And now, huzzah for life-saving soap

EcoSoapBankBelieve it or not, but there’s actually a lot of good news out there, on both micro and macro levels. People helping other people, sacrificing their time, money, or even their lives for others. The thing is, sometimes you have to dig for the positive stories.

Out of this seeming dearth of positivity and light, Damyanti at the Daily (w)rite brainchilded and then created the We Are the World Blogfest (WATWB).

WATWB (or #WATWB in twitterspeak) aims to take the digging out of the equation. That’s less hassle and more heart-warmers and smiles for you!

On the last Friday of every month, anyone who’d like to participate and link up to the We are the World Blogfest can do so—provided you have a positive news story to share with others. As I understand it, the WATWB story does not have to be one you reported on, but more like a feel-good piece of information or narrative you’d pass along to a friend or relative to cheer them up or inform them.

Soap pumperI recently read about an organization that is addressing some of my favorite subjects—bacteria, viruses, and epidemiology—in a very tangible and humanitarian way. It’s called the Eco-Soap Bank. You might have seen this organization or its founder, Samir Lakhani,  reported on in various media, because of his recent CNN Heroes award.

In short, when Mr. Lakhani was studying in Cambodia he observed a baby being soaped up in a bathtub with common laundry detergent, because normal bar or hand soap is prohibitively expensive in poor areas of the world. Soap is a basic barrier to blocking disease, and hand-washing a seemingly simple action to prevent disease spread, especially waterborne disease. Did you know that diarrheal diseases KILL approximately 525,000 children worldwide under the age of 5 years every single year (World Health Organization, May 2017 data)? Of course, this problem is accentuated in some parts of the world with less or even no access to clean drinking water, vaccines, and something as taken-for-granted (by most of us) as soap.

Well, Samir saw that need and he tackled it by founding Eco-Soap Bank, which addresses three problems at once. First, it recycles old soap from hotels and other donors that would otherwise go to waste (pulling collected scraps together that are then thoroughly sanitized). Second, the soap bank provides jobs and education to women in so-called developing countries so they can fully care for their families. And third, that recycled, sanitized soap freely goes out to hospitals, schools, and communities that would not otherwise have access to or be able to afford it. So far, Samir’s Eco-Soap Bank organization has donated sanitized soap to a projected 661,000 people and counting (recycling 24,000-plus pounds of soap in the process).

My final thought is, simply enough: Wow! If young people like Samir are in charge of our planet from here on out, the future looks much healthier and brighter indeed.

If you’d like to help Eco-Soap Bank or find out more about their efforts, please visit their Web site.

Likewise, Damyanti features a ton of other wonderful and worthy news contributed by co-hosts and friends. Get in on the good news the last Friday of every month!

Friday Fictioneers: House-Called

It’s not often these days that I get to participate in Friday Fictioneers, but I love the photos Rochelle chooses, as well as reading what people come up with. And so, this fantasy drabble sprang forth. Hope you like it.


PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll


genre: fantasy

Pearl placed the last of the enchantments. Each spike brimmed with unseen poison; every adamantine bar thrummed with mojo enough to keep terrors at bay. Continue reading

Whatever this is, it is

Dog & frog

Dog and frog. A friend’s Yorkie, not mine (sadly, as he’s a sweetie).

Here’s something not-so completely different. A proem (ranting + poem).  AU NOTE: Have fun, ghost of Dr. Freud!

Vestigial Child

What raw ravaged
seed defines me,
I cannot catalog,

but I can define
each wound
by its unwounding.

This sediment here,
youth; that, betrayal
of not telling.

This layer bounded
by leeched limestone laid
where each burial was swift

centuries chipped in
to what passes for
my soul these days.

Eggshell white
pieces, piecemeal.
Peaceful never.

Hurt rage ranging
as far as the tether
allows, sears, marks,

won’t give, won’t forgive.
Scars come unconditionally
coddling the cold warmth

of phenotypic oddity,
biological prop
vestigial child

mad witness to
your own match
immolating from within

an egg hurled
in that moment
coming full cervix

and splattering on
brutal bedrock:
stone of masculinity, madness

metamorphic as cell,
seed, shell. Birth, death
swaddled in light

bundle of bagged
flesh, fresh bulb
in welcome ground

stunted womb
rooming, roaming
from wing to web to ring.

