Sunday, April 9, 2017

MAD HONEY


When the wild azaleas bloom
in the fields along the Sonoma coast,
the air is laden with the odor of spice:
cinnamon, and nutmeg, and decay.

Sonorous European honeybees buzz in,
dizzily, they roll on their backs in ecstasy,
such sweet mead madness in morning meadows. 
Then they drunkenly port their poisonous booty 
back with them to share with the hive.

In Anatolia and Iran, bountiful bees gather nectar
from the rhododendrons and azaleas. Blood-red
rose-of-the-forest Deli bal honeycombs
were planted along the routes of the invading armies
of Xenophon, and Pompey. Roman legions,
after eating the mad honey, were delirious.

They swooned, light-headed. The narcotic
bitter honey was both a term of endearment
and a weapon of mass destruction. 
It was such sweet surrender as they fell,
into their camp beds and on the battlefields
fringing the shores of the Black Sea.

Meanwhile, our bouquets of Diogenes lanterns
blossomed on empty Syrian airfields. Shells,
and sarin gas, like breathing knives made of fire,
our funereal sweetmeats for the dead.


4/9/2017



First drafts:


When the azaleas bloom, the air smells like cinnamon

When the azaleas bloom,
the air is laden with the odor of spice:
cinnamon and nutmeg.
Sonorous bees....

When the wild azaleas bloom along the Sonoma coast,
the air is laden with the odor of spice:
cinnamon and nutmeg. and something more narcotic.
Sonorous european honeybees buzz in,
and roll on their backs in ecstasy, such sweet mad mead.
Then they take back to the hive their poisonous booty.


Mad Honey – The Alameda County Beekeepers Association

The Strange History of ‘Mad Honey’ Deli bal

Xenophon, and Pompey

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