The Valiant Turtle Metaphor

October 2003, Non-metrical split couplet

Run little turtle, run for me
Swim little turtle, swim to freedom
And little turtle, when you’re free
Dance little turtle, dance for me.
~the people on the hill

The sand cracks, I take a peek,
A whiff of a world I’ll only frequent
A minute.
Sun ringing, crisp air, cool sand tickling my nose—I tremble
Like a finger without thimble,
Exposed. I struggle forth, amazed with the beauty, the birds.
An urge
Overtakes me to slip from the shore. Oh, look! Not far,
There are
A whole lot of me budding and shuffling toward the sea.
The low frequency
In the wind spins whirlwinds, the colors are so bright.
So different than last night.
I inhale, my palate explodes, the scent of seaweed
So neat, there are no roads! A gust upon my face
Unfolds an air lift with a twist,
As gold. It’s a great day for a dip, I’ll explore
As a form crosses the sun and circles once more—a goodfella,
Wow! So quick, oh, he’s dive-bombing now.
I look around.
And why are those people up on the hill yelling,
Arms waving,
As if they’re suggesting I move?

Oh, God! He just ate one of me! Yellow mouth vice
Not nice—
Bad. Oh, jeez, six or eight out of one-twenty, reduced
By two,
Four, sixty, two—a handful. What luck,
Stuck Here,
I survived the selection. I survived the waves.
Now droves
Of jackals, wild pigs—insane. This is quite rare,
Is my mom? I’ll take refuge in this rusty can.
Oh man,
Not for long. I must drag myself to the sea. Go fast.
At last,
A foot less, I’m so slow. No, fast, I will go
Straight as the crow,
Eyes! He pecked out one of me’s eyes! Oh dear,
So near
Keep plugging just twenty-five more years.
They’re blocking my view. No accumulated salt
Yet, just the thought
Of the blue. Now quick, flip by flip, gosh, I’m so slow.
Trickles of aid wrap soft like a handkerchief
On my ankle.
And why are those people still up there,
Dumb stares,
I could’ve used a little help you know!

Ahh, it seems my sight has improved.
I’m moved
By the undertow, swirled and shoed.
To a worry in the back of my mind, yellow beaks,
Tusks, cheeks
Munching the orange-peel soft carapace
Snazzy, if I move my flipper like this, I glide.
No need for a guide,
I’m quite alive. Whoops, by surprise I’m tossed
The sun, obstructed again, casts a long
Shadow and is gone.
What’s that figure? It grows. A big fish,
No, a shark!
Not this again. Go! Paddle fast as a galley
Two, three
Gunpowder’s incentive if you ask me,
At home, yikes, what’s this? SWISH…

Ha hah, missed!
Look mom, I can survive on
My own.
As I come up for air, their cheers blare
Social welfare,
Jeers and suggestions of what I should know,
I yell back, I’m not impaired!
However, that I am little and my culture is different... they probably don’t