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Cooked on high, a mercurial rise in status, an influencer for the times. If I can make it here, I can make it …well, you know.

I want likes, loves, thumbs up, and a kick in the ***. Love me from afar. My grandiose boobprints in cement for posterity.

Fame becomes me, teaches me to reach for the stars and settle for my own show. I’d sell my soul, if I had one, to be idolized.

Fast forward to a new order.  New stars in a new medium. Go figure. Obsolescence so soon? My hand was this close to the brass ring.
Sue Collins Sep 28
The constant cacophony, the needles in all sensitive places, the rush to get to the end for no reason.
The give and take between strangers, the screaming sirens, the specious silence of the app world.
The rescheduling of schedules, the tweets fast and furious, the world spinning off its axis in disgust.

I sit on the step for a few minutes, watching the multicolored spider weaving like an ancient woman.
A bird of paradise colorfully waves at me. An elderly man bends over to talk to his also elderly dog.
A man tunes his piano from an open window. The waves of sunset begin. I calmly go back inside.
Sue Collins Aug 22
They come outfitted for the hunt of long ago, dressed in colonialism par excellence.
They love the people that serve them so obsequiously, not a wrinkle in the process.
The abject poverty seen from a Jeep elicits empathy tinged with a blessing for themselves.

They are privileged to the native shows of dance and culture performed for shillings.
What’s hidden behind those smiling eyes that seem unable to look at us directly?
Their dependence upon us creases their faces and keeps them singing and dancing.

I look away and revel in the majesty of the wild creatures in their native habitat.
Here I feel on the same level, no confusion of what to do or say. Silence reigns.
Time to go home. How was your trip, they’ll ask. I have no easy answer for them.
Sue Collins Oct 26
Probiotics for the everyman and cardio till his heart breaks. Massage the kale and run the marathon into the night.
Pulse rate by the minute and pressurized blood. Eschew all that you love in favor of abstinence and negation.
Cleanse your mind and your colon in one fell swoop. Be clean, be pure, be as if you’ve never been before. A mere wisp.
Say a prayer and pass the organic peas. Submit to your god and check your Chakras. Breathe in the eternal light of salvation.
The age-old quest for immortality. The Golden Age of Gods and Goddesses. Mythic proportions inscribed on granite.
Sue Collins Aug 26
We laughed, we danced, we ate and drank until dawn, then blinded by the fiery sunrise.
We slept little and ordered a car to drive us to the opening of something or other.
The notice was on our phone, our selfies from last night still making us silly again.
And the band plays on.

The trade winds are ominous, the plutocrats reign supreme, the riches trump the rags.
Bully pulpits abound with demagogic appeals to the ancient terrors of the other.
Countries dissolving, oceans rising, fires unabated, and glaciers disappearing.
And the band plays on.

My friends, we have only this moment in time. Why waste it on anything we can’t fix?
Life was made to savor and enjoy, not to worry and fret about anything beyond ourselves.
We can’t change other people; we can’t fight the battles of good and evil; we must just breathe.
And the band plays on.

The mobs are at the wall, bellicose signs at the ready. The defenders of freedom look the other way.
The intellectual, the artist, the different among us are trampled into conformity. No one is spared.
The lights dim, the bullhorns blare, the flames erupt, the crystal night begins yet again.
And the band plays on.
Are they really so different?
Sue Collins Jul 7
She was close to a foot tall, with the most improbable threads of platinum hair.
Her fringed, wide-opened eyes never wavered in their total lack of guile.

Arms and legs were hardly articulate but were thin and milky white like an angel.
Her pouted lips sported a neon candy pink and remained politely silent at all times.

Bonnie’s measurements were a template for this young girl – cinched waist, tiny hips,
And ******* that memorialized the unattainable in their forever upright position.

She was gracious at all times, never acting up or stirring the ***. She was not curious
And never shrill or demanding. My Bonnie was acquiescent and always the lady.

Late in life I have thought often about Bonnie. I don’t know where she is now.
I do know is that she will remain a much loved warning signal from my brief childhood.
Sue Collins Sep 7
I remember the ivy-laden trellis that tried to impede our childhood climb up the house.
The two of us, boy and and girl dressed for kindergarten, finally made it to the top.
How frightening then it was to leave that trembling ladder and get onto the roof.

