Friday, March 2, 2018

Previously Published on Clutching at Straws . . .

Barbie Survived

the apocalypse, along with the Twinkies and
cockroaches.  A little worse for wear, her clothes
hang ragged, her skin is melted in patches
and she has this bizarre urge to brunch
on brains.  The remnants of last week’s paper
exclaims that zombies are suddenly in fashion, and she
always was good at savaging malls . . .


Hinge by the Slice (Heller Levinson) -- previously published on Talisman Magazine

I had the pleasure of corresponding with Heller Levinson for several years now.  We met through the Press ( and I quickly became fascinated with hinge theory.  Over the years I have added my admittedly less experimental contributions to the rapidly expanding hinge theory library of work, as well as inspired a hinge myself ("the corner of _____ and ____") of which I am extremely honored.  So from time to time when Heller sends hinge theory updates, I'll be posting them here as well for anyone who is interested.  This is one of the latest -- previously published on Talisman Magazine.  Hope it inspires some of you out there.  It sure did me!

Heller Levinson

Hinge By The Slice

The suggestion that I write a short summary of Hinge Theory threw me into a tailspin.  The thought of shortening an ever-expanding & en-fleshing behaviorism was anathema.  Then the idea occurred that perhaps by indicating how HT resists shrivellization/ contraction/ summarization, I could approach summarization.

Language is aLive.  This is foundational to HT.  It should be asked:  not what HT Is, but how it beHaves.  Language as a living organism is continuously interactive with other organisms breeding extensively & engendering complementarity.  Dr. Mary Newell puts it this way:  “The connectivities of Hinge Theory introduce an intentional and generative biasing, like a pool table with all the balls commotioning and someone lifting the pool table slightly so all that activity is directed yet responsive to unpredicted collisions, meanderings, & swerve.  (With the additional image that new balls are being added all the time as the pool table itself enlarges).”

Hinge does not purport to bring anything new to the proverbial ‘table.’  Rather it seeks to restore Language’s Original Primal Fire.  To ignite the word, Hinge employs the module  which is a word or a configuration of words that serves to spring (to unleash, to unmoor) the subject into a climate of free fall & unpredictability.  & by free fall we mean that we are liberating the subject[1]/word from its normative, conventional context & tossing it into question, tumbling it deconditioned into the void.  A few of the modules in use are:  with, smelling, the road to ____ road, in the ___ of ____, fecundating rotational clusters, fusion reconnoiters, & the most recent, tenebraed, catalyzes an entire book.  When word inosculates/alchemizes word,[2] the components never lock into place nor do they dissolve into a random turbulence; they both formulate & unravel simultaneously, emblazoned with the Living-Hood of continuous Motility.  The frisson (the rub) of word against word scatters the ‘particle’ multi-directionally.[3]Partnering with the ‘scatter’ is the ‘gather,’ a recombinatory process regrouping the components in correspondence with vibrational adhesion (a form of viscous bonding).

Each particle/subject gathers into cohesions, a grouping, what Hinge terms the ‘application,’ formerly the ‘poem.’  This gathering should be seen as an alighting, a momentary pause, tensiled to soar again at the slightest provocation.[4]

The word, by undergoing a multitude of these Modular Chamberings, is in an ongoing state of emboldening/ densification/ complementarity/ & extensionality.  For example, “Mermaid” has undergone over 45 applications, swiveling in the alterior ethers of:  “with mermaid,” “the road to mermaid road,” “smelling mermaid,” “in the purse of mermaid,” “tenebraed to mermaid,” to cite just a few.  Each application both creates its own Mermaid Personality (ether) & interacts/impacts with the other applications.  The Particle is always in transition, always on the road to developmental road, shimmering to fulfillment in compounding complementary refractions.  Hinge Theory clashes against the current cult of quick-click-reduce, or, of what I like to term the lexiconically static.  The Lexicon is a logos abuser, the enemy of the vigorous & dynamic; it is, indeed, a Dynamic Inhibitor.

Case in point:  in Webster’s Third, “Melancholia” & its variations take up about 4 inches of definition whereas Melancholia:  Hinge as Innominate Limina[5]  employs 99 pages to begin the investigation (& I term this endeavor to “investigate” an urge to “mobilize” the logos rather than “staticize” it).  & these 99 pages should be viewed as just that -- a prelude, an introduction, a wind-up to ignite.   There is no such thing as a finish to these explorations, no endings, … they are not sequenced or neatly arranged alphabetically, -- the logos is Feral & Un-Cageable, Reproductive & Lusty.
I have recently wondered how our language (the logos) would look/fare without the dictionary (void of reference).  What would the “Unmoored” word (the Wild/Feral Logos) look like if it were free to roam, migrate, hybridize.
To view the Inferential replace the Referential.