Every decade
laying down silt
in slighted skin

curetted and curated
to show off. Look:

See that charred
oath dashed to hell?
Shelled-out hulls

fall easiest, prey
to gravity, strung
causing welts,

coiling Weltschmerz
around figments
of neck, rendered delicate

by one’s own
sublime grief, a
doppelgänger, which

won’t get out of
the way. Ghost
obscures the body

until all that remains
is the conversation
with the shadow.

Terrific Tuesday to You: Writing Updates, Shout-Outs, and Some Markets

Open for Business_blog.jpg

And to think: I actually dimmed this somewhat to take down the brightness.

Well, hello there! I shall have been returning and I have returned. (?)

But seriously, welcome (back)! I’m glad to have you visiting me.

On top of the busted ankle, so to speak, I’ve been doing copywriting out of my ears. Not titillating writing, but it certainly helps with the bills. And the Randys, Adams, Jakes, Simons, etc. (Or should I say with the GEs, Maytags, and fine furniture everywhere on the Internetz and on this great little dot we call a planet?)

Anyway, since I love doing the writing market posts, I figured what the heck. I’m behind in weekly posting once again. This is a good way to go, methinks.

Perhaps these will help you? I do hope so. Continue reading

Feminism + Bicycles + Fiction — How You Can Help Support One or All


My Feminist Family on the Prairie (yes, men can be feminists, too)

Believe it or not, there is a connection between feminism, bicycles, and fiction. Witness the fiction anthology Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures from Microcosm Publishing, an anthology now in its fourth incarnation. I am proud to be an author in the fourth Biketopia, and I’ve got a favor to ask on behalf of all the authors and the publisher.

But first, a little bit about the latter. Microcosm Publishing, whom you can find on Duotrope, on their Web site, and all around the social media sphere, occupies a subversive publishing space—if feminism, LGBT rights, veganism, mental health, and a punk attitude qualify as such. Book titles upcoming or already published by this Portland, Ore., company include: Trump: A Graphic Biography; Cats I’ve Known; Out of the Basement: From Cheap Trick to DIY Punk in Rockford, IL, 1973-2005; Bikequity: Money & Class; and The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism. For myself, I was drawn to a publishing company that’s been around more than 20 years and supports women who write while making a statement of engagement with our environment, politics, music, feminism, do-it yourself, relationships, and so much more.

Support a Feminist Fiction Endeavor (That I Happen to be Included In)

But there’s a small hitch to Biketopia four. It’s not completely funded. Not yet.

This is where you come in!

There’s a crowdfunding campaign at this very moment to ensure it makes its way into the world. Featuring 11 stories and a batch of reviews that are dystopian or sometimes even utopian,  Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures awaits full funding.

I cannot speak for the authors in this anthology, but as a writer among their number, I can say that my story focuses on a dystopian future in arid, desolate Colorado. Inspired possibly by subliminal crossflow from too many “Twilight Zone” marathons, I wrote about a protagonist who owns and runs a dusty diner alone but for two canine sidekicks. Then, she meets someone, and everything changes from there. So, pretty simple plot, without giving too much away.

Looking at the other story synopses, I am stoked to read Biketopia four, which includes a few comics within as well. Here are a few story blurbs from the Kickstarter fundraising page:

  • In the solarpunk future, will robots have rights, too?
  • What is the secret behind some people’s seemingly random plague immunity, and is it okay for them to take your bike?
  • When your health is closely monitored during a pregnancy, who gets to decide if bicycling is healthy or dangerous for your unborn child? (text by Microcosm Publishing)

May the Fourth Be With Us, and How You, Too, Can Submit

Please consider supporting Biketopia four via the Kickstarter drive; with a minimum of $10 you get the latest anthology. With a donation of $25 or above, you get all four Biketopia anthologies. The goodies abound, with a variety of levels from which to chose.

I’d be ever so pleased, not just for myself but for the mission of Microcosm, if you’d consider donating to the campaign and checking out Microcosm’s site. In addition to the previous book titles mentioned in the intro, you’ll see that MP offers up ezines to coloring books to stickers for your bike and all kinds of books including self-help and vegan recipes inspired by Morrissey (whose band, The Smiths, are no relation to me, sadly).

Finally, Biketopia five is, ahem, gearing up for action, too. Through March 1, you can submit your feminist-inspired science fiction (though you need not be female or identify as such) stories of 2-6K words, to Biketopia five, with a theme of “Intersections.” In fact, they say “We especially welcome submissions from writers of color and transgender and nonbinary writers, and seek stories that portray more diverse perspectives than are classically found in sci fi.”

