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.
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