Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

(For those who long to be home this Christmastime. A poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, 18501894)

The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
The decks were like a slide, where a seamen scarce could stand;
The wind was a nor’wester, blowing squally off the sea;
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.

They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day;
But ‘twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the maintops’l, and stood by to go about.

All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North;
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide-race roared;
But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard:
So’s we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye.

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam;
The good red fires were burning bright in every ‘long-shore home;
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer;
For it’s just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
This day of our adversity was blessed Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard’s was the house where I was born.

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,
My mother’s silver spectacles, my father’s silver hair;
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china-plates that stand upon the shelves.

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on blessed Christmas Day.

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall.
“All hands to loose topgallant sails,” I heard the captain call.
“By the Lord, she’ll never stand it,” our first mate Jackson, cried.
…”It’s the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson,” he replied.

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood.
As the winter’s day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.


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( With the solstice upon us and finding that I’m feeling…well, more numb than joyful as the days count down to Christmas, I thought I would share this. )

It was a time like this,
War & tumult of war,
a horror in the air.
Hungry yawned the abyss-
and yet there came the star
and the child most wonderfully there.

It was time like this
of fear & lust for power,
license & greed and blight-
and yet the Prince of bliss
came into the darkest hour
in quiet & silent light.

And in a time like this
how celebrate his birth
when all things fall apart?
Ah! Wonderful it is
with no room on the earth
the stable is our heart.

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Available now:

Innder Demons Out Front CoverMy story, “Unknown Caller” is available in Anthology Year Two: Inner Demons Out, edited by jOhnny Morse and published by Four Horsemen. The book is stuffed with stories, poems, and art created by attendees of the second AnthoCon conference. Most of us call New England home, but not all. Writers and artists come from across the US, Canada, and Richard Wright came all the way from India in 2012.

Contributors to Inner Demons Out include Michael Bailey, Tracy L. Carbone, Scott Christian Carr, Stacey Longo, Kevin Lucia, Bracken MacLeod, Holly Newstein, K. Allen Wood, Richard Wright, and many, many more.

Available from Amazon.


MiseryLoves - Small CoverMeanwhile, I have released an eBook edition of my comic/contemporary fantasy story “Misery Loves” through Whistling Kettle Press. The story was first published in Aeon Speculative Fiction and received some kind words.

“Patton makes his fantasy world glimmer…A well-told, unaffected tale…”
– The Fix

You can purchase the eBook edition from these online retailers:




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( Look! Another blog post! This time within weeks instead of months! Next up: within days. But, for now, another announcement. )

Shroud Magazine 1 CoverTim Deal recently announced that Shroud Publishing is having a special sale. Tim has pulled out an archived box of Shroud #1 and is selling copies for $5. Contributors to the premier issue include Tom Piccirilli, Michael Laimo, Stephen Mark Rainey, and Tim Waggoner. There’s also an interview with Brian Keene. Fans of dark fiction, especially those who like to get their hands on limited edition magazines and books for their collections take note.

But wait, there’s more.

The goal of the sale? Shroud is building up their finances to complete, “… our most ambitious effort yet, a fully illustrated dark poetry collection that has been two years in the making.”

Miskatonic_Falls_DraftThat would be The Terror at Miskatonic Falls. I was ecstatic to read those words because I’ve wanted to buy and read this book since I first read the submission guidelines. Followers of this blog know that it includes a triptych of my poems, but I would still be excited even if the book did not include my work because it’s an interesting, unusual project. Part poetry, part police procedural, part graphic novel. Spoon River Anthology infused with Lovecraft and illustrated by…well, illustrated by Danny Evarts. And, really, I’m particularly excited for Danny because he has put so much of his time and talents into this book.

So if you like the idea of scooping up the premiere copy of Shroud before all the copies are gone or you are intrigued by The Terror at Miskatonic Falls and want to help send it to print sooner rather than later, please consider purchasing Shroud #1.

Plus, it’s late October. You should be buying lots of dark fiction in late October, so what’s $5 more? Go on.

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(I wrote a couple of poems on the theme of Secrets for The Postcard Press. They published one of them last month. Here is the other one for your enjoyment.)

Monument of Denial

It stands in the center of town, at the center of our lives.
We built roads and erected buildings around it.
On the diagrams and plans and maps it’s just blank space.
It doesn’t show up on GPS.
We’ve done such a good job pretending it isn’t there.
But have you noticed the shadow is getting larger?

Monument Shadow on Town

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April is National Poetry Month. So, while on vacation in Tucson last week I decided to write some. Time was scarce, being all caught up in visiting family and going out and doing fun and interesting things, so I decided to see how many desert-themed haikus I could write in one short session on the back patio of my sister-in-law’s apartment. I wrote the five below, which I present along with an author’s note after each. Enjoy.

Tucson Desert 02


husky in desert
sniffing at a saguaro
all the news is bad

(My sister-in-law has a beautiful female husky that had just sat on my foot, so I decided to include her. I like the humor of the image, but the truth is also that much of the news last week was bad indeed.)

unfamiliar birds
sing while they pose for pictures
taunting the tourists

(I had been enjoying all the unfamiliar bird songs of the local species and was definitely doing the touristy thing of shooting many, many pictures. Locals, including my sister-in-law, tend to be amused.)

every patch of shade
is a fleeting oasis
like so much in life

(After that last lighthearted haiku, I decided to try a more philosophical angle and seek truth in nature. Change is constant. We cannot remain comfortable in one place or set of circumstances for long.)

two black feathered birds
perched in the desert sun
lamenting their clothes

(Two black feathered birds had just landed in the tree above me and were having quite a conversation. I wondered whether it’s hot being a black feathered bird in the desert.)

washing the sidewalk
on a desert city street
while others wake parched

(Earlier in the day while my sister-in-law was running an errand, the rest of us sat in the car watching a city worker power washing the sidewalk. It struck us as an odd, sort of wasteful thing to do. When my sister-in-law returned, he offered to power wash her car, which was pretty dusty. She accepted and we laughed as we watched our impromptu trip to the car wash unfold, but I kept thinking about people who don’t have enough water.)

Tucson Desert 01

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secrets silhouetteI love postcards. So I’m very pleased to announce that my poem, “Secrets” has been accepted for publication by The Postcard Press. They publish microfiction and poems on, you guessed it, postcards. My piece is about how the secrets we tell change as we grow older…and bellybuttons. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what is paired with it for artwork.

“Secrets” will be available for purchase in June 2013. Probably. Watch this space for news.

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