These comments initiate an ongoing exploration of Hinge Theory.  But when asked to explain Hinge Theory, the proper response would be the same as to someone who asked you what the sky looks like, -- you would usher them outside, point upward, & say “Look.”  Look, then, to the works themselves.

Further Reading


Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press)
from stone this running (Black Widow Press)
Wrack Lariat (Black Widow Press)
Hinge Trio (La Alameda Press)
Melancholia:  Hinge as Innominate Limina (McNally Jackson)
tenebraed (Black Widow Press)

Interviews (read chronologically):

“No Rust on These Hinges – A Heller Levinson Interview”
The Jivin’ Ladybug

“So Much Depends on the Hinge:  Heller Levinson”
The Jivin’ Ladybug

“Ephesus Glom: An Interview with Heller Levinson, Part 1” by Jonathan Mulcahy-King, was initially published in X-Peri, January, 2018 

“The Hinge Manual”  Howling Dog Press

[1] HT terms the subject being investigated the ‘particle.’
[2] At the level of Hinge Production, each word insists on its word associates.  In this sense, the practice of the author is to detect (to identify) the reproductive impulses inherent in the word being witnessed.
[3] For example, in the most recent volume, tenebraed, the module ‘tenebraed to lamentation’ undergoes three mutations or treatments.
[4] The provocation here would refer to Modular Ignition.
[5] Melancholia:  Hinge as Innominate Limina (McNally Jackson, 2016) exemplifies a multi-teamed approach to densify the ‘particle.’  Not only are we employing multiple Modules, but we are also treating/investigating  the term from multiple disciplines, i.e., Drawing, Essay, Criticism, Poetry.  Melancholia: represents the second multi-participatory Hinge Event following Hinge Trio (La Alameda Press).

Previously Published on Chronogram . . .

With Static

gathering in step, forward
escape.  Attempt thwarted
by miniature lightning.  Flash
against brass, grasp
immediately retracted.  Shaken
off, reformed into hover.  Hesitant
ly held, a moment before
completed release.


Previously Published on Chicago Literati . . .


            after City in White, artist Osnat Tzadok

The concrete emanates an almost-
innocence in the snow.  Though rapidly
graying from exhaust, it glistens with promise
of rejuvenation, a new beginning with every
clinging flake.  This slick coat is not considered
fashionable, quickly shoveled, loaded into trucks,
taken to anonymous gravesites
somewhere on the other side of the skyscrapers.
I imagine the melting piles, looking back
at their fallen home.  Do they miss the metal
shadows, mourn the misunderstanding of cold?


Previously Published on Chicago Literati . . .

The Road to Butterfly Road

shivers in the morning wind.  Layered
in exquisite colors of post-cocoonal flight,
wanders into random nets, gets pinned
behind twin panes of framed glass. 
Destination:  wall corpse.  It ends 
under stereotypical flag-term:  beautiful


Previously Published on Chicago Literati . . .

from Bones this Resignation

Recognition:  their brush’s gentle motion
would tickle if nerves had not
dissolved myriad millennia ago.  Hearing: 
soft echo of brow sweat beating against
what is left of me.

Harvesting has begun.  My piecemeal resting
replaced with zombiesque half-life.  They
will raise me, puzzle for their pondering,
re-construct me as teaching aid, exhibitional
wonder.  Forced back together,  displayed
in a nakedness so complete, their living
minds could never begin
to comprehend.


Previously Published on Century 121 . . .

Corner of Diamond and Dust

Fingers, honored in anniversary, linger
in anticipatory hover over ribboned box.
Does he love me?
                            Does he love me not?
They cannot stop the childishly compulsive
repetitious rhyme from repeating.  In the background,
breath is held as bow tentatively begins to come
undone.  Lid, inevitably removed, finds no karat
sparkle.  A smile is faked as mental inventory begins
in preparation of packing, the bags already waiting
under her side of the bed.


Previously Published on Century 121 . . .

