POEM: "Unicorn Passing in the Night"

Unicorn Passing in the Night

 

She is a study in beauty.

 

Legend says her mane glistens white

as the moon on a cloudless eve,

but she clothes herself in any color: 

champagne, azure, emerald, lilac,

red as life’s blood, or black as death itself.

 

Legend says her single snow-white horn

glistening in moonlight cures poison,

plague, fevers, and the madness of rabid dogs,

but nothing of its sharpness,

its keen knife’s edge, its pointed menace,

its ability to pierce not just the veil

of starless nights but truth and flesh.

 

Legend says she is drawn to virgins and innocence.

but today she inhales pollution from passing cars,

the rot of butchered bodies buried in ruined forests,

and the desolation of urban decay

–yet she cleanses air like trees, exhales

the perfume of springtime flowers misunderstood as weeds.

 

She leaves, breaks wind with hues of ocean blue, 

the violent violet of freshly pressed grapes,

the crimson flame of a forest fire,

the golden color of sunlight,

and the green of springtime grass

trailing moon gas in her wake.

 

If you listen closely, you can still hear her laughter.



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This poem was a challenge taken from a conversation with the lovely poet, Constance Plumley, to write an unfunny poem about a unicorn that “farts rainbows.” I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License.

POEM: “Sound”

trees-autumn-canopy-view

Sound

 

If a tree falls in the forest

        it makes a sound

even if there’s no  one

            there to hear its fall

even if we’re all

               too deaf to hear its fall

            It impacts the ground

            creates waves of sound

                upon the air we breathe

                          recycles breath of those long gone

of all who ever lived

    filters through the trees

        that sway in the breeze

            The tree lives

                                falls

                                    dies

            with the same air

            impacts the same earth

                as everyone else

 

Its sound is the sound of the universe.

 

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*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License.

 

CURRENT EVENTS: Books Read in 2019

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Greetings! Welcome to my annual list of books I’ve read the previous year. Pretty exciting and original so far, right?

As an avid reader, I can’t afford to buy all the books I want to read, so I buy from local authors and local (usually independent) bookstores while checking out digital titles or paperbacks. I really recommend you spend whatever book budget you have to support authors you love.

If you are looking for awesome sites to download digital titles in multiple formats, you can’t go wrong with manybooks.net, Project Gutenberg, and Librivox. I’ve used each of these sites for years. Manybooks shows a short excerpt from the book and often features reader comments, before allowing you to download ebooks in whatever format you need. It does require registration, although it is free to register and download books. Project Gutenberg also offers free downloadable ebooks, although no registration or fee is required. Librivox is similar to both sites, except it offers audiobooks instead of ebooks. The audiobooks are read by volunteers, so the audio and reading quality may vary, but they are usually well done.

Many local public libraries offer digital titles for checkout which can be deleted when the loan expires. I use the Overdrive app to download ebooks from multiple libraries onto my phone and/or Tablet. Not only can I download novels and nonfiction, but audiobooks, graphic novels, and periodicals like Poets & Writers. Another useful library app is Hoopla Digital, a subscription service for libraries that allows them to extend their digital selection with additional ebooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, and videos; I read almost the entire Walking Dead graphic novel series via Hoopla!

If you are interested in supporting local authors, I urge you to check out your local libraries and bookstores to find out where there are readings and other author events.

2019 Books Read:

 

Dragon Champion by E.E. Knight (audiobook via Overdrive)

Dodge Tuck Roll by Rikki Santer (poetry collection)

DodgeTuckRoll

Dragon Avenger by E.E. Knight (audiobook via Overdrive)

Fragile Capacities: School Poems by Sandra Feen (poetry collection)

FragileCapaciities

The Fourth Dimension: Toward a Geometry of Higher Reality by Rudy Rucker (ebook via Barnes & Noble NOOK)

TheFourthDimensiion

Dragon Outcast by E.E. Knight (audiobook via Overdrive)

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (audiobook via Overdrive)

In Sickness and In Elf by AE Jones (ebook via Barnes & Noble NOOK)

Beowulf translated and read by Seamus Heaney (audiobook via Overdrive)

