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“Bed Bugs”

Free writing exercise [F.32]

Catching either bear or blade by hand is not conducive to rambling on in grey winter by fire or torch, not if you want to scale the onyx mountain, so prophesied the Gypsy child.

If you must make the climb, first practice in lighter climes. Use lemons or limes for opening the mind. Stars take oaths under the watchful eyes of conceding mirrors. Do not trust them, their stories reflect only lies.

In the event of our deaths, the world will move on. In the event of the (inevitable) heat death of the universe, the void will move on without the bonds of Father Time, crashing forward soaring toward coral-corded swaths of streaking sand, the sands of Mother Memory, reds and yellows, purples, the brightest blues you ever saw, sworn by the kiss of a sword, forlorned and perfect, plucked by grace from the greatful lakes in the teary eyes of fallen saints.

Colors take their toll when you blend ocean, sky, and soul.

Keep uttering this phrase: Damnit, damnit, damnit all to confounded carrot juice.

I can’t complain. Again the ceaseless shambling turnips tap their toes against my windows. How do vegans get any sleep? The world gets louder the less you eat.

Who knows whence water flows? Rinse and repeat. Put socks on wet feet. Repair ragged gills with glue when you make land, pick up all the hot white sand with sticky toes, follow your nose! Toucans always know what’s best for breakfast. Avoid the countenance of cardinals, though.

Jackals night and day will hunt pheasants for feasting, until wolves bring to bear the howling, and they, the Jackals, decreasing in size, wilting under the eyes of the moon-born, slink off into the silent holy night, surrendering their prize. They know they cannot win this fight, not if they play fair; you have to fight dirty to smite the bear.

Leaves wave until they have no tether. Trees are all at the mercy of the light. Light and endless dark dance their immortal dance, the two of them prance like lightning on open ground, glass in the sand, the unabashed retching of oceans on the shore, the carcasses of whales, giants of the unknown, this place we call home is still largely unsettled to this very day. What does this place call us?

Bed bugs; the tiniest nuisance.

Now go: Eat. Fuck. Feel. Frolick. Clutch. Peel. Bend. Unhinge. Unwind. Descend.

Capture everything you can and keep it for yourself. Liberate books from their dust-ridden shelf. Steal their secrets. Share these captives with no one. Tell every lie you can.

This is your first and only chance to burn like the galactic tempest that you are. Do NOT waste it. Don’t you even dare think for one second you will be the first to outshine the endless night that comes for us all.

In the end we break, but time bends. We are the tinder, time is the lens. You need a star to turn the world to cinder.

So go. Keep one eye on the shore. Go forth with love in your heart and maybe you won’t feel so lonely anymore.

12 May. 2020. Lexington, KY.


When I can’t find the words, I make them up.

I close my eyes and put my fingers on the keyboard and just let go. I have no idea what will come out of the free flow. This was one of those exercises, on a day when I desperately wanted to write something, anything, but the words just wouldn’t come.

Looking back, there were several lines I rather liked. I used a few as inspiration for other poems. I don’t always like what comes out, but that’s beside the point. The point of any word-vomit exercise is to let the mind wander; shake cobwebs, stretch the shoulders.

Writer’s block is like a creative hangover: Sometimes the best thing to do is make yourself throw up.

Love you, mean it.

— J.

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