“Redneck Bouquet”—A Poem by Jeff Mann

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Redneck Bouquet

(for John)

A mason jar
of blooming thistles

on the mantelpiece,
the same belligerent blossom

inked into my left forearm.
Scotland’s echo,

Nemo me inpune lacessit,
or, in Scots, Wha daur meddle

wi me? or, in hillbilly
Nobody fucks with me

and gets away with it.
Nearly every inch a thorn

or prick, guarding
that lavender bloom

soft as duckling feathers,
as a man’s glans, hair-

rimmed areola or musky
nether gate.

Scent of summer meadows,
of the sweaty hayfields,

savagery brandishing
a sword, born to shield

what is beloved, what is tender.
Stick your rules up your ass,

is its snarled language.
Don’t get too close.

I will live as I please.
I will grow where

it is isolate and free,
far from groomed lawns,

in the rebels’ lofty bastions,
in the outlaws’ waste places.

—Jeff Mann

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Source: https://www.chelseastationmagazine.com/2018/07/redneck-bouquet.html

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Jeff Mann has published five books of poetry, Bones Washed with Wine, On the Tongue, Ash, A Romantic Mann, and Rebels; two collections of essays, Edge and Binding the God; a book of poetry and memoir, Loving Mountains, Loving Men; six novels, Fog, Purgatory, Cub, Salvation, Country, and Insatiable; and three volumes of short fiction, A History of Barbed Wire, Desire and Devour, and Consent.  The winner of two Lambda Literary Awards and two Pauline Réage Novel Awards, he teaches creative writing at Virginia Tech.  His website is jeffmannauthor.com

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