Afraid to look down, I focused on the view, wanting to reach out and touch the soft hills.
As I turned to my childhood friend, he was gone. I looked down in a panic and saw nothing.
I walked clumsily to the center and felt the wood soften and buckle beneath my feet.

I woke up in a carnival scene of odd characters and screaming music, my friend nowhere to be seen.
Crying in fear, I could barely make out the walls. Someone whispered in my ear. I wanted my friend.
I searched other rooms but found no sight of him. The music was hurting my head and I felt cold.

A wisp of a woman waved for me to come to her. She bent down, kissed my forehead, and said “Free.”
I woke up back with my friend on the roof. He was doing a little dance, as if nothing had happened.
My mother was yelling for me. She had to climb up to bring us both down to earth. I was scolded.

Looking back now I remember the feel of the ivy, the kaleidoscope of colors, a dreamlike wave,
a dress rehearsal for life, a nebulous event threaded out of childhood experience, a lifelong warning.
Her kiss so threateningly soft and persuasive. Her “Free” so musical yet so fleeting. Child’s play.
Sue Collins Oct 4

Keep in control. Step here, not there. Repeat the words. Obey the fetal position for maximum safety.
Keep very still or rhythmically bounce. Speak in hushed tones if at all. No explanation allowed. Shush.

Step out of bounds and risk mortification, deep wounds, pain that reverberates in every part of you.
Wrapped in the cocoon of my own making, I am at peace and safe from the destruction of my soul.

The inevitable footsteps come closer with malevolent intent inscribed  in blood on her overly painted lips.
I’m here, I’m protected, I’m safe. Until. I discover. The shell. Is fallible. Porous. Protection, a mythical balm.

A choice between annihilation or metamorphosis. Die a lifelong death or live armor-less and vulnerable.
I shed my shell. I take a deep breath, dip my toes into the water. I reach up to touch the sky’s the limit.
Sue Collins Jun 16
She arrived in sunshine, ready to pounce. She flew through the air to anoint her prey.
Her eyes, lined with kohl, told us everything about life. Warm, happy, always on the qui vive.
Attention must be paid, lest you miss the signs. Patches of sunlight, children to protect, and
The everlasting quest for the next journey and the meal that inevitably follows.

But the universe is cruel, cold-hearted matter. It cares nothing about pads on paws
Or ears that go in all directions, or the velvet belly that demands to be nurtured with love.
The signs you want to ignore, the closing in all around you, the doctor’s pinched face.
It will be over soon; it always is. The last kiss will be sweet and to the point. No averted eyes.

Rest in peace, sweet pea.
Sue Collins Sep 16
Leaning in, trying to figure out the puzzle. Its arms and legs flailing, squinched little eyes, and a yearning mouth.
What does it want from me? Have I done something irretrievably wrong? What’s the next step in this journey?
For years after,  I have embraced fear, self-recrimination, and hidden love for this otherworldly creation.

Then it’s over. A fully formed human being sits across from me laughing about something in the news.
The interval of years has softened the rough spots. I can let go, I tell myself. She lives her own life.
The horrors that I thought I had inflicted still haunt me on those sleepless nights, awakening in a panic.

In the morning now, I remember the message that she send me on a card in flowery ink: “I grew up loved.”
A Mother’s Day cliché that is my lifesaver and redemption. Lightness, forgetting, forgiving, oblivion.
Or maybe it was just all a dream to begin with. Our connections are fluid. Time playing its old tricks on me.
Sue Collins Aug 28
Love is that heartbeat that quickens to a roar and then slows to a comfortable, affordable compromise.
Hate is burning white and pure with vengeful conceit and the will to smash something to smithereens.

Religion is the need to belong, the desire to ignore mortality, the comfort in community and its restrictions.
Atheism is that cold sweat in the night, the reclusive hideout, the dark vision of humanity cruising toward its end.

Noise is what we crave as proof of our existence. Music, chatter, drilling, birds,  the couple screaming next door.
Silence has no echo. It makes us feel small. We turn inward and feed on ourselves. A remedy or a curse.

Freedom is a welcome mirage, a nod to our participation in an already stacked deck of cards. But we persist.
Suppression from within or without is the human condition writ large. Players on the stage, if I may be so bold.

