Fall/Winter 2016

Ron Wallace


I was thinking
summers and cicadas go together,
alliteratively and in nature
          I like them both;
maybe I’ll write about them.

I remembered Billy Collins
          going on a rant
about cicadas.
Everyone writes about cicadas, he said.
He was sick of reading the word,
he said.
He wouldn’t read another poem
with a cicada in it
          he said.

Damned Yankee, I thought.

Mark Twain said
          “Write what you know.”
I thought,
“I’m from Oklahoma. I know cicadas.
Screw Billy Collins.”

John Galsworthy said,
          “Write what Interests you.”
I thought,
“I’m from Oklahoma. Cicadas interest me
          sort of...
Screw Billy Collins.”

So I decided I’d write about cicadas
           and summer
                     but mostly cicadas.
Screw Billy Collins.

It would be a summer of cicadas
          with cicadas singing cicada songs. 
I would praise the much maligned cicada.
There would be cicadas in the tress,
cicada husks on barn doors
cicadas here
          cicadas there
cicadas every fucking where you look
I would title it “Ode to Cicadas”
like Wordsworth or maybe Percy Shelly.
It would be a grand tribute to cicadas.

I read it aloud.

I think it said “cicada” twenty some odd times.
The word was humming in my head
like the damned creature itself,
up in the trees.
All I could hear was cicada, cicada, cicada.
I paused

The word was buzzing in my brain.
I wanted to run.
          I wanted to scream.
I wanted it to stop its interminable scraping
like a ...
          Oh Lord, no,
                    forgive me Billy Collins.

They shall be locusts from now on.


Ron Wallace, is an adjunct professor of English at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and an Oklahoma Native of Choctaw, Cherokee and Osage ancestry. He is the author of seven volumes of poetry published by TJMF Publishing of Clarksville, Indiana and a three time finalist in the Oklahoma Book Awards. He is also a three time winner of The Oklahoma Writer’s Federation Best Book of Poetry Award and a Pushcart Prize nominee for 2016.




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