The artist Milford Graves once said “plants are constantly picking up cosmic energy, beyond photosynthesis…they may not have the machines to detect everything, but to me it’s just like human’s man. We’re constantly breathing in air. We’re breathing in all kinds of elements that are of nature. So, what makes you think that plants are any different?" Tending to what he called his “global garden,” Graves’s floral sanctuary embraced the comingling of several plant cultures. Lush greenery of all types grew together in harmony. Imagine walking through a green oasis where spearmint sits in proximity to curly dock or Chinese lanterns while the smell of tomatoes and lavender fills the air and triggers joyous sensations in your body. An avid gardener, Graves understood the healing properties of plants on a deeply spiritual and intimate level. He proclaimed that plants supply cosmic energy and are living organisms with their own internal music. This chapter begins with Eating in the Garden, a video where Graves waters and eats directly from plants in his garden to ingest the energy circulating within them. Below, is a selection of poems—both old and new—composed and written by poet David Lindsay and inspired by Graves’s work. Peppered throughout this section are archival photographs of Graves’s home garden and documentation of the creation of the George Washington Carver Botanical Garden in the mid 90s.
I EAT YOUR LEAVES DIRECTLY FROM THE BRANCH AS SUMMER DOES FROM AUTUMN TREES.
Is it surprising to you
to watch a leaves’ shadows
left on the ground
shimmering in the wind
looks so much like a shiver of delight.
A lover running a long nail
down your spine.
We drink early rain that falls with a slap
like a knuckle on a drum
Acacia blood root
golden seal to sooth your throat
to grow your shout.
Skullcap for nerves
burdock, yellow dock for blood to beat your heart
Angelica for stomachs to take power from from the center
and Elder grown for eyes to vision a different present
A garden of leaves growing electrically at the sky
to when lightning celebrates down to the ground.
A garden sips the thrum of all these things,
as strands of flowers grow on electrical lines
from the internet of a different name
like wasps fucking orchids,
In a dusk
of golden showers.
The heat of
Milford’s tessellated footprints
leaves dancing through snow
II FLOWERY LANGUAGE
what we say
when we dont understand flowers
what it must feel like to be pollen
floating through the air
like hair spiraling to a drain
What it must feel like
To turn sun
on tectonic plates.
The solar power
to make the earth shake.
When we lose the language of flowers
it turns off ultrea violet datura
it’s mix of devil and milkweed
No night shade
whos tomato blossom turned to fat water
glow pleasure on our lips
No pollinating flowers with out tongue
and the touch of carbonated fingertips
maybe it is then a problem of attention or translation and
some of us need a moment to differentiate
between a loving touch and a hurtful touch.
III HAVE YOU EVER BEEN HIGH ENOUGH
have you ever been high enough to see the curve?
the sun rises at the horizon with a green flash like a bass drum
and the electricity that runs through trees is magnitudes slower than ours
knowing this may be enough for you to feel the heat
you do not need to know this alone
that is to say, you do not need to be alone
You are not alone.