Life comes cheap, handed to us without our permission. Moving from one goalpost to the next, suffering and exalted.
Death is a conception beyond our perception. It is an unsparing one-way trip without a backward glance or a goodbye.

Good and bad. Black and white. Who’s to say? It’s a poet’s decision.
Take the trip, pratfalls and all. Passion is the driver for all ordained passengers.
Sue Collins Jun 2
The morning sun seems awkwardly shaded, the air densely packed with forged iron.
Where are the blooms that looked upward just yesterday? Who are these faceless people?
There are no warnings; there were warnings. The screen is fuzzy with static, silently loud.

Did we give our permission? I can’t remember before. Was I complicit? Did the trigger get stuck?
Can you grab the future and still it? It is too late, said the wolf with barred teeth. It is too late.
I just want to close my eyes to what I can’t imagine. The bloodstained proof of a dying union.

It will be noted by dead historians that one day we tacitly gave up what was so dear to us.
We can only mindlessly aggrieve while masking the horror with the quotidian that soothes.
This grand experiment was but a dream. The nightmare is forever. Let’s slumber together.
Sue Collins Jul 24
The color of the sky when it can’t make up its mind.
The first line of a book that you CAN put down -- forever.
The dinner party whose guests speak in monologues.

The dress I wore to visit my elderly Aunt Gertrude.
My honeymoon spent on a vinyl-covered sofa.
The flavorless food in any hospital cafeteria.

The water that’s unfit for human consumption.
The air that’s unfit for humans to breathe.
The spent bullets used to attack the enemy.

The words used to muddle the thoughts.
Speeches full of hackneyed slogans for the dimwitted.
The promises never meant to be fulfilled.

The houses in Anywhere USA for those with a dream.
The neighborhood strip malls that promise ongoing mediocrity.
The behemoth plazas contrived to mimic a community.

The mind-numbing escapism that substitutes for culture.
The hours that pass while you’re looking at the clock.
The tedious welcome to each new year as if it were prescient.

The heavy drudgery of lifting and shaping the moments into something else.
The wearisome chore of trying to be enchanted and optimistic for a second or two.
The long and futile wait for the denouement that never comes.
Sue Collins Oct 21
Acquired passion is manageable, has a schedule of your own making, and adds a new dimension to life.

Combustible passion takes over every part of you. Nerves exploding. Vision magnified. Touch is painfully exquisite.

Sometimes the line is fine, one melding into the other without your permission. Different colors. Ice and fire.

The fiery passion destroys.  Entry is one way only. Once scorched by the sun, no return but to the  beige life.

No kaleidoscope of colors, no tingly frissons. No flash of brilliance nor ******* heights. Just three meals a day.
Sue Collins Sep 20
The coordinates seemed invincible. They would forever remain constant and steadfast.
Everything worked in its favor to keep me cocooned for life, the raft on a calm sea of peace.
Tragedy was for everyone else, I could count on that. Always grateful it didn’t affect me.
Surely I was the chosen one, sympathetic but without empathy. I would always survive.

In a flash of an energetic eye, I was split apart. My soul crushed, my heart no where to be seen.
The explosion fueled my impotent rage at the gods whose impudence was in colorful display.
Trying to knit the pieces of me back together became an inscrutable puzzle impossible to solve.

Was this a lesson in humility or a neutral reaction without judgment that fractured my being?
It matters. Matter matters.  What once was will never again exist in the same form or appearance.
The pieces will fuse, melt by heat, and rearrange themselves. I look forward to that new person.
Sue Collins Aug 19
Dance on your toes, swirling every which way, until you no longer have direction.
Sing a refrain from a long ago song that always made you want to move to its rhythm.

Wiggle your feet into the wet sand until you can see only their bare outline.
Do a pirouette in front of a full-length mirror and then do it again until exhausted.

Smile until it hurts, laugh until you cry, wonder at the hummingbird’s tiny vibrations.
Tiptoe through your next adventure and keep it as a rare and precious jewel.

No one is watching you. No one truly cares. They are dancing to their own music.
Make your last breath of life be one of lightness and joys, fearless to the end.
Sue Collins Aug 22
Now listen to the truth: You have little to no power.
What happens is by pure chance and the roll of the dice.
There is no karmic response from the universe.
You are ironically sentient for no reason other than to suffer.

