Thoughts and Prayers – poem

I thank you for your thoughts and prayers

And for your deep and heartfelt cares

I think you for your loving god

And your sad and knowing nod

 

I thank you for your status postings

I thank you for your righteous boasting

I want to thank you, oh so much

For the virtual hand and offered touch

 

I think your care is so divine

I think your outlook is mostly fine

You sort of get it mostly right

To say that it’s your right to fight

For things you want and need and have

Despite though wound gone through my calve

 

I appreciate your want to save

Our country from the rights we gave

To men of power, men of right,

Men who with far too narrowed sight

 

I respect the reasons why you fear

People who don’t live close or near

People darker than your friends

People different than your trends

 

I guess I am just different

And see a stranger world

Where people aren’t afraid to walk

Without pistols gripped with pearl

 

I see people as they are

Balls of fucking shit

Made of glass and fragile yes,

But also hard as steel

People who will give a hand and offer up

An openness of heart

People who don’t need to show

Their open carried arms

 

I thank you for the fuck you gave

As you drove on by

Making sure to see our blood

With every inch of eye

I might ask you, as you leave

Just one wee little thing

To stop with all the fucking prayers

Which you never fucking mean

Creepy Peepy Outtakes, Oh My!

When putting together an upcoming author event with our horror group I had created the flier and image to be posted. I am super hard on my artistic ability though and scrapped it to do a photo instead. These are a few of the pics we didn’t use.

I took a bunch because it’s fun to shoot with blood.

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NEVER SEEN

I have been writing stories since I was a teenager. That means about 26 years now. That’s a lot of stories. With as many shows as I have done I know that my stories have gotten out there. Not to a lot of people but to some, and that’s better than none. Far better. I never had anything get popular or anything, nothing really spread out far and wide, but it’s been great just being able to get my work out there. I have come to grips though with the fact that when I am gone, so too will my writing be gone. It’s a sad thought as we’d like to think that our art outlives us but for some of us, that isn’t always the case. The HOPE is that my words, my ideas, and my stories have inspired or freaked out a few people. That’s pretty awesome. That is pretty powerful. But within five years of my death my words will be resigned to a few books on a few shelves and within ten years I will be gone save for the whispers of my name by whomever may remember me.

It’s a sobering thought.

A sad thought.
But one that I came to grips with.

I have written several hundred stories and a few books.

No one will read them all.

When I am gone there are probably two hundred or more stories that will never have been published, more if it’s further away than today. There are a lot on my blog but more that just never were seen.

Writers always talk about their abandoned babies, the stories and books that shouldn’t be out in the wild. I get that idea, because we all want to have our best faces forward, our best works seen. But to me nothing NEEDS to be abandoned. Work can be re-tooled. Re-written. Gutted. I think that happens more than we hear about.

But we’ll never see everything from an artist.

Never hear every song.

Or see every painting.

Our desire to leave a good legacy outweighs the need to force everything out.

Leave it to the artistic archeologists to find the hidden gems.

It is weird though, to think in terms of the things that will never been seen.

That has served as a rider at my back, driving me forward for a few years now.

That was why The Meep Sheep books were finished. Why the ‘damned novel’ was finished.

Why the zombie book was finished.

I wanted the lost dogs on my farm to find homes.

If I ever finish the last novel that’d clear away the stuff on my ledgers save for the stories that were never collected but to put them out for the vanity of putting them out is silly.

I don’t want to be a parody of myself.

Happy to have fifty books out, none of which sell.

Naw.

Things will be what they will be.

A lot will go unseen, like our own hearts, much will never be seen.

But we go on, to those that loved us, those that we inspired, and those we disappointed.

We will go on to those that were touched by our work and those that turned away from it.

And in time we will fade away, not because we were any less important, and not because our work was any less powerful, but because there has to be room for the next dreamers, and artists, and doers.

There has to be room for everyone else.

So I won’t mourn that no one will have read all of my stories, good, bad, and weird, but will celebrate instead those few that have read what they have.

 

Thank you.

