The Cicadas Are Coming, the Cicadas Are Coming!

We are about to be beset by bugs. A lot of things bug me but these bugs are brutal beasts, screaming day and night after rising from the earth like made up extras in a day of the dead Hollywood film.


Every 17 years, give or take a few, swarms of extraordinarily ugly bugs search for mates, make babies and die. For about six weeks the males make a clicking sound and when billions of them click together, there is a clicking, hissing, screeching, screaming noise that travels in overwhelming waves throughout many of North Carolina’s forests, blocking out all other sounds. No outdoor concerts, or barbecues, or pool parties. Did you ever try to scoop a billion bugs out of a pool?

The birds do their level best but they can’t eat them all, so dead cicadas are all over the place. On our houses, cars, driveways, streets, and our heads. A monster-mess of ugly bugs on steroids.

Basic Beetle

Bugs are in everyday language. Bug out, bug off, you bug me, we’ve been bugged, they’ve got bugs, you’ve got bugs, (what’s worse I’ve got bugs), sbuggetti, bugaroni, may the bug be with you.

Beetles! Now there’s a colorful bunch o’ bugs for you. Like little, hard shell painter’s palettes with six legs and an appetite for nature’s unwary little creatures. If you sit on them, they become butt biting bugs.

Stag Beetle

As long as I’m talking about bugs, let me tell you what is really bugging me. I am bugged by bozos with the authority to damage education in the lower grades from kindergarten to the eighth grade. Eliminate art and music from the mix, they say; they’re just a waste of time that could be spent larnin their sums. But be sure to keep the sports programs. Sure, sports are as important as art and music, but not more important.

Everyone should be athletic for life, but a very small percent of the population become professional athletes. However, comma, there are millions of designers in every occupation. Graphic designers, industrial designers, fashion designers, auto designers, interior designers, electronic designers, toy designers, game designers…I don’t have room to list them all, there are hundreds. The point is, little leagues in every sport are necessary, and eliminating art and music is killing the little league of art, design and music.

Lady Bugs changing spot colors

By the time students enter high school, it is too late for the basics of the arts. They are interested in other things, including the other sex, and have no experience of the arts to help them decide whether to enter the profession. I can’t name one thing that is designed, manufactured, marketed, advertised and sold to those bozos, who are not aware that every thing they see, wear, drive, live in, and enjoy, has been given its form by the hand of a professional artist.

If all of the designers in every occupation would join together, they would be the biggest political pressure group in the country, hell, in the whole damn world. We probably couldn’t run the country but we could sure design it.

Thanks for visiting me…


The Weaverville Art Safari open studios tour is upon us again, April 27 & 28th.
For information, visit the web site.

Stag Beetle 18×30″ unframed $1200
Basic Beetle 15×24″ unframed $900

10 thoughts on “The Cicadas Are Coming, the Cicadas Are Coming!

  1. You are not only a funny person, but you are one of the Kings of Illustration, an insightful artist, a playful person who can then punch you in the mouth, stopping all superfluous spewing of facts and figures, figurines (please keep them away!) and all other sorts of unsightly things except bugs.

    Please keep it coming everyone’s way for a very long time to come, Mr. Monahan. You bring light and beauty to people’s lives. You got me on your discourse- I was sounding a “here, here!” over and over. (Or is it “hear, hear”?). I don’t know.

    Whatever made me cheer, keep it comin’.

    Just another admiring illustrator,
    Nora Koerber

  2. You are such a funny and talented person. Happy that I’ll now get to now own a Leo Monahan. Enjoy your classes.

  3. You are so right Leo, one reason why I’m living in Germany. Germany has it problems, but they aren’t about stopping culture and intellect. Some would disagree about that, but I don’t see it. Maybe, the reason is I’m a foreigner looking in. I could never understand the US. It always seemed to do away with brain development, and promoted brawn development. Someone, many years ago, said that sports develops our strength and our capacity to survive. But, if you do away with music, art, and literature, you do away with our intellect. Which makes me believe the American society is not interested in culture. They’re interested in heroes, and brawn gives that to them.

    The arts are heavily subsidized here in Europe. I know they are here in Germany. On the news, you see something about the arts, almost on a daily basis. One news station reports art exhibits around the world as they come up. When Eddy Ruscha had his exhibit in Munich, I learned about it on the news. Everyday on TV, there are concerts from every European center that will feature their prime orchestra, and promote their artist and writers.

    When I lived in Georgia, a few years back, all I heard on the news was the daily crime statistics. Then came some news, then the sports and weather. What about cultural events, and I don’t mean what’s happening on the rock-rap-scene. Here I get it all on TV, almost on a daily basis. I hear more about American arts and culture over here than I did back home.

    If you do away with the things that develop our intellect, you destroy our ability to reason, have compassion, and understanding. Without art, music, and literature, the sense of reason is diminished, and what you have left is force, power, and supremacy—might becomes RIGHT. Culture becomes lost.

    • To use tongue-in-cheek software development language, it’s broken as designed. What is required is systemic change, recoding the system. Advocate whenever you can for art in schools.

  4. O Leo, you are genius in word and color. Cicada Bones is one of my favorites of our “Butterfly Bones” Collection. Love you, Richard


    in some deep secret darkness
    my cicada bones begin to wake
    to the promise of your leaf-crowded trees
    where we’ll throb and break the air
    with overwhelming chorus
    breathe in blare out our want
    deafen your world with loud pleasure
    our years of urgent waiting over

    we drill upwards from our dungeons
    through the soil of longing
    crawl up into our shaking roosts
    crack open peel back discard our shells
    chant until our juicy lust is lost
    amid the cherubim and seraphim
    of winged and frenzied couplings
    impregnate tree after tree
    burden the leaves with unborn babies

    as suddenly and surprisingly
    to ruin your surroundings
    we glazed lovers polished from rubbing
    flat on our backs on pavements and pastures
    our lifeless legs aimed heavenward
    clog the entire domain with contented bodies

    knowing we’ve spilled oceans of seeds
    filled eager eggs beyond number
    we know we will
    wait out the next set of years

  5. At first, it is your artist’s colorful palette that grabs…Then your pure motivation–to educate and elucidate. Via the medium of paint and paper (also delightful.) How fortunate you are, and all of us viewing you, too. To take a heretofore unattractive medium (bugs) and make them “sing” (yeah, I know–cicadas are coming!) The total picture is tribute, too, to your artistry. By the way, as an aside (are these two redundant?) the cicadas are up-earthing right up to the Connecticut line, so we part-time Ashevillians (here only in winter, from Jan to June), who live in RI the rest of the year will not hear their annoying chorus.

  6. This sheds new light on things. thinking about political parties and which ones are drawn like moths to art and culture and which run like cockroaches.

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