- Meditation on a Red Seed as Transformation, and: Sisters of the Raging Millennium at a Hundred Years, and: On the Levitation of Beautiful Objects
Meditation on a Red Seed as Transformation
for the sculptor and landscape architect, Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988)
Dear Isamu— Nayantara refused your love in the end,red seed of resilience in the magnified shapeof biomorphism, halved core of perfume—sequoia or balsain a transformation
of millennial living.Or a giant melon seed, half-shaved with a steel wire,one nervous fiber beveled on the right.Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Long Island City,a sculpture called Red Seed, 1928—
Aromatic as a sandalwood treeof circassian seeds. Tears of betel-nut juice.Roasted watermelon seeds dyed for the new year, pods of red wax in the galleria.
Auburn-soaked heartwood more roan than russetriding to the horizon on the flanks of wild mustangs. [End Page 39]
Sisters of the Raging Millennium at a Hundred Years
Sisters of a raging millennium,
if we survive a hundred years,let us grill a thousand mackerelsfor dinner, skin on. No urgency
to scour the charcoal racks.Fork the arugula with no olives,nurse no grudges.
Synthesize rosebushes in factories.Hem floor-length, mulberry-silknightshifts if it pleases the years
to grow an inch of our bonesso late in life. Never too darkto iron a bias cut or whistle
at a finch, if so. Let usextinguish sins candidly.Forgive a loved one’s
trespasses as inflation,drone-wars, and the unrequitedflameout.
Yes, let us pray the seasshall be kind enough to yieldglobal wealth to us. [End Page 40]
Yes, sisters, pleasewipe a century’s blood off our bodiesgently, without
spurs of narcissism,a thousand-fold sprungmillennial vanities.
On the Levitation of Beautiful Objects
For those millennials who desire one, I offer a parable. Once upon a lifetime, in my turbulent years as a weather system, I was a typhoon named Karen. If I whirled my spiral rainbands in the north, my rotation would’ve shifted to the right. In reality, the Coriolis effect deflected my movement in the southern hemisphere.
A corrective footnote in meteorological history, for the record—
I made landfall as a tropical storm, not a hurricane by the Isla de la Juventud, the Isle of Youth. On this archipelago, I alighted on an isle,kissed the gangly mangrove shores,upset ferries, hydrofoils, yachts.
While serenity blew a puff of air—a glaucoma test in my solo eye—I roared no to sea ports and unreeled an archive of 35mm film, no to fashion institutes, no to civil engineering, no to female pelvic exams, no to forced sterilization, no to acid vibes of the bay, absolutely no to war, a decolonial no to imperialism. A thousand megawatts powering a million offshore turbines,
I tossed a love note into my namesake storm—
Dear brazen fury of juventud, I lost strength while summoning the beauty of the unanchored, not the lost. Pure verticality and relentless [End Page 41] power, as the world’s rudest tambourine, I dragged my inclemency over palmetto groves, fishing piers, and utility lines. Beloved denizens of the archipelago, so very anthropocentric in scope, you failed to see
I was only levitating beautiful objects. [End Page 42]
Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of the poetry collections Phyla of Joy (Tupelo), Ardor (Tupelo), In Medias Res (Sarabande), and a novel, Sonata in K (Ellipsis). Currently, Lee lives in San Diego, where she serves in the university administration at Point Loma Nazarene University.