Poem: The Why of the Drive

“There’s lightning in the sky, I’m on the run

As an overwhelming urgency explodes.

All my life been waiting to arrive.

It’s not the destination, it’s the drive.”

—Jason Wade “Paper Cuts”

So goes one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite musicians. I’ve loved this song since I first heard it…well, last week. It took me a whole week to realize how appropriate this song actually was.

You see, I think those words are very true for most humans. We’re not called a “race” for nothing. All my life, I’ve been racing for one thing or another. To get an education, to get a good job, to have a family, to reach a point in my life where I’m totally fulfilled. Waiting to arrive. I’ve been lucky enough to achieve many of my goals. Some have escaped me. One in particular—to create a story that will capture the imagination of more than me—still dances just out of my reach.

But I’ve reached a point in my life where I wonder if maybe that might not be best.

Alan Shepard, the first man in space, emerged from his capsule and said, “Man, what a ride.” He’d achieved his dream. He’d been to space. Guess what he did then? He started trying to get back to space. In 1971, he commanded Apollo 14 on its mission to the moon, where he became one of the few who have walked on that gloriously inhospitable surface.

Man, what a ride.

I will never stop trying to string together words and now pictures to make that story that will suddenly become the story everyone wants to know. It’s my journey. I may never reach the end of it, but I have to believe there’s a reason I’m on it. Maybe when I reach my end, I’ll know for sure what that reason was. In the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy the ride.

The Why of the Drive

By Michelle Garren Flye

You start out fresh, focused and free

The window rolled down to feel the breeze

But you tire as the miles roll endlessly on

Each one passes but seems ever so long

Exhaustion sets in, dragging you down

You may nod off and miss a whole town

Muscles ache, discomfort draws your sighs

Why did you start this, your heart cries

But then you round a curve and know the why

You see it ahead where mountains meet sky

A creek bed that wanders hither and yon

A prairie or seascape that feels like a song

Oh God, help me enjoy the beauty you send

Even if it means I don’t make it to the end

Don’t take me away before it is gone

Just let me be where I know I belong.

By Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Gen X

I’m not sure where this came from except my frustration and angst boiled over a bit this morning. It’s sort of an apology to my kids. Give it some thought. Do you owe the next generation an apology?

Gen X

By Michelle Garren Flye

Let’s face it, we fucked up.

So long as we had our bite and sup

We didn’t care who had their way—

We just didn’t have that much to say.

The environment crumbles without our care;

Others struggle—we know it’s not fair.

But those others aren’t us, so why fear?

For them we will not shed a tear.

“We’re so laid back” is what we brag.

“We’ll leave it to others to piss and nag.”

The younger generation will have to fix

The mess we made when we were in the mix.

Retirement looms for us all now.

We’re almost ready to take a bow.

Our children shake their heads in wonder

At the world we’ve left torn asunder.

“Good times,” we say with wanton cheer;

“To better days,” we raise our beer.

All that’s left is to watch it burn

As we patiently sip and wait our turn.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Happy Release Day, Hourglass! Let’s do this, an origin story.

And just like that, Flye Gee Comics is born. LOL. Mainly because, like everything else I do, it’s with a “just go ahead and do it” mindset (I didn’t steal that from Nike, btw, I’ve been like this for a while now).

It’s really funny the way this came about, though. The origin story is important in comic book lore, so here it is in a nutshell. I fell in love with manga (My Hero Academia in particular). It reminded me of reading comic books. I started thinking how cool it would be to have my stories illustrated that way and realized I always have a vision in my head while writing anyway. And those visions are often not scenes, exactly, but like a particular aspect of a scene. For instance, I might write a scene about two people having a serious conversation while one drinks water, and the picture in my head is of when that character sets the glass down. The ripples in the top of the water.

Like a comic book frame.

Not being an artist (at least not a really good one), I started wondering if I could do at least part of my comic book with photo manipulation. Yeah, that could work. I’ve been playing around with the concept of poetography (a poem paired with a photograph) for some time. And if I based my comic book story off some of my poetry, I could incorporate three or four things I love in one thing.

Okay then. Let’s just go ahead and do it, I thought.

I’ve shared some of my journey on here. You’ve seen early versions of the illustrations. I’ve improved some of those. I worked really hard to format it into a book. I treated each page like an individual work of art. I finished the ebook version first, then fought my way through the formatting of the print version. I proofread and marked up and printed and proofread again. I corrected margins and found odd marks on some of the illustrations that I swear I didn’t put there. I removed those. I learned how to do speech and thought bubbles. I played with different fonts and ended up using three different ones. I finally decided it was good, so I ordered author copies. And yesterday a box full of them arrived about two weeks early.

So I decided I’d just go ahead and do it.

And that’s the origin story of Flye Gee Comics. I’m playing around with ideas for Issue 2. Stay tuned because chances are I will go from concept to publishing with little warning.

Let’s do this.

Poem: Craving Heart

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Sometimes I’m attracted to a particular thing or sound or food/drink for no particular reason that I can name. My craving may attach itself to something I’ve known about and/or liked/loved for years. But all of a sudden, that’s all I want in my life.

What is this? It’s like a pregnancy craving. With my first son, I wanted milk all the time. Great, right? With my second, I wanted sweet tea, which sucked because I was living in Maryland at the time, and the only place to get good sweet tea was Bojangles. Thank God for Bojangles! My daughter was a different matter. I craved protein—in the form of hamburgers and steaks.