 

…c…

Chair – a story

Short story that popped in my head last night. First draft. No spell check. Abandon hope…

I was lost when I left the service. For six years of my life I had only known regimine. Discipline. Direction. I knew when to get up, when to go to bed, and I knew my schedule in between. Even when we were overseas I had a structure that kept me in place and kept me on the path forward.
Before…
Before the service was a blur.
A hazy memory of lost moments and stacked regrets.
The service saved me.
The only way to honor that salvation was to commit myself to it fully.
For as long as it’d have me.
Six years.
Sure, they would find a place for me, somewhere, behind a desk, helping other cripples, but it wasn’t service.
It wasn’t salvation.
A mistake.
A stupid, goddamned mistake.
And here I was.
Home, to a small town that never had felt like home but it was an address.
It was a family that cared and a bed and day one.
Day One.
That was what they called the rehabilitation process for both drugs and disability.
Day One.
I was at month 74 and day 62 and counting.
But every day was Day One.
That was the truth.

I had to make routine for myself.
Make regimine.
I had to make boundaries because if I didn’t then I would stray and if I strayed…
So every morning I went for a walk.
It was painful and slow but I heeded the words they told me in rehab ‘Make the prosthesis your new limb. Make it part of your body’.
So I did.
I worked with it, not against it.
The more I learned to work within its restrictions the better I was able to move. I spent much of my days at rehab but the walks were different. I didn’t push myself. I didn’t drive myself. No. This was about getting up and getting out. It was about getting to know the neighborhood again, its scents, sights, sounds, and suburban American personality.
I had been overseas for two years when the accident happened and it was strange to be back within these American rhythms.
It felt strange but good.
So I walked.
I would leave the house at 6AM and head down through my cul-de-sac, down the street, past the elementary school, and back into the woods. Each day I pushed myself further and further until I saw the old chair in the woods. That was my signpost.

It was old, and plastic, and blue. It must have been an old chair from the school. Grabbed from the trash and brought out here for reasons I couldn’t figure. The were covered in webbing but the seat was clean. Every day I would go for my walk and every day I would make up a new story about the chair.
It was a hunter’s chair, as they sat silently waiting for prey.
It was a bird watcher’s perch as they looked for a mystery finch.
It was a nature lover’s secret spot to commune with the world of trees and animals.
It was a cool down place for an angry kid, when things got rough.
It was…
The more times I saw the chair the darker the ideas got. It went from odd, to strange, to weird, to creepy.
I didn’t like it, that chair.
Harmless as it was.
Slowly I came to hate it.
Why was it there?
Who used it?
What did they do out here, so far from everything?
Why.
Was.
It.
Here.

I started walking in May and by July had noticed that the cobwebs had started to form on the chair. Leaves and bird shit and other debris from the woods were starting to gather on the seat and suddenly I wondered – what changed?
What had changed so that the chair was forgotten?

As July became August I forgot about the chair. It was now just another part of the woods, like the old bed someone had left in the brush, or the sink I had seen once when taking a leak. The woods were full of strange things people would just toss or drag out there. Who knows why they did it, though I am sure most of it was just people doing the work to throw this stuff here rather than the work to throw them out where they should. It was silly and typical and it wasn’t an American thing, it was a human thing.
If there was one thing we were good at it was fucking up a beautiful thing.

I had all but forgotten the chair, having a new goal further into the woods, but then one day I glanced over at it and saw it was clean again. Even the legs, which someone had actually painted black. The whole chair was painted. All of it. I left the trail and walked over to it an7d saw two cans of black spray paint. Flat Black. With the paint was a crumpled beer can. I leaned towards the chair and the smell was strong. I didn’t make it out for a walk the day before, my mom needing me to help her with a project, so it must have been done then.
But why?
And who?

I got back on the trail and started moving again but couldn’t get the chair out of my mind. What had changed. It was the end of August. The end of a hot, dry summer. Where had this person been and why were they back?

I couldn’t shake the chair from my mind.
That creepy feeling it gave me deepened.
Maybe it was someone else.
Someone new.
Or maybe someone had just gotten a little more interested in that chair.

Three days after I noticed the paint I noticed a pad on the chair’s seat. Two days later there was an old tackle box beneath the chair. I tried to ignore it but curiosity got the better of me. Something I was trained to not let take hold. If you let curiosity take hold of you then you got a bullet in the gut, or a bomb in the face.
Or worse.

