Die Young

Smoked out and drunk

making sickly look good.

Black and blue eyes,

pale sallow skin,

we are masters of fatality.

We make death sexy.

Gaunt and malnourished –

skin and bones and toxins –

it’s all for fun, you see.

This death is the new “in.”

Vampires of substances,

drinking our own sadness

and excreting “cool.”

Eulogy to Chlorophyll

How perfectly crimson edges each leaf,

Green burning away at the fringe.

As fiery shores encroach, verdant becomes moribund,

Pear becomes olive, becomes chartreuse.

Fungal freckles are now prevalent,

Russet interruptions to jade sentences.

Be not embarrassed, leaf.

The chill air causes me to droop as well.

Gravity is harsher in autumn.

My color pales as yours.

As life retreats to barked sanctuary,

Perimeters crisp, then crumble.

Where red replaced green now comes brown.

Scarlet, garnet, auburn, henna…

…drab.

Rest now, pigment.

Let loose from tree.

Daily Prompt: Crumb

It was beautiful.  Towering over me in alabaster perfection, it was a beacon of hope and prosperity.  This marvelous thing was truly a godsend.  It would feed my family for days.  I took a moment to savor its heady starch aroma, then reverently wrapped my mandibles around a small boss of bread just over my head.

Ahhhhhh… The fragment of crumb tasted as lovely as it smelled.  My antennae twitched involuntarily as I delighted in the flavor.  My family must have this!

The only problem was the sheer size of the thing.  Luckily, bread is not heavy – not like a caterpillar!  But the crumb’s diameter made up for that.  I did not doubt my strength.  I questioned my balance, though, under such a cumbersome load.

I considered hurrying back to my nest to gather a troop.  Strength in numbers, as they say.  A small group encircling the crumb would make short work of its transportation.  It would remain unwieldy, but my family works together like a well-oiled machine.  I am not overly proud in assuming we would have no trouble moving this monster!

The crumb was in a poor location, however.  Even at my fastest, it was unlikely I’d make it back before someone else had discovered the treasure.  Just what I need – drag my sisters out here to find that some sparrow has scooped up our feast.  I could only imagine the razzing I’d receive.  “Are you sure you really found anything?”  No, thank you.

No, there as only one option.  I had to bring the crumb back myself.  I gazed up again, this time in both adoration and intimidation.  Trying not to let myself be distracted by the bread’s fragrance, I walked around it, studying its structure.  It was, in no uncertain terms, massive.  I fought to quell imaginings of my prospective failure.  My compound eyes were not great for seeing detail, but still I examined as closely as possible.

What fortune! There was a flattened, almost concave area on one side of rough sphere.  I could surely use that to my advantage.

I lined myself up with the shallow divot, then crawled backwards under it.  By pressing my abdomen against the ground, I was able to get directly under the bulk of the crumb.  Strange that I live in tunnels underground, yet in that moment I was claustrophobic.  My exoskeleton would preserve me if the crumb rolled onto me, so I was in no real danger.  I guess you can’t help but imagine the worst sometimes.

Now the tricky part.  I bent my back upwards, lifting my head and thorax toward the crumb.  My antennae brushed against the bread.  Stretch, stretch… Brush aside the voice in the back of my head, telling me to give up, telling me I can’t do it… Stretch… My front legs were well off the ground, and middle ones are on the tips of their claws… Stretch just a little more…

There!

My mandibles grasped the rough surface like a vice.  I hung, body curved sharply, painfully.  Slowly, gingerly, I pulled downwards.  The crumb rolled gradually onto my back.  My breathing was labored, I struggled to maintain control.  Then it was upon me in all its girth.  My legs quivered, not under the crumb’s weight, but under the exertion required to balance. I never would have thought I’d ever wish for more than six legs!

After a few timorous moments, my load and I steadied, and I was able to take a long, deep breath.  Now for forward movement.  One middle leg, then the other, then a front… My first steps were tiny, millimeter by millimeter, but I dared not chance larger strides.  As I started seeing my surroundings change with my progress, my confidence grew.  The crumb, delicious treasure, had not shifted.  I was flabbergasted and proud!  My steps grew larger, and my eyes gleamed with excitement.

