I look upon the glass bottles crowded
across this crown molding shelf
They stand rigid like
mounted animals at the museum
Noble but
hollowed of their liquid essence
Mouths fixed agape
as if to roar once more in
sparkling catharses and
wild brown magic
under happily dimmed lamplight
Memories of my natural history

“Glint” © Ben Young Landis

“This villanelle is a form from hell.”
I say as I sit here, pulling hair out.
Stabbing my brain for words to spell.

Who picked this “fun writing prompt”? DO TELL.
It me — a wannabe literary lout.
This villanelle is a form from hell.

My attempts at lines hardly gel!
Creativity stuck (as if consumed by gout)
Stabbing my brain for words to spell.

Nor could I be saved by the school bell.
No scholastic excuse could I now tout.
This villanelle is a form from hell.

“Poems are fun!” — what a lousy sell.
With a loud-ass sigh and as I pout,
Stabbing my brain for words to spell.

For reasons below, at thee I spout:
“This villanelle is a form from hell
Stabbing my brain for words to spell.”

“Garbage” © Ben Young Landis

“Wi-Fi” is the correct spelling for the wireless network technology that we’ve come to seek and crave in the 21st century. Neither spelled “wifi” nor “WiFi” nor is it shorthand for “wireless fidelity”, the term was the invention of a branding company and is trademarked at that.

“Bluetooth” is another registered mark for a different wireless technology, and its name pays tribute to a 10th century Danish monarch, King Harald Bluetooth. And that now-omnipresent Bluetooth logo depicts not tiny, jagged teeth, but in fact Scandinavian rune script symbolizing the king’s initials. …

Let go of the past that never can be
Start building the future you may yet see
The river of time laps at your feet
Wade in — and come find me

What new tendril and new leaf
Might sprout with momentum of belief?
Shed thy old thorns with relief
Tend to thy green crown — thy fief

The earthen kingdom beneath us
Rendering ancient pains to humus
Returning fruits of foundation and focus
Lordly beings, yearning to be weightless

Gales fanning fires free
Storms o’er hearts, rages sea
Let go of pasts that never can be

“Sunset” © Ben Young Landis

The Rhipsalis safely arrived
In water, currently being revived
With hope it shall thrive
Take root, and come alive!

Thanks for sharing one from your hive
And teaching me the green thumb jive
So verdant now my homey dive
Houseplant species: numbering up to five!

An old botanical illustration of various species of Rhipsalis, a tiny cactus.
Botanical illustration by Mary E. Eaton, published in “The Cactaceae : descriptions and illustrations of plants of the cactus family” by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1919 (doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.46288)

Keep in touch, said the more tender voice, looking up at a deeply familiar face. The cicadas had been trying their best to drown out all human utterings on this weighted humid day, but the words managed to linger in the air.

For both children, these words felt as promising as they were painful — though neither would have the emotional faculties or space to process such nuanced introspection for decades to come.

Perhaps they did sense that touch was the one certain act and sensation that would cease for the coming year, once this moment departed. That the simple…

Did you really stop
to look at the water
as it moved with
quiet patience

Did you really take in
the rippling river-light
letting it through
your lidded eyes

Did you stop to breathe
the wetness of life —
a clean, simple must
of mud and microbes

Did you really capture
this feeling of being —
reminders of our
original purpose

Did you safekeep this moment
for deskbound days
longing again
to run away

“Gray” © Ben Young Landis

they speak oft of the last supper
but I wondered
— just now —
about the first
when human beasts could
— at last —
gather to eat at their
chosen time and whim
— a luxury —
but likewise a study
in cooperation
— an understanding —
to forage together
but feasting later
— a civility —
somehow forgotten
in the 21st century
— strangely —
when human beings still
starve unsheltered
— it’s policy —
to deny our neighbor
a fair seat to
— the table —
at which we all
first sat

“Bottom Steps” © Ben Young Landis

If science is defined as seeking truths
We must ensure empathy as its muse
Always must power be wielded with ruth
In cruel hands, knowledge shall be in abuse

Experimentation can wound or heal
Much as any blade one chooses to wield
Over bit, bot, body, or allele
Moral compass must cover lab to field

Enlightenment ought offer global gains
Shining health and wealth, and from none withheld
Let’s atone the crimes and grimes of past reigns
Let ivory towers be forever felled

Pouring wonders, med’cines from our shared cup
As one people, one planet — we rise up.

“Upward” © Ben Young Landis

All aboard the lobster train
The Panulirus argus express
Two to sixty crustaceans
A single-file migration en masse

Speckled exoskeletons
Shield each antennaed traveler
A spiny armored convoy
To deeper waters they gather

An internal magnetic compass
Directs this decapod delivery
To them, an autumnal rite
To us, a wondrous natural history

Hex Color BE4A3D

Ben Young Landis

A feed of creative writings by Ben Young Landis.

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