10 The Second O of Sorrow (poetry collection) by Sean Thomas Dougherty (ebook via Hoopla Digital)

11 The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold (audiobook via Overdrive)

12 The Walking Dead (vol 30): New World Order by various (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital)

13 The Walking Dead (vol 31): The Rotten Core by various (graphic novel via Hoopla Digital)

walkingdeadv31.jpg

14 Where You Are: poems by Jason Irwin

15 Poemaholic by Azriel Johnson

16 The Vigil by Shelley Chernin

TheVigil

17 Naked Toes: poems by Sara Minges

NakedToes

18 Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (ebook via Overdrive)

19 Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Neil Gaiman (ebook via Hoopla)

20 The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams (audiobook via Overdrive)

21 Edith Hamilton’s Mythology (ebook via NOOK app)

EdithHamiltonMythology

22 Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (audiobook via Overdrive)

23 The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (ebook via NOOK)

24 Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy by multiple contributors (ebook via Humble Bundle)

BSGPhilosophy

25 Love Poems and A Good Cry by Nikki Giovanni (audiobook via Overdrive)

26 The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time by Douglas Adams (ebook via NOOK)

27 Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams (ebook via NOOK)

28 Raga for What Comes Next by Dianne Borsenik

Raga

29 The Trial and the Death of Socrates (Apology and Phaedo) by Plato (audiobook via Overdrive)

30 So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams (ebook via NOOK)

31 Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner and Select Poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (ebook via manybooks.net)

32 Circe by Madeline Miller (audiobook via Overdrive)

33 The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton (ebook via Overdrive)

34 The Poet X by Elizabeth Alcevedo (ebook via Overdrive)

35 Blackbird by Laura Grace Weldon (paperback)

Blackbird

36 Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach (ebook via Hoopla)

37 Desiree in Paris: Priestess of Magdalene by Elise Renollet & Roselyn Brookes (ebook ARC read on Overdrive app)

DesireeInParis

38  Shazam! Volume 1 by various (graphic novel via Hoopla)

39  Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon (ebook via Overdrive)

40  Wonder Woman volume 6: Children of the Gods by various (graphic novel via Hoopla)

41 Wonder Woman volume 7: Amazons Attacked by various (graphic novel via Hoopla)

42 Wonder Woman volume 8: Dark Gods  by various (graphic novel via Hoopla)

WW-DarkGods

43 The Walking Dead volume 32: Rest in Peace  by various (graphic novel via Hoopla)

44 How to eat a poem by various (ebook via Hoopla)

45 Wonder Woman volume 9: The Enemy of Both Sides by various (graphic novel via Hoopla)

46 Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour by various (graphic novel via Hoopla)

47 Hail to the King: a DenCom Thriller by S.T. Hoover (ebook ARC read on Overdrive app)

HailToTheKing

48 In Pearl Broth: Poems New and Selected by Rikki Santer

InPearlBroth

49 John Constantine, HellBlazer vol 1: Original Sins (via Hoopla)

50 John Constantine, HellBlazer 30th Anniversary Celebration (via Hoopla)

51 Paradise Lost by John Milton (ABRIDGED audiobook read by Anton Lesser via Overdrive)

52 Vending Machine: Poetry for Change volume five (poetry anthology via The Poet’s Haven

53 Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley (audiobook via Overdrive)

54 The Complete Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe (ebook via Hoopla)

55 Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (audiobook via Overdrive)

56 Dark Purple Intersections (inside my Black Doll Head Irises) by Juliet Cook

DarkPurpleIntersections

57 Rattle & Numb: Selected and New Poems, 1992-2019 by John Burroughs

RattleAndNumb

58 Romance of la Pucelle by Elise Renollet and Roselyn Brookes (ebook ARC read via Overdrive app)

RomaneOfLaPucelle

59 LibriVox’s Most Wanted Poetry Collection by various (audiobook via Librivox)

60 Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand (ebook via manybooks.net)

