What is green?

Back in high school my English teacher asked “What is green?” as a kind of imagination activity in all of his classes to see what people would say. I wrote this recently with that old prompt in mind.


It’s funny how different I am now, now with the poison in my veins.
A poison only because in time, it would destroy me, but for now it is paradise.
Green, indeed, is obvious.
Green is nature.
Green is leaves, trees, and brilliant miles of meadows.
To live without hearing the birds chirp and smelling the fresh rain,
to never feel the heat of the sun on your skin or taste the fresh berries,
would be unthinkable, to me.
Green is peace.
It is about avoiding conflict, deflecting the negative thoughts.
Be quiet, just listen.
Shhhhh.
Listen. Hear the world around you.
Relax.
Breathe. Just exist.

Fire

fire

The heat of the fire tickles at my skin
And the flame of the fire flickers in the cool wind
The colorful dance of red, orange, and blue
Makes me happy to sit here cuddled up with you

My hair blows around me and I tuck it away
As the setting of the sun marks the end of the day
The birds go to sleep and the bats dance ballet
And I lean in to hear the sweet nothings you say

The faint smell of smoke teases at my nose
And the rough wooden bench pulls at my clothes
The logs hiss in melody with the crickets of the night
And I’m glad to hold you snug in the firelight

The children laugh as they burn marshmallows for fun
And it feels like the fire burns like the sun
The fireflies dance in the air with the stars
Nowhere could be better than where we are

Like generations before stories are told under the sky
Of the tales in the years that have passed us by
Until the flames are reduced to embers of red
When we finally go inside and go to bed


 

For some reason, fire seems to be the easiest thing in the world to describe. Easier than love or sunlight or the cold. I have no idea why, but when I concentrate I can almost smell the smoke and hear the crackling of the logs, no matter where I am. I wrote this poem a while back and remembered it when I was working to describe something while writing.

As writers, it’s our job to make the reader feel like they’re there. Do you have a poem or short passage that utilizes at least four senses to describe the surroundings?

I Feel A Sin Comin’ On

double_barrel_shotgun__looking_down_the_muzzle_by_kirbotc-d5g9pjl

Got off my shift at the diner when I heard the news
A new girl in town with baby blue eyes and honey blond hair
Our town was so small, had only churches and bars
One new face didn’t matter, so long as she didn’t make any noise
So I waved it away and stuck to the road that’d take me home
The street lamps were on but the sun’s heat stuck my shirt to my skin
It was like swimmin’ in the air, dodging traffic in slow motion

I walked up to my house, weather-beaten and aged
On the porch the light of a cigarette glowed red
The smoke curled towards the sky and I snatched it from the boy’s hands
“Why you smokin’ your daddy’s cigarettes?”
“You ain’t my momma, you can’t tell me what to do!”
I smacked the boy real hard, ain’t no child gonna talk to me like that
“Daddy gone with some friends, said he’ll be back late.”
Scum of the earth took the car when he knew it was my night
I marched in and called around, found he was seen hollerin’ drunk out his car
Picked up a little lady, they said, the new one with long legs
Said she was stayin’ over at the trailer park with her sister
I locked the boy inside, told him I’d whoop him if he left

I marched to the other side of town, cut through the cemetery and cursed at the dead
My momma always said a good lady don’t divorce her man, no matter what
And my better half was the only thing keeping our old shack from the bank’s hands
I been a waitress since I was fifteen, ain’t got nowhere else to go

That bitch’s trailer was the first on the lot, our car out front
Her sis was drinkin on the porch and waved me on up
Old friends, we was
One word and I knew it wasn’t the booze that slurred her words
Her eyes were red and her shirt was still open
No doubt she’d met Ol’ Johnny at the back of the park
Man been around so long even the pigs bought from him
But it was the hard stuff that’d hit her, so I sent her to a neighbor’s
Ain’t no extras need to know my business