While I was pregnant, I figured cravings were trying to tell me something. I figure the same thing about these life cravings. Right now, all I want to listen to is Lifehouse and all I really want to read is manga/comics. I prefer drawing to writing, unless it’s poetry. What is my body trying to tell me?

Maybe it’s my spirit. Maybe it’s a type of spiritual pregnancy craving. I’ve completed my comic book (I’m moving away from calling it a graphic novel on my son’s suggestion), so it’s not that, but I can’t escape the feeling that my cravings relate to what’s happening in my creative life. In some way I can’t honestly name.

Craving Heart

By Michelle Garren Flye

Amorphous at first, like the moon’s touch,

Then filling the mind and life.

What is it you long for, want so much?

Sometimes sharp as a knife

Other times soft…you’d never hurt.

Give it to me, you whisper,

Give, and it’ll quench your thirst.

Resist you? Oh, that, I’d never!

I know how you get, my craving heart,

When I attempt to ignore

The insinuation of your persistent art.

No, I’ll surrender to wanting more

Of whatever you say I require.

I’ll see where this craving leads,

I’ll follow the road of desire—

And allow the nourishment of your needs.

Poems: For RBG, For Courage and Sing!

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last night affected me more than I thought it would. She was one of those rare people that you know you’re just lucky to share this planet with. I think for a lot of women, she was a monolith of courage and wisdom that should never be knocked down. But death finally managed it. Of course I wrote a poem for her.

For RBG, For Courage

By Michelle Garren Flye

Do not think she went gently
Her fight fought
Perhaps she knew we are ready
To live as we ought
And when the night crept up
She looked at it straight
Her body frail as a china cup
And knowing she was late
The strong spirit that kept her here
Knew what was in store
Her heart beat ceased to thrum
Beneath the collar she wore
But legacy cannot be lost like crumb
We know the energy spent
We will carry on in her wake
For RBG, for courage, we women
Will follow the path she staked.

It occurred to me that RBG spent her entire life living courageously. She was a lion among women. I live in an area of the country where some women still follow their man’s lead, completely and subjectively. What the man wants, the woman provides and she’s lucky to do so. It’s these women I often write for, not women like RBG. It took me a long time to get to the point I’m at now. It’s always possible to find your voice, no matter how old you are. Find it now and…

Sing!

By Michelle Garren Flye

If I’d just kept quiet or spoken

Only butterflies and moths and pretty things

We would still be whole, unbroken

But I spat out the dragonflies with glass wings

And you couldn’t face I had awoken

So now we face each other across the springs

Without affection or even a token

Of what used to be before I chose to sing.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: The End of the Dream, or Burning Hell

If you’re one of those who thinks God will save us from any mess we get ourselves into, so we can do whatever the hell we want to do, I hope you’re right. Maybe that’s not enough, but I do hope you’re right. On the other hand, I can’t help but think, well, if I was God, I would’ve thrown up my hands and walked away from us idiots a long time ago. And where does that leave us now with our planet on fire, inadequate leadership, a virus killing thousands per day and no way out? I know where it leaves us. It leaves us at the end of all that has nurtured us for so long.

The End of the Dream, or Burning Hell

By Michelle Garren Flye

Here we stand at the end of the dream.

Where do we go now?

I see no shining trails leading us away

From the end of all we know.

From bloody skies and boiling streets,

There is no rescue to come.

This horror we’ve concocted here

Is what’s left of our home.

Yes, the dream is gone, and rage takes over;

I feel it under my skin.

It crawls in through my open mouth

And makes its home within.

Fire and famine, fear and sorrow,

Burning hell takes over.

The nightmare has only just begun—

No one’s coming to wake you.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: No Protection

No Protection

By Michelle Garren Flye

You’re right, you know.

Masks won’t protect us.

Science can’t stop the blow

Nor quiet all the fuss.

You can’t hide from despair

And politics won’t save the lost.

Maybe just focus on repair

And not tallying up the cost?

What can help us heal from this?

The neighbor is “other” to the free,

And all that matters is our own bliss.

Is it really too much to hear their plea?

Reach out a hand, fight to converge—

Look behind the mask to the soul.

Only when we find that courage

Can we hope to be made whole.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Hellsong

Hellsong

By Michelle Garren Flye

Betrayal burns, feverish holes

Sprout and fill with flame,

Spilling ash out onto coals;

Leaping up, you’re unable to tame.

Will you watch it all burn?

Where will you go to escape?

No matter which way you turn

The consummation takes shape.

Don’t look for a way out—

Just give yourself to the fire.

The freedom you used to flout

Just a subject for the choir.

Your sins catch up to you here.

Your lies will haunt you again.

Remember them all, embrace fear—

Hell sings out in this last quatrain.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Fever Phoenix

My apologies for my continued fascination with fire right now…but maybe it’s just because, HEY! THE WORLD IS BURNING! WE MIGHT NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT!

Fever Phoenix

By Michelle Garren Flye

Fever burns within,

But are you

Fire or fuel?

Make the call.

Will you destroy what you touch

Or feed the flames of others?

Spew your own sparks

Or rise from the ashes

Of all you caressed

Of all that you fed

And like a phoenix

With feathers ablaze

Spread your wings

And scorch all in your way

Until even the tiniest flicker

Of a candle is engulfed

In your laughing mouth

As you rise

Above those without escape

From the conflagration

At the end of the world.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

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