Not my book, but that of a good friend and wonderful poet . . . support your favorite independent writer(s) and artists, Independence Day or anyday!
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 (http://www.sandyhookpromise.org/)
Americans Against Gun Violence (http://aagunv.org/)
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (http://csgv.org/)
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (http://www.bradycampaign.org/)
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).
“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
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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If, like me, you’re a devoted fan of speculative fiction (horror–fantasy–sci-fi–weird–uncanny), you owe it to yourself to pick up Hugh’s new collection of short stories. At a mere $7.99 paperback (plus any tax/shipping), it’s an utter steal with 20+ Twilight Zone-esque stories to sink your brain into.
Stop by Hugh’s blog, too, as he posts spec-fic (and lots of other fun stuff) from time to time there.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to announce that we have lift off.
Glimpses, my first book, is now available to buy as a paperback.
Glimpses – The new book of some of my short stories. Publication Date: Paperback: Now Available. Kindle: Tuesday 6th December 2016.
If you would like to order a copy, then please click on the link below and you’ll be taken to the Amazon site in the country you are based. Where Amazon is not available, you’ll be taken to the UK site.
If you would like a copy signed by me, the author, then leave me a message in the comments section and I’ll get back to you. Amazon doesn’t offer paperback versions in all countries, so I’d be delighted to sell and send you a paperback copy.
The Kindle version will be available from 6th December 2016 and is available to pre-order.
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I’ve been busy writing and promoting. My ‘soft’ horror story, “Muzzling the Monster,” is out in book form with some other excellent
hobbits’ people’s stories.
But in the meantime, a sort of narrative manifesto in the form of a palinode.
Palinode: According to the Poetry Foundation, a palinode is “an ode or song that retracts or recants what the poet wrote in a previous poem.”
And now, in response to the world today and in homage to WordPresser and poet Robert Okaji, whose much more deft and studied poetical works you can find here . . .
If I Were a . . . (defiant animal/goddess/dolphin/force)
for Robert Okaji
If I were another kind of defiant animal than me, I think I’d choose to be a well-kept black cat. I’d be haughty about my rich, luxuriant fur and take every opportunity to let the sun follow my lead, basking in its admiration like the goddess I clearly am. Continue reading
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!]
Green Swimming, in Summer
Eyelines: and when
is exactly even
with the pool’s sagging caldera,
crocodile wisps, drifts
and it is
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
Here, there are no
wheelbarrow—a collective noun like
a parliament of owls or
murder of crows—
No wheelbarrows either. They are shut
But there are ducks nearby:
And closer still, neighborly chickens:
one of whom folds a neurological neck
at a break-beak angle.
Damaged in the egg,
(Aren’t we all?)
He is named, but, sadly, I do not
So I christen him
Nothing’s barbaric about him,
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
pushed out of human consciousness.
And out far, if you chance
to snatch a glance
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
required, etchings on the facades
of the flat dust.
Let it say:
I have passed by
here and seen.
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!
Fortunately, bad things sometimes
come to an end. Even allergies!
In my sitting-about over the last week and a half or so, I have come to some salient conclusions about life (and maybe the universe and everything). So, I’m thinking, why not share my
willy sisdom silly wisdom with the world.
Thus, I offer you my brief-ish spin, in list form, on being under the weather, which I hope you’ll find amusing. Goodness knows, the world needs a smile or two these days.
12 Signs You’ve Entered the Allerpocalypse
- Even your allergic shiners have allergic shiners.
- Provided you can still speak, you have gone from falsetto to baritone in one day (without experiencing puberty).
- You have enough balled-up tissues in the trash can to fill a life-sized R2-D2 every hour. (RIP, Kenny Baker.)
- It is very possible you’ve watched enough cruddy television to detach twenty retinas and wipe multiple minds of intelligent thought.
- Your head feels both curiously full and egregiously empty. It’s as if Lizzie Borden has given your skull 40 whacks but has left the axe blade there on the last one, like you’re some 20th century Phineas Gage.
- Speaking of skulls . . . at this point, you are 100% willing to undergo skull trephination to let out the evil spirits (lovingly dubbed Mucodon and Sneezmodeus).
- At one point you’re so delusional you imagine you’re George R.R. Martin and accidentally almost kill yourself with a pen.
- You hallucinate that your neck has started filling with bilgey ocean water (including all the plastic crap therein) or else it’s split open and the top of your head’s fallen off.
- Like Logan, all you’re seeking is sanctuary. Freedom from mucus is a human right, by your reckoning!
- You realize tears are just fate’s way of reminding you you’re not dead yet (hope springs eternal).
