Thursday, November 10, 2022

A Fool’s Catalogue of Violets

Bitter violets rest in their purple sulking,
false blooms hoodwinking fools their pressed petals
will canonize lost lovers as priests of the heart.

Dead bookmarks lie in my journals in crumbled
graveyards of inane longing…a fool’s garden planted
amongst the inked witness to my instability. 

How does one become blind to devils yet dissect
the most tender by listing flaws as if beauty of the flesh
was the gold standard by which to judge a soul.

Were I a sin eater I would be fat on my own misjudgments.
Nonsense argues a kiss can turn a toad into a prince…
What dignity is there in bargaining with fairytales?

I am an assassin, a rusted knife cutting spirits
into black valentines because I cannot bend
the strong into my weakness.

Romance, I hunger more for the idea than the truth
a candle only gives light when there is a flame.
Fantasy has no power to reincarnate reality from ashes. 

©Susie Clevenger 2022

This poem was inspired by Shay's word list and the occassional junk food novels I consume. 


  1. The comforting part is, everyone is confused about love. Oh, there are times when we think we've got it down, but it has a way of shifting. A little fantasy, a little escape, isn't such a bad thing sometimes, as long as real people aren't held to romance novel standards. Thanks so much for being a part of this week's List, Susie.

  2. "a rusted knife cutting spirits/into black valentines" --- Wow. This one among so many images that, far from being "rusted" are sharp as swords dissecting romance into its spurious component parts of false appraisals and doubtful expectations and "canonized" tokens of longing. And so much more unfurled in the petals of this poem, Susan. Simply beautiful.

  3. That first stanza knocked me flat--and I think we have written to the same theme this week Susie, but you've distilled so much into every line. Really excellent crafting, and every leading line of every stanza is a particular punch to the jaw that disassembled could make a poem by themselves. Great writing!

  4. "Dead bookmarks lie in my journals" - wonderful. And "were I a sin eater" is fantastic.

  5. This whole write is so exquisite and thought-provoking. Each stanza is standalone complete and solid in itself and its telling. Such beautifully crafted details. I love this stanza particularly:

    "Dead bookmarks lie in my journals in crumbled
    graveyards of inane longing..."

    But the whole thing is wonderful <3