Poetry Corner: Dreams of the Serengeti

endless grass
no fear of dogs or traffic
those strange noises humans make –
I have a thought of it
some yearning
a scent I almost remember
and I can imagine myself
long, striped

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch

Penny is the most photogenic cat. Lots more photos of her (and various random things) on my husband’s Instagram account.


Stories from Refuge – 88 – “She was just like me, actually, just like me.”

(c) Radist | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-76, submitted anonymously
RY 100.11.16

I didn’t come in to talk about it because it wasn’t something they did to us, it was something we did. There was a group of us, we used to plan things but we never really did anything, not back when we were in school anyway, then a few of us dropped out and one of us got himself messed up with drugs and then there were just three of us left, and that’s when we actually did something, that’s when we decided we weren’t gonna just talk anymore, we were going to do something, and I don’t remember how we came up with this plan, I’m not sure we really did, we just happened to be in the tunnel between Sec 9 and Sec 21 hiding out during a riot, and when we thought it was all clear we came out but it wasn’t actually clear, there was still a lot of smoke and noise down the curve in Section 9 and bodies lying around that hadn’t been cleared up yet, and that’s when we saw that one of those bodies down on the ground was a Commander, and we just grabbed that Commander by the legs and pulled her into the hidden tunnel, and we didn’t know until we got her helmet off that she was a she, and we’d already kicked her up a lot by then, and we kicked up that helmet too but it wasn’t enough, we had to get at the Commander’s face, and that’s when I saw that she was a woman and her hair was too light, like she was some kind of recessive gene that didn’t get blended into brown like everyone else, and she was just like me, actually, just like me, a woman with hair that’s too light, and that’s when I started screaming and the other two tried to quiet me down and I just went running out the other end of the tunnel and into Sec 21, and they didn’t want to be out in a residential section where people would hear and maybe report them so they didn’t follow me, or I assume that’s why they didn’t follow me, and I never went back where they used to hang out, and they never came to find me where I lived or where I worked, and so I never found out what happened to that Commander, and I wish I knew. I wish I knew.

©2017 Michelle M. Welch

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Poetry Corner: Child

I am a child.
I don’t want to be a child –
I want to be tall and strong and powerful,
not crying, frightened,
jumping at shadows,
full of sniffles and imaginary hurts and flash-paper anger.

I close the door on the child,
wonder how many chores will convince it
to grow up,
how many toys I have to take away,
but it doesn’t work.
All I can do is open the door,
take the child
– runny nosed, gap toothed, teary eyed –
to the window,
and throw open the curtains
so we can smile at the sun.

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch

This is another pairing of elements that weren’t created anywhere near each other: a shot of a sunset in Sedona, and a poem I wrote during a meditation retreat that spent some time focusing on difficult emotions. The sun is a frequent symbol of awakening in Shambhala Buddhism.

Stories from Refuge – 87 – “I didn’t want to get together and talk about insurrection.”

(c) Svedoliver | Dreamstime.com

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-75, dialogue between K.A. and Dean 62A, recorded by Beatrice 75C
RY 100.11.14

I was part of that group, Olive’s group, who came in here yesterday. Right, I’m not supposed to say her name. I’ve done a lot of things I’m not supposed to. But not nearly as many as I should have, I guess.

I was a big guy when I was a kid. I didn’t really want to have anything to do with that group, I didn’t want to get together and talk about insurrection. I was staying after school to catch up on my homework. My parents couldn’t afford to get me glasses – hardly anyone could, as expensive as they are – and I stayed after class so I could sit closer to the blackboard and read what the teacher had written. Olive’s friends thought I was tough but I was really just too embarrassed to let everyone know how bad my eyes were and how poor my parents were.

But I was a big guy and I looked tough and they all said I would be their best fighter, once we had a plan and we could go out into the tunnels and fight back. I don’t even remember what any of our ideas were. I sure didn’t want to be at the front of a fight so I didn’t really say anything, just squinted at the blackboard from across the room and tried to keep reading it. But when this Empath came to interrogate us, I got at the front of the group so he would hit me first. That’s probably the only brave thing I’ve ever done.

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Stories from Refuge – 86 – “We didn’t have any secrets to get tortured out of us.”

Refuge: an underground city built to save people from an apocalyptic world. But how will its people save themselves? Read the stories in any order, or start with the introduction at part 1.

Reconciliation Council report B-74, interview with O.L., recorded by Mary 80C
RY 100.11.12

I didn’t expect him to be so defensive, that Empath from yesterday. Yeah, I remembered him, and yeah, I was too upset to speak. I was angry that he couldn’t remember me after everything he put me through, all those nightmares he gave me that I still remember, years after the projection should have worn off. It’s probably not surprising that he doesn’t remember me, though. I’m hardly the only one he tortured with nightmares. So that’s not really surprising. What did surprise me was how defensive he got. Although it shouldn’t. We were that defensive.

We used to say it was ironic that we got interrogated – those of who still saw each other afterward and were willing to talk about it. We didn’t even do anything, not really. We didn’t have any secrets to get tortured out of us. We didn’t get involved in any riots, we didn’t write poems and post them around the tunnels, we didn’t sabotage any bots or any computers. We all met each other in school and stayed late to hide out in the empty classrooms and talk about all the things we should do, all the things we wanted to do if we’d been braver or crazier or whatever. We thought we were really doing something just by talking about it, just by getting angry. That’s when we got defensive. We weren’t keeping our heads down trying to get by, we said. We were really outraged. If anyone asked us, we’d tell them just how outraged we were.

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Poetry Corner: Moon and Mesquite

Mesquite tree at the Desert Botanical Garden

I have stood here for some time
stretching branches into the sky –
and every year
when the weather turns cool
you come along and wrap me with these lights,
electric and bristling –
Strange, since you could just look up
and see the light already in the sky

Poetry & photography (c)2017 Michelle M. Welch


It’s not really like me to get Christmassy, but I needed a poem for this week and I went browsing through some old photos. Here’s one I took a couple of years ago at Las Noches de las Luminarias, the traditional holiday celebration at the Desert Botanical Garden: 8000 candle-lit luminarias and Christmas lights wrapped around any growing thing they could reach. (Careful if you try this with cactus…)