Wearing One Earring

Sleepless and thinking of Van Gogh
I take my left earring out.
Placing it inside a box
to send to a love that does not
exist.  Yet or ever.  Probably
an empty gesture full of
meaning[ful psychoses] even I
don't understand.  Yet
I take my time.  Wrapping
the parchment with pristine
corners any hospital would envy.
I even wavered momentarily
over the choice of ribbon, wondering
if it still qualifies as a present if tied
with breast-cancer-pink allusions
to suffering.  No, this is serious
[ly symbolic if not just a tad imbecilic]
so I selected silver.  Knotted.
Knightly.  Even moderately merry.
And its glint was worth the fuss.
It focused the moon as it soared
from my balcony to the river
below.  Beyond, I was able to trace
its trail as it soaked, swirled,
then sank.  In a flameless
mocking of some ancient and
regal funereal.  All light.
All sorrow.  All honor.
All gone.  As it settles itself
among the silt.


Previously Published on The Centrifugal Eye . . .

With Ruby

slippered dreams of returning
to a far-off land labeled home,
I click my heels three times.  Nothing
happens but another scuff
I cannot cover up with blood-marker
rubbings.  There is no magical
wizard behind curtain, no alternative
method of transport at the ready.
I am still cowardly and heartless,
my rusting brain overstuffed with idols.
Winged monkeys and good fairies
fly amok before dropping
like leaden stones through the glass
pond of my reflection.  I see myself
in pieces, too obscure to form
a whole.  I have
through myself, my imagination
trailing behind, a tornado
devouring path and past.


Previously Published Carillon Magazine . . .


Little yellow
For someone else’s lips.
Swallowed sight.
Swallowed flight.
Running still.
Like blood.
Across this empty plate.


Previously Published on Carillon Magazine . . .

With Rhinoceros This Dream

of emulsification is completed.
It is my able-bodied shadow match. 
I am its animal
guide, or it is mine.  Specific
definition of species’
roles in this mental amalgamation are difficult
to decipher.  We learn
each other’s language.  Foraging
for forgotten moments of unity, we mimic
respiratory distress.  Excessive oxygenation
triggers euphoria.  We dance
holding hands neither remembers having.


Previously Published on Carillon Magazine . . .


blades of grass dance, individual
jigs, shedding dew like clothes,
in freeing worship to morning’s sun.

leaves shiver, their newborn
skin skittish, tries to find symbiotic
stance against forceful breath of wind.

lily pads litter pond, organic confetti.
Party floor for pollywogs dreaming
of days when legs will finally form,
launching them to land.

skin slithers along ivied trellis,
raises boneless body to survey
its garden.  Gaze falls to apple
tree, triggers instinctual smile, historic
memory of fateful first bite.


Previously Published on The Camel Saloon . . .

Reaping Imaginary Riches

Even in the darkest room
more than your shadow
finds me.  Cloaked in nothing
more than simple
subservient sin.  I am
shaded and layered
to your hands' liking.
Together they/we are
a puzzle game dream.  In this
midnight's holding:

Turn one:  our every piece is a step.
Flop two:  our every step is a gamble.
Fold three:  our every gamble is a touch.
Set point match:  Connection is complete

ly irrelevant as we raise
everything but our minds.  Temperament
al misogyny is our latest god.
We worship on our knees.
Our needs soaking the floor
of this make-shift temple
that no longer resembles
any form[al/of] bed.


Previously Published on The Camel Saloon . . .

Where Nothing Lies

The pillow screams
against my eyes’ attempt to smother
the severity of their plight.  We have
played this scene too many times to see. 
The ending is cold and clichéd.  To hell
with the moon and its silvered fortune.  I am
its forgotten daughter, tortured
by the sound of my own
name.  I cannot dream myself
into being
                 solid.  So I sink
                                           through the seams
of these perfect
ly unsoiled sheets.


Previously Published on The Camel Saloon . . .

I Am Anxiety

walking, a wavering well of conflicting
thoughts.  Possibilities cling to me
like string.  I cannot cut myself free.  I am
confusion, perplexity, and disorder, tied
to an over-sized chunk of indecision. 
I am barely treading water.  I am trying
to swim in a pool of blood that holds
a shark made of my own vacillating skin.


Previously Published on The Camel Saloon . . .

On the Wings of a Shadowed Dove

I cut through mountains made of paper,
lined and unlined.  Neither can hold
my rage.  I am rock,
resistant to wind.  I hold blue
flame, symbol of persistence, continuance,
beacon of the broken.  I gather
the pieces that remain around me
like a fort.  They agree to become
kindling for the cause.  I reduce them
to ash, spread them as spackle to fill cracks
in the vision I hold of tomorrow.


Previously Published on Call and Response . . .

