my writing

before/after the streetlights (a poemy thing)

When I was a kid, I was a bit obsessed with streetlights. Not just because I was allowed to stay out till just past the time when they came on, but for other reasons…harder to explain reasons. Imagery from the Book of Revelations via terrifying sermons, post-apocalyptic scenes courtesy of 80’s sci-fi shows and movies, and sci-fi odds and ends from books and school all mingled in my mind to give me thinky-thoughts. I would look up at the streetlights with their buzzing, orange light and wonder–what would it take to turn off all the lights in the world? If that thing happened, would they all go out at once, a sudden there-then-not kind of thing? As I grew and my understanding of the world (power grids, physics, post-apocalyptic narratives stemming from post Cold War tensions and the 80’s Star Wars propaganda) matured, I started to see that these things that preoccupied me as a kid were still pretty scary. These things come out even now in my poetry and fiction. Streetlights, powerlines stretching for miles over grassy fields, windmills with their blinking red pilot lights, the kinds of strange machinery and structures I’d see at the edges of the military bases and the Port Authority where I grew up all blend together with my young mind’s questions, creating this personalized, complex iconography of tech. To this day, I write about when the streetlights go out. To this day, I still get chills thinking about it. I hope you are all having a good week so far, and thanks for reading!

And now, a new poem:

streetlights

before/after the streetlights

 

Be in before the streetlights come on, mom calls out

and her voice slaps flat against the sides of houses

and the summerhot asphalt

and my scrambling footfalls echo back–

 

I run till the street ends in woods and it’s darker.

Before the streetlights, what was there?

Fireflies and distant blinking stars only go so far

in holding back the night–

 

Before the streetlights, one kind of darkness

and after? What happens when the white light

eats the sky, when the generators die–will the streetlights

and stoplights and house lights all go out at once?

 

Will I be able to see to run? Be in before the streetlights

come on, I tell my blue shadow and look up at the metal

and orange light and down at the crumbling street

and I hum and I try not to be afraid of the after

Newsday Tuesday: An Announcement!

Hello, all…happy Tuesday to you lovelies! Since Tuesday rhymes with news-day, I’ve decided to announce today that my short story Nice will be appearing in next edition of The Book Smugglers’ Quarterly Almanac! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO! *ahem* Nice will introduce an exciting new sci-fi world and set in motion the events that go down in my upcoming sci-fi romance novella T.D.A., coming in July of this year. I cannot tell you how excited I am, so I must include a moment for internal Carlton Dancing.

YdmGHYG

*Ahem* again. In preparation for this exciting new story, which is among my favorite things I have EVER written and maybe even my Patronus, I have opted to do teaser art of one of Nice‘s characters. Kind folks, meet Lukka:

20170314_104237(1) (1)

Lukka keeps company with shell casings, apparently.

I’ll announce more details, including a cover reveal for T.D.A. (it’s AMAZING and I am not even one tiny bit joking), and availability dates. Thank you as ever for reading and I hope you have a beautiful day! <3

A Reason <3

pexels1Writers do what they do for eleventybillion reasons and then some. I know–I’ve counted. And at least half of those are the same reasons that drive me to keep working towards publishing what I write even when it’s not an easy road to tricycle or bigwheel or otherwise travel. And so it goes, me doing what I do because Reasons. But sometimes, someone gives me a reason or at least provides context for me to articulate one of my reasons for doing what I do. This happened to me last week. I’m neck-deep in edits for a SUPER exciting piece, planning and outlining several more rad projects of win, hammering away at Day Job duties while life happens in its lifey way around me when suddenly, bam—a message from an old friend.

We back-and-forthed for a bit but she utterly floored me when she told me that she had two of my characters in her head, just hanging out with her while she folded laundry, that she had deliberately carved out time to not just read my work, but leave a super!awesome review on Goodreads. Best of all, she told me that she wanted to read more. This friend is a busy woman. She is immersed, as all of us are, in the thousands of big and little things that drive us through these minutes into hours into days of our lives but at some point, she allotted some of that time to my words and then took more time still to tell me that those minutes with my words made her day better.

