Full of Philodendrons

Notes on “Marzipan for Valentine’s Day”

This poem, Marzipan for Valentine’s Day, began in sound and curry. It was originally going to be a birthday poem, the speaker in a turban and diamond pin (to rhyme with lemon), holding a rack of rare dishes and outlandish gifts. There was an armadillo and a marble fountain full of philodendrons. They weren’t exactly puns, weren’t exactly homophones, just variations of sound. The gist would be, that no matter how many offerings were presented, that it wouldn’t be enough. It wouldn’t get to the heart of the matter or to the heart of the intended. The speaker could heap up tricks and devices to attract attention to the language and himself, but it wouldn’t be enough. An early draft had as the last line, with candles on the cake, “. . . even this is not the flame you wish for.”

At one point, the rhymes were internal. There was scheme and dream and cuisine. But I missed not seeing them at the end of the line. But the conceit became stilted, trying to be smarter than everyone else instead of being generous and bringing around the platter of scallops wrapped in bacon. I was very lucky to get the “Roberto Clemente rookie card.” You tease wool. I’m thrilled that Jell-O for some reason rhymes with cello. And please note how closely “parade” follows “float.”