So, get on that seat and ride your creativity into worlds unimagined!

The Arrival—and, Yes, I’m Still Alive


Election results got you down, Leigh?

Reports of my demise have been exaggerated, I’m afraid. In fact, there I am over at the right, looking pensive, as opposed to looking Pence-ive, which is just gross.

Over the last five weeks or so that I’ve not blogged, I’ve been both working hard and hardly working. A new job—copywriting—is occupying a lot of my time so I haven’t gotten to do much creative writing (or responding to your blogs) of late. In fact, in terms of fiction, I submitted only five pieces for publication in January.

But amid the flus and allergies and product descriptions and torn knee-parts (husband, not me) and holidays, I’ve managed to get my second horror fiction piece published in a free ezine newly rechristened as Shotgun! Strange Stories, a publication of DeadLights Horror Fiction Magazine. I’d call the story, Volume 2, Issue 2 (27 January 2017; cover depicts two skeletons at a door and says “Featuring ISOLATED written by Kyle Lybeck”) a radical departure from my typical protagonist: this character is a right bastard, I think my British friends would say. Possibly with no redeeming qualities, but I hope the story manages to convey . . .  something. I’ll leave that something up to the individual, however!

I received several book-gifts for the holidays (the very best kind of gift), from poetry to short story collections to biography (Phil Collins, I’m looking at you, against all odds).

So-so-sodio (you have to sing it), I just wanted to give a brief update and a swift kick in my own tuchus. I am hereby making a half-way commitment to blogging two times a week. I’m sure you’re all thrilled, yes? 🙂 Two, yes two. These posts could be anything. Fence posts. Post offices. Post cereal.

Moving along . . .  I’ve been trying to save my dollars and pounds to support indie authors like some of you (I wish it were more; I truly do). Hence, the latest arrival.

Let’s all celebrate some good fiction-writing  . . .  c’mon!


Congratulate, cajole, coax, consult, or converse with Hugh at his blog, Hugh’s Views and News, where you can also get this book (a short story collection chock-full of horror, science fiction, weirdness, and drama galore).

Way to go, Hugh, as to all of you living the creativity dream. I’ll see you around.


My Very Short Holiday Story and Photos


I don’t own Star Trek or the rights to this graphic; I just think it’s cool. But you can buy this T-shirt elsewhere online.

Life is unpredictable. (All the more reason to hold onto it and help others do the same.)

We’re currently waylaid by the unexpected: a sick child. Sadly, we will not make it to Grandma and Grandpa’s as soon as we’d originally planned.

However, if I’ve learned anything about parenting, it’s that you must be flexible. (That’s probably been the hardest lesson for this type-A personality.)

On a positive note, I hope you all are enjoying your holidays, if you celebrate. Here’s my early wish to you for a happy 2017 as well.

Now, the story . . . which isn’t here, but it was published:


The first day of winter.

So, my story ran yesterday (21 Dec. 2016) on 50-Word Stories. My many thanks to Tim, who’s the force behind 50-Word Stories, for taking a chance on odd fiction, which I think my story “Trees” qualifies as. If you enjoy dark/horror flash fiction and appreciate a scary story, give it a like-click over here. And be sure to check out 50-Word Stories; every day they post two bursts of microfiction and are the go-to source for a smorgasbord of shorts (fiction, that is).

In the meantime, enjoy these winter-ish photographs.

Until we meet again. Soon.


Can you spot all the critter footprints?

Play Genre Slip-n-Slide: My Interview with Sarah Potter, Author of “Quirky” Novels


Sarah’s newest novel, on special Dec. 25 through Jan. 1, 2017! Check out her Kindle Count-down deal and the Audio book version.

If you’re like me, you love to pick the brains of all the book-lovers and writers you know.

To that end, I’m very nearly ecstatic to host my very first author interview here on the ol’ Wordsmithery blog. So, without further ado, please join me in welcoming speculative fiction author and blogger Sarah Potter, who recently published a new novel.

*Please note that green typefaces are for emphasis and were supplied by me (that is, Leigh).


Author walking in the wilds of the U.K.

1. Sarah, for those who might be visiting my blog and/or getting to know you for the first time, could you please introduce your own writing and other literary history, such as your own blog (and how long you’ve been doing that, etc.)?