What grander of a compliment can a writer receive? More of your work, please…more that I will have to make time for (totally not her words, but that is the reality of sitting down and getting a thing done)…

I write to explore, yes. To build worlds. To be who am I not, and doubly who I am. However, in the end, I write to communicate and if what I’ve done takes someone on a journey, provides respite or just a bit of fun then holy wow, I’ve done something right.

So to my friend, and any other readers who have enjoyed my work or to all the other writers and readers out there creating and seeking narratives to enrich their lives in some way—thank you. You are the everything, to quote R.E.M. You are the BEST. Read on, write on, and now that I’ve taken minutes to say these words, back to edits! <3

Happy 2017, ya’ll!

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2016 has slogged itself off into oblivion and now 2017-yet another construct to help us wrap our minds around the strangeness of our existence-is the new kid in town. I cannot say that I am not relieved, though I do not like to rush away my life, or to wish for time to be so quickly behind me.

The allure of the new, though, is strong as ever. Shiny, chrome, sparkling. A blank page, an open road stretching ahead into something unknown…it’s exciting. I cannot help but hope for good things, and I aspire to make the most of the time I’ve been given.

I actually made some specific resolutions this year but in a quiet, note-to-self kind of way. They are more about quality of life than anything. Gestalt wellness gained through itty-bitty small steps of everyday self-care is the biggest of my goals. Writing, well…that one’s a given. And most of all, I want to cultivate gratitude in the midst of maelstrom and fair skies alike.

I know I can do this.

I will have so much good news to share in regards to my writing. Big projects are in the works for this year and hopefully the next, and I am working hard at coaxing some new worlds and their myriad characters into existence. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the gentle quiet of winter weather and am finding ways to incorporate creativity into a busy schedule. I hope that 2017 brings unexpected goodness into the world, and is a time of healing and peace. For anyone reading this, Happy New Year–may joy and light be yours, and may your new year be so amazing. <3

Haintsong–a Hallow’s Eve Poem

Hello all, and happy creppy, spoopy day! I wanted to celebrate with a new poem I wrote while thinking about the woods where I spent so many youthful days rambling, dreaming up stories of valiant last stands against armies of evil creatures, the pines whispering all around me, the Spanish moss dancing in my path on breezes I could not always feel. *shivers* I don’t normally use much rhyme in my work and though I did not employ a strict form, this piece was a challenging little exercise in word choice. I creeped myself out a bit while writing it, so in the spirit of Halloween scaring-is-caring, I hope you enjoy! <3

haintsong

Haintsong

swish of pine needle, stir of fir

borrowed silk snags thorny branch

bare feet striking frozen dirt

thud of footfall, doesn’t hurt

 

run like the devil’s on your tail

and all the world’s on fire

run, she’s nearly through the veil

hurry girl you better run

 

spanish moss shapes an arch

breaths of night stir the fronds

swish of pine needle, stir of fir

all that waits for you is her

 

nowhere left to run my girl

there’s nowhere left to hide

the fire is licking at your feet

and the devil lives inside

*

she waits for me in a thistle-vale,

her smile of smooth old bones

an echo of a darker day,

rotting silks all turned to gray

 

she sings to me in night-time wind

in words all shades of gray

cathedral stone and charnel ash,

cat’s eyes and freezing skies

 

her promises are gossamers

laced with motley grays-

cold rain, mother’s hair,

shipwreck waves, mossy graves

 

she tells me I am like her now

creature with a life gone gray

clouded ice, mind of smoke

soul of lead, heart stone-dead

 

Horrorscopes: Fall 2016, Election Edition!

zodiacnWhy hello again, Starchildren! Here in the Northern Hemisphere of the planet Earth, it’s autumn…time for cozy sweaters, those first chilly evenings, the re-emergence of the Disciples of the Cult of PSL (pumpkin spice latte) into the unsuspecting human populace, and why yes, the Fall Edition of Horrorscopes! I have to say, this is an exciting time and this year is a special year—a year in which Americans cast lots to determine the fate of our people.