Only two knocks and the door flew open, the bitch’s hair all undone
“Who the hell are you?”
“That’s my husband you’re sleeping with,” I said
I stepped in and pushed past her
Ain’t no little daisy gonna stand up to me
“Pants off already?” I asked
I grabbed his jeans and pulled out a ring
An old phone sat on the tiny counter by the door, and I threw it at his head
“Thought I wouldn’t find out?”
“Get out of here you crazy bitch!”
He clutched his face like a little baby,
His papa would’ve beat him for it if I hadn’t walked over him on the way there
“What the fuck is your problem?” that little whore asked
And out that daisy pushed me till I fell on my ass in the dust
The keys to the car were in the back pocket, so I took the dirty jeans and the car

“Can I go to a friend’s house?” the boy asked when I got back
“Daddy would let me go”
“Your daddy is a piece of shit”
I learned to shoot before I could walk and so I grabbed the shotgun from the cabinet
“You goin’ huntin’ or something? Gonna shoot a werewolf?”
“You shut your mouth. You stay here and keep quiet.”

Heat lightening flashed as I sped across town
I had enough shit to last a lifetime
The trailer’s lights were off when I got back
That bag of puss always acted like it was a race
The door was locked, but I kicked it in and went straight to the bedroom
How cute they were, all cuddled up like they was in love
That bitch looked at me like I had no right to be there
Like she wasn’t the one layin’ in bed with a married man

BANG went the gun, peppering them both
BANG it went again, finishing the job
I reloaded for the sport and shot to keep the dead from risin’
I wasn’t even mad when the trailer filled with flashing lights
In they burst and put the cuffs on me
Told ’em I’d done just like my momma said


Title from this song.

Let the music carry us away

There’s a girl floating in a back-country creek
In an old patched inter-tube bleached by the sun
Just a lazy Sunday to relax and enjoy
She looks up as the clouds pass by
Such beauty in such a simple thing
Who doesn’t look at the sky and feel joy?
Whether it be clear skies of blue or the excitement of a storm
Or the vast dark skies filled with twinkling lights of distant lands

In the summertime, when the weather is hot
You can stretch right up and touch the sky”

Music drifts to her ears from a worn radio
She hums along to an old song her mother used to sing
Just a sweet little melody about the summertime
The girl enjoys the sun now and soaks it in
Her skin darkens as sweat rolls off into the cool water below
The sun makes rainbows in the water, reflecting enchanting beauty
Little minnows dart back and forth, going about their day
The girl allows herself to drift further downstream
The music grows fainter now

We love everybody but we do what we please
When the weather’s fine
We go fishing or go swimmin’ in the sea”

Laughter is carried on the wind from a group of men fishing
The girl closes her eyes and allows luck to guide her past their lines
She’s drifted farther than she ever has before
The breeze is picking up, blowing cold against her skin
The trees rustle and she enjoys the music of nature
Water rushing, wind blowing, birds chittering gossip
The trees clack together from the fierce wind

When the weather’s fine
You got women you got women on your mind”

The breeze has grown freezing cold
The girl shivers as she drifts down the creek
The cold hands reach out and claw at her, tearing her flesh
The tube deflates and she’s pulled under the water
She can’t breath, she’s gasping for air
She can’t hear anything but her own struggle to reach the surface
Her lungs burn and her skin sear as the fish slice at her skin

We’re always happy
Life’s for livin’ yeah, that’s our philosophy”

There’s yelling now, telling the girl what to do
The radio in the corner plays on, the singer chipper and relaxed
The girl turns over on the bed, begging for it to be over
She smells blood and sweat, then the breath of her abuser
He’s on her again, digging his nails into her skin
He brutalizes her until he’s satisfied and leaves her to her tears
She reaches under her bed for help
The white powder will make all her pain go away
One good sniff and she’s drifting down the creek again, humming along to the radio

Sing along with us
Dee dee dee-dee dee
Dah dah dah-dah dah
Yeah we’re hap-happy”

The song, for anyone who doesn’t know. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvUQcnfwUUM