Buzzards over the Blanchard

Riding on the surface
of the Blanchard’s never ending flow
we float.

Navigating currents
our paddles dip deep into her body
steering round snags & boulders
through muddied channels
that curve by stands of oak
and fields losing their fallow
to spring’s green hope.

Overhead black vultures circle
searching for death’s delicious rot.

Passing endless eddies
our talk turns to end times,
to decimating epidemics
—apocalyptic tales
about black buzzards circling fields filled
with the bodies of
the last of us—

one big funereal feast
ending there in the bellies
of those black winged birds.

Later, they’ll shit us out,
greasy drips down the useless artifacts
of who we used to be.

Brenda Warren 2016


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hope is a small thing with feathers

Selling souls for diamonds
he peddles to the fleeting rich.
Blood smolders in his fiery eyes.

Buy more!
Hoard more!

Build an army to gather and protect
the last food left upon the planet
after oil runs dry and ambition
drowns the mindless
in wanton desires
oblivious to the insidious nature
of the upper one percent.

Man your stockpiles!

He jacks up the price of his diamonds
muttering about his preacher daddy’s
trapped words
unheeded ‘til the end times
when the upper one percent
will send out their armies
killing all remainders.

One by one families will succumb,
gunned down in an oblivious search for sustenance.

He rants about sparks, trapped within
set free at time’s beginnings,
superseded by greed,
while centuries fell from the sky
like iced lightning
stabbing jagged sticks
through the eyes of the wicked
one percent.

Soon they will falter beneath the weight of diamonds,
drawn from blood that nourishes
the ginger-orange soil of Africa.

The clarity of diamonds belies humanity’s greed.

Centuries from now, goodness will rise
in the form of a young girl laughing.

Emerging from the fecund clay of everything that went before,
she will spread her wings and fly, engendering new beginnings,
fresh, beneath her finely feathered soul.

Brenda Warren 2011

Process Notes:
My fears for our planet’s future play out in this piece. I imagined the “he” character as a street peddler, muttering prophecies, largely ignored. Left in the background to rant, pieces of truth fall from his mouth, dissipating in Earth’s dying air. Initially the piece ended with humanity’s greed, and that left me wanting hope. Emily Dickinson’s poem about hope sparked the last stanza, and gave the savior wings. The title is an adaptation from the first line of her poem, which you can find here.

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The Cleaning

When human beings are wiped from the face of the earth,
perhaps the eloquence of bees will buzz a balance
back into time’s swiveled fabric.
Slowly pesticides will dissipate and
buildings will crumble into cinder gray coral
that rises in pillars like fingers
ringed by soft hairy pillows of emerald moss.
The bees will dance from color to color
hovering as motionless yellow black points
to replenish the strength of their bumbling numbers,
basking in the glory of a rapidly blooming fresh new world.

Oh honey! Oh golden viscosity!
Let mama bear find you and feed her furry family
as they rumble through the safety of human remains.

Brenda Warren 2011

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