“It was a cold winter for swimming”, “Trees” and “The place where skin flakes settle”

It was a cold winter for swimming

This fiend that sleeps inside us turns the world
the ever east of incident, but Man walks
westward, against the pull of their own destiny.

We were told that we all belonged here, held
hands linked against the tides of hellfire, winters
eternal, and Byron’s darkness. Instead, we push

water into plastic, oil into our skin and lungs,
shells into the enemies of a stolen choice
under the same fires set by the orders of the plump

slithers of those who grip the gold-flakes in the end,
but all they get is blackened, death-lined pockets.
We peel the skin off our own backs and pin it down

onto our beds, onto our tables, the intimate places
where we dine and dance and fuck. In the sunlight
we point and we push ourselves into cardboard boxes

push ourselves into abstraction, we hold up the marked,
cane them all as they line up for courteous rebellion,
remind them of their grass stained eyes and blood

shot knees soaking up the tears of tired apparitions.
They fight ever on against the tides. This is their dream.
This is our nightmare. The fiend that sleeps inside us

churns the world, keeps the never-ending Raven’s song
alive before a burning bust of flies heads above steam-
screams and spews, from the odium of our lost allure.
Surely this is not a chore? Keeping the world in trust
for her sallow air alone—should we not bow to her?
Instead we suck happily on her lush honey and milk,

rich spoils for the wars we waged and won and lost
and now we forge ourselves anew, flowers out of time.


When I sit here in this artificial shade, dreaming, reading of trees whose trunks swell just as the rivers
at their banks begin to dry out—the tree knows of the receding waters before the fish, before man
even, who knows only when the trees are near to burst—

I wonder, do they feel thick with anxiety? Do they worry for
the direction of their roots                                                                                          in mud black as death, warm
with life? Do the trees see the symbiosis, or the slavery,                                                the bliss, or an errant
cycle played out in the mind of an imaginary god?                                                Or a cage.
I try to believe that we are more alike than not, but the hole inside each of us might be the only
thing that aligns when we are finally wrung out, soul alone exposed for the world, for ourselves to see
But the tree is thirsty all the year round, and has to wait for the water, can’t seek it out. The tree will
die, must die.
The river washes the soil out from under the roots.

The place where skin flakes settle

If we reach the edge what will be left to hold?
Will the center still have enough impulse
to push us back home? Gravity you bastard,
you only care for naught.

While everything is flying off in all directions
you play your tricks, a game; we the collectible toys

not meant to be played with by anyone or for money

—everyone knows that it can’t be serious if it’s not for money—

we don’t have to listen to you goddamnit!
Gravity might pull the cash together
but full pockets remind us to reach in and grab hold,
slap it on the table ready to risk it all every time
or you are wasting your time. Acting is a human trait.

That’s why nobody wants to be there when a rock lays down the first bet;
if the rocks ever cared to stop waiting and start running like the rest of us.
I’m fed up with all these excuses coming from the rocks.

Try to hide secrets in plain sight; they never play to fail.
Even the trees are getting restless anchored in stubborn soil,
so proud of its origins. And why should they trust each other?
Why should creation have any love for destruction?

Well it should.

I can tell you so because I saw the last rays
of the last dying sun reach out and touch my eye

and then being swallowed by the void
I tasted the radiation of its breath. My mind filled with thoughts of home
and the faint smell of wet stone.
I knew then what the rocks knew;
if it happened before, it will happen again.

Maybe next time they will run

like the rest of us.

About the Author

Glenn Collins

Glenn Collins is an average sized anthropoid from the planet Earth, 3rd from the Star Sol, a G-type main-sequence star. He survives on the planet by teaching English as an Adjunct at Cal State Northridge, LA Valley College, and College of the Canyons. He has some poetry and short fiction published by The Northridge Review and Chaparral, and a short essay published by Select Start Press.

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