61 The Raven and the Philosophy of Composition by Edgar Allan Poe (ebook via manybooks.net)

62 Eighteenth Century Poetry and Prose Collection by various authors (audiobook via Librivox.org)

63 Gypsy Queen by Nicole Hennessy

GypsyQueen

64 Notes From Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (ebook via Overdrive)

65 The Tradition (poetry collection) by Jericho Brown (ebook via Overdrive)

66 A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (NOOK ebook)

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From my list, you can see I’ve read an eclectic selection of books in the past year: contemporary and classic poetry, graphic novels, mythology, literature, humor, and nonfiction. I think it’s important to expose yourself to as many different types of things as possible, because we learn from everything we do. It’s not just true that we are what we eat; we are what we consume–whether that’s books or television or any other media.

I also partially read many other books, but I did not list them here because I never finished reading them. I make no apologies for that. If a book doesn’t interest me by a certain point, if I don’t feel I’m getting anything from reading it, I don’t hesitate to put it down. After all, I’ll never get to read every book I want to in my limited lifespan, so why waste time reading something I’m not benefitting from?

Also, because my list of books read is so long, I’ve broken down the list into several blog posts on my Patreon as well: the difference is that those posts explain what I liked or didn’t about each selection. No pressure, but if you’d like to sponsor me for $1 a month this year, you can read all my Patreon blog posts! For less than a cup of tea, you can get weekly posts about books, my writing process, nonfiction, or flash stories. If not, I’m happy that you visited my blog and read this far.

Thank you, and Happy New Year!

 

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

 

CURRENT EVENTS: New Year’s and the New (and Past) Decade!

reaching-new-year-2020

In honor of the decade’s end, as well as the new year, I’m posting my reflections on the past ten years as well as my resolutions for the next year. I’m obviously thankful for a loving family that I’m proud of, so this post is going to concentrate on professional accomplishments and goals.

2010-2019 REFLECTIONS:

I started submitting short fiction ten years ago, and my first publication credit appeared in Flash Me online magazine July of 2010, followed by my first print credit, the anthology The Best of Friday Flash: Volume One, and later The Best of Friday Flash: Volume Two. Over the years, I improved as a writer by participating weekly in Friday Flash and other online challenges like 52/250 A Year of Flash.

I’ve also blogged consistently and completed several rough draft novels via Nanowrimo. One of the novels, Pinholes, I edited over the course of a year into a serial, then revised into a single document and began subbing to different publishers. About four years ago, I began concentrating on poetry more than short fiction and sold a few poems to online publications. In 2017, I was honored to be invited as a guest author and speaker at the Massillon Library’s Local Author Fair; I was surprised, because I didn’t actually have a book, but they asked me as a blogger. That was my first scheduled public reading.

A couple years ago, I was finally able to attend writing events on a regular basis, so I’ve gone to writing cons and workshops ever since. Every month I go to Latitudes Poetry Night and The Write Stuff Writers’ Group. At Latitudes, I started participating in their open mic, because I planned to self-publish and hoped it would help me get over my stage fright.

A friend convinced me to try submitting to a press before I self-published. As a result, in March 2019, my first book, Soul Picked Clean, was published by Crisis Chronicles Press! At my book launch on March 30th, I gave my first scheduled reading as a published author. I spent the rest of the year promoting my book, scheduling reading events, and working on my next two books as well as my blog. I also began my Patreon page, renewed my podcast, My Writing Niche, and starting volunteering more of my time to help the writing community in general.

I’ve been lucky enough to live in northeast Ohio, a place blessed with two of the best library systems in the country–Cuyahoga County Library and Cleveland Library. And last, but certainly not least, I’ve been fortunate enough to know many lovely and creative people who inspire me both professionally and personally. This decade, and especially this past year, have been incredible. I’ll never forget it.

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Next, I’ll share my New Year’s Resolutions with you; the point of this is twofold. One reason is to set them down so I’ll see them as something solid to work toward, and the second is to publicly declare them so I’ll pressure myself to complete them. If I make a big deal about them online, I’ll be too embarrassed to not do them (or at least work heavily towards them)!

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Submit my short story collection to a publisher.
  2. Submit another poetry collection to a publisher.
  3. Publish my short story collection.
  4. Publish my poetry collection.
  5. Market and promote my work.
  6. Volunteer more.
  7. Do things that frighten me.

