A Limerick by Canby Tailor

Poetry, Prose


credit: iStock/naruedom



Roses are red. Yeah, some of them are.

But I’ve walked past bodegas where flower

cutters have colored the water to change their color. Sometimes it’s a

spritz. I’ve also seen horticultural patents, well, plant patents is

what they’re called, where people HAVE actually made different colors

of roses. Named them too. Blue Charm. Pink Sabotage. Yellow Ribbon.

Red Suckers. Violets are sometimes blue.



There once was an old man from Nantucket? Mass.? Is this a fucking

joke? Mass? There is. Nothing. There. No, he wasn’t really from

Nantucket. He was just visiting.



Violet was actually the person from Nantucket, now that we are on the

subject. That old man’s friend. He’d known her for quite some time.

They worked on developing patents for new types of plants. They never

got one. The patent office hated them for unknown reasons to Violet,

the old man, and their lawyer who submitted the patents to the patent

office; but the man, the one man at the patent office who held the

fate of these patents in his hands over the years did not hate them.

He simply lost them. Rather his assistant lost them. In the ceiling of

the patent officer’s office. So there were two people who held the

fate of the blue roses. Well, maybe, still just one. The assistant.

The assistant was murdered in cold blood on a vacation to Nantucket

with his family. Microfilm is the only way to read the crime report,

unless you have a friend in Nantucket to tell you about it because

they were there. Everyone who was anyone was there.



The assistance was not necessary.



Violet’s only necessities in Nantucket were matches and a storm

lantern for the occasional winter storms or clipper storms or for

fucking when she thought it was sexy to do so “by the lantern” as she

had no fireplace and that was as sexy as it was really gonna get. This

is not a fucking joke. Unfortunately. Not a limerick. Nothing of the

sort. She just wasn’t quite attractive. She was a bit mannish,

honestly. And it pains me to say that in a way. Because she wanted to

be a debutantish lady SO BAD it hurt. There were a few (debutants) in

Nantucket and they were all her friends and they all lied to her about

her looks when she went to their parties and they all told her how

lovely she looked when they all felt that she looked mannish. They

felt that her roses, however, were quite ladylike and beautiful. She

got tired of people teasing her about her name, Violet, when all she

was really interested in was roses, but these debutants didn’t. She

thought they were her friends. She thought one or two of them were a

bit tomboy-like and couldn’t understand why they were so prissy. She

thought this one blonde, or maybe the one blonde and another blonde in

the group of the ladies were lesbians. Lanterns? Violet had lanterns.

And a visitor.



Would lanterns by any other name still be lanterns? No. They would

take on the characteristics imbued upon them by that name, as names

are powerful. And they would be called by that other word someone

decided to use, forever and ever, if they so chose. So Shakespeare’s

roses’ lines? Not roses. Hyperbolic tired language. I’ve heard the

speech/poem/sonnet within a play or whatever a million times. Tired.




Where does the smoke come from in those closed lanterns the priests

swing back and forth?



Ubi fumus a in illis clausis laternis sacerdotes fabrefacta retro et




Remember when you had to actually learn a language? Rosae. Rosas.




Canby Tailor is an artist and designer in Savannah, GA. He received his MFA in Landscape Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. He owns and runs Corsages, a flower shop in downtown Savannah.