I͍̯̚ṭ̲̯̫ͩ̄ͫ’̸͕̜̭͖̏s͉̤̜̳̟̝̉͌̇͞ ̬̪͈̩͉͎͒ͮ̑̅e̺̜̬̺̱̻̍̽ͨ̏͗l͐̈̎ͧ́̈́ͫe̵̩̣͉͓̗ͯ͂ͫc̲͔̩̙͛ͨͧ͂ͪ͗̏t̴̺͖̟̰̬͖̐͗̇ͦͦi̠̓̓͟o̠̻͇̦̲̦̓ͨ͐n̮̆̌̆̄ͅ ̳̰̬̻͔̐̀͆y҉̹̤̣͚̹͈̞e͇̼̝͌̈́́ͪͩ̚a͖̝͕͚̞̦̋ͦ̃̑͡r͔̗̺͍̺ͫ͛ͨ.̢̪̌̂́̋̚̚̚

In this special edition, friends, we will look a little closer at the inscrutable skies and find out what the coming months will bring for each of you! Hold on tight…it’s going to be a wild ride!

All Signs:

This is one of those rare occasions when there is a message for ALL of you! With the onset of a new season and bigger still, a new season of change for the American people, remember that style cannot be underestimated. Dress for confidence—dress for success. Dress for the journey ahead, and be sure that your new wardrobe has plenty of pockets…you’re going to need them for hoarding food and resources, for hiding your shaking hands, for the utility of knowing you still have places within you the others cannot see. In relationship news, things will be more exciting than ever for each of you! Hug your loved ones, high-five or show them your affection by cooking a meal or making sure all of your vehicles are fueled, your wallets and mattresses stashed with cash and gold and silver currency, and that any and all batteries are replaced with new, longer-life models. And finally, don’t forget to have fun! In the face of the unknown, in the path of the storm, in the wake of all that is achingly new, painful and strange, embracing the unique ability to see humor in the whole of who and what we are is essential to a full life in the coming days, and a just dandy part of being h͕̘̮̹̱̰̤͘u̝͇͇̣̠̻͝m̨̦̟̹̩͢ḁ͎̩̙̻́͝n̛̮͙͝!

Now, without further ado, your Fall 2016 horrorscope:

Hamal, the brightest star of Aries gives light to its void as do all things which burn at their hearts and in their souls but do not trust to the hearts of stars to hold fast in the wake of what will be. Do not trust the orange titan Aldebaran of Taurus, though once steadfast; do not petition mighty Pollux of Gemini and the meteoric lights that tear through Janus’s domain. Do not strain your sights to distant, glowering Cancer or trust that Regulus, Alpha Leo and a legendary light will persist as what scouts the edges of our universe sends outriders, ever bolder and more clever, to pick away at what is known and bright. Virgo boasts Spica and Libra preaches her balance and in the wake of war, Antares marches beneath the banner of Scorpius but even he may now know despair and though the archer Sagittarius lets fly his arrows and wise Capricornus, quick Aquarius and subtle Pisces all rise from the Sea of Water in a show of timeless, beyond-ancient power, their lights flicker in a coldness not new but newly remembered, not alien but of our universe’s own heart.

*

It was the song on the legionnaire’s lips it was the arrows of Li Guang it was a Maasai victory feast it was the cry of Boudicca it was Artemisia’s ships set sail it was written in blood and ink and time it was the reverent chant around the Plains bonfire and it is now silence and the fires are doused and the Elysian Fields empty and the Valkyries turn their heads from this feast of crows for none are worthy of hallowed halls and guys, hey ya’ll, calm down because maybe it is a crazy joke. We’d call it whistling in the dark but that would imply that sound carries in the Void and we have no longer teeth or lips for whistling or the voices to laugh.

