Wisteria is closest to the hair of the drowned suicide or the flaccid members of deceased elder statesmen. It turns its back on knowledge, propriety, obligation, law. Of all the flowers, only wisteria is truly languid.


A private flower, a back-of-the-house flower, perhaps, as the Japanese thought, even a flower for the study, where one’s company is only his own thoughts and the thoughts of the dead, bound in books. Perfume mild, sillage almost nonexistent. Its cascade of flowers humiliates the staid and formal, escapes the cunning. What should one do beneath it? Fornicate would be a good idea, though never with one you trust, or gossip about celebrities or play chess.


With friends, we only meet beneath wisteria. Wisteria is the perfume of camaraderie, of confidences.


To be understood at all, the vine must be visited at night, when to its dissolute whispers the stars and moon play counterpoint. The scene is best among columns, preferably Doric. See here how the wisteria grows by moonlight, slow and intent, the way one drags a finger up a thigh or a bishop foolishly across the board. This is when it does its clambering. Here is revealed its ample creamy will and midnight vanity. Dahling, you’re so droll, says the moon, grinding on its axle. Wisteria hisses across its martini.