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: 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

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

Poem: The Death of a Thousand Cuts

The Death of a Thousand Cuts

By Michelle Garren Flye

She’s whole, pure, beautiful

When she steps out into the world,

And the first cut is kind of pitiful—

She barely notes the blood pearl.

The second comes out of nowhere—

Perhaps from the company she keeps?

She bandages it up with great care,

But no one hears when she weeps.

Third, fourth and fifth go deeper—

Needing more than a few stitches.

She covers them with a sweater

And cries until her breath hitches.

By the twentieth, she’s beyond care.

The blood splotches the floor in drips.

She armors herself to prepare

For the constant onslaught of whips.

She’ll go on and on and on

Into a world full of attacks.

She feels like an automaton,

Just surviving all the whacks.

A hundred, two hundred, more

And the armor barely dulls

The sting of each strike before

Silence falls in the rarest of lulls.

She wonders what each blow takes.

Is it blood or faith that she bleeds?

God, religion, nation—each forsakes

And their call she no longer heeds.

It’s cruel what life does to you—

How it parades and poses and struts.

In the end it’ll take you, it’s true,

By the death of a thousand cuts.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 26 (National Poetry Month): Ditch Flower

Ditch Flower

By Michelle Garren Flye

I’ll take your picture now

For tomorrow is uncertain;

We cannot tell when or how

The future pulls the curtain.

It’s pretty sure you’ll go

Sooner than later, my flower,

For the farmer is going to mow

Ere the clouds turn to shower.

Let me capture your grace

Behind my lens to store—

A ditch is not a safe place;

Soon you’ll be here no more.

Here today, gone tomorrow. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 24 (National Poetry Month): When We Return to “Normal”

Everything feels wrong now, and it seems that everyone is trying to quantify it and box it up and make it what they’ve always known. “Don’t judge people if you see them not wearing a mask or taking their kids out or trying to go back to work—you don’t know what they’re going through,” say some. This is true. But it does not escape my sense of fairness that some of these people are the same ones who are quick to judge those who take their families and flee from death and poverty in other countries. Don’t judge them, either. You don’t know what they’ve gone through.

We all want to go back to “normal”, but I don’t think we’re ever going to get back there from here. We’ll go back to some semblance of day-to-day life, but I believe what scifi writers have been warning us about—that some event would come along eventually that would change us forever—has finally happened. Where we go from here is really up to us. We can remain politically divided with half of us in denial about our doom and the other half constantly lecturing about it—or we can unite and fight for survival. I pray we opt to find the best in all of us when we declare victory over this virus…and return to “normal”.

When We Return to “Normal:

By Michelle Garren Flye

“I like that lady’s mask, Mommy.”

The little boy doesn’t wear a mask.

His face bare, he points at me.

Why is he here, I’d love to ask?

But life now is far from easy;

You can’t judge or take to task

Those whose differences you see.

Maybe we will remember this lesson

When we can declare our battle won.

When the world returns to “normal”

And we look each other in the face again

We may remember we are all mortal

And not judge each other by colors of skin.

Maybe we will recall we’re all one world

And where we come from is not our sin.

Maybe this can be done because it’s natural

When we survive a crisis with our fellow man.

Yes, let’s look at each other and see only “us”

When we stand on the battlefield victorious.

Like a flower conquering concrete, we will survive. It’s where we go from there that matters. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 18 (National Poetry Month): Walking Outside on a Windy Day

Walking Outside on a Windy Day

By Michelle Garren Flye

I walk outside to the wind waiting for rain

a fluttering clash quickly dissipates

so when I turn my head

I see only a single feather

twirling down

the only evidence that remains

of the maelstrom

before the storm came.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 17 (National Poetry Month): COVID-19

I considered titling this poem “Lasting Effects”, but I prefer the blatancy of this title instead.

COVID-19

By Michelle Garren Flye

Don’t do that, it will make you sick.

Don’t go out—don’t even try.

The virus is out there, it’s too quick,

You can’t outrun it, you can’t defy.

But what if it never ends?

What if we’re stuck this way?

There may be no amends

If the virus is here to stay.

Fear has found a place of assembly,

Even in the hearts of the brave.

Soldiers cannot fight this enemy,

And maybe there is nothing to save.

Maybe this is what we’ve earned

Through years of war and strife—

When we’ve never really learned

What’s important in life.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 13 (National Poetry Month): In the Middle of the Storm

In the Middle of the Storm

By Michelle Garren Flye

In the middle of the storm

There’s no time for wondering

If what we are doing is right

(That’s what preparation is for)

The noise and distraction

Leave no room for discussion

About what we’re supposed to do

(So we just do and hope)

It’s only after that we find out

It’s only when we stand on the edge

And survey what’s left that we know

(If we’re lucky enough anyway)

History watches every decision

Written by victors (or victorias)

A reflection of what we did

In the middle of the storm

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 11 (National Poetry Month): Leakage

Another attempt at rhyming poetry. Some are better than others

Leakage

By Michelle Garren Flye

The pool in the forest looks endless and deep.

But I know a secret that I will always keep.

The stream that away from the pool leads

Now has all the water a little stream needs.

But look closer, look harder, and you will find

That time to the stream will not be kind.

Upstream a dam has been built to cut off

The flow to the pool and the stream’s runoff.

Does the pool know it is leaking away?

Will it attempt to make the water stay?

Or just like us, it may avoid the strife

And allow the leakage to continue for life.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye