Sean Cole


Charles Dickens grew me I'm his bad plant.
I wouldn't prune.  I'd just as soon stay obstinate

and obfuscate myself into a convoluted shoot
that wrapped around his room.  I'm problemed at the root.

We had a gap.  I hated water.  Though he led
it to me, I'd upset it just to see it all spilled

down his bookpage, real nice, me real nice and arid.
Then his pleas would come, his fat tongue a punched eyelid

inches from my pot: "Come onna liddle
plant," he'd utter, his breath packed up in liver.

You wilt a plant like that not will it.
That word "liddle" made me cross, so I'd spill it.

Spiill it down his bookpage.  Running water, running ink.
I was never what he wanted, poor Dick.

Never classifiable, my phylum shifted, never
docile, never healthy but bold, unbound and clever.

Water, words, dung he'd bring!  It got me and I'd turn:
one day a cactus, cold and stagnant, one day a fern

limping down his sideboard.  Then he died.
He's still dead now, poor Dick, and flowers piled
around his plot like portraits of perfect babies
who went to heaven shortly after birth.  Young ladies

come and visit him with piles more.  So he's happy.  Though
deceased, he's got it all.  His hair and fingernails grow

like weeds, won't quit.  And I still sit, adult
and dead too, we're the same now, both in dirt.

And I watch him from here, watch the birds who come to kiss his 
I try to wave but my leaves are tangled, crossed and hard like bone. 

Audio of Dickensian by Sean Cole

Volume Five Index