Finally I came through a patch of tall grass and emerged in front of my nest.  The clearing around our hill was full of my family, busy at various tasks, but as I came into view, a hush swept over the area.  The ants nearest me stared blankly at first, but then came rushing to me and took a hold of the crumb.  My burdened journey was finished.  I let out a reflexive sigh as my body finally relaxed.  Several of my sisters descended upon me to groom dust from my face and legs.

I was exhausted.  But to know my family was taken care of – there was no greater satisfaction!

via Daily Prompt: Crumb

Sneak: Subtly

That feeling is back.  That pull.  A desire without words, but not without meaning.  Both corporeal and cerebral, drawing every aspect of my being toward some vaguely recognizable goal.  A longing… almost an instinctive obligation.  I want, I need.  But what?

Wind passes my window in irregular gusts as I ruminate in silence.  It whispers to me in a language I don’t know, taunting me and making me yearn more deeply.  The last warm beams of the setting sun move over my arms and face, and the chill of impending winter night licks at my toes.  It’s been a mild season so far, but the first week of the new year is come, and I sense colder weather approaching.

Logic would tell me I merely suffer cabin fever, but I know that is not all that is going on.  That tugging longing is too strong and hits too deeply.  Something more is at hand here.  That wind bears change.  The future seems simultaneously uncertain, yet knowable…

“Honey?”

I start, a slight twitch of skin and change of position.  I had not heard my husband get home.  I look over my shoulder at him.  He is a good man, whose kind eyes have become haggard from too many years of too little appreciation.  I smile at him in reply to his greeting.

“Are you okay?” he asks.  “You were looking… I don’t know.  Like you saw a ghost or something.”

The man knows me well, but he has never been good at putting his thoughts into words.  “I’m fine, darling.  Just got lost in thought.”

“I see.”  He really does, and I know that he’s on to me.  He knows I’m holding out on him.  I wonder if he’ll press the matter.  He holds eye contact with me for a long moment, then turns to the window.  “Weather’s changing.”

I realize I was holding my breath, and release it.  My husband and I have been through a lot together, but these weird, inexplicable urges are difficult enough for me to wrap my own head around.  I cannot even begin to imagine how to explain this to him.  I’m fairly certain he wouldn’t immediately dismiss me as a nutter, but I’m not interested in testing the theory.  Not yet, anyway.

“You think snow is coming?” I ask, glad to change the subject.  “Air kinda smells like it.”

“Definitely.  I give it a day, two tops.  Something tells me it’s going to be a good one.”

Something in his voice strikes me as odd, and I look up at him.  He stands over me like a statue, strong and placid, gazing at the swaying branches of the trees outside.  He exudes calm to the untrained eye.  But I know this man, and there is something unsettled in those eyes.  For a moment, I wonder if I should tell him of the feelings I’ve been having.  I wonder if he feels something, too.  I wonder if the need, the dreadful pull, is not mine alone.  And then I wonder if he’ll think I’m crazy.

He stirs, looks at me before I can say anything.  The trouble I saw in his expression is gone, softened by love.  Maybe I imagined it in the first place.  Maybe I just wanted it to be there because I was hoping for a confidant, someone I could talk to and get my worry off my chest.

“Let’s eat,” he says with a grin, and leaves the room.  I sigh, and the wind does too, ever mocking me and my confusion.

Anxious to write

Gotta catch em. Got to grab their attention while you can. You don’t get much opportunity, gotta catch em, got to catch em while you can. She nibbled her fingertips nervously, straining under the weight of this burden, this pressure to catch them. How to do it? How to get that attention in a society that prides itself on attention deficiency. What if the opportunity doesn’t come up again? What if those first few words don’t grab the bull by the horns, stare it in the face, kiss it on the nose? Even worse than no second chance, what if you get trampled by that bull? She couldn’t do it. She put her pen down. Too much pressure. What if she couldn’t catch them? Is it worth the risk? She got up and walked away from the table.

Poem: Big Girl

How can I not stare?

Red hips glistening,

Rumbling like thunder,

Tingling like lightning.

I hate clichés,

But this woman sashays.

Satin red silhouette

With shoulders high,

Breasts low.

Wonderful, unusual shape.

She is what she is

And we love it.

Poem: Buick

Black on blue
Green on black on blue
Green and red and gray
Rumbles and thumps
And one metallic rattle
Constant vibration
Consistent rhythm
Both of sounds and sights
Trees and lights
And strips of white
Or yellow
Yellow on black on blue
Black tarmac
Night sky blue
A passenger’s lullaby
Thank you for driving