Poem: Seagulls

I saw seagulls this morning. Though I live near the coast, I don’t see them often here. I’ve been longing to go to the beach, but it hasn’t happened in quite some time. These gulls reminded of one of the things I love about the beach. The freedom. I actually had my camera, but was so spellbound by their flight, I didn’t take any pictures. I’ll be sure and do that when I go to the beach for a week or two this summer.

Seagulls

By Michelle Garren Flye

I watch the seagulls wheel and sail,

Spitting their free cries into the sky.

What is it like to know so well

That feeling of being so high?

Oh, to spend all my time in flight,

To dance all day on summer breezes,

To fling myself with all main and might

Into heaven’s divine, feathery creases!

But I’m bound to earth’s filth

And know in my heart nothing

Will entice God to impart the skill

Of etching sky with tip of a wing.

Not a seagull. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: When Justice Falls

ancient burial cemetery creepy

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

I’ve been struggling with my feelings about the impeachment of Donald Trump. Last night, watching the votes rack up and the opposing sides face off, I felt as if I were torn in half. I never wanted this. But since the day I realized Donald Trump would be our president, I knew it was coming. It was a matter of when. With each of his horrific policies and statements, I wished it would come already. When immigrant children were separated from their families at the border to be placed in group “homes” and “facilities” without protection from God only knows what (death and abuse), I prayed for Donald Trump to be impeached. When he pulled our military out and left our Kurdish allies to bleed and die, I prayed for Donald Trump to be impeached. When Donald Trump overturned the military courts and allowed war crimes to go unpunished, I cursed God for not listening.

And now I am confronted by the reality. Donald Trump is impeached. And every Republican stood behind him, defending the indefensible, turning the truth to fit their own version of reality, spitting in the face of what is right. And I know that when he is acquitted in the Senate by his majority, something precious will die. And all I feel is sad.

 

When Justice Falls

By Michelle Garren Flye

 

You’d think I’d be happier, right?

Justice is blind, but Truth lies at her feet.

How can she not see what lies before her?

Come, Justice, set us free from tyranny!

But she can’t hear me above the multitude of lies.

Blind and deafened, she doesn’t see Truth…and stumbles.

 

You’d think I’d be happy, dancing…

But instead I just want to cry blood and rain.

I want to scream, wake up, stop this!

Please, please…open your eyes.

It’s not a dream, not an illusion—it’s real.

What you grind under your feet doesn’t grow back.

 

You’d think I’d be happy to tell you I told you so.

I’m not—in truth I never wanted to be right.

I just knew, inescapably and undeniably, that I was.

Now I sit, bowed and broken and old and tired,

At the graveside of ideals with Truth for company.

We wait together—eventually, Justice will fall beside us.

Being a writer

What’s it like to be a writer?

Here’s the truth. Being a writer sucks.

Being a writer is glorious. Being a writer is frustrating. In today’s world, it’s nearly impossible to be successful at being a writer. You spend half your time wishing you were something else.

But it’s not like you choose to be a writer. It’s something you’re born to be, some might say a “calling.” God puts a voice in your head and your heart and it haunts you until you do your best to translate it to the written word. Then you edit and hone and rewrite and, finally, you send it out into the world where it’s mostly ignored when it’s not published with a shiny hardback cover by a huge publisher that sends you on a world book tour with big posters and lots of bling to give away at ever stop.

And yet.

Being a writer is not something you choose, and it’s also not something you can deny. I love being a writer. I love my books that are a part of me and a pale echo of that voice God spoke to me. I know I didn’t get it right because I’m human, but I do my best, and I think I’m getting better at it with every try.

So I keep trying. I keep translating and honing and editing and rewriting. And publishing.

About a month and a half ago I sent one of my books, Movie Magic, out into the world. A few people have read it. One of them was kind enough to review it and tell me he liked it. He’s a fellow writer and a magician I’ve gotten to know through our mutual love of writing and magic. He gave it five stars and a glowing review I’m very proud of.

