from "Bee-lines" // Coco Owen

[Bees decry the saccharine]

Bees decry the saccharine
Weapons of mass enjoyment
Those living under capitalism
Use to self-soothe:
They grasp at honey-straws,
Deluded by group-think.

Our buzz comes from the heat
Which staves off our other-wise,
But mutually-assured extinction.
We know
Where all the flowers have gone,
& a mad, mad seethe seizes us:

Like-mindedness, extinguishing
Profit’s bottom-line genius.

[Hive-mind isn’t mindless]

Hive-mind isn’t mindless
Consent to autocratic government.
It isn’t socialism, oligarchy
Or proto-democracy.
Don’t know what it is,
But it’s breaking down.

Imperial rule holding
Our colonies together
Is in disorder. Hive mind
Is a bad place, & the bees are
Fleeing, not in swarms,

But like breakaway states.

[There’s a strange vibe]

There’s a strange vibe
In the hive now—
We’re dancing aslant.
The neonicotinoids are poisoning us!

It’s a crazy, dystopic
St. Vitus dance—like
We’re shocked-stung.
Whole lot of precarious, in our carrying on.

Hysterical melisma!—
We make an ominously
Dull roar. Uchronistic
Scent-lines mark our time. Must set down

What we didn’t prevent,
& what happened when
We disappeared, drunk on
The humans’ Kool-Aid like suicides.

the queen’s we bonnet

[we] surround her — a swarm-cloud accompaniment —
taking ourselves to a new home the scouts have chosen,
seeking self-realization through interdependent society.

with our airpower’s levitation, [we] queen-cleave,
celibate celebrants, mystery’s honey communicants.
[we] are transfigured, one state to another — bee-bonnets

of frenzied headdress. [we] are our queen’s adornment—
thrilled with how she’s turned out. our intolerable buzz seeks
cessation’s sensation. goners, [we] worship, wing-covered.


It’s natural religion — the last great rites we perform for the earth

In flight. Instinct bound to time— we abdicate to sweet damnation!

We leave our wax-works behind as proof we mastered civilization.

We mourn this ravaged world, abandoning our honeycomb’s perfectly

Pagan hexagons. We abdicate our mediumship between man & agri-

Culture, committing self-extinction.       Hope on all sides dead.

Coco Owen is a stay-at-home poet in Los Angeles. She has poems published in the Antioch Review, 1913, CutBank, The Journal, Rio Grande Review and forthcoming in The Feminist Wire, among other venues. She has been a finalist in several recent book contests and has a mini chapbook with Binge Press. Owen serves on the board of Les Figues Press in Los Angeles and has degrees in comparative literature and clinical psychology. Find more of her work at