Rain Against the Car Window

blinks with every bump.  Droplets become eyes,
narrowing to get a better view
of what it’s like to be sheltered
from repetitive pummeling.  Victims of wind,
they stare, suspicious of all they are not. 
Their silent inquisition lingers long after the sun
returns, burns their tracks from the glass.

Previously Published on Cahoodaloodaling . . .

Hanging Out

“They aren’t real,” she explodes
with laughter at my perplexed expression.
“They are fake.”
                             Balls swinging
from the back of tow and pickup trucks.  I realized
prior to her explanation, but remained rendered
speechless.  Stupidity
inadequately failed to describe this . . .

trend.  I pray
she was kidding about that part.  Surely,
there are still some sane men . . . I stop
the thought there, knowing better.  And still
this blatant Freudian expression astounds
me.  This beyond mundanely crass way to prolong
the vehicle as penis extension metaphor.  I began

to weep for want of irony.  A 4X4 passes,
ablaze in the latest rubber commando fashion.  “What
could be worse?” I wonder aloud
a moment before it registered:  
there was a woman driving that one.


Previously Published on bytheoverpass (Overpass Books) . . .

from Penguins this Calamity

Little birds in black
feathers that look like tuxedos,
clamber over each other and
the ice.  The crazy scene reminds me
of something from an old silent film. 
A Chaplain, The Three Stooges, even
The Keystone Cops.  Timeless
moments when comedy was visual,
more about chaos of motion than diuretic
diatribes to bodily functions.  I cannot
tear myself away from the insanity.  I watch
them waddle about for hours.


Previously Published on bytheoverpass (Overpass Books) . . .

Because Curiosity

suffered at the hands of those who already know,
the cat had to sacrifice too many of its lives.
(Though if the truth be known, it had far more
than nine).  It hired the dog, to aid in its defense,
the ferret to forage in underground
tunnels designed for ease of eavesdropping.  The five
years for transmission of  gossip without
intent to mock, it spent studying bootleg tabloids,
learned how to turn a buck legally, emerged
with a new mission, and a license to stick its whiskers
in everyone’s business that quickly became its life’s mantra:
Enquiring minds want to know. . .


Previously Published on bytheoverpass (Overpass Books) . . .

Cobble [Stoned] Courts

Nothing is solid today.  Not me.  Not
my mind.  Not the air swinging
from my lungs like a bloated baboon.
It is pounding my chest.  An overgrown
tickertape-bongo-ballast.  I walk its plank
blindly.  Counting the rails of my make-
shift cage as I pass through
my own thought.  Lagging, a pace,
my heart is too strong for the intellect
clawing at its bass.  It does not like
the categorizations of pros and cons.  Neat
and tidy is not natural.  Here in this cavern
of callouses, negotiations fall deaf[eningly
silent].  Shame on the sun for trying.
My patience is tweaked by its warmth,
but only slightly.  Slighted is a more familiar
glove.  And knocks me back into the black
before I can settle on any shape
of perforated [in]decision.


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Previously Published on Haiku for Lovers (Button Tapper Press) . . .

The perfect puzzle.
All of my pieces match yours.
We are one embrace.


Previously Published on The Burlesque Press Variety Show . . .

Waiting Room Rant

Yes, you may change the channel
on the community television. (Thank you
so much for not asking).  But it is not okay
for you to turn the volume to ear-bleeding decibels
in hopes of distracting from your daughter
using the chair between us as a trampoline
and screaming her abc’s as loud as her 6-year-old lungs
will let her.  I get it, you’re sick,
exhausted, and wishing (probably not for the first time)
you were not a single mother or maybe just not
a mother (the single part being incidental to you), longing
for the days when you could just die in bed in peace.
We second that dream, by the way, as you engross
yourself in the latest talk show bimbo’s babble
about who’s banging who in Hollywood this week
instead of reprimanding your child who has
now decided to graduate her self-
made Olympic trials from trampoline to hurdles.  My legs
and those of the three other women in the room serve
as the hurdles in question.  Only to extricate
yourself long enough to make a snide comment
about your daughter falling on her face
after tripping over “someone who should take more care
where they place their legs.”  As if
we can just detach them and move them off to the side
for convenience.  You go back
to your semi-conscious state as the receptionist calls
my name, completely unaware of how close
you came to pushing the wrong person’s button.  I debate
on telling you about the ponderings posed in my head
after reading the article in the magazine I just put
down that reminded me all state prison inmates get free
healthcare.  I smile, again, at the thought
as I disappear behind a one-way locked door.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Previously Published on The Broken City . . .