Before answering this question, I’d just like to say a big thank you to you, Leigh, for inviting me to your blog for this interview. I can’t remember exactly when we stumbled upon each other in Blogland, but probably about two years ago. As fellow eccentrics, who enjoy exercising literary freedom writing speculative fiction, we gelled with each other from the start. And for those who don’t know, Leigh was beta-reader-in-chief for both of my published books, and a grand job of it she did, too.

In reviews of my work, people have used the word “quirky” so often that I’ve decided to make it my brand. Hence the recent birth of my Facebook fan page, “Sarah Potter’s Quirky Novels”. In other words, I slip and slide between genres, not to rebel against the pigeonholing of books into neat categories, but because that’s the way I write. The chunks of genre in my mixing pot include science fiction, fantasy, thriller, humour (both light and dark), snippets of romance, and the occasional eroticism.

I’ve written five novels, two of which I’ve indie published. The three unpublished ones are waiting for me to knock them into shape, armed with some invaluable, positive, and constructive feedback from publishers and literary agents over the years. I haven’t given up on the idea of traditional publishing, but just wanted a break from submitting material, in order to contemplate whether I could write a straight genre novel and, if so, what genre?

I started my blog Sarah Potter Writes in the last week of December 2011. It began mostly with haiku, which I’d been experimenting with on Twitter, and then moved on to include occasional flash fiction, or music-related stuff, as I’m a singer. Also, I got involved with various inter-blog weekly or monthly challenges. Then I took up photography and began posting my own pictures, mostly nature ones. In January 2014, I started a monthly guest storyteller flash fiction feature and my weekly Monday morning haiku feature, both of which have proved extremely popular and are still going strong.

2. Noah Padgett and the Dog-People is your second published novel, correct? For those not familiar with Desiccation (your first), what made you turn toward juvenile literature for your latest work?

Although these two novels were the first I published, they were my third and fourth ones written.

With Desiccation, I’ve never been able to decide if it’s a teenage or an adult novel. On Amazon, I have it under the browsing categories of science fiction (young adult) and urban fantasy (adult), with its readership age set at 15-18+. But with Noah Padgett and the Dog-People, I have it under animal stories/dogs (children) and action and adventure (children), with the age set at 10-18+. In other words, both of these works come under the umbrella of juvenile fiction but they are also crossover novels that will appeal to adults, too.

I never made a conscious decision to write for one age group or another, and suspect that my readers in main are aged forty-plus. With each of my five novels, I wrote the story that inspired me at the time, two of which happened to have juveniles as the main characters. As to whether this makes them primarily juvenile fiction, I’m still undecided. Certainly their Flesch reading-ease scores would indicate that this is the case, but some of the humour and references may go above some young people’s heads.

My three unpublished novels are definitely for adults, especially the last one, which is very controversial!


Sarah’s own dog (shown here as a puppy) inspired her latest novel.

a. Following on this question: was your own Labrador inspiration for any character(s) in Noah Padgett (such as Bluebell!) and, if so, how?

Yes, indeed, my chocolate Labrador was the main inspiration behind writing this story. At the time when I started on the novel, she was a puppy just like Bluebell and, whilst we housetrained her, my son and I took it in turns to stay with her in the kitchen and stay on hand to let her outside into the garden at a moment’s notice. Each of us would use the time to work on our laptop computers at the kitchen table, which had the additional positive result of teaching a puppy with needle-sharp teeth some important lessons, such as the fact that wires are not for swinging on, playing tug-of-war with, or chewing.

What triggered the story was a dream I had about my puppy disappearing and not being able to find her anywhere. I awoke from this dream in a terrible state of anxiety, imagining how terrible such a thing would be, which then gave birth to the main premise behind my novel: that a boy has his precious puppy stolen from him and he has to rescue her from an arch-baddie in another dimension.

3. Could you describe what your writing process is like? This is something that I, as a writer, am always curious to know. Or, alternatively, what is a typical day like for you, in which you do some writing?

I’m a pantser rather than a plotter, so I start with an idea and do any research on the trot. With my first book, a science fiction romance, I set it in a psychiatric hospital similar to the one where I used to work. Thus, I fictionalised a familiar setting and had as one of my main characters a student psychiatric nurse who falls into an inappropriate relationship with a weirder than weird patient. People say, “Write what you know”. Well, I know about psychiatry back in the late 70s and early 80s, and about those huge institutions, now mostly closed down; although I never had an affair with a patient!


