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
(3-13-17)

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

peeled-back
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.

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Green Swimming, in Summer: A Poem

As they say, and now for something (not completely, but) a little different! An attempted poem; the first in a while for me. [And no, it’s not related to green pools at the recent Olympics!]

Corn long-shot

Utterly thrilling, isn’t it?

Green Swimming, in Summer

Eyelines: and when

the corn

is exactly even

with the pool’s sagging caldera,

the plastic-snap

crocodile wisps, drifts

maw gaping

and it is

as if

we could leap

into the jade organic

and skiff the silks aside,

maybe use toes to play with the tassels,

splitting the husks with our own

layered unkempts.

Here, there are no

wheelbarrow—a collective noun like

a parliament of owls or

murder of crows

No wheelbarrows either. They are shut

from sight.

But there are ducks nearby:

none white.

And closer still, neighborly chickens:

one of whom folds a neurological neck

backward

at a break-beak angle.

Damaged in the egg,

they say.

(Aren’t we all?)

He is named, but, sadly, I do not

remember.

So I christen him

Sir Yawp.

Nothing’s barbaric about him,

however.

As for me—us—the jury’s

out. Out there, somewhere.

Hiding in a star nursery.

Sir Yawp javelins pill-bugs and

snags gnats mid-air.

Corn flies, mistaken for sweat bees,

are no match for the

feathered Mr. Miyagi.

For now, all things

entomologic—

skillfully—

pushed out of human consciousness.

And out far, if you chance

to snatch a glance

at today’s

Archaeopteryx, a transitional

preening the sky

or sentinel on a wire,

a vulture strutting

to the strummed frets

of a grisly gravel feast,

stay back. Let

your mind make

the strokes

required, etchings on the facades

of the flat dust.

Let it say:

I have passed by

here and seen.

I.

Have.

Been.

####

At the end of the summer (here in the Northern hemisphere, anyway), I have been inspired by many things. One of those is poet Robert Okaji’s participation in the 30/30 Project, wherein a poet writes 30 poems in 30 days to benefit the publisher Tupelo Press. If you appreciate poetry—modern or otherwise—you might very well enjoy the fare offered in this project. Several donor incentives remain for sponsoring Bob, although the sand is getting finer. If that’s not enough, Bob links to the Tupelo site with each of his evocative daily poems; that site boasts work (much of it also as stunning, I must say) from eight other participating poets. I hope you’ll partake of some poetry today, before August (like summer 2016) pulls up roots and leaves us with . . .  leaves, of course!

Time Travel Limericks: Week 29 Challenge

The gauntlet is thrown! Consider yourselves challenged to write, or read, a time-travel limerick (or two, or three; be loquacious like me).

I first read about the time-travel limerick challenge on Sue Ranscht’s blog (thanks, Sue!); she re-pointed me to a blog I’ve been following for awhile (but am not always able to participate in). So, as this one was particularly inspiring, you see the results below. Do visit Rashmi’s post at Mind & Life Matters for the limerick-y shenanigans, with yours due by Friday (tomorrow!).

***

Once there was a lady from before

Whose friends thought her a bit of a bore

‘Til she found a tunnel to after—

that didn’t incite laughter—

now she turns down parties galore!

***

There once was a man from Then

whose 20-year wife always nagged “when?”

Fortieth anniversary planned to Niag’ra

(He’ll bring the Viagra).

On his wife he’d (eventually) put a grin.

***

The scientist had turned time to taffy

to stretch moments to maximum happy,

but as joys got longer

so, too, did the wronger.

Thus, she concluded the methods daffy.

 

 

Limerick Challenge: Week 14

Pear tree

Our pear tree, minus partridges.

This is for the latest limerick challenge at Mind & Life Matters, which I’m having trouble linking to (Inlinkz-wise) just now. So, go read ’em, and thanks for reading mine!

Resilience

Within every green or gravid thing,

something rests on sublime wing.

One sapient heart can never know

the pain of the taproot, or the furrow.

“When I’ve light,” says the coal-trapping girl, “I sing.”


 Oh, also, I’m sorry for the “Daily Fail” link about the coal trapper (ignore all that celebrity junk in the page gutter); that’s the place I found the quote, hanging there as it is. As you can perhaps intuit, I’ve been doing research on child welfare/child labor in the 19th century, and from this, I’ve concocted a “soft” horror story. (It’s out for submission . . . wish me luck!) Also, I #amwriting something in the Steampunk vein; it’s been an education so far. How about you?

Pear close-up

I’m ready for my close-up.