If De-Elevator Tries to Break You Down

Plug in2 the electric word:  Life.  It means forever,
and that’s a mighty long time to be someone
else’s shell/shadow/strung-out puppet.  Mister,
I have my own hand to shove up some anonymous . . . ask
me where I’m going and I’ll show you a place you’ll never see.
I am a diamond-studded time machine.  Going down? 
Too bad, I’m flying with the purple banana and have no desire
to learn how to drive a truck.  That’s why they call me Dr.
Everything’ll Be Alright.  My medicine is in the wind
and the wine.  It tastes like water if you push B for basement,
but lands you in the back seat of a little red corvette, going up
at a speed that does not know sound is supposed to have a barrier.

*Inspired by “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince,  Purple Rain, 1984.


Previously Published on Boy Slut . . .

Tears for Her

I found you tying your self in-
to burgundy knots of sheets
and pain.  Turning/burning/churning.
I watched the darkness breathe
for you.  Could not
the stammering stop the drowning?
Bubbles of blame blew through you.
([Wrongly] Labeled as misconstrued
communications.)  Failing
is more than an option now.  Though
broken is the pro-offered term.
Incorrect!  Assumptions
are so much harsher than the actual
face of the mirror's dark.

Previously Published on Boy Slut . . .


Green.  To orange.  Then blue.
Your eye magic charms glow.  Through me
you are alive.  Ageless and undefined,
you hang wingless in my mind.  My(?) angel.
You cannot be.  My world
is dying inside of me.  And mine
is not strong enough to be.  Without you,
this time-strangled heart cannot hold [on].
Yet another year's beating falls
outside of comprehension.  Listen
to the air.  It is heavier now.  Slowing
like [my] pulse.  Points
pounding nowhere through collapsing
veins.  Your touch pulls a gasp.  I grasp
at the silver threads trailing your fingers.
But still I cannot breathe when you lean
in and kiss.  Me?

Previously Published on Boy Slut . . .


ly trying to hang on.  To anything whole
in this field of fragmented, song-
like noises echo as whispers
on a pillow.  I fall through their depths.
Hoping their darker tonations will teach
me.  Peace is the desert
I long to drown in.  Spiteful.  Spirited.
Its blanding shades offer an oasis.
A fading, wavering, welcoming image.
Of [your] arms.  Shaped like home.

Previously Published on The Bond Street Review . . .

At Midnight

the lawn chair, in silhouette of my half-
sleep, resembled a deer for just a blink
as I rounded the corner of the house,
entered the yard.  I froze
in unintentional mimicry, caught
by my own vision.  Nerves settling
into the clarifying breeze, I continued
on, chuckling at my own confusion when
two fawn approached, wandered over,
sniffed the four-legged shadow . . .

Previously Published on Bohemia . . .

Because Mars

is electric, red, and resistant to changes
imposed by the time-space continuum,
it was the perfect place to build the alien
discothèque.   Planetary minions
flocked to its garish lightshow. 12-eyed Saturians
decked out in full John-Travolta-Saturday-Night-
Fever regalia glow like ghosts under the strobing
black-lit mirror ball.  The Uranian revival
of Donna Summer’s greatest hits streamed
through the Milky Way like a midnight meteor
shower.  There was a hesitant fear of cross-
contamination caused by so many sequins, but
precaution was thrown to the vacuum, when
the local black hole closed out of respect
for the blue-man group’s light-year tribute
to Abba.

Previously Published on Bohemia . . .

Beep Beep

squeals this feathered fury
of a dream as it leaves me
in the dust  of my latest
failure.  I am
emaciated, starving in this desert
where I should be king.  Animal
instincts flame inside
inadequate body.  I stare down
the path before me:  prey’s
elicited departure runway,
already erased by wind and tumble-
weed.  Lightbulb pops into frame
above my head.  I know
hopeless, even before it lands,
an ACME anvil, smashing me flat.

Flash Fiction Previously Published on Bohemia . . .

A Tisket, A Tasket

The green and yellow picnic basket stared at me from its perch on the hallway table.  I could hear it mocking me:  He was using you, you fool!  I ignored the taunt as I continued rummaging through the closet.

* * * * *

It started with a letter to my love.  I had written it carefully, an enticing invitation to embark on a scavenger hunt that would end at a secluded little spot in the forest where I planned to be waiting, romantic picnic all arranged.  I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

I left the letter on his doorstep, rang the bell.  I hid in the bushes to watch his reaction.  He smiled as he opened it.  I had to cover my mouth to suppress a school-girl giggle.  He pulled out his phone and dialed, “Darling!  I got your note.  Can’t wait to see what’s waiting for me at the end.”  With that, he closed the receiver, went back inside.

