Been a while since we’ve done one of these! But these are fun, and since I’m feeling incredibly broken let’s go to a place that is broken. The inspiration for Somewhere Else, the place a very long drive away, the place that is isolated for good reason, Ellensburg!
I haven’t stopped harping on about this place lately, which is especially true because of my recent visit which culminated in fuck-all. But we’re here to talk about poetry and why we write it, so let’s break down why I wrote something at all inspired by such a dull place. And hey, if you’ve found this post because you searched up “Ellensburg” then I’m sorry for all that. Onwards!
Original text of the poem can be found here: https://radioreality.city/2017/11/09/solar-flytrap/.
Let’s start with the title: solar flytrap. Apart from the easy connection to the Venus flytrap plant which eats insects who cross its maw, this one is an obscure title, like many of my other obscure titles. I get the title from two different connotations.
“Solar” comes from the period in which I visited Ellensburg, the summer. In that it was really hot for no particular reason, but I also liken this part of the title to why I decided to connect the word flytrap, after all; it is most certainly part of a larger phrase.
“Flytrap” itself is a good way to look at Ellensburg, but that wasn’t why I decided to use this word. No, this one was inspired by a song I was listening to at the time by Solar Fields, simply called Flytrap. Last July as a whole was a time of demon-slaying and some incredibly impactful life reconnections. It has a lot of internal connotations, to me the song represents the hopefulness in perseverance. Continuing to succeed, and not just continuing.
The two words together, Solar Flytrap, means to me “trapping of the sun by things with wings”.
That’s what Ellensburg was when I properly visited it the first time. The sun was trapped, and so were we, in this place that twisted continuously into Kittias Valley. This left me with a romanticized image of the city, and it’s what made me (and still makes me want to return).
So after being struck by its placement and existence, it became the direct inspiration for what Somewhere Else might look like.
We get a hint of this in the lines “As you pass through a portal/ Through a shield/ You emerge in a meadow/ Dead, yet an oasis of brick”. The portal is a direct reference to going to Somewhere Else, which is what crossing the Cascades into Central Washington feels like. Alien but so familiar.
What follows is a description of the city itself and what I think. No rhyme scheme, no specific meter, and no real hinge that looks to structure besides the line scheme. Quatrain sets interrupted by the line, “Themselves for what?” which asks why this place exists.
In the lines following it, mentioning sword and shield, and the last stanza of the poem which reads “Beyond the pass/ Beyond the shield/ Unto dawn they cut/ Their teeth on the field” which is also a direct reference to another poem I once wrote about the Cascades, which references the mountain chain as a shield against the weather of the west. Snoqualmie Pass, in particular, is what I’m talking about. The weird journey that terminates at a place unlike the one you were in even an hour before you arrived.
This poem, then, is part of the set about the land surrounding the cascades. This includes, but isn’t limited to: Kjempen, and the Poikilothermal set, as well as Cutis Anserina, Teeth of Cascadia, and Teeth of Olympia. If it is a mountain, it has teeth to bite back at the weather to protect what lies there.
So maybe this is all part of a Bite Back series, huh? Maybe. Nature is beautiful, and it does a great job of persisting. Such as the Solar Flytrap.
What would I do different, given all this information and some more perspective? I would probably take a crack at making the meta reference more overt, but also more approachable, because clearly no one is going to read ALL of my work and connect the dots. I could keep its meter how it is and also not institute any kind of scheme for rhymes. I might pick up the mysticism factor by quite a lot, but that might be just about it.
I’ve selected to cover this poem since it relates to others I’ve already rehashed, but I also find myself in a time as uncertain as that one. Familiar faces, new ones, and quite a lot of experience backing the will to proceed. I hope things continue this way, and perhaps I might produce a poem called “Lunar Groundclear!” Who know what whacky things might happen next in Somewhere Else. I do know that the next rehashed might be a big one.
Thanks for tuning in, and please check out some more content up at https://radioreality.city! It’s a fun little place, and I’ve only just gotten started rehashing my work, so if you want to know what makes certain things tick, stick around! There’s ever more to come.