The Flowering Man

Original costume design by artist Maria Bjornson

(Inspired by events written in Susan Kay’s novel Phantom)

The blossoms, so tenderly cared for,

lay in strangers’ hands.

The most handsome were taken away

by scavenging neighbors.

The others were left to wilt and perish.

How the buds flourished

under the care of a somber man,

a man simply trying to forget a boy-

a boy who’d blossomed under another man-

an uncompromising man.

A rigid man with little conception

of how to raise a boy to know a father,

but a man with many sectarian convictions.

And with much knowledge of

torturing a flowering man-

A sorrowful man who’d spent his days

tending the garden.

How he cherished the blooms.

And though their radiance was grand,

they were hardly enough to replace a son.

Faust

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For several days over the last couple of weeks, I’ve come across the topic of Faust via different forums: Facebook, Twitter, etc. Anyway, this recurrence has reminded me of an occurrence that took place  when I was 15. My mom took me and a friend to a book store in an area mall, I forget which one. I’d just finished reading most of The Vampire Chronicles in which Faust is referenced many times. So, I wanted to read Faust. I really enjoy books that lead me onto other things, that reference classic literature or themes about which I can learn. One thing I enjoyed about Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles was her use of geography. I even did a report for my sophomore geography class, a project that required us to read a book and describe the different places written about in it, on The Vampire Lestat (I was already reading it at the time, so I figured, What the hell?).

This graphic novel is in pieces. It once belonged to my dear friend who is now deceased. It's one of the few keepsakes I have from her. Most others, including all photos, were destroyed in the hurricane.
This graphic novel is in pieces. It once belonged to my dear friend who is now deceased. It’s one of the few keepsakes I have from her. Most others, including all photos, were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

photo (4)
Is it apparent how many times I’ve read this book?

At any rate, I asked the bookstore clerk about Faust, as I wasn’t able to find it on the shelves. He rudely advised me I should have come as soon as I’d gotten my book list because they’d run out from other students buying them up. I was so confused, and I asked what he was talking about. He asked me if I were buying the book for school. I said, “No, I’m buying it for myself.” His response, “Wow, impressive.” I still took him for a dumbass.

The aforementioned book
The aforementioned book

Epilogue: He ordered the book, and I read it. Then a pen pal of mine sent me copy of the book written in both English and German, as I was studying German at the time. I still have both copies. They survived Hurricane Katrina in a plastic Rubbermaid container that, although it weighed at least a hundred pounds, floated inside my house. All of my books were left unscathed.

This container survived, as did my books inside it. Unfortunately, I lost many others that weren't in the container.
This container survived, as did my books inside it. Unfortunately, I lost many others that weren’t in the container.

 

My husband actually discovered them, and my cat, just a day after I’d written in my journal how I wished my books and my cat had survived. It was 33 days later. The cat has since run away, but the books remain.

Stewie the Cat, who suffered from PTSD after Hurricane Katrina and ran away just before Christmas of 2011.
Stewie the Cat, who suffered from PTSD after Hurricane Katrina and ran away just before Christmas of 2011. This photo was taken in the trailer we lived in after the hurricane.