Rick Bursky


The Legerdemain


Door-to-door sales is a tradition in my family. My mother bought me from a door- to-door salesman when I was five weeks old. I’ve sold everything door-to-door – from silverware to poison, drank Hemlock three times as a demonstration. Slowly closing the eyes is an effective sales tool. I was thirty-six when I sold my first tulip, a Red Emperor to a man on his way to a funeral, stopped him in his driveway. He held the tulip and sobbed. Selling tulips is selling desire. Other flower salesmen sell clichés. The tulip is a nightmare rehabilitated, closer to a human heart than a rose. Tulips are the ears of the dead. My work has hardened my knuckles. At the end of the day I sit in my car and watch the sun set in the rear-view mirror. The Monte Flame is my favorite tulip, the way its orange and red petals cup every dirty secret you’ve ever told. 



“I’m No Longer Trouble By The Extravagance,” BOA Editions, 2015

Plume, plumepoetry.com, 2011