*

When She wandered the wasted plains in the unnatural winter, so many layers bundling her body that She tottered and slowed, a lump on the landscape, She sang to herself then She lost the words to songs so She began to speak and when her voice was tired and frayed She wrote in the dust with a withered branch:

ALL CANNOT BE KNOWN WHEN KNOWING IS NOT WISHED FOR. ALL CANNOT BE SEEN WHEN THE SIGHTED GOUGE OUT THEIR EYES. ALL CANNOT BE UNDERSTOOD WHEN MINDS ARE BURIED IN THE ASHES OF THE WORLDS THEY BURNED.

YET THERE WILL BE SOME WHO KNOW AND SEE AND UNDERSTAND AND IN THE LIGHT OF DYING STARS THEY WILL TAKE MEASURE OF WHAT IS LEFT AND NAME THE SPACES BETWEEN THEMSELVES AND THE PLACES THEY HAVE BEEN AND THEY WILL SEAL THAT KNOWLEDGE AWAY IN THE VOID AND WILL STAND VIGIL SO SUCH AN EXISTENCE IS NEVER AGAIN ALLOWED.

Then seeing her words She felt a sound rise from her chest, felt it bubbling up, pouring out, a raucous intrusion on her world’s silence and She laughed, She laughed until She collapsed into the dirt, weak from the joke of it and She lifted a bundled arm and wiped a gritted tear from her eye and She took a breath and knew how it would play out, how it begins again, and again, an ouroboros, a feedback loop, an assertion of being.

An assertion of life.

*

Will this year bring me luck? Money? Love? A journey by sea? What does the seer see for me?

The answer is no.
The answer is no.
The answer is no.
The answer is no and
The question
The question was
The question is
The answer and the question are
why?

*

Don’t forget, Starchildren, that autumn is a time of gratitude, of harvest bounty, of the warmth of family and friends. Do not forget to cherish these moments of light and warmth and love. Do not forget to be the best that you have it within you to be, to love with the radiance of a universe of stars.

Do not forget to be beautifully, humanly you.

I’m baaaaaaack, and introducing Creative KC!

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Hello, all! So, it’s been a weighty, odd sort of summer and I’ve been away from blogging and normalcy in general—nothing like illness and life wackiness and hijinks and transitions and so many stuffs and things to throw a stick in the spoke of one’s routine. That said, I am so thankful to be healing and finding my way back to a new and blessed sort of normal. Since I have a bit more time and energy, and a stockpile of gratitude for all the rad people in my world, I have decided make some of my upcoming posts into something shiny, new and awesome so next week I’ll be beginning (*drum roll please*) a new periodic segment of my blog entitled Creative KC.

Kansas City is known for a lot of things—like meat, for instance. The BBQ here is no joke, people. I’ve traveled all over the ol’ US of A and I’ll be honest, the barbecue in Kansas City and its environs warrants the reputation it holds and is my favorite thus far. The Kansas City greater metro is also in the media more and more as ‘up and coming,’ ‘thriving,’ and a lot of other buzzwords that from what I have seen in my time living here are actually true. The Kansas City metro is a hub of diverse creativity and a thriving center for the arts, and I’m lucky to interact on a regular basis with so many uniquely creative individuals. That said, I will be periodically posting interviews with local writers, artists, jewelry makers, musicians, programmers and makers of so many kinds and highlighting just what an awesome place KC can be.

In personal writing news, I’m ramping back up to being super busy again and letting the words flow, the Muse do her thing, and just sitting down to the typey-thinky hard work. I am thankful to have gotten a lot of love for “Among The Ruins,” my poem that was featured in July’s issue of Asimov’s, and I’m currently working on a sci-fi novella, two new speculative poems, a creepy piece of YA short fiction, and a new long-form fiction project.

I hope you are all well and thriving, and don’t forget to tune in next week when I interview local author Sara Kincaid of Writer Vs. The World for my first ever installment of Creative KC. Take care, ya’ll! <3