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.

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

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.

 

 

Monday Markets: The Taxing Spring Edition

April—what some say is the cruellest month—might also be one of the busiest.

See what you think, poets and fictionists and essayists (oh my). . .

  1. April 15: WordPress poet Bob Okaji and friends will be reading their works in Austin, Texas, at Malvern Books. Here’s the full scoop on how you can make Tax Day (better than) great again by injecting it with some lively  lines.

    Lawn Needs Trimming

    Fortunately, I love purple. As for mowing grass, not so much.

  2. April 15: Earth’s Daughters, which might be the longest-extant feminist literary arts journal in the United States, is seeking poetry and prose on the theme of Ebb, which itself includes themes of “cycles, rhythm, continuation, or cascades.” Up to 3 poems and/or one 500-word fiction piece; they harvest first rights only, but it might take upwards of 2 months for them to read all submissions. Make sure you peruse their complete guidelines—or, better yet, subscribe to them if you like what you see on their site, including poets Denise Levertov and Marge Piercy and those whose names you don’t know (yet)!
  3. April 15: This is a popular date for submission deadlines, and I’m not even including several Hungry birdother good ones. Whortleberry Press, who thrive on speculative fiction, are looking for sci-fi, fantasy, and light horror works for their “Strange Mysteries #7” anthology. Short stories must be 4,000 words or fewer. You’ll also want to read their brief stylebook with your full attention.
  4. April 22 deadline: If you’ve got something to say about Mother’s Day, then you might like to contribute to the 200 CCs story site stewarded by writer Paul A. Hamilton. So, you need a story of +/- 200 words, that’s “punchy, memorable, and complete if possible rather than vignettes.” This is a paying market, but it does request some rights from authors, so familiarize yourself with that, as well as what he has already published. Then, good luck!
  5. Starting April 30 (multiple deadlines): The people who do the Chicken Soup books are looking for a bevy of stories, from tales about dogs and cats to blended families to teachers and teaching. Wouldn’t it be fun to make it into one of these well-known branded books?
  6. May 12: If you’ve got a completed dark manuscript lurking about, with strands of ambitious saliva dripping from its fangs, then the #PitDark Twitter contest/party could be right up your menacing alley. Writers of dark literature, including fantasy, horror, YA, and murder mystery, this note’s for you. Check out writer Jason Huebinger’s site for the specifics on how you can pitch agents and publishers in the genre and—one lives in hope—receive a request for a partial or full manuscript afterward.

AND NOW: I see you, but do you see me?

Peekaboo

Humans are such meddling, nosy creatures.

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.

Submission Saturday: The Under-the-Weather Edition

Fairy Tale Manuscript

The fairy tale that wasn’t. At least it looks like a bird!

Well, well, I’ve been busy editing, trying to write a (interesting) fairy tale (here is a helpful, little primer on fairy tales, folklore, etc.), and just living, including a good deal of Nightingale-ing. Now that the kids aren’t sick and the husband is healing, of course it strikes me. Today, I’m digging out of the aftermath.

In any case, doing these market/submission articles really gets me jazzed, and I haven’t done one in at least a couple weeks. So, in other words, you’re due. Hope you find something fruitful here!