Quick-link to this soon-to-be SF/F classic:

Again, with Desiccation, I used both a setting and a time period with which I was familiar, having been at a boarding school for girls in the late 60s. Then I asked myself the question, what would have happened if my old school had come under attack by body-snatching aliens?

With my most recent novel, it started out as a 400-word piece of flash fiction with two characters, which grew into a 65,000-word novel because the setting and characters would not let go of me. The writing is very experimental, the plot complex, and, if I’d been of a weaker mental disposition, the writing of it could have given me a nervous breakdown. It involved such complex family trees and timelines that at one point I had to press the pause button on my writing and start plotting, or literally lose the plot. Such were my love-hate feelings towards it, that I drew my only consolation from the fact that George Orwell felt like this about his novel Nineteen Eight-Four, although unlike my book, nobody would have classed his one as a dystopian soap opera.

My typical writing day, when working on a novel, involves sitting at my desk and occasionally gazing out of the window to contemplate, or rummaging through research notes. This happens from Monday to Friday, give or take other family commitments, from 11am to 1 pm and then again from 2 to 3.30pm. These days differ from the times when I’m not writing a novel, which are much more fragmented and less inspired.

4. As you call him in your Amazon synopsis, there is a central villain in this book dubbed “mad entrepreneur Monsieur Percival Poodle.” My question is: why do you hate poodles? (Only kidding!) What in your background led you to describe (in spot-on ways, I must say) the Canis sapiens characters with the personalities, temperaments, habits, strengths, and foibles that you do?

I was raised in kennels — well, not literally, but my mother bred and showed dogs, so I was around them for most of my childhood. Then for about three years after leaving school, I worked in her kennels.

As for poodles, I don’t hate them; in fact, I know a wonderful white standard poodle who gets on just fine with my Labrador and isn’t villainous at all.

5. Backing up for a moment, Sarah, what would be (or is) your 30-second elevator pitch for Noah Padgett and the Dog-People?

You know, this question almost brought on an instant headache, until I realised that my book description on Amazon takes 30 seconds to read (if you’re a fast reader). So here it is…

The tale of a boy who fell into the paw-hands of a villain crazier than the Mad Hatter and more puffed up than Mr Toad…

Noah Padgett’s new stepmother treats him as the worst inconvenience in the world. She wants him to disappear out of her life, along with Bluebell, the nuisance puppy his father bought him for his birthday. Her wish comes true, although too fast for her to notice, after Noah clicks the wrong link on his computer at midnight.

Mad entrepreneur Monsieur Percival Poodle is the self-appointed ruler of Zyx, a dimension where Canis sapiens is the predominant species. Percival likes to collect alien specimens, and two of them have just arrived in his dimension from Earth. One is a primitive four-legged chocolate Labrador and the other a human boy.

Mercenary Lurcher Sergeant Salt works for the highest bidder and makes it his policy to extract maximum profit from jobs. This means selling his alien captives separately, however much distress it causes them.

Fate has already stolen Noah’s beloved mum from him, to replace her with a stepmother from hell. Now it seems that fate has struck again, by stealing Bluebell and leaving Noah to languish in a high-security hospital for criminally insane Canis sapiens, with no apparent means of escape and terrified for his precious puppy’s safety.

6. Merely a matter of curiosity for me, but something I’m wondering is did you ever consider making Noah Padgett a Naomi Padgett? In your novel Desiccation, the plot is centered on a girls’ school in the UK, so the main protagonist, Janet, is a teen girl–and the setting is some years earlier, whereas for Noah, it’s decidedly modern-day (ie, 2000 or later). Was it a conscious move on your part to make the next novel center on a boy exiting the pre-teen or “tween” years and entering teenage-dom full-fledged?

I always wanted a “Noah” and not a “Naomi”, except for one brief spell. This was after I’d finished the earliest draft and wondered, as a female author, whether my use of the first-person point of view for Noah might confuse children. In the end, I decided to rewrite the novel in the third-person. I also made Noah three years’ older than in the first draft.

7. Let’s dig into your writing process a little more. Yet another thing I am curious about, as both a reader and writer, is how authors arrive at titles, character names, settings, and so on. Could you briefly describe how it works for you?