I hurried back to my car to check my messages.  My cell phone screen glared back at me:  No missed calls?  No missed calls!  That wasn’t possible.  I heard him make the call.  That’s when reality smacked me right across the face.  I hadn’t signed the letter.  It never occurred to me he would think it was from someone else.  There shouldn’t have been a someone else.  I started the car and headed for the finale’s destination. 

* * * * *

I actually shouted a triumphant “Aha!” as I emerged from the closet, shovel in hand.  I turned to the green and yellow picnic basket, noticed the bottom right corner was darkening, threatening to drip on the rug.  “Good thing I found this in time.”  It was my turn to mock the childish carrier.  “DNA on my carpet wouldn’t be very prudent now would it?”

I linked my arm through the handles as I headed for the door.  Practically skipping into the back woods, I couldn’t stop myself from singing a new version of my favorite childhood rhyme:

A tisket, a tasket,
a green and yellow basket.
I wrote a letter to my love
who pissed me off, I lost it.

I lost it, I lost it,
and now that little basket
is filled with pieces of my love
and buried like a casket!

Previously Published on The Blue Hour . . .

Sensing Sunflowers

Golden-seed children dance on
exaggerated limbs.  Field filled
with followers echoing movements
in wave of would-be smiles.  My mind
wanders with them across the wind.

I.  Seeing Sunflowers

Dark textured mouths, opened in
silent choral prayer and purse
of eminent awe.  These natural blonde
disciples trace path of fire-
god across the sky.  Bizarre,
clockwork ritual testing strength
of stem against Autumn’s breath.

II.  Hearing Sunflowers

Petals chitter, responsive
shudder against sunset, exhale in fabled
attempt to shake souls back
inside.  They echo, gilded
ghosts rattling invisible chains, inviting
footfall.  I answer automatically,
impulsively running, crashing
into their waiting embrace.

III.  Smelling Sunflowers

Subtle hint of seasonal change closes
around me.  Militant rows roar:  We are
different.  No need for overwhelming,
sickly blossomed bursts, ripe
enough to bottle.  Dime-share of diminutive
nut, dash of pollen, the only traces
the air dares to brush free.

IV.  Touching Sunflowers

Strange stalks confuse, tactility . . . unlabelable.  Faux-
fragile façade, difficult to break, pull. Cut
is required to topple these feather-headed harlots.
Harvest heralders, graceful
                                            ly falling, perfected
pictures of death’s bow.

V.  Tasting Sunflowers

Beheaded beads boil, toss in roasting
pan.  Pre-destined for packaging.
Snack for squirrels and dugout bench
warmers.  Split-shell spit, more
work than result, worth every bite
of calm repetitious swallow.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Previously Published on Blue Collar Review . . .

You’ve Got Mail

I remember the first time my computer chimed
those three little words.  It was intoxicating,
a new electronic drug.  I would race to the office,
excited to dive in, read, respond. 
This amazing telecommunications development
drastically cut down on telephone tie-up,
eliminated the need for counterproductive
five-hour meetings.  Unfortunately, I was not
the only addict.  Soon bosses and co-workers felt
the need to spam me their every half-formed thought,
and what used to be a friendly intonation
became a monotonous echo of exasperation.  The next
generation replaced vocabulary with notification tones,
gave us a choice of sounds to tell us our inbox was drowning
as progress became synonymous with paperless.  Attachments
poured in, piled up, mixed with spam that slipped
through filters, turned into nightmarish migraine.  I thought
it couldn’t get any worse, then the powers that be created
the phone app.  Now I hear that infuriating beep
on and off the clock.  Hell, I even hear it in my sleep.


Previously Published on Blog from the Bog . . .

There was a Gnat

in my toilet.  Just flying around
inside the bowl.  I tried to shoo it out.
Ignored, I flushed nothing, hoping
it would spook.  Finally, I could hold it
no longer, dropped my pants, prayed
it would not fly up my butt, then laughed
at the thought of the poor creatures surprise
when it gets hit with the first drops
of an unexpected golden shower.

Previously Published on Blog from the Bog . . .

Kneeling Before the Porcelain Throne

Corrosive waves
attack me from inside.
I am waiting for eruptive

Previously Published on Blog from the Bog . . .