So what is the point? The midnight ocean, a tropical
Sunset, vanilla ice cream, words that resonate, a good battle won,
The feel and taste of a lover, the child skipping down the street,
The energy of sunlight and the calm of darkness. And one more day.
Sue Collins Sep 25
Seeing everything as if on bleary film, speed of lightning, no depth perception, just limbs akimbo.
Life parts full of monstrous deeds and impossible beauty as if on equal footing, no judgment required.
Spiraling streams headed for passive rivers that hold the secrets of old bones and remnants of dreams.

Words and deeds flow in and out as if celebrating this moment in time. The cringe-worthy vie for space
And overtake the selfless and noteworthy, as if in competition for my soul, watching comfortably from afar.
The reel to reel trajectory is determinedly straight and on time as my body now glides back to earth.
Sue Collins Sep 21
Heavy heaving with weights on my ankles, I battle to keep moving, but it’s all in slow motion.
Used to be I could skip sprightly in every direction open to me. A spirit helpfully pushed from behind.
I could climb to high tree limbs, walk for miles, run and jump and dance with abandonment.
But now it’s as if I’m mimicking the journey through bramble and against the river’s current.

Every step, every thought, every plan seems to melt against me, keeping my body and brain still.
Sometimes the effort is so debilitating, the random thoughts so destructible, that stasis takes over.
I am the actor in a film slowed to reveal the motion of running arms and legs, music to match.
Drugs, *****, new agey solutions are no match for the all-consuming paralysis of my soul, my will.  

I want to feel as if I’ve come up for air. I want to feel as if I am of purpose and meaning in this world.
I want to wake up each morning without that brick sitting on my chest and restraints on my will.
I want to feel the steady and true motion of my body and soul, with my heart hanging on for good measure.
I want to laugh without irony, pure and full. I want to reclaim my dawn and appreciate the coming dusk.
We have walked with our eyes closed.
We have wreaked havoc as we go.
We have fought  the bad fight.
We have knelt to superstition.

We have thrilled to the human touch.
We have given our lives for our babies
We have found what we call love.
We have considered our posterity.

We have continually reconstructed our definition.
We have repeatedly lost and found our way.
We have never mastered the skill of co-existence.
We have never discovered the reason for our being.

But for all that we are and will ever be, there is one everlasting constant:
Our cells cry out in a shameless and painful attempt to nullify our mortality .
Arts and letters, music and poetry – all yearnings for the grace of eternity.
Cruel irony that we sentient beings are never to receive the blessed key.
Sue Collins Nov 3
Moving too many steps at once finds me back where I started. So let’s take it easy. We have an eternity, don’t we?
I look for leads everywhere, a hint as to finding out where I am and where I want to go. Betting on who I might be.

Starting from the sea, my scaly body emerges. Walking upright I enter the city of lights. I broker laws and sense myself.
Flip of the dice lands me here on this page, beseeching your help. My steps should have meaning, a righteous path.

But how to comport myself in this horror show of a world, bodies strewn on tainted land, men returning to the beast mode.
Angry spittle and no reason reasoning. Shifting winds portending doom.  Evil clowns masquerading as human beings.

Resistance at all costs. One step at a time.
Remember the scruffy but lovable traveler with his worn bindle so characterized?
The hobo was a gig guy way back when, hopping on trains to make ends meet.

The romance, the adventure, all on your own, responsible to no one in particular. Now an ingrained myth among our other self myths. The loner, the go-getter. The self-made man, the bootstrap hiker-upper.

We love our John Wayne stories of glory, now etched in granite and hanging over us like a scolding aunt’s repeated finger-wagging.

It’s hell trying to live up to the slogans, bumper sticker thoughts, and flag-waving aficionados.
Sue Collins Jul 28
Both doors are black with metal trim. They are roughly the same dimensions. Easily mistaken.
I keep trying to discern any difference. I must choose. My life depends upon it.
Notice that the left one is ever so slightly crooked.  Should it be perfectly aligned?
The door on the right seems to emanate an unworldly glow that must be considered.

Lightning, thunder, the explosions all over the city, the people running for their lives.
Armed militias surrounding parts of the city, capturing those who don’t belong.
Air raids, screaming bullhorns, no power, no food or water, no first aid, no escape.
The taste of  fear, the smell of defeat, the touch of the inevitable, the view of the end.

