Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Everybody Waits

March 26, 2017 2 comments

(for Everyone to Die)
… in irreverent tribute to “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin 

As blue shadows of evening gathered between the snow drifts, Sar Kevlar Bananister swaggered a circuitous route to the tavern, glancing often over his shoulder to make sure he was not followed.  After several months the snows had abated for a fortnight and a few street folk had emerged, shuffling here and there, looking for someone to eat.  The only meat animals left in Kings Doormat were rats and the supply was quickly dwindling.

The snow was piled high against the buildings on either side, up to and sometimes over the second story windows and leaving only a narrow, icy path in the middle of the street.  Kevlar squeezed past a gaggle of giggling, hungry-looking sluts at one intersection, shouldered his way through a thicket of withering thieves at another, and in Arsewipe Square maneuvered around a melange of mercenaries making merry.  Must have caught a rat.  One of the men made as if to trouble him, but looked quickly away when Sar Kevlar placed his hand on his sword hilt.

The Leaky Dick was by reputation a a dark, moist hole filled with distasteful whores, and dispirited folk too small to mention, name or care about, and redolent with bodily fluids, wood smoke, stale ale and free mashed turnip hors d’oeuvres during happy hour.  Sar Kevlar wore a plain short coat of ring mail over a jerkin of parboiled leather, his longsword sheathed in a plain black lacquered sword condom devoid of device or arms so as not to declare his identity.  I wouldn’t be caught dead there …  It was nevertheless where he was bound.

Arriving at the Tavern, he grabbed the dirty knot of hempen rope that served as the door handle and pulled it open.  His ears were immediately sodomized by a sudden tumult of conversation.  What in the name of the seven bloody hells?  His heart faltered, as just inside about two dozen teenagers stood near the door with daggers encrusted with dried blood in their hands.  His blood, he realized.

“Druthers take you Little bastards!” whispered Kevlar.  “What in the name of The Strange One are you doing here?”

“We don’t know, Sar,” piped a pimple-faced boy of about fifteen years – almost a man grown.  “We’ve just been wandering around for six years, trying to stay out of the cold.”

“Aye, boy, haven’t we all, haven’t we all.  Now pipe down and don’t call me ‘Sar.’  I’m pretending to be in incognito.”

The young man rolled his eyes.  “As you wish, sar.”

Kevlar headed toward the back of the tavern where there was a curtained-off room for private rendezvous.

“Uncle, you old broom-up-the-arse!” said a voice that turned out to be his nephew, Haimy.  “Back from the dead, are you?  Well met and welcome!”

“Yes, right,” said Kevlar, glancing ruefully at the many eyes that were now turned upon him.   Haimy brought back unwelcome memories of Shurethayn, Kevlar’s niece, being paraded naked and shaved through the streets of Kings Doormat.  A sight burned into my brain forever.  “You, too, I see. Seems we’re popping out of the ground almost as fast as they put us in.”

“I confess I didn’t expect to see you,” said Haimy.  “Most of the time its the flawed and haunted characters that get raised, not the wholesome, well-adjusted sort like you.”

“Yes, I myself expected to stay dead,” said Kevlar.  “Would have preferred it, truth be told.  I’m only a bit player, after all, and I have morals.  I have no business in this filthy story.  Your resurrection is no surprise, though, wot?   An incestuous swordsman deprived his sword hand who continues to dream of flogging his sister with the flesh noodle.  You are the deadbeat dad of kings.  They don’t come much more twisted than you.“

“Not so twisted anymore,” said Haimy, sadly.  “Since I was hanged my sister-noodling days are over.  It’s all part of my continuing very unlikely yet compelling transformation.”  He grabbed the arm of what Kevlar had thought was a man who was facing the bar and spun her around to reveal a tall, muscular woman with broken teeth and one ear.  She wore a shirt of mail and a longsword with a beautifully jeweled hilt at her belt.  “This is my girl, Braindedda.  Isn’t she the best?”

“I’m very happy for you both, I’m sure,” said Kevlar, shaking Haimy’s stump.  “Pleased to meet you, my lady.  But if you’ll excuse me I’m late for -“

“-Your ‘secret meeting.’  Yes, of course, go ahead.  Thank you, uncle.  Perhaps we’ll get together later.”

Kevlar smiled, nodded and turned away.  Don’t count on it. 

“Sar Kevlar Bananister!” rang out as he made his way to the back room, destroying whatever illusion of secrecy may have still remained.  Kevlar nodded to Grand Maestro Payless, also newly resurrected and looking worse than ever.  He had always been ugly, and the fresh scar where his throat had been slit was no improvement.  The degree to which his eyes had sunk back into his head didn’t help either.

In the corner behind Payless stood two figures that seemed to be men, except their eyes were luminous blue and their hands were black.  Also they were clearly dead, and not recently so.  Rotting skin hung from their faces and hands, and there was exposed bone here and there as well.  One raised a glass as if toasting Kevlar and drank.  Wine ran out of a hole in his belly that looked like it came from a lance or spear.  Kevlar shook his head and continued on.