Tomorrow I begin a review tour. These will be strangers reviewing my book. I personally think Movie Magic is the best book I’ve written so far. I guess I’ll find out if others agree.

Until tomorrow.

 

 

“Bad Mommy”: A Profound Awakening

I took my kids to a rock festival this weekend. Carolina Rebellion 2017. The Cult played Friday evening, Tesla and Def Leppard (a band I’ve wanted to see since I missed out on them in college) were there on Saturday. And Skillet, my kids’ favorite band, on Sunday. I like Skillet. I approve of their positive message in a world where teens are bombarded by negative ones. Plus, they rock.

We talked to the kids ahead of time about what the festival might be like. There’d probably be drugs and drinking and strong language. The people there might look different from what we see in our small town. I’m not sure how much of that the kids heard in the excitement of seeing Skillet, but I’m happy to say I have confidence and trust in my kids. I figured we’d all be okay.

So this weekend, we packed up the car and left. We got there just in time to hear The Cult play. We ate some bad festival food, got home late, slept late, and then went back for more. Saturday was an epic night for me. I’ve loved both Tesla and Def Leppard since I was in high school and college. Both of them performed. I think when I’m on my death bed I’ll smile at the memory of dancing with my daughter under the stars while Def Leppard played some of my favorite songs.

So far, so great, right? True, we were out of place. None of us have tattoos and my daughter and I have four piercings between us. A couple of times I smelled some funky smoke. We saw some drunk people. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the F-word screamed over a microphone so often. And my youngest, nine, was definitely in the minority at this festival full of college kids, metalheads, bikers and death rockers. So much so that quite a few tattooed, pierced and leather-clad people had to pause to give her a high five and compliment her on her dancing.

Sunday was the day we’d been waiting for. Skillet played Sunday afternoon and signed albums and CDs after. My kids wore the Skillet shirts I’d bought them for Christmas. They were excited as we approached the festival grounds. We all were. And that’s when I saw him.

Dressed in khaki pants and a knit golf shirt, he might have stepped right off a golf course. He had a microphone and sign and he was preaching at the sinners walking past on their way to the festival, telling them to go to church instead of to a rock concert. I took my daughter’s hand as we crossed the road. Some instinct made me want to protect her from this guy. He watched us walk past, still preaching. It was only when I was about ten feet past him that he did it.

“And there goes a bad mommy right there, folks. Taking her innocent child into this den of iniquity…” (That may not be an exact quote. My blood pressure shot up so much after the “bad mommy” part that I couldn’t hear well over the rush of blood in my ears.)

My head swiveled around in shocked outrage. How dare he? How dare he play on the guilt that all mothers have? The guilt that we’re not good enough for these amazing creatures we’ve been blessed with? The guilt that we don’t do enough, aren’t smart enough, should make better school lunches, throw better birthday parties…do this…don’t do that…

“God bless you!” I yelled as loud as I could manage, putting all my frustration and anger and guilt into those three words. God bless you, you (BLEEP) because I’m not going to.

And we went on to a fantastic concert full of great music. And later, when we met the four extraordinarily polite and friendly members of Skillet and they all high-fived the kids and shook their hands, I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. One of the women in the band had purple hair, another pink. Lead singer John Cooper wore a lot of leather and had tattoos. He smiled when my daughter handed him a picture she’d drawn. His voice was kind.

And that’s when it hit me.

Of all the people I’d encountered that weekend, that hate-spewing, vitriolic man outside telling me I was going to hell was the only one I’d felt a real need to protect my children from. My instinct had been to pull her away from a—Christian?—and hurry her into a rock concert. What does this mean for the future of Christianity?

Over the course of the whole weekend, I saw no real sinning. No fighting or violence. Just people enjoying life and music. Just people there for the same reason I was. Peace, love and rock-and-roll, man.

As for the “Christian”, well, I hope he made it home safely.