The second-hand has almost achieved its final resting place. It’s now or never. I reach out.
Imperfection? A light that might deceive? Where will I end up once I go through the door?
I open the door on the right, as I am mesmerized by its powerful attraction and bidding.
It is coal-dark and very cool in this long corridor that I now walk through to the end.

An arched doorway welcomes me at the end of my trip through the door that I chose.
I step through to an expanse of sand and ocean, feeling a tingling wind on my face.
Up ahead I see only empty makeshift tents touching one another. I hear not a sound.
No creatures of any kind. No humans inside the tents. No weapons, no life. The End.

Inspired by Mohsin Hamid’s “Exit West”
Sue Collins Jul 18
I sit in disbelief every day now. My body has contorted into a fight or flight stance that drains me.
I try to shield myself from the outside world, but it continues to seep in like slow-moving sludge.

First I was certain that I was in good company: Others would make sure that this was a temporary state.
But dragging on and on, many have become inured to the gravity; we hide in the trivia of our lives.

Meanwhile we devolve slowly but surely into brutality on an imaginable scale. We only blink at
Cruelty and the trashing of all that we hold dear, at moving the clock back to ruthless social Darwinism, at

Disdain for all who are marginalized, at words and actions full of crass hatred, at mockery of the intelligent,
And at the chest-beating militarism by those who know nothing about the history and toll of war.

It can’t happen here, we repeat as if that will make it true. But my friends, it is happening right now.
Sue Collins Jul 9
Can you feel this moment? Can you hear it or taste it? When did it start?
Try to grasp it before it slips into the next one and the one after that.
You’ll find it an impossible task that makes you sad each time and ready to give up.

Take a deep breath for a moment. That moment has already disappeared. Count them all up
And you’ll see your life fragmented from beginning to end. Random jigsaw pieces.
What is the purpose of this exercise other than to frustrate you who wants to hold on?

The epiphany that they are all connected. You haven’t lost one moment of your life.
The baby that was born is the child that chattered away is the adult who still needs you.
No more yearning for what was or what could have been. It’s all right now, and it’s all right now.
Sue Collins Oct 26
Words come tumbling out of them. I sit surrounded by empty satin-wrapped wordy boxes purged of their contents.
I have my whole language hemming me in with too many choices. I want my words to matter, to rage, to howl.

I want to entrance and ****** with my words. I want to expand my horizon and that of my patient readers.
It should be musical with complementary chords. It should be a comfort or a kick in the *** or a tragedy unfolding.

Random words? I wonder whether there is such a thing,  given our inclination to make meaning out of nothing.
Throw  the words out in a circle. Feel their touch. Taste each morsel. Try it on for size in front of a full-length mirror.

Some are like velvet cocoons; others, like razor blade weapons.  Some can stand alone, while others are dependent.
All I can do rearrange the puzzle until my words take on a life of their own, until they are no longer mine.
Sue Collins Jul 14
It was hard to get in because the wait list of applicants was so lengthy. I snagged a morning visit.
I woke early and hadn’t slept at all. I chose my best dress to befit the occasion. It had no frills.
I kept checking the directions even though it was a straight line from here to there – no detours.
I ate everything I wanted and double-checked the house to make sure everything was in order.

The trip began as do all trips – with excitement and anxiety. There was so much to see and review.
Being alone on this excursion, I had only my own thoughts to keep me company. I couldn’t see much
But did feel the heaviness of the air and the sky’s imprint. A kaleidoscope of colors flashed before my eyes.
Now I’ve entered a tunnel with only muffled sounds circling me. My watch has stopped at 10:32.

I’m beginning to wonder about my appointment. How will I know whether I’m on time?
Craning my neck, I try to see some destination point up ahead. Could I have missed my stop?
Looking down I see that what was a tunnel is no more than a gaping coffin-sized hole in the earth.
I’m so glad that I didn’t miss my appointment. It’s a once-in-a lifetime opportunity after all.
Sue Collins Jul 13
A simple request really. No fanfare. No ringing of the bells.
Just wing me back to the beginning. Not me, no, not me.
A new and shiny bright version. A smiling, loving time.
I would see beyond the blindness, feel the warm breeze.
Touch the new skin with wonder and place my mouth on it.

