Poems #11-13: “Nightcap,” “Wasted,” and “Whispers in the Night”

I know it’s been a couple of months since I posted anything, but there wasn’t any reason to give an update until now. Even so, this won’t be much of one. I spent the past few days proofreading what I had written for I Will Be King in the hopes that it will inspire me to write more. We’ll see if it works. I’ve written about a dozen poems since my last update, so I’m including a few of them in this post. I sorted through the poems I’ve written since 2014 in case I decide to publish second editions of my earlier collections, but I haven’t integrated them into those texts yet. There seems to be quite a bit up in the air at the moment, but at least I’m feeling like doing something again. Anyway, here are the poems:

Nightcap

Stay
or go?
Stay or go?
Stay? Go? Go? Stay?
A simple choice. Profound consequences.

© 2018, all rights reserved.

Wasted

Time
saved in
a beer bottle
is lost

forever.

© 2018, all rights reserved.

Whispers in the Night

When darkness falls hard and fast and deep,
I hear your muffled call slithering through my sleep
past the demons’ dreams etching scars upon my soul
to ease the wretched screams slipping past my firm control.

© 2018, all rights reserved.

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Poem #10: “Returnee”

It’s been awhile since my last writing update, but there wasn’t anything to report. I wasn’t doing any writing (poetry or fiction), and the poems I had written earlier in the year had nearly run out. I wasn’t even thinking about writing until about two weeks ago, and even then, there were only brief moments and a few ideas. I tried to follow up on one of those ideas about a week or so ago, but it just didn’t work. The character’s voice felt artificial and the writing was forced. It didn’t feel natural, and the story petered out. I tried again a few days later, and the same thing happened. I still like the idea, so I will probably go back to it at some point, but the story wasn’t ready to be written and I wasn’t ready to write it. Then, a couple of nights ago, I woke up with another idea and jotted down a few notes about it. It ruminated, and this morning I wrote the short story inspired by that idea. What’s encouraging is that, even though it didn’t flow as easily as I would like, it didn’t feel forced. Writing it reminded me of how it felt when I was writing short stories in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Most of the stories I wrote back then were short, idea-driven stories that could be completed in a few hours, and this one is like that. I might post it in a few days, after I revise and proofread it, but for now, here’s the only poem I have left from the ones I wrote earlier in the year:

Returnee

A change of pace;
.     an old routine;
An open mind;
.     the same old scene;
A brand new world
.     rearranged;
A new beginning
.     with familiar friends.

© 2018, all rights reserved.

Confirmation of the Fizzle….

An historic moment just happened in the NCAA tournament: a 16 seed beat a 1 seed for the first time in its history. What did CBS do? It kept it on the game it was broadcasting. In the past, they would have switched games for the last 2 minutes, but no more. I was even surprised when they showed part of the 16 vs 1 game during the halftime of the CBS game because they’ve done almost none of that recently. Well, except for the Auburn game because it’s Charles Barkley’s alma mater and they were razzing him about it being a close game. The halftime shows seem to be more about him than the games nowadays….

March Madness Is Fizzling Out

Okay, I still haven’t done anything significant with my writing. Eventually, I’ll break out of my funk and get back to it, but it is taking a lot longer than I thought it would. I seem to recall Theodore Sturgeon (or was it another famous author from that era?) taking 5 years off from writing at one point, but I don’t think it will be that long for me. Maybe when allergy season is over and I start walking again, I’ll get back into the writing mindset. We’ll find out in a few weeks.

In the meantime, “March Madness” is upon us, but it has fizzled out for me. Ever since CBS gave games to other networks, it has gotten less and less interesting. I don’t have cable, so it’s like watching a single game, usually one I don’t really care much about, and having commercial after commercial followed by the NBA commentators prattling on during halftime. They don’t even have the breakaways to other games like they used to have, and they don’t switch from a blowout to a game that is up for grabs because they are all on different networks. It used to be so exciting to watch the underdogs win, but now they don’t really even show in-game updates on them any more. There are more updates during regular season Saturday games than they have in the tournament, and that says a lot about how bad it’s getting. It’s all about the money, now, not the games, and it’s pretty much destroyed what used to be a very enjoyable sporting event. I remember watching the first week with anticipation, but now I’m not even paying much attention to it because they’ve taken away all the exciting parts. It’s not even really worth having on as background noise when the game that’s on doesn’t hold my interest.

