Wednesday, April 7, 2021

No Line for a Common Thread

 "No Line for a Common Thread" is my second published poem of '21. And without Stephen J. Golds it would not have seen the light of day. Thanks to his encouragement and legend Paul D. Brazill for making it happen at his mighty indie Punk Noir Magazine. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

All the Violent Memories by J. B. Stevens

“Outgoing Tracers” is the first poem in All the Violent Memories and that harrowing recounting alone—of a soldier bargaining with The Almighty—would be worth the price of the collection. Stevens follows it with 22 more equally traumatic experiences where the human spirit finds a way to not just endure but to overcome. 

In a vein similar to Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon who wrote of World War I’s grimness, J.B. Stevens documents in stark prose the horrors inflicted during war and its aftermath.

This is the latest in the First Cut series from Close to The Bone.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Sunday, March 7, 2021

History of Present Complaint by HLR

History of Present Complaint will undoubtedly, and understandably, draw references to other confessional poets—connections to Anne Sexton and Sylvia Path came to mind as I read through this in one sitting. But what makes HLR’s work stand apart is the uniqueness of her voice. She is operating on a plateau reserved for the innovative. 

HLR structures storytelling in a Kafkaesque manner that spins the reader deep into a cavernous parallax of the narrator’s discordant reality. She builds compassion through repetition and precision of her account. When she all caps the word BLACKOUT multiple times during a particularly traumatic episode, it’s followed by SLEEP, and you long for her to find a little peace from the pain, mental illness, and lack of support from an inefficient health bureaucracy.

HLR offers a vibrant voice, an unforgettable experience, a must read.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Jesus In The Ghost Room by Rusty Barnes

 Rusty Barnes pulls the curtain back on JESUS IN THE GHOST ROOM with an ominous tone. “This is the year of terrible things ...” and yet it's not just the narrator's life that's on edge, he notes that nature itself is off kilter: "the moss doesn't even grow on the right side of the tree any more." From “Annus Horribilis,” this clever MEMENTO in poem finds our guide back at a picnic the night before as “my hands swirl in the air on their way to your pockets.” What exactly happened is open to interpretation, possibly just the rush of new love, but there’s enough mystery to read in a couple different scenarios. 

Reminiscence grounds a significant portion of this collection. Mr. Barnes spirits us much farther back in his timeline to the family ties that forever haunt. It is “Summer 1974” and a father looms godlike in a young kid’s life. A sharp, familiar image from the time period is conveyed with the line “cigarette packs rolled into both sleeves,” but it’s the "like epaulets” description that delivers distinctive style. Other highlights include “Listening to Hugo Winterhalter in the Early AM” and “Fire.” 

Mr. Barnes touches on many subjects, including his mom, loss of faith, male bonding, first sexual experience, nature, and imagination. An eclectic collection of verse, yes, and very relatable.

Friday, January 15, 2021


My latest verse has been published thanks to Rusty Barnes and Heather Sullivan at their tremendous Live Nude Poems. Thanks in advance for reading!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Blogging, Publishing, and Life

I have a post up at the Western Fictioneers blog reviewing Tom Clavin's DODGE CITY. One of my favorite books on Wyatt Earp that strips away a lot of the mythologizing and reveals a even more interesting historical figure. 

Big news for me that, as I said on Twitter, has me floating on cloud nine: Close To The Bone has announced they will publish my poetry chapbook Dead Burying the Dead Under a Quaking Aspen. 

And on the homefront we are still socially distancing and trying to get by the best we can. I'm fortunate to be gainfully employed (outside of writing) and have faith, though shaky, that this country can reach a plateau of stability sooner than later. Hope you are all doing well too.