Just one day of unacceptable bliss; a need gone unfulfilled.
Oh, but I know what you’re thinking, you devil, you: I might
Become accustomed to eating and drinking without end.
I might fight for my life. But you are now and always the victor.
Sue Collins Oct 6
Let’s dance through the maze and hope we never find the exit but dance swirly twirly with a fetish-like delight.

Let’s eat a quart of ice cream, one for you and one for me, adorned with chocolate-covered nuts and whipped cream.

Let’s run naked down to the sea in the middle of the night with our hair blowing in the wind and our voices at high pitch.

Let’s have one last warm and affectionate coupling on the sand at the beach before we hold hands and enter the sea.
Sue Collins Jun 18
I’m not comfortable in my skin. It’s either too loose or too tight,
Depending upon the daily elements. I want one that fits me like a glove.

Would that there were a place to get a custom skin replacement.
I would want one like armor but striated with gilding for decoration.

I would insist on a warning system. A bell or flash or protruding daggers.
I want my replacement skin to protect me from all outside forces.

No connivers, no joy takers, no evil eyes, no snake smilers, no horse thieves,
No acrid pontificators, no mouth breathers, no pulpit screamers, no handsy Uncle Bobs

My new skin would be removable for those rare occasions when I want the world
To enter me, to delight me, to show me the way, to love me, and to keep me.
Sue Collins Sep 13
Sometimes adrift is the best option. Uncertainty, a sure thing. Wavering, a symphony of resonance.
Leave the list for a whim. The cracks in the wall signal character; the tilt of the roof, charm.

Play like a child with a brand-new toy. See, smell, touch for the first time. Angle, circles, wood, plastic.
Forego the plot summaries and join the story. The runner runs backwards, the swimmer floats idly.

Swiggle a circle where there once was a box and leave hems undone. Plant your feet on terra non-firma.
Letting go. Swinging every which way. Lose the myopic lens. Black-and-white pales against blooming flowers.
Sue Collins Oct 10
When did I become invisible? When did people almost walk right into me? When did I stop being acknowledged?

I don’t recall the year, the month, the day, or the time. It was as if I entered a different universe full of strangers.

They are young and bustling, a word that would never trip off their immortal tongues, these people of now.

I want to let them in on the secret, but they wouldn’t believe me. Because they don’t see me. See me no more.
Sue Collins Nov 1
In my dreams I can sing like a bird. Waking up, I just croak trying. It saddens me that I can sing an aria only in my dreams.
I always start on a high note. Why can’t I sustain it? Maybe it is the pollution, the congestion of the air that fails me.

In slumber I am an artist of black and white prints that reveal one mystery after another unfolding before my eyes.
The next day I feel energized to create a masterpiece. Alas, my fingers recoil at the sight of my paltry attempts.

But awake I dance with a light foot and a dizzy head as I circle and swirl to my image’s delight, my heart as my witness.
Sue Collins Oct 18
I have been searching for the perfect tree. It has to reach the sky with limbs that embrace the world.

Its frond-like leaves would protect its master and shade all those who need to hide from the law.

It would be a magnet for vacationing creatures large and small who have lost their way in the world.

My tree would have cunning instincts when it came to survival not of the fittest but of the kindest.

It would turn its magnificent trunk away from those nefarious beasts who have only cruelty in their blood.

My dream tree eludes me still to this day. But I will never stop searching. Mankind’s survival is at stake.
Sue Collins Aug 30
An ungainly creature at first sight. A massive trunk with but a small canopy.
Ancient creatures as old as two thousand years that feed the world with pride.

Many have fairy-tale hollows massive enough to house critters and humans alike.
Every part of this monument blesses us with resources we use every day – no waste here.

The Baobab is the tree of life, never giving up. It deserves respect and reverence.
If you are ever so lucky to meet up with the Baobab, touch it with love.

And ponder its creation, this upside down species that spans the centuries.
Did it spring forth ready to do business, or did it adapt to its environment?

