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The Man and the House

The Man and the House

The lawn mower creaked and moaned, discontent as always. Face high rank, it said, expecting the grass to waver like an unsure jury. Oh, shut up, the blades said. Crab grass. Typical.

The chair rocked back and forth and decided the kitchen clock needed dismantling. It went into kitchen and said, “Your gears are mine.” The kitchen clock suffered its fate with characteristic integrity.

The bedroom was witness to fire but kept it to itself, even when the man shook a broom at it and shouted, “Give up your secrets!” The bedroom muttered resolve to itself. Mum was the scorched word.

The bathroom cried itself to sleep.

The garage fantasized it was a root cellar.

The man, shaggy and dumbstruck, stood in the middle and calculated risk.

Fictional Non-Fiction #1

I was going to write some poetry yesterday, but I ended up with this.

“If you practice hard enough, you can master the art of suicide, which is different from the act of suicide. The act of suicide has tangible results, either successful or not successful. The art of suicide is a constant attempt to erase oneself from existence, daily and nightly, a keen focus on the removal from life’s various entanglements. Viewed in this way, suicide is an ongoing act, much like meditation, yoga, mindful thinking, and service to others. Granted, it is terribly selfish and not at all to be envied, let alone emulated, but it must be respected in order to be understood. With that understanding, a few fortunate souls might be retrieved from the brink. Most are, sadly, forever lost.

Those who have mastered the art of suicide may never actually take their own lives, but in many ways they do not need to. They have removed themselves from life’s race, have moved beyond the sidelines and hidden themselves so well that they are invisible. Thus absent, they whittle themselves away until, when Death indeed comes from them, Death find itself with little work to do but to beckon.” – Dr. Jonathan Powers, from Daily Practitioners of Suicide

Fear and Loathing in Twitterland

Since getting sober, I’ve pulled further and further away from social media. It started with checking in less frequently with Facebook, abandoning Instagram (which I rarely used, and never checked it after I posted a picture) and trying Tumblr for all of a day before giving that up (and we won’t mention my brief foray into Pinterest, which just left me feeling weird and somewhat creepy).

And now it comes to Twitter. I’ve tried using Twitter several times and never with any measurable success. By that, I don’t mean a big number of followers; I’m talking about meaningful interactions. I suppose that’s expecting too much from a social media platform. If I get nothing from Twitter, why Tweet?

I suppose I think it’s something I should do as a writer to expand my…I don’t know, circle of like-minded men and women? In the course of Tweeting and reading Tweets, maybe I’ll find a new journal to submit my work to?

I read an interesting article about poets and writers on Twitter, and that started me thinking that maybe it’s worth pursing. I refuse to put Twitter on my phone (same as Facebook and Instagram). My phone, smart though it is, is for calling folks,sending the occasional text to my wife, and playing music. That’s it. So I’ll only Tweet and read feed when I’m at the computer, where the order is: work, email, writing, and then–maybe, if there’s time–things like Twitter.

If the past is any predictor, I’ll be on Twitter for a few days before forgetting about it. In the meantime, if you’re really bored, you can check me out @writing4ghosts.


“Winter” (published poem)

I’m honored to have one of my poems appear in Sweet Tree Review‘s inaugural issue.


When the snow is hard as brick
and the sun neglects its normal path,
she hides under covers and unthinks
the world, turning ice to water,

reminding the sky what it forgot:

the deep meaning of blue,
not the amnesiac gray
that scrolls like a player piano
sheet across the vaults of heaven.

Weird Poetry…My Calling Card of Late

A friend popped by my office this morning  and said, “I got your poems” (I emailed him two last night). And then he stared at me and nodded. And kept nodding.

“I don’t know what the nodding means,” I said after a few moments of awkward silence.

“Your style is definitely…unique.”

“Yeah, it’s a little odd,” I said. “Take your time getting back to me. There’s no rush.”

We talked a little more about submitting poetry and about the the book he’s working. After he went off to class, I began thinking about something I read yesterday. The article deals mainly with poetry contests, something I’ve yet to attempt (and may not after reading the article):

Typically there are two types of aesthetics (following the MFA division of poetry into two major camps): the narrative/formally uninventive/epiphany-based confessional or memoiristic short poem, and the experimental/avant-garde/language poetry camp, which takes its inspiration from deconstruction and makes a fetish of the insensibility of ordinary language.

While I think there’s room for blending between the two, I find myself more on the experimental side these days. I’m not avant-garde and I don’t fetishize the insensibility of language–there are poets that do, and they usually make me want to bang my head on a table. My poems lately have just become weird. They have Potato People and the Toothy Teethy Sister. They talk about a couple trapped in a masquerade party that only they’ve attended, and another has a man and woman using rib-spreaders on each other to get to what they assume to be treasure but finding doorways instead into which they disappear.

I have a few narrative/epiphany based poems that I’m proud of, but I’m shying away from that style (and it’s my friend’s style, so I’m curious and a bit worried about what he’ll say). I’m not sure if my poems will find homes in “respectable” print journals; I have quite a few out there, so we’ll see in a few months’ time. As much as I’d like to land a poem or two in a print journal, it’s not my sole motivation. Writing and sharing my work is, and so far, my poems have found homes with new, online journals.

The end of the article is quite encouraging:

O ye oppressed contest-submitters of the MFA world, throw away your shackles and start your own collective with like-minded friends, publish poetry you want to immortalize you, not poetry with the maximum chance of pleasing screeners and judges! Start your own press! If nothing else, write on scrap paper and share it with your wife and dog, but don’t dilute your work to win contests! It doesn’t cost $30,000 to publish a book of poetry. Maybe it doesn’t even cost $3! Just as it doesn’t cost $100,000 to “buy two years of time” to get feedback on your writing in an MFA program–maybe it just costs a library card.

Don’t dilute your work to win contests or to fit what others deem to be appropriate parameters. Just write.


When it’s time to write, it’s time to write.


“It’s time to write,” she says, standing in the corner,
smoking the cigarette I can no longer have.
“No, I need to get ready for class, and make some copies–”
“It’s time to write,” she says again. She walks over,
drapes her arm around my shoulders, and sighs.
Her touch is from the grave, but I like it. I always have.

“You’ll hang around for a bit?” I ask, foolishly,
knowing she’ll do whatever she damn well pleases.
She purses her lips and brushes my cheek with a kiss.
“Maybe just for a while. Until you’re warmed up.”
I hear her breathing next to me, feel her radiant cold.
I click over to a blank screen and begin to bleed.