Published—”Boar Song”

My poem, “Boar Song” published in Ink & Voices, an online publication devoted to “unapologetic expression, unedited art.” The magazine seeks to provide a space for “humanness” and has a predilection for the “honest, raw, and original.” My poem, about how my wife turns goblinesque when I tickle her, was an attempt to express my adoration without convention or praise-filled language. I couldn’t have found a better venue to publish.

Published—”Like Flies, Like Lights”

This isn’t my publication, but my wife’s. “Life Flies, Like Lights,” which published in Nowhere.Ink, is a dreamy spelunk into a maze of madness or what might be the halls of the dead. I have no idea, actually, but it’s still freaky, especially the line “All around me are sounds like suppressed laughter in mausoleums, like bouts of applause, like flies on a cat corpse in summer.”

Anyway, I’m so proud of J. Motoki and the products of her horrifying brain.

Nowhere.Ink is a digital collaborative devoted to dark minds and cooperation over competition. Its members have several outlets. Polished pieces go in their Library (like my wife’s) while anyone can post prose or poetry to the Facebook page. Then there’s other worlds like Twitter and their Red Light District.

Actually, my wife and I have a little history with the collab. We, along with its creators, used to post to a literature platform called Prose.

That site went south, forgetting its manners and indulging in toxic utilitarianism. Lost were Partners and $100 weekly contests; found were advertisements, random rules, and Prose Gold, a pay-to-be-a-partner subscription service. Suddenly good writing wasn’t based on its popularity but how much you could pay.

There was also a (now-infamous) Simon and Schuster challenge where fifty stories were picked from 500+ entries and submitted to S&S for review. Some of the entries “selected” were written by the Prose judges themselves, a little bit of unethical behavior that did not go unnoticed. (My piece, Iron Abbie, was also chosen, and I add that only to establish that I’m not bitter for losing.)

The first generation who’d given Prose its style split away. Luckily, Tony Cavanagh and Amanda Cary, two brilliant contributors to Prose, gave some direction to the Great Migration. They created an alternate platform, a place devoted to the exercise and excitement of writing. Funny enough, the “nowhere” in Nowhere.Ink comes from Tony’s old Prose handle—Miles Nowhere.

Fiction—”Duck Marston”

[A literary quickie for Valentine’s Day.]

Duck Marston ran home and kissed his wife and patted his daughter’s head and asked them both: “Be Mine?” It was Valentine’s, that nasty holiday of love making, and despite all the chocolates and flowers Duck had brought, his women gave him little attention. The wife turned away so he kissed her by the ear, almost inhaling an orange ball of wax. His daughter took his pats like a surly dog and bit three of his fingers. The chocolates they threw away—“We’re dieting, remember?” The flowers went in compost. The girls were too disgusted by this desperate mewling man to explain that flowers were just twenty dollars to watch something die, and they already had front row seats—free of charge—to his life.

[Click here for “A Few Valentine’s Day Literary Cards.”]

[Click here for “everything you need to know about my love life in haiku.”]

Nonfiction—”The Elemental Darkness”

My philosophy is a lone night, with the wife far-flung on the couch watching videos about tape worms. I’ve gone to bed early, and the rain is caught by the tree canopy, except for a black fall from the roof that taps the cement. In the dark it could be the crackle of fire. My philosophy is my beating heart compared to her’s. I can only imagine she still lives, eyes fixed on the doctor’s spool, trapped by elemental darkness.

Nonfiction—”Snakes and Spiders”

When I wake, the cats are at the door – they want to slip into bed and lie in my warm vacancy. One is black with a teacup on her chest, the other gray as elephant’s breath with muted stripes. In the darkness, I fumble against their fur, locating rump, scruff, finally head, and I pet what I can find until they roll over and expose their tummies – a trap. Under the bluing shade of early morning they are furry dead spiders.

Cats aren’t the only parasite squirming in the bedwaters – my wife, snorting like the Union Pacific, snakes her cold fingers and toes toward me, seeking flickers of heat like sausages over a campfire.

Shower. Toothpaste. Size 40 pants instead of last year’s 38. An XLT button-down that’s starting to hug. The cats follow me to the living room as I pick up a satchel and keys. Jenny lets me pet her back – she has a funny habit of bursting forward when my hand reaches her tail, to circle around for another run. Remy sits on the couch, feet tucked under his chest like a chicken in a coop. I think of saying goodbye to the snoring pile of hair in the other room, but my wife doesn’t work until 9. Still, what if I never see her again?

I open the door and step into a world devoid of Julie and Jenny and Remy and the little routines of morning before the light.