Tentative de l'Impossible

Online flash fiction magazine 365 Tomorrows has just published my story "Tentative de l'Impossible". I like this one a lot, so check it out! 

- 9/17/14


Arcane English

Sonnet 75
by Edmund Spenser

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washéd it away:
Agayne I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray.
"Vayne man," sayd she, "that doest in vaine assay,
A mortall thing so to immortalize,
For I my selve shall lyke to this decay,
And eek my name bee wypéd out lykewize."
"Not so," quod I, "let baser things devize,
To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
And in the hevens wryte your glorious name.
Where whenas death shall all the world subdew,
Our love shall live, and later life renew."

I we still spelled words like this. Half the reason I love this poem so much is phrases like "and eek my name bee wypéd out lykewize"  and "'Vayne man,' sayd she, 'that doest in vaine assay.'" They sound infinitely cooler than they would in modern English.

- 9/15/14


Axiom Bxiv

From "Axioms"

The Japanese painted just as they wrote; with words. They used lines, and absence, too. Much more can be shown through nothing than something if you let the imagination complete the picture. The splash of the haiku reverberates through the mind’s eye as if it were the deepest of wells. And it is. A watercolor in the old style does the same; if you could raise a mountain with one stroke, why would you ever use a hundred? And thus the icon is the key, the idea. No art can exist outside of us, and inside is where it’s born.

- 9/12/14


Axioms Aii-Aiii

From "Axioms"

The shape of the grain was decided long before the earth was born. Wheat and barley and rye; they’re all the same. For it is not the bread that matters, but the seed. And this seed was spilled down from the stars early in the dawn, when the sky was red and the sea was, too. The farmer does not sow the seed, although he is the reaper, for he wields the scythe that cuts the stalk. It was written long ago that he would reap what was sown, and it is by the book that the field was tilled.

When I stand on the beach and watch the ocean disappear beyond the horizon, I find myself wishing that the world were a fishbowl. Of course, there could only be one goldfish, and it would be the sun, which is just as well since I would want nothing more than to be a grain of sand. The seven continents would curl up around the seas, and the fishbowl’s spin through space would keep us pressed against its glass walls. You will point out that it would always be daytime, and that’s understandable, but thank God we have blinds for that.

- 9/9/14


The Strange in Poetry

Counting Sheep 
by Russell Edson

A scientist has a test tube full of sheep. He
wonders if he should try to shrink a pasture
for them.
They are like grains of rice.
He wonders if it is possible to shrink something
out of existence.
He wonders if the sheep are aware of their tininess,
if they have any sense of scale. Perhaps they think
the test tube is a glass barn ...
He wonders what he should do with them; they
certainly have less meat and wool than ordinary
sheep. Has he reduced their commercial value?
He wonders if they could be used as a substitute
for rice, a sort of woolly rice . . .
He wonders if he shouldn't rub them into a red paste
between his fingers.
He wonders if they are breeding, or if any of them
have died.
He puts them under a microscope, and falls asleep
counting them . . . 

I don’t know if I would say that this poem is funny per se, but it is certainly mysterious and engrossing. The third to last sentence wipes out any humor with “He wonders if he shouldn’t rub them into a red paste between his fingers.” I love this poem for being so unabashedly bizarre, but also deep in a way that I can’t put my finger on. The image of the tiny sheep is so strong, and the scientist’s relationship to them is endlessly fascinating. Perhaps it is the utter strangeness of the poem that makes it so powerful.

- 9/5/14



Axioms, my second book, is now live on Amazon. 

Do not weep above the pyramids, for pain is in the mind, and it rests beneath the crypt. Your conjecture has been deduced to dust, and it does not sound. We understand; we simply do not care. Each of the relevant aspects has been assumed and appropriated, yet all the books in the world would be insufficient to right these wrongs, regardless of their relative merit. Even the sharpest whip is nothing unless it has been wrapped round the proper wrist. We feel no sorrow for you here, and there is no longer any hope. You may leave us now.

- 9/1/14