Slice of Life Challenge – March 21 – Seeing the Stranger Poems with Katrina Morrison

Today’s host of the March Open Write is Katrina Morrison of Tulsa, Oklahoma, who inspires us to write poems from the shadows – from places of memory or distanced wonder. You can read her full prompt here – and join us, if you’d like. Come and peruse the poems today – there will be some moving poems, I predict. I hope to see you there!

I write from a place of childhood haunting – a movie scene that has branded my heart and left me wondering about the thin veil between strangers and friends.

The Speed of Love

When I was little

There was this movie

A man and his chimp

Were best buds

The man gave the chimp

Treats to coax good behavior

Trust was built 

At the speed of treats

Love at the speed of 

Time together

And so it was

Until the scene 

In the biohazard lab

Where the deadly spores 

   Diffused into the air

Where that door 

Got stuck 

And the double whammy -

      the bomb was ticking

Tick tick tick tick tick

No one could

Break the code

   or the glass

The man on one side 

His best little buddy 

   stuck on the other

The fate of mankind

    Hanging in the breeze

The camera panned 

To the furrowed brow

To the moment of knowing

    the heartsick feeling

      in the man's heart

But he had to do

    What he had to do

The man dangled the treat

    at  the window

Pointed to the problem

directed his best little buddy

to deactivate the bomb

The chimp pushed the button

  Saving mankind

     No more spores spewing

        No more bomb ticking

Returned to the window

  for his treat

     for his good behavior

        for saving mankind

But the chimp’s fate was sealed

  He’d breathed the spores

     Opening the door would only kill more

The camera panned to the 

   Man’s hand holding the treat

     Against the glass

       The chimp’s fingers feverishly

         Trying to grasp it

Trying to grasp the treat

   Trying to grasp the truth

       The question mark on his brow

          The tears in the man’s eyes

              The grief in his heart

thud thud thud thud thud 

And that was where the movie ended


But it has never ended

   It still plays on 

      In a quiet chamber

        Of my heart


14 Replies to “Slice of Life Challenge – March 21 – Seeing the Stranger Poems with Katrina Morrison”

  1. Wow! You captured that movie scene with amazing precision. I could see it and feel it. Reminds me of why I don’t watch horror movies. My heart is still racing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Kim. The scene is so vivid and real I can hardly bear it. I want to rush in and save the chimp – or least to let him have his treat – I feel his consternation and honestly I sometimes wonder about the better species. More than sometimes. Now I will carry the image with me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim,
    This ekphrastic moment of turning art into art offers a double haunting, a sad commentary on what humans do to other sentient beings in the name of survival. I’ve been thinking about this often the past few days, contemplating the pecking order, the ways some both sides of the fence for utilitarian reasons. Before the poem you write, “ left me wondering about the thin veil between strangers and friends.” That captures the essence of life right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kim,
    I’m haunted by this movie now too. You have brought us all into your childhood memory. I too hope to know what it is called and see this scene myself. I wrote a 32123 poem, inspired by you. Maybe next April on 4-21-24 we’ll write palindrome poems together again!


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