This may seem like a long list–most people have one or two resolutions, but they are mostly variations of the same thing. Namely, I want to continue to get my work out there, put myself out there, and not let fear keep me from opportunities. Maybe admitting to that fear isn’t a good idea, maybe articulating it gives it power, but I don’t think so. I know I’m not the only person who gets scared of new things and new experiences, but if the past year–no, the past decade has taught me anything, it’s that facing my fears has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I want to continue to grow, both as a person and a writer.

If you’ve read this far, I know this is much different than my usual poetry posts. I don’t know if sharing this helps you at all, but I hope it does. I know it helps me to read about other people’s experiences. If you would like to share your resolutions or have any polite feedback, I’d love to hear it! Thank you for visiting my blog, and I wish you the very best for the next year–and decade!

Happy New Year!

 

 
*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License

POEM: “Achilles, the Heel”

wellington-monument-in-hyde-park-1476431884x7m1144218186226525214.jpg

Achilles, the Heel

 

Greatest of Greek warriors that fought

upon the soil surrounding distant Troy,

you fought with the strength of a demigod,

yet what you are most famous for is your

weakest part.

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As always, I will post here again in two weeks, and my Patreon posts once a week. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or requests, please let me know in the comments, and have a great couple weeks!

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*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

 

POEM: “Clean Slate?”

framed-slate-panels

 

Clean Slate?

 

once the day’s scratched

across its surface

no matter how you rub

a trace always remains

 

you cannot rewrite your past

only print the present

over what came before

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I hope you’ve had a happy November! And if you participated in National Novel Writing Month this year, great work! Most people don’t even make the attempt, so if you wrote anything more than what you would have, you’ve won. Congratulations! 

Since this is the last post for November, before we get into the holiday season and are inundated with Christmas carols, stale fruit cakes, and other assorted fare, I wanted to assure you that I will NOT be posting Christmas-centric posts. There is enough of that sort of thing without my contributing. 

It’s not that I’m against people enjoying the holidays–in fact, I often celebrate obscure holidays like Towel Day and Free Comic Book Day!–but it’s just not my thing. So, maybe I’m a Grinch, but the only holiday I’ll be discussing in December will be New Years! I’m looking forward to my annual Resolution post, both for accountability and to declare my new goals for the new year of 2020! And I’d love to hear what you have done this year or plan to do in the next!

As always, I will post here again in two weeks, and my Patreon posts once a week. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or requests, please let me know in the comments, and have a great couple weeks!

 

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*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

POEM: “The Gift”

rose-in-the-hands(1)

The Gift

Li Po’s poetic heir explains why

he destroys his poem after reading:

 

gifts are only given once, and I imagine

those torn papers floating downstream

or sacrificial flames engulfing verse,

rising smoke lyrics for the gods to enjoy.

 

Why can’t poems be given more than once?

Each reading–a sown garden of rock and sand:

the hard elements remain but with wind

and days the pattern will change.

 

I’ve reread my favorite verses many times.

What would I give to hear them read anew

by creators long dead and gone? Yet their words

live beyond the short years of their lives.

 

As lovely as that gesture is, I want

to gather those torn pages, mend them

with strong fast silver threads. I want

to press them between my palms

like the bright petals of plucked dandelions.

 

I long to keep what’s given.

Poems may be lost to time

but a single reading is not enough,

not for me.     Not for me.

 

Words, like breath, are too precious.

They change the world

with each exhale.

 

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Happy November! And if you are participating in National Novel Writing Month this year, Happy Novelling! If you would like to be writing buddies or just check out my progress, I go by ‘ganymeder’ on the NaNoWriMo site.

I’m concentrating this month on my (already work-in-progress) novel, but my posts will still drop here once every two weeks and my additional Patreon posts once a week. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or requests, please let me know in the comments, and have a great holiday!

 

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*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.

 

**This is a reaction poem inspired by the poet Sony Ton-Aime’s performance of his gift poem at Latitudes Poetry Night September 2019.