They had seemed disturbingly familiar.  Why am I reminded of Edderd Stork?  Poor Edderd had been the King’s Foot briefly before he was beheaded on the steps of the Great Septic Tank for telling the truth.  He should have known better.  It’s lie or die in the Game of Balls.  Kevlar had learned that first hand, yet he maintained a grudging admiration for Edderd, whose balls had certainly been among the biggest.  With all the dead people walking around, perhaps the wights were a couple of the many dead sons of Stork.

A middle aged woman, fair of face with auburn hair collided with him.  “Excuse me, Sar,” she said, and curtsied. “I beg your pardon.”

“Mensa Stork!” he said.  “Why do you look so sad?”

“Because, sar, I’m thirty-nine years old and still a virgin,” she said.  “Oh, great virtue and all that rot, but the only chance I’ve had at sex in my miserable life was with your dwarf nephew, who thank the gods was not up to the task.  Since then I’ve just been stuck in limbo while-“ her voice dropped to a whisper “-the Forgetful One works ‘on other projects’.”

“Your unlikely continued maidenhood is a mystery to be sure, my lady Mensa, even as is your very life,” nodded Kevlar, sagely.  “You had more likely been raped or beheaded or both a dozen times – not necessarily in that order – rather than continuing on as you have in your quintessentially blithe terror and stupidity.  Indeed, you might be the least likely person I have ever known.”

“I do feel rather like a cartoon character, sar,” she replied, sighing.  She whispered, “Perhaps when the Forgetful One remembers us, if he ever does remember us, he’ll either give me a bit more realistic life or a least an abrupt and violent end.”

“I wish you the best of outcomes, my lady.”

“Thank you, Sar Kevlar, my husband is waiting inside for you.”

“Thank you, My lady.”

Kevlar opened the curtain just wide enough to slip through.  The darkness of the room relieved but dimly by the wavering light of a few earwax candles smoldering in sconces made of human bone.  There were windows, but they were covered by the deep snow piled outside against the side of the building.  The room felt close and airless.

“Welcome, oh mediocre one,” said Tyrsome Bananister, from the head of the long table.  The table was polished where-wood, pale as milk, the candles reflected in its surface as in a still pond. Arrayed before him were steaming plates of the gods knew what kind of meat, with cheeses and oaten biscuit. “Please join us in our meal.”

To Tyrsome’s right sat another dwarf, a female one, dressed in scratched and battered armor that had been repainted with the Bananister Liar sigil.  “Let me introduce the newest member of the family, Badpenny Bananister.”

“You can’t marry!  You have a wife!”

“That’s true,” replied Tyrsome, and paused to scratch what was left of his nose, most of which had been lost to friendly fire during the defense of Kings Doormat against Stainless Barathonanonanon  (Are we confused yet?) “But Badpenny is not my wife.  She’s my adopted daughter.  But enough about me.  We have much to discuss, Uncle.”

“I can’t imagine what you mean,” replied Kevlar, looking away.

“That’s not surprising given your legendary lack of imagination,”  said Tyrsome.  “I am of course speaking of the Forgetful One.”

“Keep your voice down!” said Kevlar.

“Gods why?” said Tyrsome.  “Every one of the characters in this accursed world will soon starve to death in this endless winter he’s left us in.  All his toys will be gone.  Not that he cares.  He’s clearly tired of the Game of Balls.”

“I believe in the Seven,” whispered Kevlar.

“Why are you whispering, then?  We all know by now that The Forgetful Asshole is the only god for the likes of us.  It’s his twisted imagination that made me as I am, gave me my horrible back story and led me through my various painful and humiliating adventures.  I’d be happy to shoot him through the eye with my trusty crossbow given half a chance.  And it’s his so-called ‘creativity’ that caused you to be assassinated by a fat castrati and a kindergarten class.”

Suddenly the wind began to howl outside.   The walls creaked.  Blended with the howling of the wind were the howls of wolves, and as if from far away, a deeper, much more terrifying roar that could only come from dragons.

“Now you’ve done it,” said Kevlar.  “You woke him up and now he’s going to kill us all.”

“Relax, uncle,” replied Tyrsome.  “That’s not the way things work here.  Only the folk too small to have names are killed wholesale.  Characters like us are dragged around Festeros or across the Cesspool Sea to Bloody Fluxville and roasted to death over a slow fire while serenaded by odiously long descriptions of clothing and food.  You’re right, he will kill us all in the end, but with long and painstaking hideousness and words beyond count.  In fact, perhaps he’ll just use the words and we’ll all just expire of old age.”

During Tyrsome’s soliloquy the wind had gained strength.  The walls of the tavern were visibly shaking.  A window shattered and in popped the head of a dragon, black as night, smoke drifting from its nostrils.  It opened its mouth and a gout of fire enveloped Badpenny.  She screamed briefly in agony as she was cooked to perfection in an instant.

“My daughter smells delicious,” remarked Tyrsome, as Kevlar simultaneously vomited on the table and soiled himself.

Tyrsome turned to the Forgetful One as the dragon bit off one of Badpenny’s arms.  “They compare you to Tolkien, but there is one important difference.  Tolkien could finish a story.” 

