We are still two months away from NPM and poetry discussions are abuzz. I love it!
I’m not even upset that one “genre” is dissing the other – I am just happy poetry is being discussed.
I clicked on a link/interview that was shared with a member of the Horror Writer’s Association and then BOOM I was knee deep in reading, searching and lurking a dozen other sites.
I [honestly] never considered a genre when writing poetry and probably couldn’t categorize if my life depended on it. But [speaking of dissing] I’ll share Thoughts on Writing from Getting Me Back.
Except from Getting Me Back (The Voices Within)
Thoughts on Writing (The Requirements of an Author)
Desire: A congenital need to tell the story.
Determination: It is not enough to walk a couple of blocks or run five miles on a treadmill, come prepared to hike the Himalayas and explore the abyss.
An exoskeleton: A thick skin will not suffice — no indeed. Colleagues and critics are apt in the sadistic art of shaving and burning the thickest of flesh; their tireless wheel of pumice leaving the toughest callouses raw and bleeding. They will thin your skin; get beneath it and prove your vulnerabilities. Like a flesh eating bacteria they will consume you — kill you if you let them.
A poker face: Never let them see you sweat.
Gratitude: Because no one owes you anything!
Grace: For the rise and the inevitable fall.
Pills and booze and smoke: Because it is a hard and hateful world and you are not a god-damned ant.
For hopes that hung on a chicken bones
For hearts that lived in chains
For pods of green that died unknown
While waiting for the rain
For dreams left bare on empty prayer
For souls that wished in vain
For tears unshared in mute despair
While waiting for a change
For you and I and all mankind
For worlds where peace was slain
For faith and mind no man can bind
We wait and wait again
“All eyes were on Wall Street, but truth be told, the market crash paled in comparison to the Navarro County drought.”
Cast of Characters:
Jamison Baines Weir
Liam and Coletta Weir
Jeff and Diane Flint
Bob and Maddie Hallet
D.W. and Bell Crom
The news of Black Tuesday came and went as little more than dry morsels between flapjacks and red-eyed gravy. Black Thursday was no different. Margin calls and ticker-talk; it was all a foreign language to the average man of Navarro county. New York, Chicago and any place not adjacent to the dying province could have just as well been another country – another planet.
<>Suicides headlined newspapers across the globe. Although desperate men (and women) chose gas or bullets; poison or tablets to avoid poverty the stories of men leaping from windows sold more papers and it seemed to pacify the masses, at least for a while.
<>The headlines went on and on. Tales of a brutal bearish market where stock prices were plummeting and fortunes were being dissolved. The days grew long and the soup lines grew longer as billions of dollars were lost, except for the sparse crowd who knew how to short the market and profit from despair.
<>The caste system was readjusting; the prudent wealthy settled into middle-class; the so called middle-class went back to being poor and the poor resorted to begging or starving. Even the outcasts felt the impact. Amidst all of the chaos and realigning there was one morphological thing that everyone understood; a fact that every race, creed, class and religion agreed upon – the roaring twenties had come to a crashing halt. Literally.
EIGHT MORE TAKE THE PLUNGE.
A somnolent bedraggled man stood in the doorway of Crom’s Cafe and eyed the headline of the Navarro County Herald. He thoughtlessly tapped his hat against his thigh to loosen the grit before tossing a nickel into the box that read COFFEE & TOAST 5¢. There were a dozen nickels alongside his.
<>“Thanks Bell” he grumbled to the portly matron behind the paper as he filed past the register and took a seat in the back of the diner.
Half a dozen men sat scattered about the dimly lit eatery, each one scarcely aware of the others presence. They all sat in the same fashion; silent with their elbows on the table and their heads bowed over crumbs and half empty cups. One man’s groans interrupted the silence, erupting between broken verses of prayer which quickly evaporated without regard.
<>“Here you go Liam.” Bell spoke just above a whisper as she sat the mug and saucer on the table, “If there’s anything left after breakfast I’ll send it home with you.”
<>“Thank you ma’am but that fella over there looks a heap worse than any of us.” he nodded toward the sniveling man, “Looks like he might need any scraps you can spare.”
<>“Tut-tut!” Bell shot a glance at the praying man and shook her head, “Don’t you know who that is? That is Daniel D. Starnes; the same Daniel Starnes who owns the cotton gin over at Mexia; the same scoundrel that cheated fifty men out of their wages. I know he makes a sorrowful spectacle with all that praying but do you know what he’s praying for?” the woman paused long enough to fill her lungs and did not wait for Liam to respond. “The beast! Yep, he is praying that the stock market will recover so he doesn’t lose any more money on his investments. I tell you I am at my wits end with all the moaning and groaning and killing over filthy lucre and that blasted stock market! ” Bell wiped her hands on her apron and marched toward the kitchen speaking so the entire café could hear her, “Money! That is all some folks care about.”
<>Money can’t buy you rain, Liam thought, as he quietly dipped his dry toast into the weak coffee and watched as the diner filled.
