What are the odds of my poem titled “Insect Problems” being read when I post it after midnight in my timezone?  Oh well, I’m up working on projects.  Hello to the eyes and minds that are looking at computer screens and other devices while staying up too late or living in other parts of the world!


I’ve been stung by wasps a dozen times over the past four weeks.  The insect attacks were not related.  I got stung mowing the yard, trail running, cleaning a wooden deck and while on a walk.  Seems I should stay inside, although I will not.  Luckily, I don’t react to the stings too badly although it hurts for a while.  The stings did make me think about human relationships, insects and massacres…I invite you to read a poem that came after being stung and swatting at insects.


Insect ProblemsBlue Fly Swatter


I, he, she, we, they

or someone else

walks into the room

just as a bug, insect, winged or not

crawling, squirming or jumping

pauses on a kitchen wall.


What’s that thing doing there?

Perhaps contemplating dinner,

lunch or breakfast from counter top crumbs

or bits of our flesh sucked, bitten, chewed raw.                                       


Does it think about art and sex

like some of us do and wonder

what’s the point in writing a poem

or humming courting songs in the trees

or flashing brightly in the dark to attract a mate

or leaving a house of wood, paper, stone, soil

to toil day or night again?


Wham! A fist swings swiftly

making contact with an insect on the wall

bug guts smash into the white paint

just before a dish cloth swabs

life and death away.


This is to console you of our losses,

dear Mothers, Fathers, Sisters and Brothers,

whole, half, step and adopted, it doesn’t matter.

The way we splatter impacts little in the long run

history repeats both good and bad

all go in some way to somewhere we don’t know.


The smack of a fly swatter

bullets piercing flesh

poison spraying from a can

US military jets releasing Agent Orange on humans

hiding in Asian jungles or sarin gas killing

insects and people in Syrian kitchens

Germans discharged mustard gas on the British in 1917.


An unseen fist strikes the kitchen wall again

a cloth flag reappears to wipe our smear clean.

Now where did he, she, they…

where did we just go?

Copyright 2013 Gregory Zeorlin


Read more of my poetry:  http://www.zeorlinart.com/MorePoetryPage.html



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