I Am Toilet

paper, random roll of almost attached pieces,
thin as air.  Crumpled in fist, I become barely passable
tool to clean up, dislodge random shit.  I am raw,
irritating, a pain in the ass.  I am disposable,
dropped and forgotten with every flush.

Previously Published on BlazeVox Online Journal . . .

The Elastic Gait of a Memory

The rain is like a screw,
twisting its sound to undertake the moon.
It settles, a kinder tension – ash-like
in its accrual.  It abstracts the steps
of pressure.  Every
a re-active response.  Trigger
is the echo of elemental automation:  Midnight’s cloud

A new filter formulates . . .

adjusts/converts/segments nothing
more than the dusty expression
of a star’s silent stare.


Previously Published on BlazeVox Online Journal . . .


Skydiving naked in a mind field
ing moonbeams like bullets (matrix
style – all slow-motion black
patent sexy), I dial escape.  Screaming
winds respond with a synthesized version
of my own voice that could never be
described as an echo.  Thank god
for rip cords.  Way to overstate
the obvious.  I swallow
our mutual fear, continue
to free
into this quasi-dark
ness that doesn’t feel anything
like sleep.


Previously Published on BlazeVox Online Journal . . .

Esoterical Space

belies physics.
Gravity.  Comprehension
falters.  In a blink
minds divide.  The law
from the logic.  Sink
ing metaphysical teeth
into loopholes that cannot hold
anything. (But their weight
in water?)  Obsoletrical observations
about inside the idea
of institutionalism.  That's why
the bars are banded in
shades of 3 X 3 X 4.  The doors
are all left open.  It is
freedom.  That is the lie.


Previously Published on Bitterzoet Magazine . . .

The Shadow of a Window

is a cage, an impenetrable cell
my mind cannot escape.  The edges waver,
whisper like ghosts from corners of a hell
I can only imagine.  I tuck my legs
tighter beneath me, shrink within its frame.
It forces me smaller, smaller, smaller.
Soon I will be gone.


Previously Published on Bitterzoet Magazine . . .

I Am Dandelion

Unwanted weed, thriving against tended grains of green.
I resist every attempt at extraction.  Caustic sprays, repeated
attempts at diminishment, disintegration fail against a head
that chooses to live without ears.  I feed on frustration,
but tire quickly of repetitious scene.  I allow my hair to whiten,
mimic absence, before giving myself to whim of wind. 
I disperse, leaving nothing but random seed, a lone memory
that may or may not take root.


Previously Published on Big River Poetry Review . . .

I Am Two

halves of the same black
hole.  Tearing at my own skin,
the first dreams of being
a star, wishes for a radiant side
to project outward.  To breathe
in continuum, stretch myself
across a millennium of light years.

The other piece is cold,
reticent, prefers the somber
solace of absence, believes
emptiness is universal.
Echoing nothing is a talent
I have honed like a smile. 
Without teeth, I devour my own
tomorrow, grateful
the gift of darkness is eternal
and does not give a damn
how loud any clock ticks.


Previously Published on Bigger Stones . . .

Automatic Poetry Machine

[Insert random conversational text
here.  Please.]

No subject
is too monumental or arbitrary. 
No cohesion is required.  Tired
brain?  Empty head?  No worries,
just enter random words.  Press
send when finished, then wait.

I process all prompts promptly.  Shake
things up, turn them sideways.  Dance
them on their heads through mine.  Images
playing at wanting
to become concrete.

I regurgitate, recycle.  Shiny fresh
ideas you never knew
you already had.


Previously Published on Beat the Dust and Tales to Terrify. . .

When Night Shows its Fangs

A monstrous shadow, with the illusion of small, hard wings flapping at its shoulders
descended into my vision like a living nightmare.  I could not blink
as my eyelids were missing.  Evaporated was the word
echoing through this encapsulation.  I
was the jellified victim of my own
legacy.  Pluck one,
bleed two.  Thousands of imaginary
carrion companions parade before silence.
Cacophony gives way to ghostly emptiness.  This place
where memories wear me like a skinned skeleton.  I rattle externally,
dripping regret like coagulated flesh-cycles.  I am waiting for the sun to thaw me gone.

*first line is the ending line of the novel, Candlenight, by Phil Rickman

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Joint Chapbook (with April Salzano) Published on Barometric Pressures Author Series . . .

Flash Fiction Previously Published on Bare Fiction Magazine . . .

