Poem: Fire (Because the world is burning and nobody seems to care)

Fire

By Michelle Garren Flye

Burning from the inside out

Is better than exploding in public

Keep it inside, don’t be loud

No one cares what’s in your heart

So you can get away with that

Live a subtle life

Don’t speak what’s not asked.

Or…

Spit out the ash and fire and lava

That’s built up all your life

Because who cares?

Once it’s out it won’t matter

Anyway.

Lava leaves only ash in its wake

Ash chokes those who dare breathe it

And Fire destroys all in its path.

So burn anyway you want—

Kick it out to your neighbors (aha!)

With their green lawns peppered by red signs

Smash it into the bumpers branded enemy…

Or breathe it deliciously

Over those too slow to resist

Caress it onto those who forget to run

From Fire.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Missing Fire

I’ve been a little at loose ends here recently. I finished a project (well, sort of, it was my fanfiction), and I’m experiencing what a friend calls “post publication blues” (thanks for that, Tracie!). It’s a real thing, I think, when you are writing so hard on a project (I finished 58,000+ words in less than 30 days), and suddenly it’s done. And you want to go on to the next project but suddenly…your creative fire is burning low…

So I’ve turned to poetry until I can get myself geared up for one of my next projects (one of which was actually inspired by my fanfiction journey and is definitely quite different from anything I’ve ever attempted before).

Missing Fire

By Michelle Garren Flye

I miss the fire you woke in me—

The burning desire running through my veins.

Destructive, creative forces warring for victory.

I poured it all out onto the page

Red ink of blood spilled past the margins

Ran rampant over blue lines

Left scorch marks behind—

The ashy smell of lost passion

Haunts me even now.

How do you recover

When you burn from the inside out?

How do you rebuild

On unsteady, overheated foundations

Willed to stand only by yearning?

Maybe you cut your losses

And start over instead.

But do you find a good base or rebuild on ash?

Use brick and mortar or something incendiary?

Depends on your desire:

Gain solid footing? Or invite the flames?

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Haiku study continues

Seriously. What does make a haiku good? I know it when I read it. I know it when I write it. I’m still trying to get to the point where I feel I can do it consistently, though. Here’s an idea:

#40 (eh)

Pretty pink roses

What secrets do you keep there

Beneath your petals?

#41 (not bad)

Dragonfly swoops low

Lands on water’s smooth surface

To meet Reflection

#42 (s’okay)

Lie here beside me

Look at the clouds and dream

What do you see there?

#43 (maybe?)

It rustles the brush

Stalking the moonlit midnight

Fearful manifest

#44 (not bad)

Hard to remember

Winter in mid summer heat

Ice when all is fire

#45 (love this one, but I made it a full poem)

why would you think all

the fire in the world is yours

you are left with ash

#46 (eh)

Light shines in the rain

Love awaits us in those walls

Home sweet home again

#47 (not bad)

Smell of fresh death floats

On hot wind with crackly leaves

Fallen trees are mourned

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

I wrote a fanfiction. And it’s really good.

I blame 2020. So in a way, I guess I should thank 2020 for being such a miserable year it froze my creative juices in my veins so that the only way I could continue writing at all was to take up a study of haiku and try to figure out why some 5-7-5 poems are better than others.

Until Boku No Hero Academia, that is.

My daughter introduced me to it. More to the point, I found out she’d been watching anime and reacted like any sensible parent would and demanded she watch it with me. I have a bit of a prejudice against anime and manga due to the way it portrays women. I found some of that in BNHA (a.k.a., My Hero Academia, based on the manga by Kohei Horikoshi), but nothing I felt would scar my beautiful, confident, intelligent daughter.

I did think the anime could use a stronger female character or two, preferably on the hero and not the villain side.

I was pretty sure I could create one.

In mid-July I did exactly that. And then I started writing her story. Then I posted it on a fanfiction site. It’s now up to 22 chapters (I’ve been posting one a day, serial-like), has almost 700 hits, 22 kudos, six subscribers, and one reader who comments every single day. I’m kind of proud of that. It might be the most successful thing I’ve ever written.

After I wrote about ten chapters of it, I came clean with my daughter. She was shocked and, I think, happy. She asked if she could read it. I gave her the link because I’ve rated it “Teen and Up” on the site, and I know it’s okay for her.

She said it was really good.

I asked if it was weird that I wrote it.

She pointed out that most fanfiction is written by kids, so my readers are probably kids and probably think I am, too.

Oh jeez.

That is a little weird.

And still, I know I’m going to finish this story because I can’t not. It’s been pure fun to write. I love the universe, the characters (Kohei Horikoshi’s and mine), and how it’s brought me back to reading the comic books I borrowed from my older brother’s room when I was a kid. He always had the best ones. Richie Rich, Spider-Man, The Micronauts (remember Baron Karza, anyone?), and so many others. I loved those comics.

And I’m not going to apologize for writing a fanfiction based on an anime based on a manga. After all, it’s better than sitting frozen in horror watching our world flame out.