I have a working title for each novel, but usually end up calling it something else. It’s quite fun deciding what to call my characters, but I usually google a name to check that it doesn’t belong to a famous axe-murderer or war criminal or somebody undesirable. As far as fantasy names go, I like to check that they don’t mean something horrendous in another language other than English. Recently, I watched the Shannara Chronicles [based on the best-selling fantasy series by author Terry Brooks] on TV and thought “drat”, now I must find another name for Shanastra, the fantasy kingdom in my sword and sorcery fantasy novel, as it’s too similar.

I think I’ve already answered the rest of the things in this question.

8. From whom and/or what (e.g., hobbies, past-times, work) do you draw inspiration, for writing, life, or anything else?

I’ve already answered this question, too, but you might find a few additional snippets on my blog at

9. Can you give us a sneak peek into what you might be working on next? A novel? A novella? Short story?

I’m not sure whether to give my sword and sorcery fantasy novel an edit and final polish, then indie-publish it. For me, this would be an experiment into whether a novel that fits into a definite genre is easier to market, or that marketing for an indie author is always a pain.

Alternatively, I could work on something new. I have several ideas, including a crime novel, a ghost story, and a literary classic/paranormal mash-up.

On the other hand, I might compile an anthology of flash fiction and poetry, using Japanese poetic forms.

But before any of the above, I’m going to submit my dystopian soap opera to a new publisher who’s interested in speculative fiction that’s controversial and diverse.

10. Anything really important that I’ve missed? Such as, do you plan any specials on your book or have any other things in the works related to Noah Padgett?

In November [2016], the audio version of Noah Padgett became available to buy through Amazon or direct from Audible. A fabulous actor, Mil Nicholson, narrates the story with style, even managing to do different voices for all the characters. When I heard her recording for the first time, it was almost as exciting as having had a movie made of my book. At some point in the next few weeks, I will be interviewing her on my blog, so make sure not to miss that treat.

My Kindle Countdown Deal is to run from December 25 – January 1 on Amazon (US & UK only), throughout which time Noah Padgett and the Dog-People will be $0.99 (£0.99). Added to this, if you download the Kindle copy of my book you can get this offer for my Audiobook …
Add Audible narration for an extra £2.99 Save 81% (List Price: £16.00)



You can find all the info appertaining to Sarah’s published novels on her blog page, including links to previews, an audiobook sample, plus links to her product pages on Amazon and on Audible.

A full list of Sarah’s author links:


Facebook page:



Amazon author pages:


Independent Author Network (IAN):

Quick-links to both Sarah’s indie-published books:


Noah Padgett and the Dog-People (Kindle edition):

All Our Horrific Realities: A Dirge

Today, 14 December 2016, marks one of the most devastating days I’ve ever personally experienced within the range of “modern” American history. As I prepare to go volunteer in my child’s first-grade class today, I will be extra-mindful of the six dedicated teachers/staff and the 20 bright and promising children who were murdered at Sandy Hook in December 2012. And I will be doubly thankful for the educators and staff who still are preparing our children for meaningful lives. If you can, on this day or any other, please consider volunteering for or donating to these organizations:
Sandy Hook Promise (
Americans Against Gun Violence (
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (
or another anti-gun violence organization of your choice
I will not forget, and I hope you don’t either, so that we may improve as a nation and as human beings. Following is my humble offering to commemorate those 26 souls (the poem itself is a January 2014 reblog).

Leigh's Wordsmithery

“All Our Horrific Realities: A Dirge”

Leigh Ward-Smith, ©2014


“The family drew cupcakes . . . on her tiny white casket.”

Setting: Here, now.

All our horrific realities

are all horrifically ours.

Sublime in the glint of the scythe,

six-and-twenty sorrows stream into our consciousness.

Salt upon the pane.

I rage against the sloping reality

of the dying twenty-six lights.

Soon enough, the grief heaps up, pushing up mountains in the mind:

Belted welts upon the already bruised back of the world.

Somewhere, suffused cirrus,


pregnant with hopes flung out


in devastation,


and the iciest of cyclic horrors.

And now, cracked-lip murmurings yet shunt, quick to the chest,

our hell-shocked fare-thee-wells.

I write so I can live

with the reality of our human race, this place:

We are damned, dirty apes–with angers dangerously ablaze.

Can saved Graces now retrieve the six-and-twenty,

plucked pennies from air-strings…

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