his death remained an agony; there was no glossing any detail; its horror was not subject to repair or permutation by any of the narrative devices that the Cleves knew. And-since this willful amnesia had kept Robin's death from being translated into that sweet old family vernacular which smoothed even the bitterest mysteries into comfortable, comprehensible form-the memory of that day's events had a chaotic, fragmented quality, bright mirrorshards of nightmare which flared at the smell of wisteria, the creaking of a clothes-line, a certain stormy cast of spring light.
Wisteria hangs over the eaves like clumps of ghostly grapes. Euphorbia's pale blooms billow like sea froth. Blood grass twists upward, knifing the air, while underground its roots go berserk, goosing everything in their path. A magnolia, impatient with vulvic flesh, erupts in front of the living room window. The recovering terrorist-holding a watering can filled with equal parts fish fertilizer and water, paisley gloves right up over her freckled forearms, a straw hat with its big brim shading her eyes, old tennis shoes speckled with dew-moves through her front garden. Her face, she tells herself, like a Zen koan. The look of one lip smiling.