  1. Due April 1. You’ve got dreams. I’ve got dreams. We’ve all got dreams. Why not put them down on paper and submit them to Bop Dead City? For their current issue (Issue #15) contest, they choose one poem and one fiction piece (otherwise, one genre takes it all). The Issue 15 contest is themed “dreams”; regular submissions guidelines here.
  2. Due April 1: No joke! The annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry competition is open to writers of poetry in English, with a maximum of 250 lines (1 poem only) sought. But with this contest, the object is to write badly. Very, very badly. The art is in writing so badly, it crosses over into good-writing terrain. Can you do it? Like to try? Check out Winning Writers for all the specifics on this free-to-enter contest that promises big prizes for the best “worst poem” you can craft.
  3. Due officially April 15 (but actually June 30): Staying in the humor-writing vein, let’s move over to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC) for superior shoddy sentence–writing, not to be confused with the Lyttle Lytton annual contest. Here, your mission, if you choose to accept the challenge, is to pen the very worst opening line to a novel ever conceived—and there are genre categories, too, including romance, science fiction, crime/detective, and historical fiction. Bad for poor Edward Bulwer-Lytton; but good for us. More details here.
  4. April 15, Austin, Texas, 5:30-9:30 p.m. If you’re fond of small presses, visionary writing, poetry, or some combination of the aforementioned (and will be in Austin, Tx., in April), get yourself over to Malvern Books for the Tupelo 30/30 project Poetry Night. It will feature WP staple poet Robert Okaji, as well as several other T30/30 poets: Christine Beck, Katy Chrisler, D.G. Geis, Pamela Paek, and Ronnie K. Stephens.
  5. Opening May 15, 2016 (closing August 15): Enchanted Conversation, a fairy tale magazine, has its eyes peeled for your best stories about Krampus, the dark alternative to Santa Claus, for its Krampusnacht Two anthology, to be published in conjunction with World Weaver Press. Kate Wolford is the editor. They are looking for fiction submissions from 1,000 to 9,999 words. You will greatly benefit from reading their first anthology on this topic, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus, and following the newest anthology guidelines to the letter. Good luck!
  6. A sixth-grader wrote this flash-fiction story and it was published online by SmokeLong Quarterly. Wow! SLQ, a leader in the flash fiction genre, publishes only flash (no poetry or nonfiction) of under 1000 words—one submission at a time, please!—and you must include a print-ready third-person biography. Give them a whirl if you enjoy flash(ing) your fiction!

And, in the meantime . . . enjoy your Easter/spring (or autumn) weekend! Happy writing and art-making!

 

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?

 

Monday Writing Markets (and More): The Icefire Edition

20160209_104552

I keep written & digital files. How about you?

Some say the universe will end in boiling,

Others say in Frost, or Snow.

But from what I know of roiling,

I prefer the fate whose face waits to show.

 


 

Whew, I’m glad that’s out there in the aether now. Moving on . . .

To writing. So, keep in mind, carpe diem (carpe scribere diem? why yes, I’ve forgotten high-school Latin completely). In other words, seize the day and write!

To help you in that regard, I’m wielding another edition of the somewhat-biweekly sword that is Monday Markets (& More). Partake, imagine, write, edit, submit, accept, integrate, and enjoy!

  1. Tonight only (Feb. 15), starting at 7:30 p.m.!

    See feminist firebrand, author, and essayist Claire Vaye Watkins—she of “Let us burn this motherfucking system to the ground” fame—and poet Steven Schreiner at the River Styx reading series in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Entrance fees are $5 at the door or $4 for students, members, and seniors.

  2. Deadline: as soon as possible! Milkfist, a self-described “compendium of art and writing for stammering low-lifes who barely know what year it is” wants your poetry, art, and/or nonfiction. They are a paying market. Check out their guidelines or buy a back issue.
  3. Deadline: Feb. 20, 2016. After the Happily Ever After (anthology) by TransMundane Press is in search of new blood. That is, they want updated takes on old (fairy)tales like Cinderella, Goldilocks, or even Snow White. Exactly what does happen after Ariel gets her voice back and marries her prince? Does Cinderella ever see her Fairy Godmother again; does she keep that glass slipper forevermore? Does Red Riding Hood grow up and develop agoraphobia or, alternatively, an overwhelming fear of canines? It’s up to you to give them new experiences.

    20160215_163419.jpg

    Thanks to my audience volunteer (who didn’t even have to get sawed in half, except by the photographer!).

  4. Win a book, through Feb. 27! Author Sarah Potter is giving away a copy of her newest novel, the sci-fi crossover Desiccation. This novel is suitable for ages 14 to 90-plus, as she says. Here’s her blog post about the Goodreads #giveaway.
  5. March 13, 2016: Grammar Ghoul Press (full disclosure: they reprinted one of my poems in their Spring 2015 edition of The Ghouls’ Review) is holding a Winter 2016 Fiction competition. There’s a $10 entry fee per fiction story, 100 to about 3500 words (so, both flash fiction and short story categories), and a $100 top prize, per category, as well as publication in the Winter/Spring 2016 issue of The Ghouls’ Review. Multiple submissions allowed. Be advised that they like weird and wacky tales, so give them a whirl if oddities are in your wheelhouse.
  6. Deadline: Now through March 15. The Indiana Review has waived their traditional $3-per-entry general submission fee for their Spring 2016 window. Get your general submissions of poetry, fiction, or visual artwork in pronto (only 1 submission per genre)!

 

Now, as Rush might write in a lyric, get out there and rock!

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!