Of death and fake flowers

 There’s something horribly ugly about fake flowers. Even the most beautifully crafted, true-to-real flower can’t escape the obscenity true to every fake flower. What is that obscenity? What is that unignorable ugliness? It is how they are vacant of change; how they do not age, and come to eventual death. Their never-ending plastic poise, or paper composure, is precisely the reason why fake flowers can never truly be beautiful. 

This brings us to the question—Can there be beauty without death? If you knew that something would be there forever, perpetually, would it still be beautiful? Would you want to breathe it all in right now, if you knew it’ll be there waiting tomorrow, day after, and after…? There can be no beauty without death. Because, the one and only true sign of life—the very premise of all things love and beauty—is death itself. 

1917, Sadie Singer at the Beston Floral Supply Co. Hine, Lewis Wickes; National Child Labor Committee Collection.

If you ever grow tired of being mortal

If you ever grow tired of being mortal, just stay up and watch the stars alone. Locked in their light are memories of a billion-billion light-years ago. They will soak you in the echoes of when the black night burnt; of when our sun was a star child; of when the Earth was a morsel of dust caught in a whirlwind of gravity; and of when, in her void, she first remembered that she too, can be. 

Stretching into the distance, you will sense what is yet to come, in ways that your flesh eyes can ever see, think or feel. In the quiet between the stars you will see black holes— even the very depth that will one day devour this memory of you, watching the stars on the balcony. It’s all there. Immortal. It has always been.

See, you’re not mortal—never with the stars.

1915, The book of stars; being a simple explanation of the stars and their uses to boy life: Collins, A. Frederick (Archie Frederick). New York, D. Appleton and company via The Library of Congress


The will to have children,

it comes in atoms

that make up slow smokes

of fear:

Fear that the sand may forget

the way our footsteps sank in-

pumped plump with life.

That a golden age would dawn without us,

that no one would read our name out loud

even in an obscure book at a city council library.

That it wouldn’t have mattered a thing

if we lived or died.


But, if a speck of our dreams, our secret schemes

made it to promised land

tangled accidentally in a hair of some distant being that lived

only for itself and its day,

I suppose we could call it immortality.

The will to have children is not about love or other noble things;

it is about the fear of dust.


Image – Untitled, by Ashley Carlton