Sunday, October 19, 2014

you are a starfish on a beach

When I was a kid, my mother told me a story about the cops coming for a relative. He had two guns with him. I did not know what he had the guns for. And I did not ask. I did not see him much, perhaps on a few occasions when, after he was out of the slammer, visited my maternal grandfather.

Somehow this little incident inspired the following poem. I have being thinking about the past again. :(

photo by mettem
image from

you are a starfish on a beach

you flick the cigarette butt
the glow arc in the dark
the wet asphalt reflects
the nights's cold lights

you are afraid of the dark
and its wild crouching shadows
and the demons that tears
and tears your heart.

you are glad that it's day
but there are lions waiting
but even the birds sing
but fear does not go away

you are at the end of the alley
the metal in your hand heavy and cold
the sirens wail and wail
the hounds close in on the quarry


you are a starfish on a beach
the sun beating down hard
the quiet creeping of sand
the crush of stepping feet.


You are afraid of everyone. Your nickname is hermit crab.
Come out of you shell, they say.


from "Starfish" by Leah Horlick

I was inspired by the lines from the above poem (and some pretty wild thoughts). This is a prompt from the Bibliomancy Oracle. It can work in criminal ways.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #223 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2014

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Blogger Björn Rudberg said...

The image of a starfish on a beach has such string along that alley with a gun in your hand.. well written in 2nd person... I like that.

19 October, 2014 23:28  
Blogger Sumana Roy said...

how difficult is living when every moment is fearful...nicely done :)

20 October, 2014 00:00  
Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is a great comparison, the one pursued, fearful in a dark alley, and the helpless starfish at the mercy of tides and human feet. Imbued with mood, a great write, Lee San.

20 October, 2014 01:37  
Blogger TALON said...

This was sharp and beautiful, even in its sadness.

Sometimes we need to visit the past. Reconcile some things, discard others...honor all the good, the bad, and the ugly.

20 October, 2014 01:41  
Blogger Mary said...

I like the way you have written so many sights and sounds into your poem. I like the way you used the second person (you)to get the reader involved in the poem. A very vivid picture here.

20 October, 2014 02:22  
Blogger R.K. Garon said...

Well written as usual. I can relate with the family (for real :-)

Your last 4 lines under the break were/are incredibly good!

(Take that to the bank and see if you get some interest :-)
And thanks for the visit.

20 October, 2014 03:02  
Blogger Susan said...

The lights and darks stand out in this memory and you have us experience them all down to the trap and the danger on the floor ... powerful.

20 October, 2014 05:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are such gloriously descriptive lines:
"the quiet creeping of sand
the crush of stepping feet."

20 October, 2014 12:10  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thanks! for this type of narrative poem, i think writing in the 2nd person gives more impact. :)

Sumana ,

oh yes. it's tiring to constantly looking over one's shoulder. :)


glad that you see through the comparison, and that you enjoyed the poem. :)


the past can be a good well to provide material for a written work. i tried to imagine life in that person's shoes.
thanks for your great comment. :)


thank you! as i had replied earlier to Bjorn's comment, writing in the 2nd person has its uses.
another thing, i posted a comment in your latest post, but Blogger seems to have eaten it. :)


take what to the bank? certainly not the guns?
and the last 4 lines are incredibly sad.
thank you, my friend. you are always welcome. :)


thank you! the prompt certainly works. :)


thank you! thanks for the visit. :)

20 October, 2014 20:51  
Blogger Justin Lamb said...

It sounds like that was rough thing to be reminded of, although you did capture the moment very well. I like the pattern you came up with as well.

21 October, 2014 01:37  
Blogger rallentanda said...

All the emotions you create ring true....there is always an element of magic in your work. I wish you would write more. Enjoyed this.

21 October, 2014 10:04  
Blogger G L Meisner said...

Very tragic in both cases. Well written.

21 October, 2014 10:26  
Blogger Torie said...

Very well written, indeed! So much imagery.

I really liked this one part 'you are glad that it's day but there are lions waiting but even birds sing but fear does not go away'

Isn't is interesting to understand that fear does not go away. It has no where to go. We just have to rise above it.

21 October, 2014 22:15  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


glad that you noticed the pattern. i think there's no name for it because i thought it up. :)
thanks for visiting!


great to see you around!
i wish i could write more, but the office work saps energy, and i think i am getting a bit fastidious preparing my posts. :)

G L,

thank you. you can say that because it's the consequence of a wrong choice in life.

21 October, 2014 22:50  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Hi Torie, i was replying to the other comments when you came a visiting.
glad you liked the imagery. i liken the outside world to the Colosseum, thus the "lions waiting". :)
thank you for this wonderful comment.

21 October, 2014 23:02  
Anonymous tinman said...

quite sad stuff.

01 November, 2014 23:30  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

you find it sad too?
it's more like a cautionary tale.

02 November, 2014 22:12  

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