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

Luminous, Almost Night and Making Monsters

Salut, denizens of Terra, this third planet from Sol! Things have been busy for this human citizen lately. For REASONS. So I’ll just get right down to this updatey thing…

http---www.pixteller.com-pdata-t-l-130610 (1)I’m happy to announce that next Monday, 7/13 (ONE WEEK FROM NOW ZOMG), I’ll be rolling out the cover reveal for Luminous, my piece to be included in The Book Smugglers’ First Contact series. This is so exciting, ya’ll! The pieces from the collection I’ve read so far are thoroughly for the WIN, and I’m proud to be a part of this fantastic roster. I’ll be sharing the cover and hype for Luminous starting Monday 7/13 and I promise you, I am so excited to foist this story and everything about it up on the world!  >:-D

14444I’m also stoked to announce that Almost Night, a collection of my creppy! spoopy! poetry will be available from Pine Float Press this fall. I’ll announce the publication date when it’s set, but for now, Sean Demory of Pine Float has released a teaser poem from the collection, and oh, sweet world, be wary. I’ll talk about the collection in more detail later, but for now know that poems of creeping dread snaking like kudzu over the seemingly mundane trappings of suburbia will hit (virtual and otherwise) shelves during the waning of this 2015 year and I could not be more pleased (nor can the eldritch horrors commanding the project into existence in the first place, ha, jk, really, sorta, heh…).

And now, I present to you, How To Make A Monster: Basic Recipe, a teaser from Almost Night:

Continue reading

Sidereal

I’m so excited to note that my poem Sidereal is live in the ever-wonderful Apex Magazine…WOO!

I loved writing this piece even more than most. I’d been playing a lot of Mass Effect, reading sci-fi and space opera, watching Star Trek: Voyager, and dreaming about a quietly empty, regenerating, far-ish but not too far-future earth when most humans have gone elsewhere…the constellations the same as ever, the earth fallow, waiting to thrive again with water reclamation plants and careful tending. And in the muted night, an Operator and a Specialist tending the machines that coax the world back to health–a soldier and an engineer in a quiet and generative love.

I remember once hearing someone going on about how romance has no place in science fiction and fantasy writing. That got a legit lol from me–as long as I’m writing about humanity, I’ll do my damnedest to create well-rounded and believable human characters. We (humans) love fervently and dangerously and quietly and unwisely and well; we form attachments, friendships, rivalries, and ultimately rely upon one another when things get dangerous or weird. If anything, these relationships and attachments in fiction make for life-rich characters with hella motivation to do what they do in moving a narrative forward. Now, I don’t expect alien species, every artificial intelligence, or other life-forms in speculative fiction and poetry to behave the way humans do–not unless it’s part of how the writer has imagined the species and world. But my favorite science fiction, space opera, fantasy, anything-I’m-reading humanoid characters often act from places of emotion, making decisions because of their human attachments. And yes, sometimes they fall in love. Exploration of this humanness is why Sidereal was such a joy for me to write–I reveled in exploring how two people in this future full of extensive tech and galactic conquest could grow close in the framework of lonely, dangerous, and sometimes painfully exacting work.

So, readers…any sci-fi romances out there that make you swoon and rock your galaxy? I’d love to hear about them!

hearty

I promise, I’ve checked the math…and happy holidays!

Happy Holidays!

This week, I am so excited to announce that my poem Letters to S. from Poet-Build Beta 3 is out on the Strange Horizons site, as well as the poetry podcast in which I read it, aloud, MYSELF, for allllllllll the world to hear. If you haven’t already, stop by, read, and listen! I love what one commenter, some luminous being named Gretchen, has to say about the piece in the comments on the Strange Horizons site…

Strange, beautiful, and haunting. I love the procession of well-explained and well-footnoted poetry lines into sense-drunk dementia. Rather than the usual assertion that machines and/or code are not capable of the glory of human emotions, the author describes an automaton literally overwhelmed by the beauty it is trying to express. I feel like I would read a Beowulf-length epic poem of this story.

I am over the moon, and so very humbled. Here’s to the joy of having my work out there in the world, bleeping and pinging its presence to your minds and the great beyond.

I hope you all have a most blessed and gentle and lovely holiday season. Each and every one of you is a light to the world so never forget to let your starstuff show! <3