Poem #4: “Discourteous”

I’m still sorting through things as I clean and rearrange my apartment, and one of the boxes contained printouts of some stories I wrote about 30 years ago. I’m going to go through them this weekend or next week to see if any are worth retyping or publishing. I also proofread my poetry collection, but I haven’t quite taken the next step of publishing it. I’m not sure why I haven’t, either, but every time I think about formatting it for the different e-book retailers, I get deflated and shy away from doing it. It’s a bit strange; I’m cleaning far more than I generally do and writing far less. Usually, I detest cleaning (which is why I generally don’t make messes). I have written a few poems, though, and three of them (brevettes) were published by Whispers as part of the January Activity. “Discourteous” is one of the others I’ve written this year.

Discourteous

Darkness before me,
behind me, to the left,
and to the right.

My car climbs the hill
like a snail on tranquilizers
trudging along, heedless
of the slimy trail it
leaves behind.

A dim funnel of light
spreads out before me
like a luminescent shadow
stretching into the night sky.

It fans out, forming
a diffuse canopy, and I
hit the dimmer switch
and wait for him
to do the same.

The pool of light
blossoms into a pair
of brilliant, piercing
haloes that stare me
down as if we are
playing chicken.

I squint into the
blinding glare and
flash the brights.

I shield my eyes and
flash them again.

He is close, now,
so close I could see
the whites of his eyes,
but my vision has been
consumed by those
blazing orbs.

He passes, and I am
thrust back into darkness.

I feel the vibration
from the rumble of my
tires skirting the edge of
the shoulder, and I ease
my car back onto the road.

My eyes adjust
just in time to see
a funnel of light
piercing the sky
above the next hill.

I cringe.

© 2018, all rights reserved.

Poem #2: “With Age . . . “

I have been holding off publishing 2017: A Year of Poetry while I ponder what to do about the changes I mentioned last time. I should have it published by this time next week. I had some last minute prep work to do for one of my classes because I wasn’t sure it would have enough students to run, so I’ve already failed to live up to my resolution. However, I have been doing more writing-related activities this year than I did most of last year. Unfortunately, most of it hasn’t involved any actual writing but the kind of grunt work that goes on behind the scenes. So, aside from a few poems, there hasn’t been much wordage. Perhaps this week I’ll get back into writing fiction by proofreading and revising what I have for I Will Be King. At least I’m starting to think about that book, which is a positive sign.

With Age . . .

My age is not reflected in my years—
though they are many more than once they were—
but in the youthful eyes my students bring
into the classroom. They are so young!
And I? I am on the cusp of middle age—
and then some—with the downward slope tilting
toward the grave. I see it waiting, six
feet deep, the headstone chiseled—all except
the date. It could be years from now or to-
morrow. And them? What future will they know?
What will they see when they look back from here?
Will they blame us—their elders—for all their
problems? Will we be deserving of their wrath?
Or will we find the wisdom for a different path?

© 2018, all rights reserved.

Poem #1: “Humanity”

So far, I have been keeping to the schedule of doing writing related activities for at least an hour a day, but there hasn’t been much actual writing. Mainly, I’ve been organizing and revising the poetry I wrote last year into this year’s collection. I have it ready for a final go-through and have the cover, so I plan to publish it as an e-book this weekend. I’ll update the other books I’ve published to include it in the list of the books I’ve written, which will take quite a bit of time despite being a simple addition of one title. If I decide to make Aftermath book 5 of the Angus the Mage Series instead of the first book of the Aftermath series, I will likely do it then to save time. It will delay the publication, though, since the cover for Aftermath and some of the other books will have to be changed.

Anyway, “Humanity” is the only poem I’ve written this year; it was inspired by “The Mice,” an episode of The Outer Limits (the original series, not the remake).

Humanity

the most
invasive
species

© 2018, all rights reserved.