<>The usual crowd shuffled in, in their habitual manner. More coffee was poured into waiting mugs, more nickels dropped into the box, a few at the bar ordered a real breakfast and those who could afford to buy a copy unfurled their paper. Liam inconspicuously glanced at the man’s next to him. The dismal headline meant nothing to most tenant farmers. It meant even less to Liam Weir. He saw it as one less gluttonous banker and they could not die fast enough to suit him.
And greedy cotton ginners can go to hell right along with `em.
<>If I had five cents to spend, I wouldn’t waste it on that rag. They just as well call it the New Yorker! Liam decided he had seen enough of the Navarro County Herald. There was no mention of the drought, not on the front page anyway. When the man beside him turned the page, Liam went back to watching the idle patrons throughout the diner.
From his seat in the rear he could see the entire café and a portion of the adjoining store, the same store he was determined to visit and purchase a decent bill of groceries before the day was up.
<>Liam studied the room; watched as men felt blindly for cups and sopped dry biscuits in air while soaking up the news of investors going broke. All eyes were on Wall Street but truth be told, the market crash paled in comparison to the Navarro county drought.
<>He watched as a billion dust particles danced overhead, swaying recklessly in rays of smoke stained sunshine until the weight of grease and nicotine and worry forced them to settle. The grimy mist settled on everything – on everyone. It covered every field cap and fedora. Without prejudice it landed on burnt necks and white collars alike and no one, other than Liam appeared to notice. He listened to the moans and grunts that followed each turning page. Some lingered on the specifics, others on the gruesome photographs but at the end of breakfast they all shrugged their shoulders and went back to waiting.
Get the rest of the story @ your favorite e-book store.
Paperback available @ Amazon
The Winter solstice and the longest night has now past. The occasion brings to mind one of my favorite poems:
He would sculpt and I would write
to get us through this thing called life and
what seemed to be an aimless plight
The long, long night
I used pen and he used clay
to cope with all the pain filled days
which lived within our slow decay of
The long, long night
But in between the words and mud
we found the art of making love
and pacified the angst and blood of
The long, long night
Forsaken pages ripped and torn,
spattered earth across the floor,
graphite tales of love and war and
The long, long night
Come into my bed sweet angry lover,
your tender calloused hands beneath the cover.
Find the place where none has been,
beneath the ink and turning pin,
get us through yet once again
The long, long night
The poem that opens A Hard Candy Christmas.
I found you – a thin shawl upon nature’s shoulders
resting on the final page of my Gregorian calendar.
Celebrations in red,
Christmas and Kwanza and the tail end of Hanukah.
Reminding me in stark black letters of bombings and declarations of war.
Hitler, Mussolini, and Japan…
Listen to Julia Gayden Nelson's lovely narration and/or get the e-book from your favorite retailer.
Welcome to December y’all!
In the house where he lived void of laughter and kisses
In the room where he smoked and the little dog pisses
Where the ghost of a bloke stirs a foul reminiscence
Lies the frame of a maimed Skippy Red
Go down, go down poor Skippy Red
Alas, alas no water to tread
No ropes, no planks, no breaking of bread
In your world of endless abysses
Go on, go on let sleeping dogs lie
A new crib for you, twas a good day to die
Hoist a fresh cup, here’s spit in your eye
Abaddon is better off dead
Farewell, farewell Skippy Red
Short Stories & Such Audio narrated by Robert Scott Sullivan
I recently came across a poem [yes poem] by Neil Gaiman. Not only was I pleasantly surprised, I was deeply touched.
The piece struck a chord with me because (sniff. snort. sigh.) our baby boy is getting married this year. Yes, the one I reminisced about a few years ago… pondering,
Where did the years go… Why won’t he let me rock him to sleep any more…or comb his hair… or at least find him a wife so he doesn’t have to live alone…
As a mother there are so many things I want to tell him… to prepare him… and then I realize I cannot. In Wedding thoughts: All I know about love Neil says it so well I just had to share it with y’all.
Wedding thoughts: All I know about love
This is everything I have to tell you about love: nothing.
This is everything I’ve learned about marriage: nothing.
Only that the world out there is complicated,
and there are beasts in the night, and delight and pain,
and the only thing that makes it okay, sometimes,
is to reach out a hand in the darkness and find another hand to squeeze,
and not to be alone.
It’s not the kisses, or never just the kisses: it’s what they mean.
Somebody’s got your back.
Somebody knows your worst self and somehow doesn’t want to rescue you
or send for the army to rescue them.
It’s not two broken halves becoming one.
It’s the light from a distant lighthouse bringing you both safely home
because home is wherever you are both together.
So this is everything I have to tell you about love and marriage: nothing,
like a book without pages or a forest without trees.
Because there are things you cannot know before you experience them.
Because no study can prepare you for the joys or the trials.
Because nobody else’s love, nobody else’s marriage, is like yours,
and it’s a road you can only learn by walking it,
a dance you cannot be taught,
a song that did not exist before you began, together, to sing.
And because in the darkness you will reach out a hand,
not knowing for certain if someone else is even there.
And your hands will meet,
and then neither of you will ever need to be alone again.
And that’s all I know about love.