she sat glowing her figure against a backdrop of green of grey of blue downwind sipping her coffee cradled in pasty hands wisps of steam danced on the breeze like a virus almost reaching me
There are wisps of sound beyond the plosives and sibilance of artifice Drones whistling through pine needles that muffle urban suburban grinds of sawteeth and dental clinics Notes ascending Jacob’s Ladder past the roofing sign askew on rebar legs
they whisper to the children shushing them down in stocking feet past the squeaky stair and crack the door so it doesn't creak then hide in the pantry huddled by the sal & pimentón
From Half Myths & Quarter Legends, Epic Rites, 2012
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
She was backlit
By the flames
Of the burning bridges
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
Through the woods
in late afternoon in autumn
as the colours
they blindly rush
leads them away
to the hollow
flask of scotch
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.
What lens do you look through?
What filters do you consciously or unconsciously apply to what you see or experience?
What are you missing?
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
Creative writing for the likeminded — and ONLY the likeminded
I sometimes take the opportunity to rant. This is a rant.
It appears that the entire intent of ‘literature’ and ‘poetry’ is to create and define niches. Because the world — read: virtual world — is so vast, everyone is trying to cut a little piece of the landscape and call it ‘home.’ But, there are only certain guests that can and will be invited into these ‘homes.’
Open call for writers from ___ with experience in ___ and a ___ background.
The creative writing world is laser-focusing on the micro-niche. Only certain writers and certain readers will interact in shared, manufactured spaces. People will read what they write and write what they read, creating a tight, closed, exclusive little circle.
- Poetry contest.
- Submit to our ___ theme.
- Only $25 and every entry gets a “free” one-year subscription.
The likeminded buy their way into likeminded publications that create a reader-base on a specific call. I understand the need for reading fees and the likes in a world where funding is dwindling; this said, the original need becomes a foundation for niche-building. Each publication becomes a silo that contains only the “type” of writing seeded in calls, inflating circulation numbers to readers who bought a subscription. That year wasn’t free.
Exclusive content only $___ per month.
$3 here, $5 there, $15 hither, $25 yon… all to buy into a place that feels like ‘home.’ But all the people there, the likeminded, they also bought in, for the same reasons, sparked by the same call, the same ‘experience,’ the same ‘background.’ The home is peopled with writers that sound the same, think the same, read the same…
…creating a tight, closed, exclusive little circle.
I miss the days of pulp mags, of mags that published a variety of conflicted, conflicting, interesting stuff. Now many — and I should note that it’s not ALL — journals or mags or publications just put out pages of I’ve-seen-this-before-and I-can-pretty-much-guess-what’s-coming-next.
Break the circle – Write outside the silo – Make the world your niche