Because, Why Not?

The Old House Blues

The furniture’s ancient and

horribly mangled. The curtains:

windblown, and hopelessly tangled.

Kitchen dishes discarded,

in shattered decay while the food’s done the same,

in a fuzzier way.

The wallpaper is peeling, the rugs are a mess,

pilfered by mice to feather their nests.

There’s some soul in it yet,

and good bones, good bones,

a foundation made of solid stones.

It sighs and it creaks

from the weight of the roof,

but it hasn’t leaked yet so

there lies the proof.

The beams and joists

(so far) stand firm.

No, it hasn’t given yet

to termite or worm.

The woodwork is walnut, mahogany, oak;

it stands up bravely under the yoke

of crumbling plaster and

moldering brick, of dust

that is laying two inches thick.

The porch kind of sags—

no surprise that it should—

for out here is made of a much softer wood.

The boards are of pine, and

—isn’t it grand?

how—despite the weather

it continues to stand.

The façade, it is true,

has seen better days. Now it’s faded

and chipped by the sun’s piercing rays.

The siding is warping, the windows are black.

This house has good bones

but the skin is all cracked.

Instead of a lawn, a dustbowl

holds sway; dirt barren and crumbly

or hard-packed dry clay.

Out back, ‘round the house, at the end of the yard

are a springhouse and well

that, silent, stand guard.

And the wind through the eaves sings the saddest of blues:

Of a house with good bones,

and longs years of disuse.

I originally wrote this in 2013, in the notebook I carried with me everywhere. That same notebook has the first fitful pages of the first novel I wrote. It also contains a few bits and pieces I can go back to and glean for future projects. I have a new notebook, full of new ideas, but this was worth coming back to visit and typing up. Enjoy 🙂

Goodbye Fantasy, Hello SciFi

Two genres, fantasy and science fiction, dominate my bookshelves. They are the binary stars of my reading life. The mismatched twins, each with something different to bring to the table, different strengths, different weaknesses. Jacob and Esau, Jekyll and Hyde. Ok, not really that last one. One is not evil while the other good, although what the hell was Dr. J thinking, opening that Pandora’s box with his experimentation. He’s not that innocent.
But I digress. For NaNoWriMo 2014, I wrote a (mostly) complete fantasy novel. For Camp NaNoWriMo July 2015, I wrote the second fantasy novel in what seems to be at least a duo, if not trio, of books in that particular world. This November, I’m abandoning that world for a while in favor of my other love: science fiction. Specifically, I love hard science, near future nail biters. The Martian is my jam, currently. I love reading about the advances in biomedical research. I am cautious about praising advances in artificial intelligence. I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey one too many times.
So, my plan is to tap that interest to craft a story worthy of any hard core SF fan’s bookshelf. Or e-reader. Or holo-book implanted behind the eyeball itself! I jest, but only a little. I haven’t decided whether to go more towards A.I. or an organic creation, but I’m certainly giving myself a few research options.
NaNo Prep starts in September. I can’t wait!

Sensitivity Training

I read an article in The Atlantic which was brought to my attention by a friend’s Facebook post linking it. The article is on the longer side for today’s attention span, but well worth the time taken to read it through. Here’s a link to the article. It also spawned this poem, and it will, quite possibly cause backlash. I hope it also causes the intended effect of making us think deeply about the topic rather than jump to feeling offended.

I’m offended by this title.
Do you think I’m sensitive?
Maybe you’re just hardhearted.
There I go: Using accusative
“you” statements again.
I’m told the world’s a scary place.
I demand protection from every
trigger, microaggression,
noncontextualized statement
thrown my way. Oh, no,
they’re not directed at me personally,
just left around carelessly
like socks that have lost their mates.
I expect to be Molly coddled in the name of liberty. Free country,
free from anything that hurts
or frightens my thoughts.
I want shielding from the world,
but freedom to go out into it
expecting nothing less than to trip
naïvely through the woods
as all the Big Bad Wolves
leave me in peace to pass on through,
[Trigger Warning] unmolested.

I Saw Icarus Fall

Thank God we didn’t take the elevator,

that night, watching light streak wild

across the Tallahassee sky

cutting power, causing panic,

mild curiosity really.

College students have no scope.

Another disaster, a chance to walk,

gawk, talk about at the party next week

when we realize we have nothing real to say.

Thank God the pilot lived, landed nose down,

yield sign standing in for copilot, Walgreens’

grassy corner lot covered in crumpled metal.

Wings twisted, still attached, did not stay the fall.