Marek Lugowski: all the pretty poppies all the pretty people

a solitary poppy, red, splayed in wind, fickle labia
for petals, tantalizing black for the secret on the inside

the poppy wavers all cute and unassuming
like a beautiful yet mousy girl.
all by itself the poppy does it
in a phalanx of old lace wheat.

the poppy growing line passes somewhere through norway,
south of lapland north of bergen. much like the wheat
growing line. a bit north of the wine growing line.

then there is monte cassino, south of rome, a steep wall.
steeped even so in canadian polish british new zealand's
and german soldiers' 1944 blood. am i missing anybody...
is anybody missing... who won.

word has it the carpets of red poppies undulating in the
italian summer breezes are the roots and bulbs of horrific
steel shredings of muscle and bone howls of pain and quick
silencings. nothingnesses born of noise.

then there is much of asia where the poppy, thoughtfully
regarded, is seen as medicine. a medicine for reality.

see, you make a little gummy ball, you put it in your
little pipe, you smoke. it. like, after dinner, on a mat.
in your private beaded corner.

sun-drenched, treated, fermented, boiled. opium and heroin.

but the polish cheesecake made of white homemade cheese
is lighter than light. often laced with a moist layer
of poppyseed: is not for smoking. serve with good black
tea and lemon slices. in transparent tea glasses. in
vietnamese woven tea glass baskets. or silver metal rings.
or just standing on glass saucers. anybody, sugar?

the polish junkie on low budget often boils the polish
poppyseeds and crudely concentrates the take. ironically
called kompot, after the innocuous national stewed fruit
beverage. as in: boil a cup of strawberries in a gallon
of water some stick cinnamon and cloves. chill and serve
very cold on a hot summer day. with pierogi.

red poppy. girl-beautiful. weighed down in military
and emotional history. dotting norwegian hilltops and
fjordsides. sprinkled over poland. guarding the cemetery
that is monte cassino. revered in turkey, marching in humid
rows in burma and thailand. coming to nyc as white powder
in plastic bags. at the polish or ukrainian pastry shops
behind glass 4 bucks a large block.

all near you. but above all is the sky and i say:

you just have not lived until you lay. in an august
wheatfield. watching that cumulused glazeblue sky.
breaking one goldengreen dry poppyhead after another.
shaking out fistfuls of poppyseed from all poppyhead
corners into your wet

mouth dry.

First appeared in The Body Inside (Evanston, IL, USA).