Friday, August 30, 2013

Under The Bridge

The Ravenel Bridge, an impressive cable-stayed bridge, spans the Cooper River east of Charleston, South Carolina. Running underneath along the east end of the bridge is a hidden gem of a park with historical markers and a war heroes monument, a children's playground that Ava approves of, a snack shop and gift store, and a long pier where I snapped this picture of my charmers today.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

At Do Some Damage

Many thanks to Steve Weddle and the Do Some Damage crew for inviting me to be today's guest blogger. Please stop by when you get a chance.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Introduction to Celebrations in the Ossuary

Today I'm featuring Philip Tate, English Professor, who not only was an inspiration to my nephew Kyle Knapp but he was kind enough to write this perceptive introduction to Kyle's posthumous poetry collection, Celebrations in the Ossuary:

Near the beginning of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land the speaker says, “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” And quite a fear it is, appearing in the opening section “The Burial of the Dead,” and evoking the biblical reminder of our ultimate return to the earth. A similar reminder appears in the title of this work, Celebrations in the Ossuary. An ossuary is a place for bones of the dead, oftentimes many dead. But where Eliot gives us fear, Kyle Knapp offers a celebration. In the ossuary! And what sort of celebration might we expect in a storage container for bones? Paradoxically, it is a celebration of life.

In “Camping” we see the joy of nights in the woods, so pleasant that for the rest of the year “nothing at all seemed to matter.” Or it is a perfect day composed of simple pleasures and ending with “her laughter.” Even when “Writing Letters Alone in the Light of the Alcove” it is a celebration of “... three men / Drunk and dancing on the ocean floor.”

But it is an ossuary, and these poems capture the loss, the regret, the acknowledgement of ultimate doom. There is an edge to the celebration, the clear sense that much of what brings pleasure brings pain as well. While Eliot gives us fear, Kyle Knapp reminds us that life is worth celebrating, even though “Every bone / dust.”

Celebrations in the Ossuary by Kyle J. Knapp is now available through Amazon and CreateSpace, and it will be available as a Kindle ebook soon. If you would like a review copy, please leave a comment with your email in the comments and specify print or ebook. Or write me directly at

Profits from sales of Kyle's collection will go to his family and Tompkins Cortland Community College.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


This is my daughter Ava Elyse turning the pages of her cousin Kyle Knapp’s posthumous collection of poetry, Celebrations in the Ossuary. She got first look at the proof copy that arrived this week.

Kyle would play his guitar, and Ava would dance to the music he played. Her fascination with guitars started when she was just months old, watching for a still shot of an acoustic guitar pop up on the screen of the cable TV Jazz channel. We bought a mini acoustic guitar for her, and since neither her mom nor I can carry a tune let alone play a musical instrument, she was transfixed when Kyle played. We left Ava’s guitar there with him the last time that we saw him.

One time, my sister went to move the guitar out of the living room, but Kyle brought it back and placed it next to his. He told his mom it was “sacred” and the instrument needed to stay put—next to where he wrote, played music, and worked on his poetry.

There was a message on his twitter account from December 13, 2012, that read “learned to play all of Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Walk Away’ on baby Ava’s guitar this morning. lol couldn’t sleep.”

Thank you, Kyle, for loving my daughter, writing a poem for her we consider sacred. I should have Ossuary out, as promised, by your birthday.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

On Thunder Road with Bleeding Wrists

This past March we were in Freeville, along Fall Creek, to visit one of the last of the hipsters (more on this in a later post) who was talking to me about dreams and what we can learn from them, like reaching the great beyond, etc. I had my doubts. Still do. (Damn, he mentioned a book I can't remember at the moment). Nevertheless, I told him that I used to record my dreams as a twenty-something. Well, a few weeks ago, after recalling our conversation, I started again. My friend Charles in Louisiana has devoted blog posts on his midnight exploits which I always find fascinating. So I've decided to post some of mine here from time to time. An example of my journey into dreamtime from 7/31/13 in North Charleston, South Carolina, around 3:45 am:

I am sitting in a parked Honda Civic on a dirt road that heads up a hill on the George Junior Republic property in Dryden, NY. A group of  juveniles pull up behind me, making me nervous. The car won't start, but after a few tries, I manage to get it going and race away with the kids staying tight to my bumper. The cheap Hollywood scenery is sliding past like I'm Lucas Doolin roaring away on Thunder Road. At the hilltop, I make a fast right off the road to lose them ... Fades to: I pull into a reality show contest where I am told by the amiable television host that I can win twenty bottles of the finest wine! But for my part of the contest (though there are no other contestants) both my wrists are slashed, and, if I remain standing for a length of time, I will win the wine. After bleeding buckets and buckets of red, I'm told to "place my wrists perpendicular" to stop the bleeding ... I wake up before I get the prize!

Usually, I can point to events, conversations, news articles or the like from the days beforehand to explain away certain aspects, but that takes the magic/mystique/crazy out of it, right? So I'll just post the cinema verites as they arrive.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Mysterious, Ruby-Encrusted Bracelet and Garnet Elliott's Whereabouts

The middle-aged, ruggedly handsome editor over at BEAT to a PULP is offering up "Vin of Venus" as a free download for several days. Bydgoszcz's renowned Paul Brazill and I worked on the first "LoVINg the Alien" installment and then Mr. Garnett Elliott catapulted the proceedings into the pulp spheres with his continuing storyline. A strange but goody mixture of crime/noir and sword and planet that's best described like this:

Vin, bereft of half his limbs and his memory, struggles between two worlds--the mist-shrouded, verdant hell of ancient Venus and the mean streets of modern Europe--battling both alien monstrosities and underworld villains on his quest to recover his identity. Along the way he is aided by an unlikely cast of allies, as well as the mysterious, ruby-encrusted bracelet that serves as the only link between his heroic past and grim present.
The novella ends on a cliffhanger, but I feel it's a very satisfying breaking point while we all wait for Garn to return from the Kingdom of Bhutan, where I have it under the strictest confidence that Henri Ducard himself is training GE in the arts of stealth and fear as a candidate into the shrouded League of Shadows.

Until then, readers and scribes of all ages, enjoy "Vin of Venus" and have a stellar weekend.