Limerick Challenge, Week 12—Dream

Long time, no see, dear readers. I hope spring (or autumn, if you’re in the Southern hemisphere) is treating you well.

I’ve just come out of editing land for a brief fly-over of this blog, and a limerick has settled in my mind. So that’s what you get for this posting. You have the Doc to thank (or not!) for inspiring this limerick. It’s part of the Limerick Challenge, week 12, orchestrated by the wonderful Rashmi at Mind & Life Matters. Do follow her for limericks, novel updates, and much more, and be sure to read the limericks she has on offer.

I don’t deviate too far from the ‘original’ limerick idea—insulting, bawdy, etc. But that’s my impression.  What do you think?

bottle2

A genie or?

Limerick for the Loveless

I once met the man of my dreams

But what he was, was not what he seems

Said he’d grant wishes

(Including doing the dishes)

In retrospect, I shoulda reached for Jim Beam.

 

A Ballad about Boys: For My Daughter

The Muse of Immediacy convinced me to just let this one go, regardless that it seems to be of two minds.

So It Begins

And so it begins.

A Ballad about Boys: For My Daughter

Movement One: Genesis

Dear Michael and Henry

Dear Lee and Brandon and Scott

Hey, Andy and Barron, Tommy and Richard

And the fifth-grade boy whose name I’ve forgot.

Dear Chris and Joel, Donnie and Arnold

and Nathan, Josh, Ngugi, and Scott

Oh, Jud and Sean and Paul and Carl

and Jason, with the shipload of those who loved me not:

I am sorry

and, strangely,

relieved.

We inflicted our needs and fears upon each other

and survived.

To dislodge the tears again,

Elsewhere, elsewhen.

 

Second Movement: Tragedy*

But you, Larry, you were a jerk, it’s true.

I’ll bet you were handsy on the court, too.

And Buddy. Long-legged, proud-jean’d interloper,

hips thrusting desks at girl-shaped spaces. I’ll not forget you.

Then Kevin. Where to begin. Boy, do you have problems! (Of this, I’m sure.)

You must know by now—or someone’s law has taught you (if my kicks did not):

Women and girls don’t deserve to be thrown on the floor.

 

Third Movement: Triumph

Dear Daughter, now you—

Wonderful you!

An agnostic’s angel:

Please know: there are a few

good men, good people, left

on this heaving blue dot yet.

Someday I’ll remind you (when you need it)

how your father and I met.

It might take awhile,

far more sobs and fissures, perhaps,

than kisses and adamantine bonds,

but when you find someone

(not the only one, but your only one),

I will hope that, for you,

the path has been worth

the stumblestones.

The falls forging you.

Firm as diamond,

steadfast as stars.

As if you’d just been standing, shining

forward:

whole,

all along.

 

*Names deliberately not changed to protect arseholes. If you don’t want to be written about, don’t assault people! Simple enough, right?

 

Rise of the Monday Markets: Where to Submit Your Writing

Papa writing

Papa advises: Just go write!

Because I really enjoy connecting people with information, which perhaps stems from my background in journalism, I have long been wanting to continue or resurrect market listings. These listings have appeared from time to time on the blog: (as) Monday Markets and Submission Sundays, if I recall correctly.

I read multiple magazines, newsletters, blogs, and university Web sites, as well as subscribe to Duotrope for $5 basic membership a month, to receive and cull these markets for your use. If you have enjoyed or benefited in any way from these posts, please consider following me here, on Facebook, and/or Twitter. [Oh, and I’d love to hear of your writing or art-related successes in literature!]