- It’s possible, you think, that you’ve invented a new ‘holistic’ treatment modality— 21st-century cupping—wherein you drape a towel over your head while putting your face in a steaming hot cup of tea (or toddy or whatever works for you). And unlike Bill Clinton, you did inhale.
- All in all, the important thing dawns on you: At least it’s not a/the Trumpocalypse.
With that said and done, I hope to begin visiting and commenting on all of y’alls blawgs that I’ve been sad to miss during my involuntary absence. Keep up the creativity! 🙂
Blood and Dust
Even sequestered in the barracks post-sortie, I’d heard whispers about the torched orphanage.
Remembering the spat platitudes—innocent casualties are inherent in war—I sneaked into the commander’s quarters.
With each thunderclap of those awful words, fingers cinched tighter.
* * * *
This was written for the Grammar Ghoul Press Shapeshifting 13 (challenge #67). In this prompt challenge, you are tasked with writing a microfiction piece or poem in exactly 39 words and using the terms orphan and inherent. I don’t know if mine qualifies, as I lengthened it to orphanage, but regardless, give these other writers a read to see how they’ve spun the terms. Further details at the link if you’d like to participate, but you have to do so by Sunday evening.
Finally, if you can, please consider helping a fellow human being. In your neighborhood, in your city, on your continent, or on this planet. Here are two stories, each listing a plethora of links (some duplicated) to organizations doing work to help Syrian refugees (whose plight prompted my microfiction).
As the twelve months go, August can be a bit of a Janus. On one hand, you’re looking back to the waning summer (if you’re in the Northern hemisphere) and time spent together with children, on vacation, or out of school. Then, on the other, you’re facing forward, toward all the upcoming possibilities for enchantment, adventure, and learning that the gateway to autumn brings. Here, I am delighted to offer you notice of another chance for enlightenment and fun in the way of 30 days of #poetry by WordPress Press veteran and, if I may call him thusly, the sensei of sound and substance, Texas #poet Robert Okaji. Enjoy the challenge, sponsored by the prosodic treasure-box that is Tupelo Press! (I know I will.)
In August I am participating in the Tupelo Press 30/30 challenge, a fundraiser for this outstanding nonprofit publisher. I have pledged to write 30 poems in 30 days, and to find sponsors to assist in this endeavor. If you have the time and inclination, please follow along and consider supporting poetry and literary publishers by making a donation. Every bit helps. To make this fun, and with hopes of enticing you, I’ve instituted a few incentives:
Name That Poem! For a $10 donation, you provide a title, and I’ll write the poem during the marathon. Be imaginative. Make the title as long or as interesting as you wish – consider this a dare! But this incentive is limited to only thirty titles, and reduces by one every day of the marathon, so reserve your slot soon! Last year’s titles ranged from one word (“Stuck,” “Bent,” “Latitude,” “Katharsis”) to…
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The inimitable poet Robert Okaji and a few literary friends are providing some enlightenment on April 15; if you’re in the States, you’ll probably want all the light you can get that dread day! Check them out if you’re in the Texas neck o’ the woods. #poetry #amreading #NationalPoetryMonth #NPM16
Don’t Feed the Black Dog*
Genre: Realistic fiction, (dark) humour
Word count: 151 (sorry, Rochelle, I tried!)
She sends a photograph skittering across the caramel-colored desk.
“What do you see?”
“What’s this, some new version of the Rorschach?” I crack a joke about Welcome Back, Kotter, conflating Horshack and Rorschach. Ah, before her time. Shouldn’t have said that.
“Jennifer, basically I just want to gauge how you’re feeling before we start the assessment.”
“Okay, but I think musically sometimes. Heavy cloud, but . . . no rain?” I offer my best Sting impression.
Another flopper. Why can’t I get this right? Fecking feck. She probably thinks I have multiple personalities now.
“Unh-huh.” She scribbles down something I can’t see. “In your own words, what’s your mood today?”
I find myself counting the indentations on the ceiling. 23-24-25.
“Uhhh? I’m a resilient mess. Most of the time. I guess.” You indecisive moron!
“I see. Can we proceed to the PHQ-9 now?”
“Sure. I got nothin’ better to do.”
*Note: I much prefer the metaphor and idea of “miasma” for describing depression to that of the “black dog,” because I love dogs, but many people do connect with it. Hence the titling.
This short story/flash fiction was crafted for March 11th’s Friday Fictioneers, which is lovingly curated by Rochelle as always. I hope you’ll stop by her post(s)—this lady’s got novels and short stories galore—and take some time to read other FF posts. With the variety of stories, it’s easy for me to make this promise: you’ll be amused, surprised, entertained, moved, and, very possibly, shocked. .