On the way back I stopped and looked around once, twice, then a third time and sat down in the chair and reached under it and grabbed the tackle box. I expected a lock on it but was surprised to see that it opened easily and I snapped the clasp free and opened it. It was inocuous enough – napkins, hand cream, a small pair of binoculars, and a pocket knife. I pulled the napkins out and found a small roll of black duct tape. Nothing scary. Nothing revelatory. Just stuff. But why?
I sat back in the chair, the tackle box in my lap and I looked out through the forest and saw that branches had been cut away, in my line of sight, clearing a path that lead to a clearing that opened out on the playground of the elementary school. There were still some branches in place and I immediately knew the look of cover, of something done deliberately to cover something, or someone, while leaving an opening to see out.
I looked into the box again and thought about its contents.
I thought about the knife.
I looked out again and saw a child run towards the swings and start swinging.
I thought about that duct tape.
School was slated to start the next day.
I closed the box and put it back underneath the chair and started the long walk back home.

I didn’t go to rehab, begging off due to a sick stomach. They gave me shit but not much. Mom and dad were at work so I was alone. I got home and went to the shower and thought about that chair and the box beneath it as the hot water poured over me. There were a lot of things in my head but I kept coming back to that box, and that knife, and that duct tape. Maybe if I went to the cops something would be done. Maybe not. Maybe life is a winding path that twists and turns and once in a while takes you to a place where you are meant to be, you, and no one else. A place were you, and only you, can do something. By the time I had toweled off my mind was made up.
I didn’t have a choice.

I snuck out well past midnight. Two in the morning. I knew the path well enough not to need a flashlight until the last minute but I was lucky and had a bright moon to guide me. Some things are just meant to be I suppose. The bag I had put together wasn’t heavy and gave me a sort of reassurance as I made my way slowly towards the woods. Once I was into the woods I pulled a small but bright flashlight out and made my way to the chair. It was two-thirty when I made it there and I immediately noticed another box beneath the chair. This one cardboard with one flap sticking up, almost demanding I look inside.
I didn’t.
I had seen enough.

I unshouldered the backpack and sat down in the chair as I got out what I needed and got to work.

I removed my left leg to get down onto the ground and that helped drive me. The ground was cold and wet and with the sounds of the woods and the moon above I fell back into my training. First I pulled out a small saw and sawed through both back legs of the chair. Not completely but enough so that any weight would send the chair backwards and the person in it right with it.

Next I dug the hole. Four feet long, four feet wide, four feet deep. I had dug more holes than I could even count anymore so the work went quick and felt good. When it was done I strapped my leg back on and pulled a collapseable bucket from the bag and started moving the dirt far enough away from the chair so that you couldn’t see it easily. When that was done I looked at my watch and saw it was five. I had to work quick. I found some sticks and pulled a knife from a holster on my belt. I refused to use the knife that was here. Once the sticks were sharpened I removed my leg again and dropped down to the edge of the hole and carefully pushed the sticks into the hole. Deep, deeper, deepest and good. Four sticks. All sharp. I crawled over to the bag and pulled out my dad’s camouflage netting he used to cover his hunting hutch and I spread that out over the hole then carefully moved some branches and dirt onto it. It wasn’t great but I had a feeling this guy wasn’t going to be looking for anything. He was too caught up. There were storms coming in three days and if he didn’t come the whole thing would be ruined. I had a hunch though he’d be here. Today. I strapped my leg back on, put everything back where it was meant to be and checked and double checked the area before I started walking back home.

I was home just before six and after I dropped the bag in my room I stripped everything off and got into the shower and let myself smile for the first time. After the shower I got into bed nude, loving the feel of the clean sheets against my body as the cool morning air slipped in through my window. I fell asleep and dreamt of that chair, and the woods, and of screaming, so much screaming.
But he wouldn’t scream.
No.
And when after I found him no one would ever see him again.
Or that goddamned chair.
Today, today was Day One.

…c…

(Hey, if you dug this, check my other fiction on here or take a look at one of my books for sale!)

FLAW – a poem

I have challenged myself to write something new for the blog every week. Some small slice of something to keep the machinery greased. This would be an attempt at a poem, poetry not being a strong suit. It’s a first draft, like most things I post on here, and so it will reflect that. 

From darkest dream we came to seem, we things of blood and dirt.

From desperate days of pain and hurt.

We come to whisper, harm, and haunt.

We come to watch, and laugh, and taunt.

We are the blackest part of night, the gloom before the dawn.

We are the rush of joy that leads the blade,

We are the nodding head as grim minds are made.

We choked in you the nursery and push you towards the grave.

We are the monsters that made you and to unmaking are we slaves.

We push the button, and pull the knife, and load the heavy gun.

We drop the dirt and pull the switch when doing is all done.

We are your shadow self, my friend, there’s no escaping us.

Just close your eyes and put out your throat and please don’t make a fuss.

We’re here to set you free again, your soul to take its flight.

We’re here to set you free again, into forever night.

Damned to watch us from above as we watch from below.

Damned to never stop our hands and damned to always know.

I wish I could tell you something sweet and made of cake,

Alas the words would die on birth and be nothing but fake.

You’re doomed you know, to walk this earth, a living-dying fraud,

Born to pull in all the dirt through which in life you clawed.

You rise in shit, you die in shit, in shit you build your grave,

And it’s we who are the ones that laugh from safe within our cave.

We are your brethren, can’t you see, day unto your dark,

We are the beast, oh can’t you see, and from us you got the mark.

Oh we, oh we, oh we I say when really, it’s just me.

It’s I that set you free.

There was no apple, no man and wife, and you see there was no tree.

No one above, no one below, no one hidden from sight.

I was right there in your mirrored stare, forever holding tight.

Together are we wed to death, you monsters and your da’.

For when the spool of time runs out and all you are is ka,

It’s only then that you’ll hear of wonders filled with awe.

It’s only then I’ll say your names and wipe you of your flaw.

The flaw of every one of you that stalks this little ball, the flaw innate within all things that has a human paw.

…c…

Broken Hearts

He is splayed out across the ground with his hands outstretched above his head. His eyes are closed and lips are open slightly. His body is twisted slightly, as if he is waiting for his wings to unfurl and his legs lay twisted in the other direction than his bodym ready for flight.
My angel.
Fallen.
Perfect and broken.
Shattered and gorgeous.
Waiting for resurrection.
A second coming.
I kneel beside him, a crown of red upon my brow as I bend to see to his needs.
He is silent before me, a tremor of blessing running through him as his own crown forms beneath his head and across the asphalt.
Around us is the clamor of voices.
Shouts.
Screams.
I drop my body on his to shield him but they are on us both, pulling, grabbing, and tearing at us.
I scream to the heavens and receive blood in response as an errant fist is sent into my face.
I collapse backwards and feel firm hands holding me.
Keeping me away from him.
They pull open his shirt, buttons arcing through the air.
They pull down his pants.
One of them smears blood from the wound on his head across his mouth as makeshift lipstick.
The world blurs and I am pushed down, face against the ground, my face covered in blood and mud and the weight of them pushes me hard onto the parking lot as the cars stand silent sentry to the assault.
He had told me not to cut through the back parkin glot and I knew he was right but it was Friday, it was Spring Break, and I wanted to be with him, away with him, our hands and bodies entwined in the darkness. Alone in our blasphemous divinity.
I turn my head so I can see, so I can see him and see him revealed, raped by their eyes and the lie of his body shown in the blinding sunlight.
His body defying his heart.
His mind.
His will.
His breasts fondled by calloused hands.
His vagina shown.
Laughter and cheers as he wakes to find himself so vulnerable.
Fully naked and prone.
Angel fallen into flame.
Christ murdered for being different.
A teenager mauled by the dogs of hate.
I feel a fist slam into the side of my head.
A kick into my side.
I collapse, crying.
There is no fight left in me.
A shout from on far and the crowd starts to disappear between and in cars and I see that the hundreds of people I thought I saw were really eight teen boys.
One of the physical education teachers lopes up to the scene of the crime and looks around and then down at us.
He spits near my head.
“Clean yourselves up. Go home. Christ…”
He spits again and shakes his head then leaves and I am alone with my love.
I crawl slowly to him and he is crying, trying to cover himself and his body is covered in red.
Be-lated Valentines forced on us.
Gifts we never asked for, like the lives we found ourselves in.
I pulled his clothes back onto him and helped him up and slowly, so slowly we got up and started towards home, towards the darkness, and towards the holy perfection we found in one another’s arms.

…c…

DOORS – a story

I had been looking for the first door since I was ten, and watched my aunt walk through a black door in the field before her house. This was only a month after my uncle had killed himself. Auntie Kelly and Uncle Rowan had been inseparable and when his lifelong depression lead him to an old gun that misfired and took half of his head off, leaving him alive for two weeks after his attempt, the whole world collapsed beneath Aunt Kelly’s feet.

I think as soon as the flat line sounded on that monitor at the hospital her mind was made up – she wouldn’t live without him.

Continue reading “DOORS – a story”