I hope you will enjoy today’s eclectic collection. #amwriting

  • January 15: Bring out your dead! World Weaver Press is seeking tales of the uncanny, under 10,000 words. They may be reprints or new stories. Payment: $10 + paperback copy of the anthology. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but you may only send one story per anthology. #specfic #supernatural #fiction
  • January 15: If you’re a runner who writes or a writer who runs, you’re set for this theme. Tree-Lion Press awaits your speculative fiction inspired by long-distance running, 500 to 10,000 words. N.B.: “We tend toward (soft) Science Fiction and Fantasy,” but well-written horror without gore and meeting the other guidelines is okay. Follow their guidelines exactly! This is for the “Keeping Pace with Eternity” anthology. #running
  • January 20 (absolute latest): Put on your honorary fedora and chart your most winding adventures for benefit of Popshot magazine, a UK publication. Poems on adventure are accepted (up to 25 lines). Short fiction addressing the theme must be 2,500 words or fewer. You may obtain a copy for £6 plus postage or a yearly subscription starting at only £10. #fiction #poetry
  • February 1: Has Nature ever been your tutor? If you can craft a creative nonfiction story about your education at the pedestal of the wild, using “research and reportage . . . at least to some degree,” then you might like to consider Creative Nonfiction magazine’s themed call/contest “Learning from Nature.” Submit online ($3/story) or by regular mail. #essays #writingcontest
  • February 19: Use words wisely! Daisy-chain your best 91 bons mots into a memoir and win a free class with Gotham Writers. #memoir
  • October 1 to May 1: It’s not an easy road, considering a (short)list of publishees in the last 3 years—Joyce Carol Oates, Albert Goldbarth, “Charles” Simić, Alice Hoffman, and Anis Shivani—but should you decide to take the road-to-publication not taken, you might like to consider the literary magazine Boulevard. Published by St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), Boulevard seeks your fiction, poetry, and essays through May 1, 2016. No e-mail submissions are accepted; however, you can submit online via Submittable ($3 fee) and via regular mail (no fee, but mailing cost). Familiarize yourself with the magazine by buying a copy or subscription (or perusing it at your local library). They do post a few excerpts, such as this stunning Billy Collins (poetry) gem from Spring 2015 (at the bottom of the page): “Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist After the Death of the English Language.”

Good luck, and keep writing, reading, and learning!

 

Spider Season: A Poem

Spider_small_backSpider Season

What do you do in

spider season?

Enjoy the webs,

never mind the reason(s).

No, not any spider of Frost’s.

Not dimpled, not white.

But fat, and fresh

and stuffed with rendered fright.

Spider_small_belly

I couldn’t get a good angle on this spider, which I think a Neoscona crucifera female (normally nocturnal, but diurnal sometimes in the fall). Anyone with arachnid expertise, please feel free to correct me.

The one that nests there,

outside the screen:

She’s hardly nice

and fuzzily serene.

Tending to her spin,

ignoring huge voyeur eyes,

minding time’s business.

Just wound(ing) infinity, I surmise.


Can anyone tell I’ve been reading (and eyeballing) Edward Gorey’s work lately, not to mention a nifty little book from Tim Burton picked up at the thrift shop recently? Perhaps I’ll share the latter sometime soon.

Bad poetry = better prose?

I’ve been doing a lot of writing since the kidlets started school. Of course, not all of it is good (or even passable) writing.

If you’re a writer, you have probably heard the oft-repeated idea of getting your “shitty first draft” committed to paper (or tablet or phone or whatever means you use to write). There’s a lot of merit to that, as writing well, for most of us, requires quite a bit of mucking through the mental swamp-fog and pasting up more than a few cruddy turns of phrase, mixed metaphors, or inane plots.

So, in addition to being involved in the GreatWashington_Crossing_the_Delaware_by_Emanuel_Leutze,_MMA-NYC,_1851 SinusInfluColdergy of September 2015—a personal battle, to be sure—I have been producing some bad poetry and reading some much more interesting stuff. There again, I am hoping that mucky, funky poetry is the gateway to better (badder?) prose.

Although I am way behind in reading blogs, and I miss them “somethin tur’ble” as some of my relatives are ‘like’ to say, I also have had the great pleasure to beta-read a friend’s fantasy novel. I will be excited to unveil that, I’m hoping, in the next few months.

What about you? Would you like to share what you’ve been reading (or writing, for that matter)?

Lastly, in my readings whilst slumped in bed with a ton of tissues, I’ve also been dipping into literary short stories, in a collection called Contemporary West Coast [of the United States] Stories. I have to say, several are “razors pain you” good; in my estimation, those are at the forefront of the book, by Richard Ford, Joyce Carol Oates, Tobias Wolff, and Amy Tan. (You know, the usual suspects!) I’ve not read all the stories in this collection, but several of the others left me underwhelmed with their tepid endings.

Speaking of the opposite of winning, let’s round this out with some amateur poetry (#amwriting). After all, it’s a Tuesday. (And it’s five o’clock somewhere!)

Living in borrowed bones

Begrudge the birds

their unmarrowed bones,

unmoored, not holding onto

words—that way you insert ‘n’ in smattering

or songs—“Reveries of a Girl”—

all that “in”-ness.

Lost to light, loft.

Moments grounded

then gone.

Perhaps we are not

so different.

Each in borrowed

body

Mortality ribbed

with tines:

Here is the church

Here is the steeple

Open up the doors

Here’re all the people.

Each heart, a hand:

a wing

unfolding.

Push through the bars

sealed by goodbyes,

slough off lacings

of regret and love.

Buoyed by light threads

lifting.