“Ode to the Corpse Flower”

A Poem by Benjamin Garcia

August 18, 2020  By Benjamin Garcia

In the language of flowers // I am the one who says // fuck you
I won’t be anyone’s nosegay // this Mary is her own // talking bouquet

never let a man speak for you or call you // what he wants // I learned that
the hard way // amorphophallus titanum // it sure sounds pretty in a dead tongue

except it’s Latin for big ugly dick // I mean I am // but what an asshole scientist
I prefer to think of myself // & this may sound vain // as a goddess

cadaver dressed in drag // my stage name // Versace Medusa
part Lilith part calla lily // keep your heteronormative birds & bees // give me

the necrophiliacs // the freaks the meat-eating // beetle & flesh fly
there I go again allies // getting all hot & bothered // being vulgar

vulgar meaning common // as when something is below you // like a girl
forbidden to say fuck // it makes a woman sound so common // oh come on

that’s all you expect from a flower // to be likeable // but to keep it raw & 100
is to be abhorred // fine but even the haters will pay // to hold their nose

at a halftime show // they’ll claim they are beyond Beyoncé // sick of Selena
yet they can’t look away from the Live Cam // no one wants to miss // the showgirl

as she breaks through the cake // unhooks her lingerie // La Virgen de Guadalupe
with a twist of Santa Muerte // what in the hell is she wearing // glad you ask

death is the new Christian Dior // the latest Chanel is corpse smell // I am the week-old
ham hock whore of horticulture // I bring the hothouse haute couture // & I always come

in last place // dressed to the nines I get what I want // which is to be The Tenth Muse Sor Juana
Inés de la Cruz // little Evita de Buenos Aires // screwing & screwing over

los descamisados on my Rainbow Tour // fuck Whitman fuck Pound // give me Emily D
speaking of which have I ever told you daddy // only sun gods get me hard // you want it

I got it // let me show you how a chola really leans // mother nature may wear floral but I ain’t
your mama // I thirst like Betty Boop at peak coquette // Marilyn Monroe

blowing in an air vent // say Malinche say Truvadawhore // give me more I thrive in
shade // my throat is my throne so // queen me bitch


thrown in the throat, benjamin garcia

From Thrown in the Throat by Benjamin Garcia (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2020). Copyright © 2020 by Benjamin Garcia. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions.

Benjamin Garcia
Benjamin Garcia’s first collection of poems, Thrown in the Throat, was selected for the 2019 National Poetry Series by Kazim Ali. He is a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellow, was the 2017 Latinx Scholar at the Frost Place, and was a 2018 CantoMundo Fellow at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Best New Poets 2018, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review, The Missouri Review, and New England Review. Garcia received his MFA from Cornell University and currently works as a sexual health and harm reduction educator in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

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