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spotted lanternfly

violence through permission

By River JoyPublished 23 days ago 1 min read
Top Story - February 2024

i did my duty today

squished a spotted lanternfly

under my foot

because they are




but invasive implies introduced

and introduced implies interfered with

and they don't have opposable thumbs

or a pre-frontal cortex

each time i kill one of those

tragically beautiful creatures

i am doing my duty

i also wonder about the human instinct

to destroy

with permission

when we are given permission

to other

when we are rewarded

to other

we tend to relish in it

why do we relish in it

is our power so imaginary

that we choose not to see the complexity

of a situation

because i will walk a spider out of my home

but i will also get out of my car

to smush a lanternfly

the difference

to most of us

is permission

but they did not ask to be here

and so when my foot comes down

i can't imagine it not

being a twisted metaphor

for acceptance of cruelty through permission

of someone above us

giving us the green light to hate

maybe we secretly don't mind

kindling that weird violent flame

that lives in us as humans

and i know this started as

a relatively light hearted comparison

but it's not light hearted

it's fundamental

it's something we have to work consciously to change

and no, i don't want you to stop stepping on

lantern flies

they are still invasive

but i want you to think hard about your

intention while doing so

don't kindle that violent flame

it's one humanity should have blown out

a long time ago

surreal poetrysocial commentaryslam poetryperformance poetrynature poetry

About the Creator

River Joy

I make things with paint and words and light. I was once described as an asshole with Mr. Rogers vibes.


[email protected]

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  • Anthony Geary4 days ago

    Cool https://t.me/AnthonyGeary69

  • L.C. Schäfer18 days ago

    Maybe say a little sorry as you do it? 🤔

  • Naveed 18 days ago

    Well-deserved congratulations for your work—keep it up!

  • Great poem. The lantern fly didn't ship the stones that it first arrived here on as egg masses. All they did was hatch and live, but we called it an infestation. But shout out to my Pa we are at the center of the story

  • Rachel Deeming21 days ago

    This is thought-provoking, River and I will be mulling over the message today.

  • Anna 21 days ago

    So beautiful! Congrats on TS!🥳

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Margaret Brennan21 days ago

    wow. fantastic.

  • Gia St. Thomas21 days ago

    Enjoyed reading this. Thank you!

  • Salomé Saffiri21 days ago

    I enjoyed your poem. Permission is the key word for me these last couple of days. Debating with myself, the most agonizing argumentor, whether I should put my dog to sleep, I kept seeking permission. Waiting, for the universe to finally give me a "go". Permission.

  • Annetta Brown21 days ago

    This is mind-opening thank you. Very good.

  • JBaz21 days ago

    Good question, What gives us the right to be destructive or feel we have the right to snuff out the life that we feel is insignificant. Congratulations

  • Cathy holmes21 days ago

    Omg. What a thought provoking piece. "Cruelty through permission." Amazing. Congrats on the TS.

  • Dana Crandell22 days ago

    This is a very thought-provoking piece and highly relatable for a fellow "spider mover." I might not be so thoughtful in the case of giant hornets, but then since they might tend to retaliate - maybe I just won't go there. Congratulations on a well-deserved Top Story!

  • Judey Kalchik 22 days ago

    Very much enjoy the addition of your reading. How wonderful!

  • I still love this & resonate with it thoroughly, River.

  • Hayley Matto23 days ago

    Very thoughtful poem, that I think many would benefit from reading and pondering into their own practices and intentionality behind things. Sure has me being more inquisitive with myself and my actions today. Lovely piece <3

  • It does seem to say something about our own violent tendencies. It also seems to say about our willingness to destroy something after it becomes a problem—especially if we introduced the problem in the first place—but care more about its life—or at least care less about killing it—if it’s useful to us. A very thoughtful poem that makes me want to think twice about killing a bug.

  • Thavien Yliaster23 days ago

    I am of the mindset of "if it tries to kill me, I have the right to kill it as to preserve my own life and the lives of those that I care about." Anime has explored this topic of humanity being predated upon such as "Tokyo Ghoul" in which Ghouls can only eat human flesh to survive, "Parasite" in which human brains are eaten and their bodies are taken over by parasites who's main instinct are too eat the host who's brain that they eat and they instinctively go for humans although they have human digestive systems which are perfectly capable of eating a regular human's diet, and then there's "The Promised Neverland" (the manga series is better, the anime failed imo) in which humans are consumed so that another species can continue to maintain their levels of intelligent sentience. I get that humans are an invasive species in tons of environments as we were nomadic and moved everywhere. Even though insects can fly not every species flies everywhere. Are humans invasive? Yes, but a lot of animal species are invasive and end up either evolving over generations adapting to their new environment finding even staple niches. An example is the saber toothed tiger. Smilodons invaded South America and practically ended up wiping out the terror bird species. That being typed, I do see a difference between a species emerging in an environment due to humans impacting them versus natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes (there's a part of South America where the animals are more closely related to species in Africa than current animal species in Africa (virtually untouched by humanity and let's hope it remains that way)). For instance reticulated pythons are devastating the everglades in Florida due to the pet trade industry. They're currently being hunted due to their impact on the native wildlife. Even giant African snails and hammerhead worms are invading now possibly due to the pet and plant industry's, and what's dangerous about certain worm species is the transmittable diseases to humans especially pregnant mothers. The hate and disdain that we have for some invasive species does get passed on more readily towards other humans, I must admit. Sometimes we fly off the handle bars and overreact especially when we don't have all the information. Even when it comes to the ones we love that report to us about how they've been wronged, it's our duty to protect our loved ones, but to not allow ourselves to have our emotions become manipulated and to assess each situation for ourselves and to find out as much information as we can before becoming judge, jury, and executioner. I'll admit, I haven't done the best in gathering all the facts and information so I don't give somebody my unwarranted unrelenting anger. Yet, when it comes down to it it's also not my job to solve their problems for them (unless their my children and the problem is something that they can't handle on their own) as I'm to be their support and maybe help give them the tools to handle such situations properly.

  • Rene Peters23 days ago

    This is great! Also... Thank you for making me question everything about life... 😅

  • Oneg In The Arcticabout a month ago

    Oh wow this is just wow. How introspective. How relevant to literally everything. How sad yet dutiful yet still sad. “is our power so imaginary that we choose not to see the complexity of a situation” - and then that just crushed me and also just screamed “the world is on fire because we have this imaginary vision of power!!”

  • Well written with some important thoughts and questions. I have often thought do we as humans have the right to kill any insects. Could insects possibly be a higher form of life of which we are not aware? Sometimes as I go through the house with the bottle of bug killer that has the wand sprayer on it I think am I a mass murderer. Very good work, River, you really brought up a lot of thoughts in my mind with this.

  • Matthew Fromm3 months ago

    and now I'm having an existential crisis this morning...

  • Mother Combs3 months ago

    This is good. Love your reading

  • Daphsam3 months ago

    Great job! Loved the way you wrote this.

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