Is its existence assured, safe from predators who crawl all hunched over on two legs?
Only if the upright and valiant two-leggers among us prevail against the troglodytes.
Sue Collins Jun 17
The old land, rich with loam and memories, full nights under the moon.
The shading trees bending to the will of the day in fulfillment of the deal.
The calf figuring out the direction dictated by years of habit and will.
Was this paradise or some ethereal landscape of humorous beauty?

The new land is a marvel of ingenuity borne of boredom and greed.
Ease of delivery in so many unanticipated ways that confuse the spirit.
Time. Time. Time. To devise more ways to have more time, time, time.
Time to gut the land, trees, and animals. We have so much time now.

We have so little time now. We play the fiddle and obfuscate. The
Monstrous new land is our new history: the future foretold by the
Look in the hungry wolf’s eyes, the decimated forest, and the rising sea.

The joke of infinity, the curse of fatalism, the big yawn signaling no matter.
Another use for those blinders. Starvation, pestilence, brutality only rumored.
A cosmic joke from the Comedian. A reversal of fortune that was written on
The old land, the trees, and the calf in a language unknown and ignored.
Sue Collins Oct 18
Paying attention no more just wandering aimlessly as my car interpreted the road. And there he was.

A shock of blond hair and and torn jacket just standing in the road with a tragic feral aura that hit me.

A sign? A human talisman? This scruffy little urchin stared right through me with keening eyes half closed.

Winds and jarring rain arrived unannounced so the trees began to genuflect and birds became suddenly shy.

I felt rooted to place, my car some type of shelter. This child reminded me of old songs and distant memories.

A little waltz that comes to an end too soon. Music that makes me feel alive until it doesn’t. Too much.

I maneuvered around the obstacle picked up speed and never looked back, driving in dizzying circles for miles.

Home is a luxury I can’t afford so searching for my lost life through the cavalcade of memories sharpened now.

A youth looked for me. He watched me. I left him. Just another in the list of memories to haunt my days.
Sue Collins Oct 28
The point man was found sleeping next to the fossil remains and the ash from eons-old fires and brimstone.
That’s the doomsday part of it, that and the enraged clouds full of sound and fury ready to go to battle.

No tolling of bells, no backup troops come to save the day. Just whirlwinds and spiraling leaves as he sleeps.
The man surely had a point, didn’t he? Why bother to stay awake when we all know that it’s a facade?
Sue Collins Oct 5
We chat about the weather, the high price of gas, the big win last night, who’s doing what to whom.
We don’t chat about our failing children, our oversized debt, our crushing depression and panic attacks.

We answer our phones, e-mails, our texts. We bring in the junk mail, the groceries, the dogs and cats.
We ignore the surrounding decay, the the worried looks, the angry chatter, the trigger-happy sensitivity.

Mirror images writ large on the landscape. Slithery snakes in boorish human clothing. Eyes glazed with evil.
We’ve become inured to the banal desecration of all that we held dear, forever and ever amen. God help us all.
Sue Collins Oct 30
Each chapter so far has been exquisitely detailed and filled with all types of characters in action or rest.

The preface was written before time began, with nods to either the creator or the abyss – take your pick.

The spellbinding stories progress through the ages of war and peace, beauty and hatred, longing and forgetting.

But where’s the afterword? Hell, where’s the conclusion? The book of us mysteriously stops before the grand finale.

I can’t loosen these chains without knowing the ending. For the love of god, please let me know how it all ends.
Sue Collins Oct 25
In my dream. Ivy, stone, and spit. A rock garden at the end of a mile-long entry. A pond for the birds and wildlife.
Solace in the wood structure that meets the eye head-on, never making any excuses for its existence. It lives.
A kitchen that is sturdy and smells like everything good under the sun. An extended trestle table for the family.
Lights and shadows in the library, a roaring fire in the living room, bedrooms infused with comfort and sanity.

In my dream. Wonderful people and pets that behave. No gloom or dust would invade, nor bad spirits or demons.
Mirrors in every room in the house, all calibrated to reflect the best of me, the image that’s in my head and heart.
And the music, oh my the chords of peace and tranquility with a sly note of the devil for good measure as always.
Fragrance of herbal flowers and old cedar chests waft through every corner of as if the old and the new are here.

In my dream. The end never comes. It’s one day after another of the joy unattainable on the rocky sphere I left behind.
Sue Collins Jul 19
One note repeated. You hear the same note but not the same note. Time takes its toll.
Your mind seeks diversity and finds it everywhere. What sounded tinny can suddenly sound like lightning.

