June poetry gong: Carolee’s #3

Killing a beetle

I don’t want to get to know you, but I want even less to know the sound of you dying beneath my shoe. I am not afraid of death, but I do fear the noises it makes. This consequence — the crunch of bone, exoskeleton against my sole, audible collapse of kindness — brings to mind the crushing of protections that should keep us safe: the skins of planes, the skulls of children. How I cringe in anticipation of your demise, shudder at the thought of stomping. Your greatest defense is forcing me to think twice.


I had some of this last night and I almost stayed up to finish it, but sleep beckoned louder. I like the idea of this, but not its execution. I think it’s one I need to free-write on and then pull out the stranger bits for the poem. I have skull-crushing on my mind. “Bumped her head” made it into my butterfly poem, if you remember.

On Wednesday, my oldest son tripped and fell on his head on the concrete while he was in NYC for a field trip. Instead of a boat tour and museum trip, he got an ambulance ride and a few hours of observation in the ER. He’s fine. And it’s such a relief. He handled himself so well, and if I may pat myself on the back, I handled myself pretty well, too (jumped on a train and brought him home).

But I think the panic is working its way through my body. My back is in near lock-down mode, and just last night I had a nightmare about the same son getting hit by a car right in front of me. The images were so terrible and powerful I sat up for about 45 minutes replaying the accident and how I could have prevented it. Considered what I could have done differently. The dream accident, mind you. The dream one. I have promised myself to never give a description of the images in that dream. I want them erased, not embedded further.

Apparently, I was more stressed from his big NYC adventure than I thought. It’s seeping out in dreams and in poems.


10 thoughts on “June poetry gong: Carolee’s #3

  1. Oh, no! (I could never step on a beetle. I can’t even step on an ant.) Don’t like the noises of dying, either…. Very glad your son is okay–sounds like his adventure was YOUR adventure as well!

    I like your poem, glad you left it open-ended. And helk, my back has me in lock-down, too. Don’t know if I will ever get out….

  2. I think your idea of free-writing and pulling some of the lines is terrific. Because there is so much here to work with. Amazing stuff.

    (I am so sorry about the accident & stress. So sorry. & your back. Oy. 😦 )

  3. Just awoke from a dream where I was riding an ENORMOUS bicycle through Liberty Park (where The Hobbit was being filmed… Martin Freeman was giving an interview) shouting “MARTIN FREEMAN IS A WHOOOOOORE!!!” in a thick Scottish accent… The Clash’s “Somebody Got Murdered” was blaring from someone’s ghetto blaster.

    (My youngest son’s recent nightmare…).

  4. Take good care of that back – and your son, too, of course.

    Here’s a poem I wrote a couple of years ago on the subject of


    If you squash it, eat it!
    People kill without thinking
    at the drop of a hat

    A black speck crawls across the floor.
    A Monty Python foot stamps down,
    bam! Sent to eternity in a smear
    of flesh. Why? What could it do to you?
    The impulse to kill: irresistible.

    Is this done out of fear?
    or diverted aggression –
    insect or fellow human?

    That black speck had a right to life
    just like you or me.
    Will you eat it? No.
    So let it be.

    • Those are the really big and really small questions! I have to say, I always think about it — let some spiders go, kill others, for example. When I kill them, I never do it guilt-free. But I still do it sometimes. 😦

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