Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ghosts In Blue Ice

The lost picnic family ends up in the Arctic.
Father should have noticed the GPS glowing a deep ominous red;
Mother should have caught the smell of brimstone.
The children should have paid attention to the cruelty they heard in the voice that said,
"Turn here. Trust me."
And alerted their elders.

Instead, they are tipped on their side on the tundra,
Fried chicken spilling, attracting polar bears.

With powerful swipes,
The bears free the family from their safety belts and torpor.
They tumble out like Cheerios,
Their mouths the round open centers.

See, children?
No cute talking penguins in sight.
See, father?
Racquetball seems such inadequate training now, doesn't it,
For war with white behemoths?
And mother?
You worried for nothing. There are no ants.

The lost picnic family should have prepared itself for real eventualities--
Devils, ice, ravenous beasts--
Instead of going soft in front of television.

Now, they are the show that no one watches,
Glowing souls too frozen to rise;
They are the club-wheeled SUV in the reserved parking space of oblivion--
They are the unseen, unremarked ghosts in blue ice.

for Hannah's Transforming Friday challenge. 



Kerry O'Connor said...

The lost picnic family obeys the GPS an lands up in a kind of reverse Antarctica: no penguins, but a least one bear... And yet it all seems to be fair commentary on the state of the family unit, and its destiny in the 21st century.

I love how they tumbled out the SUV like cheerios.

Hannah said...

"The lost picnic family should have prepared itself for real eventualities--
Devils, ice, ravenous beasts--
Instead of going soft in front of television."

I love this stanza, Shay, so true...amp up for rugged reality....also love the stanza about the family's preconceived ideal of penguins and the lack of ants hehe!!

Your last line is my very favorite though!! ...unseen,, unremarked ghosts in blue ice.... that's a frightening distinct image!

Thanks so much for writing to my prompt idea, Shay!! Smiles to you!

Fireblossom said...

Kerry, thanks for pointing out my error! I did that on "Salon", too, and someone had to point it out. Polar bears are in the Arctic, not the Antarctic. I've changed it now. Some day, I will get it through my head, north from south, Arctic from Antarctic, up from down. I hope!

TexWisGirl said...

i like it - in a dark and twisted sort of way. :)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

WOW! another totally amazing tale. "They are the club-wheeled SUV in the reserved parking space of oblivion" - what a brilliant line!!!!!

I heard a true bear story yesterday - a girl was walking one of the trails around here, alone, when a black bear ambled right onto the trail. She somehow sprained her ankle, so she just sat down on the ground. The bear came up to her and sniffed her all over, then batted his front paw at her sprained ankle, then left.........her being nonthreatening, and still, I suppose he had no problem with her. She now has a great bear encounter to tell.

hedgewitch said...

This is one of those pieces of yours that makes symbols into reality and vice versa, everything turned on its head and incongruous, yet making its own perfect sense. The finish is the perfect resolution, strong, ominous and er, chilling. Really! You know I seldom quote, but this line is classic Fireblossom:
"..They are the club-wheeled SUV in the reserved parking space of oblivion--"
there is just no better way to say that.
(Also, thanks for the Leonard Cohen.)

hedgewitch said...

Ooops--Sherry got to that line before me. But it's still a classic.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's easy for an entire family to end up "tipped on their side on the tundra" after listening to the wrong voices and following the wrong directions.

This is brilliant: "The bears free the family from their safety belts and torpor" ... Sometimes it takes a catastrophe or major life change (like death, illness, job loss, moving, or divorce) that impacts the whole family to wake everyone up, knocking them out of their stupor and constant state of disconnect. And sometimes safety belts keep us so safe that we never leave the "car" (couch, house, internal comfort zone) and end up dying there.

Hopefully the family in general (and the individuals within) can still be saved, unlike this one---made of ghosts in blue ice (is the blue ice the TV? All these 3D movies perhaps? Or just an internal blue oblivion of detachment and depression?).

And oh how mother worries for nothing, or worries about the wrong things.

"real eventualities--
Devils, ice, ravenous beasts"

Great warning to us all, I'd say.

Mama Zen said...

This has polar bear teeth!

Daryl Edelstein said...

Seriously its all the GPS' fault .. love this and all it evokes

Anonymous said...

i've never been a big fan of picnics unless they are indoors, preferably in bed.

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

I love the sarcasm of mom worryin of ants gettin into the pie~ brilliant!
If this becomes a movie, it won't be robin williams again as the father, will it?
How bout a stone seth rogen sayin, holy shit! That bastard stole my stash!
And a few more summers like this one and we may all move to antarctica. Who says there's no polar bears there? Who's dumb enough to search?
What a fun read!
Thanks shay

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

What a fantastical tale, fb! I love the kids being snarky in the face of the impossible. Maybe the ice worms ate all the ants. And, it's your magic, there can be polar bears anywhere you wanna put em. I'll believe it.