And besides, it inspired my beautiful daughter to draw me this:

My OC (that’s Original Character) from my fanfiction.

I am not going to post a link to my fanfiction because I don’t want to lead any children to my romances. If any of you do find this, my romances are not child friendly. I would refer you to my Shelley Gee account for middle grade children’s books. Possibly my semi-YA Weeds and Flowers. But none of these are set in a universe with heroes and villains and would probably be a disappointment. Sorry? On the other hand, if you know me and want to read the fanfiction to see if it’s really all that, let me know.

Poem: Ash

Ash

By Michelle Garren Flye

why would you think all

the fire in the world is yours

you are left with ash

tiny candle flames

will not light your way to bed

the wick is all gone

firelight burned long ago

leaves only the stench of days

already gone by

and i claim the sun

as my own personal lamp

i’ll leave none for you

look in the ashtrays

search the burned out homes you left

as a memory

dig your way into dust

and cinders, the residue

of the lives ruined

when you claimed the light

and the fire and the passion

was yours for taking

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Haiku quest continues…

A few more of my better ones.

#14

Wind and rain lover’s

Knuckles brushing over cheek

Gentle but solid

#15

Rain beats the leaves down

Rushes on the ground to pool

Over the tree’s roots

#16

Inspiration comes

After storm falls on our heads

Umbrella is nice

#17

Irrational want

Desire what can never be

Love has no place here

#20

This excellent trip

Will end eventually

What happens then, love?

#21

Restless sleep tonight

The moon flows full over trees

Inviting rambles

#23

Why sleep in the night?

Fight circadian rhythms—

Living time is dear.

#24

Read haiku poem

Prepare for inspiration

Bursting with longing

#27

I love the rain sounds

On the glass paneled windows

Safe in my bookstore

#29

Summer evening

Alien ratchets and song

Wish I weren’t alone

#31

Scarlet cardinal

Takes flight, leaves the rest of us

Behind, bound to earth

#32

Late blooming flower

Pure and alone on the bush

I guess you forgot

#33

Bizarre masked people

Eating at sidewalk cafes

Through open zippers

#34

Can’t really decide

If surroundings are muted

Or are you just bright

#35

Reality runs

After me, chases, leaps and

Follows my retreat

Late blooming gardenia. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: No Edges

No Edges

By Michelle Garren Flye

I decided to be edgy much too late

Soft living makes soft edges

And those are just curves

Rounded spaces don’t agree

With razor sharpness

Anyway

So I’ll just go on preserving

Circular surroundings

(Circles have no end, no beginning

They mean forever

And a day

But that’s too long for anyone sane)

And leave the sharp spears

To the young people

Those who can still afford

To poke holes

Where they don’t belong.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Thirteen Haiku

I’ve been studying haiku and how to write it, what it’s supposed to mean. It’s interesting. Haiku used to seem like an incredibly easy format to me. It doesn’t have to rhyme. It’s just a certain number of syllables and lines. Turns out that’s not really all haiku is.

By reading some original Japanese haiku from Matsuo Basho, I’ve learned that there’s more to haiku than just counting syllables and lines. It’s more about the feeling you are left with at the end of the poem. So haiku isn’t so much about what’s there as what’s left. If that makes any sense.

Anyway, here are thirteen haiku I’ve written over the course of the last few days. I’d love to know if you have a favorite. Do any of them leave you with anything?

#1

The gardener prunes

But new growth won’t be restrained

Bright green emerges

#2

Fireworks entertain

But divisive words excite

Rebellion looms near

#3

Stained glass wings hover

Glory in the hot summer

Swoop fast, stop away

#4

2020 sucks

plague, famine, deluge and war

make a new start now

#5

it’s the halfway point

the race isn’t won yet

can we just restart?

#6

Heartfelt empathy

Pain from any side will hurt

Shut down the spirit

#7

No lightning tonight

Just rain falling in the pines

Sounds lonely alone

#8

Dark voices cry out

I search for them in the sky

Black wings spread, take flight

#9

Crows call murderous

Shrieks splitting the morning light

I listen and smile

#10

Desirous waking

Leads to newspaper reading

This day just the same

#11

Stay home to be safe

Wear a mask, don’t go out there

Life is lived this way

#12

Spiders don’t frighten

But dark doubts creep up on me

Fear takes over life

#13

Disaster movie

Background characters await

Saving grace. The end.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: My True Name (for the NRA)

My True Name

By Michelle Garren Flye

Horrible, beautiful monster,

Come here into my embrace.

It’s only with your care

I feel I will win the race.

watch, watch, watch

be always on guard

behind your camouflage

ready to do your part

And then it happens—so quick!

Safety is naught but the feel—

The cold, the smooth, the slick—

Dangerous sensation of steel.

stalk the enemy, be ready

they’re coming for you now

fight the bastards…steady

into their midst you plow

But it’s blood, not rain that falls

When the shooting starts.

Patriotic freedom palls

And before me a red sea parts—

beautiful monster, you cry

shall I whisper in your ear?

Death is the name I go by

and when you call, I’m here.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye