Published: Heroin Love Songs XI

It is my great pleasure to be published in Heroin Love Songs XI, both online and soon to be in print. My poems Cracked Roads and Empty Skies, I’ll Lose It All in the End, The Wisdom of Johnny Cash, and W to the Third Power are available for viewing at Heroin Love Songs. Please stop by and read all the amazing work by other featured poets as well and support small press when the print version comes out. These zines are a labor of love for most editors and they appreciate your support. Thanks to Jack Henry for including me in this issue.

Published: Anthology: the flower shop on the corner from Red Penguin Collective

I am happy to announce my poem “Lofty Notes of Pine” appears in the anthology “the flower shop on the corner” from Red Penguin Collective. It is an anthology full of poems based on and around nature. You can pick it up on Amazon here for $3.99. It is 112 pages of poetry. Thank you for supporting writers and poetry.

Book Review: Poetry: rel[am]ent by Jamison Crabtree

I’m not sure where I found this book of poetry by Jamison Crabtree, or how long ago it was, but I finally got around to finishing it. The book rel[am]ent is divided into sections of laments to various universal monsters with a large poem in the center called “golem” and finishes with “relent.”

Themed books of poetry are a risk and often I am not willing to take such a risk. I like poems that fit together, but I am never sure how the public feels about these things. In my own life I have created several collections based on themes, but I have not felt comfortable releasing them into the world. This collection of poems by Jamison Crabtree works on several levels. He writes laments for characters of movies that multi-generations can identify with like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Blob.

The reader, by title alone, arrives with preconceived notions based on how well they know each of the characters, but then they get surprised by how connected yet disconnected the poems are to each of them. The writer interjects himself into the role of each character as if he were in the room with them, thus morphing the lament into something more personal.

There are great individual lines and stanzas encapsulated in this book, but on a whole there were only three poems in their entirety that touched me. The pieces of the poems that I enjoyed cut me and gave me something to think about however when surrounded by words that were less than connected or intense, it made the poem in its entirety fall a bit flat for me.

I think this is a collection that will hit people in different places depending on their experiences and background. It reminds me of the type of poetry I wrote in college in the early 90s where life ticked by in fractured light and poems felt like clips of film shown out of order or with the sound reel missing. This collection provided me with nostalgia on two levels.

Jamison Crabtree’s rel[am]ent can be found at The Word Works. He was the winner of the 2014 Washington Prize.

“lament for dracula”

you carve ghosts into bus-stop benches
you, to cry into the barrel of your guns.

we can live forever among our wrong loves

if we can grieve, if we believe we are capable

of any real grief (no, we are not.)

Published: South Shore Review

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

I have the distinct pleasure of being a part of a wonderful new literary magazine called South Shore Review. It is based in Nova Scotia and is filled with great fiction, essays, non-fiction, and poetry. It features beautiful photographs and art. If you would like to read my poem, “Our Labored Breaths,” then click the hyperlinked title. They do have a tip jar linked to the website if you’d like to contribute to the work they do.

Thank you for reading.

Poem: I Once Dreamed of Bob Dylan

I’m pulling this one out of the way back machine. It was originally written in 2008 and published somewhere, though the place escapes me without searching records. I’ve always loved the power of dreams to tell me something about myself. I can still remember this dream even though it has been 13 years. I hope you enjoy.

I once dreamed of Bob Dylan

I once dreamed of Bob Dylan
in a tree house, one walled,
and built from looking glass.

The old man spoke to me
as leaves colored like imminent death
drifted and swirled, their reflection
a knowing torture, and he said 

                                                   blankly:

“You must walk the highway
to get to the by-way.”

I blinked twice,
flashing sea stones
at his face (cracked and dried
like mud in noon sun)
as he pointed to the lines on mine
that had not  been written yet.

Poem: The Fine Art of Vigilance

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

The Fine Art of Vigilance

This replication, this hidden secret 
beneath my skin unlocked by 
the sun has me searching 
for shade and shadows.

Everything that grows
needs light and warmth.
It’s a power we all
take for granted.

I feel my mind fall into obsession
about times of day and UV index
about covering every inch of my body.

A hole in my face slowly fills in
with new skin and new life, the margins
deemed clean but suspicion lingers.
What happened once, can happen again.

Purple circles outline more areas of worry
like small targets the universe has given me
to remember the fine art of vigilance.
No more long walks on the beach
or sun filled moments in any season
or carefree days taken by the hand at whim.

There are only hats
                        and SPF
                        and being unfashionably
                                                        overdressed.

Poem: this is somehow sad and beautiful

Photograph by Aleathia Drehmer

This is somehow sad and beautiful

I realized no one has missed me
or my words as I faded from the poetry scene
silently as I arrived.
                No one noticed I was gone
                no one knocking at my door
                  or requesting anything of me.

I had settled into my life before
where poems rushed out
because I would die if they stayed;
                no longer writing to be seen
                  or heard, after so many years of invisibility.

I miss them sometimes,
the writers and the connection
and the sense I belonged
to something greater than myself.

Most of them are in the same place I left them,
huddled in a café reading or putting out meager books.
                No one has made it
                    like we all dreamed we would.

Publishing Updates

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

I don’t have any official links to share with you at this time, but I would like to put a bug in your ear about upcoming publications I will appear in.

My poem “You Don’t Get to Win This Time” will appear in the inaugural edition of Misfit Quill.

My poems “The Language of Flowers” and “The Night Tiger” will appear in the inaugural edition of The Last Day of the Year Poetry.

My poems “The Fine Line” and “Filthy,” as well as my short story “Rancid Meat Fingers” will appear in the inaugural edition of Rogue Wolf Press. I will also have several photographs in that publication.

I will be sure to do official postings once all of these are live. Support small press and small press writers. We all want to swim in the big pond someday.