PINTO LOS FLORES PARA QUE NO MUEREN
by Lena Popkin
For Frida Kahlo
Revolution coincides with your birthday. You open fire, unbound.
Born of discontent, la casa azul leaves you no hope
but you find yourself longing for its pain.
Frozen disfigured limbs still look for love,
and he wants to give it. You search desperately for passion,
but none could be found among wilted flowers.
Splintered metal, your broken body lies in a field of wildflowers.
Blood pools freely; finally a part of you no longer bound
by the confines of your skin. Screams echo around you and you smile, hearing only passion.
In thirty-five parts, they try to stitch together your dying hope,
empty promises hang like bloody limbs on the canvas, no more love
left in your paintbrushes. No more pain.
You drink dreams in shot glasses, thrown back quick, pills for your pain.
Immobilized like you: broken stems and tired petals. You are fascinated by flowers;
kaleidoscope of colors and temporary love.
Your bed becomes your confidant, that most intimate lover to whom you are bound.
Consolation comes in the strangest of forms. Drips of hope
storm your bloodstream with liquid passion.
You can’t imagine a world without this passion
building inside you as you writhe in pain.
It can only be a miracle the way they bloom towards cloudy skies, beckoning hope
in the prospect of the sun. Your brushes only show you what you already know: flowers
braided through your ribs, wrap roots around your organs, broken beating heart, bound.
They call it hope, but arching petals no longer make you crave disjointed love.
You believe in versatility, especially concerning love.
Sweet sun shines in the face of your passion.
You don’t want to be bound.
Love is a thing of joy, yet you find pain
in even the purest of forms, another contribution to your wilting-flower
heart. It continues trying to bloom, watered with hope.
You want to live without needing hope, sin la esperanza.
No need for such petty indulgences when life gives unrelenting love.
The love it gives to the trees and the birds and the flowers,
to grow and to live in their full passion;
Unhindered by New York night and haze filled afternoons, fluorescent pain.
To exist unbound.
In bed after bed you lie, your skin bound, forcing hope
through your pores. Pain doesn’t hold your attention anymore- you’ve fallen in love
with something new. Passion is the tip of a needle, blooming flowers in your bloodstream.
Lena Popkin attends Central High School in Philadelphia. She has worked on the staff of the Mirror, a literary magazine, and has attended the Bard College summer Workshop. She is the recipient of an award from Philadelphia Young Playwrights, and her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Image: “Roots” (Raíces) by Frida Kahlo, 1943, Courtesy of WikiArt