Apathetic Fallacy

The evening valiantly teased rain
a slight shift in the wind wheezing through
desiccated leaves of trees awilt
offering neither respite nor reprieve


A rogue cloud pushed through the smokiness
flicked five faint drops echoing Cetus
against the soot-encrusted window


Before they could trace the constellation
with their blackened cracked and blistered fingers
it faded into insignificance


All around them the fire ate the world
smug in its inevitability
licking at the fields and the forests and the sky
still unopposed by any long-blinded witness

Written for “Poets in Response to Peril” upcoming event (April 2022). Hear my reading and see video below (posted by Rico Sitoski).

Event details here: https://www.rsitoski.com/event-details/poets-in-response-to-peril

A little ways up north

the .410 bore was perfect
full choked for partridge
either perched or flying

he’d dropped another one onto the small pond
getting his feet wet
when he’d stepped through the ice

he dressed it - wings tucked then yanked quickly -
and placed the breast in waxed cardboard
the carcass tossed aside for any hungry vixen

walking the path that ribboned through pines
he picked up boughs and cones
to decorate the hunting shack

smoke from the rusted chimney
carried wintergreen and blueberries
mixed with breadcrusts ready for stuffing

his uncle looked up from the woodstove
woodspoon in hand
white beard streaked from sampling

“Looks like you got yourself soaked…
take your socks off and hang ‘em
in front of the fire.”

They sat together sharing a bottle of port
telling stories and retelling memories
eager for another perfect holiday meal

Winter stump © R L Raymond

Through the woods…

Leafless Trees & Harvested Crops © R L Raymond

Through the woods 
in late afternoon in autumn

as the colours
drain brown
stain water
humus
over broken
branches
all bark-stripped
smoothworn
they blindly rush
hoping
the leaf-slick
deer-run
leads them away
from dusk
hanging low
so soon
to the hollow
where the
flask of scotch
was hid

Originally appeared in “Gorilla Pamphlets”


Some experimenting below. I thought it may be interesting to append to this post. This would be a good exercice à la Beckett to achieve that “detached” vibe in one’s writing.

Gambrinus

Perched on the barstool
on crossed feet to look taller
he downed another pint
smacked down the mug

When he wanted to
if push came to shove
if the shit hit the fan
he could really mix it up

A low centre of gravity
fists as fat as hams
and an acumen buoyed
on barley and hops

He’d left the crown
on the bookshelf…
tonight was about drinking
and whatever else came his way

From Sonofabitch Poems, 2011

A lightening

droplets of condensation 
down the cheap tin
of the cheap can
residual handprint bleeding water

the vacant chair
threadbare from years of lounging
a scratchy radio in the background
ancient songs
antique sounds

She still nags, chicken-pecking in the kitchen, about this, that, the other thing, almost drowning out the broken music. What she doesn’t realize is that

he’s gone
after all these years
up and left
beer still cold
chair still warm
no longer there to listen
no longer there to care
or
not
care

he walks down the driveway
smoking a Camel
his other hand twitching
the straw that broke the camel’s back
Farm Horror © R L Raymond

From Weakdays, Corrupt Press

Traceable Genesis

Wherever your ideas comes from, be it image, fact, lie, it is interesting to have some type of documentation surrounding those ideas. Maybe there is a biographical link, a creative link, an environmental link, a detail that someone, somewhere, sometime will pick up about your piece. Because the original ideas are oftentimes NOT the core of a story or poem, they can add a certain depth for the serious reader. Having the ability to “uncover” these gems can be very rewarding to the parsers. To others, this type of backstory doesn’t matter. That’s great. Writing should be for different audiences. But giving the hardcore fans, the historical sleuths, the biographers of the future something to discover can be satisfying.

Writing can be a jigsaw puzzle. Although the endgame is a complete image/narrative, the process, the construction, the genesis is mostly lost to readers. Just imaging the exhilaration of finding a little piece of the puzzler inside the puzzle — a tidbit, a factoid, a revelation. This can elevate the serious reader to another level.

Biographical content is not necessarily the key. “Write what you know” can be the worst advice a writer could attempt to follow. This said, if there is a cool detail that lead to your piece, a detail that you can jot down somewhere in a journal, kept safe for future discovery, that is a priceless nugget. Even if it is totally unnecessary for the final fiction, that nugget can add so much to someone who had taken the time to discover it.

With practice, and by following your personal voice, style, aesthetic, these nuggets will start to manifest in the overarch of your oeuvre: links, parallels, juxtapositions that alone mean nothing; bits that taken together, maybe with the addition of extra-textual notes, become beacons of meaning.

That’s why it is important to save your notebooks, to have someone who knows about them, someone who will, eventually, help the world decipher the hidden stories within your stories.

The author is dead, maybe, but long live the author!

A cardinal / Keep the old words alive

Keeping old books, stories, poems alive is important. Once something isn’t new or on the shelf anymore doesn’t mean it should fade into obscurity. Digital publications that go offline, presses that die, journals that shutter their doors, all contribute to this growing issue of slow word death. Make it a point to seek out and preserve these. Take a screen shot. Find an old, abandoned review and share it. Long live the old-ish stuff!

Here is a poem published 10 years ago in a now defunct magazine. Glad I have my contributor copies.

Originally Published in Envoi, UK, 2011.
Original Cover Nov 2011