“Creative Storm Watch,” “Tornado Warning,” and “The Cultivar”

Creative Storm Watch

My hands crackle with electricity

               And when it happens

                              my wrists start humming

                                              Somewhere between

                                                           my eyes and nose tingles

                                                                        And the neurons

                                                                                        direct that sensation

                                                                                                      (Anticipation before

                                                                                                                      lightning strikes)

                                                                                                      Send it with

                                                                                        zinging resonance

                                                                         through bone

                                                          Ionization

                                           builds before

                             the strike,

              Polarity

builds between

              fingers

                             Energy arcs across

                                           my palms

                                                           dancing

                                                                         My knuckles flex

                                                                                         with charged potential

                                                                                                       In the moment’s fullness

                                                                                                                       the tension breaks

                                                                                                       Discharging a force

                                                                                         that can’t be contained

                                                                         Blue Energy

                                                           from fingertips to page

                                            The Creative force,

                              electrical storm

               Supersonic crash

Something’s transformed

Creative Storm Watch

My hands crackle with electricity

               And when it happens

                              my wrists start humming

                                              Somewhere between

                                                           my eyes and nose tingles

                                                                        And the neurons

                                                                                        direct that sensation

                                                                                                      (Anticipation before

                                                                                                                      lightning strikes)

                                                                                                      Send it with

                                                                                        zinging resonance

                                                                         through bone

                                                          Ionization

                                           builds before

                             the strike,

              Polarity

builds between

              fingers

                             Energy arcs across

                                           my palms

                                                           dancing

                                                                         My knuckles flex

                                                                                         with charged potential

                                                                                                       In the moment’s fullness

                                                                                                                       the tension breaks

                                                                                                       Discharging a force

                                                                                         that can’t be contained

                                                                         Blue Energy

                                                           from fingertips to page

                                            The Creative force,

                              electrical storm

               Supersonic crash

Something’s transformed

Tornado Warning

When the tornado sirens wail

I feel it in my spine, my stomach.

But we, the danger-loving fools,

run outside (instead of finding that room with no windows)

bare-footed and wild, looking up for the signs we know.

Neon tree line vivid against roiling purple thunderheads

lit from within with lightning, billowing lanterns.

And the wind comes colder—

‘Well, that’s a thunderboomer’.

Secret electric giddiness.

But if the light is sick and

           Yellow

              Grey

                Green

And the wind            Switches

Wrongly                     and goes

                     Still

And you see it—the

        Funnel

            Cloud

               Turning

It’s comin’!

 

And the hair on our arms stands up, the ground feels like danger.

When the curls rise slowly around my head,

we got to run inside, ‘run inside quick!’

             before the lightning

              discharges and

                strikes me dead.

The weather radio screeches, galvanizing and familiar,

walking the thrill-line between fear and excitement.

The robo-voice speaks haltingly:

              THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN... TULSA, OKLAHOMA

              HAS ISSUED A TORNADO.   WARNING.  FOR...

                                                (we wait)

              BENTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS... SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY

We check the radar, the radio, the local TV weatherman, everything,

              and hide (in the room with no windows)

filled with essentials: bottled water, photo albums, stuffed animals, pets,

             Us.

We are condensed. Essential. Protective.

             We wait.

Listening, thinking too many what-ifs…

Black-out. The old oaks bend too far.

Will they make it again?

Will it hit us? Or will it pass us by?

Tornado Warning

When the tornado sirens wail

I feel it in my spine, my stomach.

But we, the danger-loving fools,

run outside (instead of finding that room with no windows)

bare-footed and wild, looking up for the signs we know.

Neon tree line vivid against roiling purple thunderheads

lit from within with lightning, billowing lanterns.

And the wind comes colder—

‘Well, that’s a thunderboomer’.

Secret electric giddiness.

 

But if the light is sick and

           Yellow

              Grey

                Green

And the wind            Switches

Wrongly                   and goes

               Still

And you see it—the

        Funnel

            Cloud

               Turning

It’s comin’!

 

And the hair on our arms stands up, the ground feels like danger.

When the curls rise slowly around my head,

we got to run inside, ‘run inside quick!’

             before the lightning

              discharges and

                strikes me dead.

 

The weather radio screeches, galvanizing and familiar,

walking the thrill-line between fear and excitement.

The robo-voice speaks haltingly:

              THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN... TULSA, OKLAHOMA

              HAS ISSUED A TORNADO.   WARNING.  FOR...

                                                (we wait)

BENTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS... SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY

We check the radar, the radio, the local TV weatherman, everything,

              and hide (in the room with no windows)

filled with essentials: bottled water, photo albums, stuffed animals, pets,

             Us.

We are condensed. Essential. Protective.

             We wait.

Listening, thinking too many what-ifs…

Black-out. The old oaks bend too far.

Will they make it again?

Will it hit us? Or will it pass us by?

The Cultivar

We tend the sowing    the growing    the harvest

Everyday distilled through fractured light

cast through prisms and wine bottle shards

dug up from the earth our hands have tilled

We wash them and hang them on willow trees

We work with rainbows at our backs and

sow long-lined rows of seeds: a vineyard

Concord    chardonnay    and    sable black

unruly vines twisting away from their lines

and here and there sunflowers jump up

and wildflowers tumble through the rows

Blackbirds call and ravens crow gathering

An apple tree and a pomegranate

with pineapples below and agave

growing alongside prickly pears

A vineyard transformed into an oasis

Bees and bears bumble along lulled by

the mockingbird and lyre bird’s songs

Step through the thorns and put down your spade

Breathe deep into the kingdom you’ve made

Stretch out your hand and grab a new fruit

Its honeyed fire spreads from root to tooth

About the Author

Ashley Williamson

Ashley Williamson is an American poet living in the inspiring English Lake District. She is currently working on her Undergraduate of Creative Writing at Oxford University. When not writing, she works as an industrial radiographer for a small family business in the aerospace industry. She wanders the Lake District, rock collecting and painting. Her poetry is featured in Wingless Dreamer, Sad Girls Lit Mag, Cathexis Northwest Press, La Piccioletta Barca, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, and The Festival Review.