Tag Archives: poem

A Poem to Pitch a Novel

Here’s a pitch for my new novel He Has Many Names in the form of a poem.

An aspiring author
A predatory publisher
And a Faustian bargain
A month to pen a novel
In total exile
Confined to an art deco hotel

A forest themed suite
A woodland nightmare
And a shadow figure
An obsessed writer
A paranormal investigation
Through the fourth wall and back again

A meta mystery
An unreliable narrator
An unseen string puller
A lure, a trap, a plan
A pagan has-been
And a satanic showdown

All of these things and more
In the new novella:
He Has Many Names Continue reading A Poem to Pitch a Novel

The Straw House Lament

I found this 8-year old poem in my archives. I never shared it because I thought it was too short. Now I think it’s the perfect length. It’s succinct, brutal, and fatalistic in a fun refreshing way. It reads like anti-wedding vows, like a two verse curse, like a Hallmark card from hell. Enjoy.

Plant your vows at the foundations
With all the other dead masons
Pack promises into the clay
With twigs, with straw, with bales of hay
Grind your love up in the mortar
Insulate every last pillar
Then take it all in
By every hair of your chinny chin chin

Bonding agents, mouths to feed
Sheets to tuck, bills to bleed
A bed with walls of paperbacks
You’ll never get your youth back
Big bad wolf has a station
On your home owner’s association
You will run, you will roam
But your straw house will never become a home

What Did I Miss?

I thought I’d nailed this subject
Really hammered it in
Drove the last word
Right into the coffin
I thought I’d crushed it
Really broke it down
Buried my feelings
Deep underground

I was dropping microphones
Dunking on your memory
Going around town
Lapping up a victory
I told everyone and their mom
“Ha, I am so over her”
God I say some stupid shit
When I’m stone cold sober

Now I’m taking a shortcut
Through a long dark alley
And I’m not too worried
About what’s going to happen to me
Here I was thinking
I’d hardened my heart to this
Now I’m clutching at my chest
Asking what did I miss?

I thought I’d aced this subject
Got an A plus plus
Then you popped me with a quiz
And I’m back on the short bus
I thought my bruises were healing
Thought I’d satisfied this itch
I thought my fever had broken
Then it made me its bitch

I thought I’d closed this book
I thought I’d solved this crime
I thought history was done repeating
But it rhymes all the time
I thought I was above this
Blue skies as far as I could see
Then I went full blazing Hindenburg
Oh the humanity

Now I’m footing it
Across a desert valley
And I’m not too worried
About what’s going to happen to me
Here I was thinking
I’d hardened my heart to this
Now I’m clutching at my chest
Asking what did I miss?

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

I uncovered this poem I wrote about the Humphrey Bogart classic 1941 noir The Maltese Falcon and thought it had an intriguingly dark mystique to it (spoilers for The Maltese Falcon follow).

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Sam Spade had to turn her in
Not just because she killed his partner
Because she played him for a sap
Him and every man she’d ever been with

The Falcon was a red herring
You could argue that his heart was too
As the elevator doors eclipsed her eyes
And took her down to hell

“When a man’s partner is killed
He’s supposed to do something about it”

He slides Exhibit A to the detective
The thousand-dollar bill
She tried to buy his loyalty with
If only she had thought to buy it with something else

There’s a smile on one side of his face
The truth rests on the other
He’s just made a sacrifice
To himself

“All we’ve got is that maybe you love me
And maybe I love you.”

There’s a cigarette where her lips could be
A fedora where her hands could have rested
A collar she could’ve wrapped her arms around
A lead bundle where his heart could’ve been

He tells his secretary to have Archer’s name taken off the door
His killer’s been sent up the river for twenty to life
It was duck soap when he figured it out
But it won’t make his bed any warmer tonight

“I hope they don’t hang you, precious,
By that sweet neck”

Boss Fight: A Poem about depression… and video games

I shattered all my armor
That time I took a hit
Went off on a fetch quest
To try to find my shit
Went outside my element
Too far for even me
Went over the edge
Of the realm of possibility
Mistook the map for the terrain
Hit an invisible wall
The platform vanished
And I had a great fall
Lost all of my progress
Damn near rage quit
Started swinging in the dark
Until I found something to hit

Depression is a boss fight
A fire-breathing dragon
With an infinite health bar
And wild attack patterns
It never sees stars
It never blinks red
And if you stop running
It will feast upon your head

I leveled up
For the fight ahead
Enchanted my helmet
To get right in the head
Filled up my health gage
Saw a mage about some sage
Did a serious inventory
Of all my baggage
But at the first trapdoor
I straight up choked
All my coping mechanisms
Straight up broke
Now I’m down in this arena
With this overpowered thing
I’ve no more fight in me
But I’ve gotten really good at dodging

Depression is a boss fight
A fire-breathing dragon
With an infinite health bar
And wild attack patterns
It never sees stars
It never blinks red
And if you stop running
It will feast upon your head

Be Consumed: Video Reading

A twisted little poem about giving up everything for your art. Continue reading Be Consumed: Video Reading

Poetry Today: A Video Reading

Commentary on the state of commercial poetry in the form of a poem that reads like a dis track.

V for Valentinedetta

A Valentine’s Day poem inspired by that famous monologue from V for Vendetta.

Night and Day: a poem about your creative life and your work life

At night you write editorials
On managing depression
By day you justify the difference
Between online and in store pricing
At night you design covers
For your unpublished works
By day you honor expired coupons
For entitled jerks

At night you rehearse monologues
In front of all your mirrors
By day you perform a script
For fear of secret shoppers
At night you record podcasts
With a progressive slant
By day you’re a captive audience
For political rants

You’ve got a long commute
When you follow your dreams
You get motion sickness
Between the extremes
You get whiplash
Covering all that ground
Between the sun and moon
You get all worn down

At night you draw sketches
With intricate crosshatching
By day you find gaps in shelves
In need of patching
At night you drop beats
Over vintage synthesizers
By day you compare coverage maps
To those of your competitors

At night you pack stanzas
With evocative verbs
By day you bottle rage
For some good Yelp blurbs
At night you teach yoga
To friends looking to get a grip
By day you bend over backwards
Just to get a good tip

You’ve got a long commute
When you follow your dreams
You’re a crash test dummy
Between two extremes
You get jetlag
Covering all that ground
Between the sun and moon
You get all worn down

Speak of the Devil: A Creepy Poem

3 a.m.
Another glass
A crisis of conscience
This too will pass
The bathroom tiles
Are doing that thing
Where they sink into the dark
Leaving only the towel rings
Gaze into the abyss
Like a lover unblinking
The abyss wants to know
“What are you thinking?”
So tell it
Go on proclaim
Lean into the void
And say my name

Speak of the devil
And I shall appear
I’m up on the ladder
With the ground to my ear
You’re just one Bloody Mary shy
One Candy Man from kingdom come
One Beetlejuice from party time
One name away from

Just say, “When”

4 a.m.
Pop another bottle open
Now is not the time
To be making good decisions
The kitchen walls
Are doing that thing
Where a gash cuts through them
And they bleed all over everything
Thank God you got someone
Who cleans these sorts of messes
Who gets you out of jams
Who gets you out of dresses
Someone who never sleeps
Who catches you when you fall
Who answers to so many names
Who comes when you call

Speak of the devil
And I shall appear
I’m up on the ladder
With the ground to my ear
You’re just one Bloody Mary shy
One Candy Man from kingdom come
One Beetlejuice from party time
One name away from

Just say, “When”

(Knock-knock)
Let me in