But it is chords that echo our regrets, our failures,  our moments of joy. Chords spell out love and loss and death.
The music cries for us when we can no longer muster the strength and consoles us at night when we fear the dark.
Sue Collins Sep 16
She counts them out for good measure. Only three today.
Pay no attention to the body that has no soul.
She is its ruler and ultimate destroyer. No one else.
She holds its sheer weight in her soft, repellent hands.

This morning she will measure the glass carefully.
She will be that unicorn. Barely a breath.
She is safe in the cocoon and protected like a loved child.
Slowly she turns, step by step, inch by inch.

Discipline, groaning and devouring her. So much to win.
She will win. No one can feed her soul, let alone her body.
The mirror is a sneaky mirage that defies what she knows.
She will win. She will disappear. And they’ll be sorry.
Sue Collins Jul 22
The tides give me structure.
The waves delight and frighten.

The water both cools me and gives me warmth.
The sand between my toes is childhood.

Its qualities and inhabitants preserve my life and humanity.
Swimming at dawn exercises my  body and mind.

I will lovingly walk into the deep when it’s time.
The ocean will be my eternal pillow.
Sue Collins Aug 19
It’s skin blushes like a shy girl and feels like warm sunshine.
I don’t eat the skin; maybe I should if only to understand.
The flesh yields to light pressure and promises an afterlife.
The juice of ecstasy unfolds into a cold hardness at the core.

Take what you will from the experience of the perfect peach.
Do you see intent? A magnificent oddity? A roll of the dice?
What clashes of meteors, what turbulent gods handed us this
double sword? Enjoy it all, this only moment. That’s all we can do.
Sue Collins Jun 29
I heard her calling out to me as I was searching for good luck.
At first I was startled, as I thought I was alone in my seeking.
I moved closer to the water to try to see her and ask her the reason.
I finally caught a glimpse of the most joyful  and radiant creature imaginable.

Her hair flowed all around her with a red sheen of fire and ice.
Her luminous skin had a delicacy to it that made me want to cry.
It was her smile, though, that gave me hope. It was a form of freedom unlike I’d ever known. I answered her call, and she beckoned.

Wary at first and full of distrust, I stood rooted in the wet sand.
And then she was gone, submerged in her deep blue home.
I waited and waited but she didn’t reappear. I gathered my shells
Found strewn among the seaweed and started up the closest sand dune.

My dreams that night and the next were as calming as I’ve ever had. A fiery light was off in the distance but evaded my reach until just before I awoke. I had embraced this entity and felt at peace. I knew I had to seek out this watery vision that had so enchanted me.

Back I went the next day to the same spot lodged against the same sand dune. My skin felt oily and my legs were wobbly. My voice barely registered my desire. I saw myself floating toward the sea, hovering over the seaweed and wet sand. I felt her hand grasp mine. Together we entered her world of beauty and serenity.
Sue Collins Oct 5
Did you hear the one about? What’s up with [fill in the blank]? So I walked into this bar…  Holds the mic for dear life.

Sweat full of fear and loathing drizzles down the comic’s back as he takes a nip and tries once again to survive.

The cramped flights, the road tours, the buzzing barflys, the cheap Scotch, the dank rooms, the imitation food.

For one laugh. Even a guffaw. Hell, at least smile, you ******* hicks in your shitforsaken towns in Nowhere, USA.
Sue Collins Aug 19
It stands lamentably regal on the dusty old armoire in the bedroom.
The woman seems to be dancing to something, skirts twirling around her.
It’s her eyes that caught mine, as if beseeching me to do her bidding.

Around her neck is a chain of twigs that seem to be branding her skin.
Her skirt is tied tightly. Her freedom is a dance, a foot out in front of her
And one arm outstretched. She is eternally ****** yet blessed.

At night I imagine her designing her escape; morning, her resignation.
How easy it should be to undo her ties and remove her chains. I think
Maybe someday, somewhere, she will be free. Whatever that means.
People of such presumed benighted nature that we have permission from on high to consider them as one lump, stereotyped to death.


Not individuals, maybe even subhuman: We can slur them, avoid them, exploit them, deny them, punish them, reduce them to nothing.

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