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

A New Creative Path?

Whatever else 2020 has done for me—to me?—it’s definitely forced me to take a serious look at what I’m doing with my creative life. Do I really want to continue writing romantic fluff for the rest of my life?

Nah.

I’ve got something much fluffier in mind.

Actually, it’s not. That’s the other thing I’ve discovered. I used to adore comic books. During my teenage and college years, I devoured Micronauts. When I was a kid, Richie Rich was the bomb. If I wasn’t reading them, I was rummaging around my older brother’s room looking for his most recent purchases. I stole them quite often and returned them much the worse for wear.

Well, as I mentioned in an earlier post, my daughter recently returned me to this world rather forcefully by introducing me to My Hero Academia, the anime. Binge-watching all four seasons of that (and even writing a fanfiction or two in that universe) not being enough, I also picked up the manga. And something clicked.

Why not do my own graphic novel?

Oh indeed. Why not? Why not paint the Mona Lisa or sculpt Michelangelo’s David? Why not build a suspension bridge or a skyscraper?

For one thing, I’m not an artist. But my daughter is. Hey, daughter, want to draw a couple hundred pics for a graphic novel I’m going to self-publish and probably not make any money off of? For FREEE?

Yeah. That was her answer.

But the itch wouldn’t go away. I have the concept. I wrote the story (which, as a bonus includes some of my poetry). And guess what? I’m now drawing. It’s interesting to say the least. I’m using my photographs, some basic drawing techniques and making a lot of mistakes. My daughter taught me how to use Ibis Paint and is serving as my “Art Director”.

And, as luck would have it, a lovely and talented watercolor artist Barb Williams (http://www.findjoywithwatercolorpainting.com) came into my store shortly after I conceived of the idea. We started talking and she wound up painting the cover illustration for my soon?-to-be graphic novel. I sent that illustration on to my cover designer, the delightful and multitalented Farah Evers (http://faraheversdesigns.com) and I now have this to announce:

More information to come. Stay posted to my blog for sneak peeks and previews. It may be months before I get this whole thing put together!

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

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

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