Counting Backwards to Truly Awake

I fall asleep in the hands of a clock that ticks backwards.  I find the counter motion comforting as I regress into dreams of the past (sometimes even mine).  I welcome the variation, it keeps me coming back, night after night, even though I am never tired. 

Tonight my eyes close on visions of a recognizable childhood.  Parents and pets have names I do not have to fabricate.  I let them pass through my fingers, soothing sensations of something almost tangible.  I giggle, pretending it tickles more than my fancy to walk past this psychological conveyor of ghostly images.  Laughter stops the flow.  I am twelve, dancing with my two best friends in a bedroom that was not mine.  We were dressed up in electric colors, holding spatulas as microphones.  We were miniature Madonnas, ready for our million-dollar contracts.  We did not understand what it meant to sing off key.

Hourly chime shattered the image, replaced it with another.  This one fell like a blanket.  Snow, piles of it lay in waiting for an overstuffed-suit and boots with eyes to come running, crashing through it.  Behind me a tiny puppy, all black fur and paws two times too big for its body mimicked my every move as best as he could.  All that could be seen of us was hat tassels and tail.  We were consumed by icy white.  Our laughter seemed frozen around me for more than a few moments, continued to linger even as invisible hands forced me further back, years elapsing with every footstep.

I stopped again, when something shiny caught my eye.  A tiny tiara, prize for petite perfection, smiled back from a home-made trophy case.  I was now five, and my mother dressed me like a lacy sailor.  I charmed three anonymous faces.  Judges.  Of what? I wondered, but continued to tell them a story about helping my father fix his car.  They laughed and made notes, later announced my name.  I had to stop playing to collect the rhinestone crown, never fully understanding what it was for.

Suddenly it was dawn, and I could follow myself no further.  I opened my eyes, reborn to reality.  Today I would breathe a little lighter knowing no matter how many times I abandon myself, all I have to do is close my eyes and wait for my own return.


Previously Published on Bare Back Magazine . . .

Peep Show

I am their by-the-minute-baby-angel-
kitten.  I purr appropriately
every time they slide filthy singles
through the slot.  They raise my curtain,
I raise their full-flag salute.  Exposed
and pressed against the glass, they pant
at the possibilities.  I pose,
slowly, revealing hints
of what they will never have, but dream
they can.  Eventually, I open
myself to their fantasies.  They cannot slip
their money in fast enough to keep me.  Still
open, I pause, wait for them to catch up.
They pay extra for me to watch them
finish.  I mimic their momentum,
if not their enthusiasm.  Pretend
the show was reversed, that my climax was
more than the collection of cash
spread beneath my feet.

( (warning -- adult content site)

Previously Published on The Autumn Sound Review . . .

Meadow’s Dance

Mellow shades of morning melt
into and over each other.  Grass-like arms
stretch to embrace folding yellow rays.  The sun
lands softly, kisses petals’ tips.  They erupt,
giggles of pink, shivering in the wind.

Flash Fiction Previously Published on Apocryph and Abstractions . . .

A Tale of Two:  Kamikaze Wings

I drove a flamingo to the perceived edge of the world to see if we would fall off.  We did not end.  Our journey continued past the red-buoyed warnings, my legs pedaling, wishing they were wings.  Air is so much easier to traverse than water, less natural resistance.  The sleek pink giant offered no assistance or caution, just willingly worked its wave through the waves. 

I grew tired after awhile, but the stoic expression of my voyage companion motivated me.  Unreasonable defiance was my stick.  I would find a way to wipe that Mona-Lisa-Know-It-All-Grin off its beak if I had to build a sandblaster.  I pedaled harder, my legs no longer registering feeling.  My muscles became liquid as the water that tried to force us back to a beginning that was no longer in sight.  Hours passed.  Then days, weeks.  Time lost all meaning as did trivial terminology like pain and progress. 

Suddenly we struck land.  An expanse of sand sideswiped us.  (Focus too had abandoned us eons ago).  I wanted to get out, give up on this mission of migration, but the bird was still flipping me its accusatory grin, and my legs no longer believed solid belonged beneath their feet.  Sitting there in the spotlight of another morning’s sun, I suddenly understood we had already survived one pre-destined mythical death.  Encouraged,  I turned my feathered vessel around, pointed collective minds toward the celestial body that burned. 

We took off at a different pace, intent on flight.  This time our journey would be about height, not distance.  Both of us were curious to see how high we could get before something started to melt.

Previously Published in Epigraph . . .

To Spin Or Not To Spin Static transporter taunts me infinitely across a room of mirrors, reminders of necessity.  Cold motivators of perpetu...