The dragon turned toward him, heatwaves rippling from its jaws. Tyrsome squinted against the heat.

“Oh yes, please do,” said Tyrsome.  “Please, please, please end this.”




Life is change, so if one loves life I guess one must at least tolerate change.  Yet it seems natural to most of us to resist change, maintain the status quo, preserve the past, etc.  One of the significant challenges of life seems to be to avoid clinging to the past.  However, at times, one finds one must choose between the things (and sometimes people) they love and move toward one, leaving the other behind.  This can be a painful process, and it is difficult to know if one’s decision is the correct one – yet often I find that I am left with no choice but to choose.  Either I make the choice or the choice is made on my behalf by the same forces that brought the choice in the first place.

So I have left Eye On Life and I am no longer a poetry editor, only a poet.  So I continue to write my own poetry, but I no longer publish the work of others.  Now my judgments of others’ poetry are freed from the looming and often conflicting influences of such megaliths as free speech vs. my own tastes and values, the common good of the poetic community vs. the good of the magazine.

Eye On Life remains a good and worthwhile magazine.  I hope it will remain a place where good poetry is published as well as a place to read interesting and unique articles.

Most of my poetic energy nowadays is going into song lyrics and I am having a lot of fun with all that.  Generally I am posting works in progress on SoundCloud and more or less finished products on Bandcamp.  I hope you’ll listen to my offerings at either or both.

In the Door Hardware Genius world my role continues to evolve as I become more involved in training other door hardware geniuses and helping to define and streamline processes where I work.  In serving installers and hardware dealers I find that my depth of knowledge remains useful.  I remain grateful for that, and hope it remains so for years to come.

Dread of Winter

February 28, 2015 Leave a comment


Everything is feeling the severity of what will surely be known here in New England as “the winter of 2015.” We had three (or four? I forget now) consecutive Mondays that featured at least a foot of new snow.   If one did not dread Mondays before, this winter has provided us with yet another reason to do so.  But because we New Englanders are stubborn and ornery, this very weather is one of the reasons we choose to live here.

The weather has put a dent in my rehearsal schedules.  In fact it looks like I will have attended only one rehearsal the entire month of February.   Luckily a gig at a private party with Unclaimed Freight mitigated an otherwise total loss in the live performance department.  I have made myself useful working on my own music to record in the studio sometime in the undefined future.

DHI published another article of mine in Doors and Hardware magazine this month:  “Butcher, Baker, Door Hardware Technician: It Can Take a Village to Fix a Door”, about the eclectic knowledge and cross-trade skills often needed to diagnose and treat today’s door and door hardware issues.   I’ll republish it sometime in March somewhere, I’ll let you know. 

Over at The Poetry Locksmith we continue to enjoy a variety of work by Donal Mahoney, and perennial contributors Carol Hamilton, Samuel Vargo, Christopher Hivner and others have returned with more of their fine work as well.  In addition we welcomed new poetry contributors Genevieve Barrons and Lana Bella.  Please stop by and read these intriguing poets.

Word has it we will soon be accepting works of short fiction as well as poetry.  I’ll let you know about that, too.

May your winter be filled with the Creative.

Winter Quiet

January 12, 2015 Leave a comment


In the United States, whether you celebrate them or not, the cultural winter holidays tend to be a bit disruptive, yet the craziness of these holidays is juxtaposed with the deep and solemn quiet of winter as it exists in nature.   The cacophony of birdsong gives way to the quiet chirping of chickadees as most species fly south to warmer climes.  Snow blankets the land, muffling all sound.  Walking in the northern forest in the winter, one’s breath seems loud.

Like the migrating birds, many of the musicians with whom I make music become scarce this time of year because they travel or are otherwise busy.   Therefore it is a good opportunity for me to look simultaneously into the depths of my creative soul and my computer’s hard drive for creations put aside for just such a time as this.  Even as some of my usual creative outlets are suppressed I am having fun revisiting old ideas and discovering new ones.

One of the new ones is a tune called “Shorty” in honor of Trombone Shorty.

At Eye On Life meanwhile we continue to be blessed with a steady stream of new poetry, for example, we recently welcomed poet Robert Demaree into the ranks of our contributing poets;  in addition, we are looking forward to publishing more of Donal Mahoney’s work tomorrow, and sometime this week Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois will be returning to The Poetry Locksmith as well.   We are so fortunate to have so many remarkable poetic voices enrich our pages.



Lounge Lizard

December 30, 2014 2 comments



At Eye On Life,  Rosa Farrington’s poem ” #ferguson” created a bit of a stir, attracting some comments.  While our poets attract a fair number of readers, few of the readers comment, so this was new and refreshing.  Over the Christmas holiday Donal Mahoney favored us with some very interesting poems as well, and what the hell I also threw one into the mix for good measure.

A note to poetry submitters to Eye On Life:  please submit only works that have not been published elsewhere.  The first thing I do with a poetry submission is paste the first few lines into a Google search and see what comes up.  If the poem comes up on or whatever, I have to reject it.   This goes for your blog, too.  If it is already on your blog, readers really do not have a reason to read it at Eye On Life.  Okay, enough bitching.  On with the show – or is it one with the show? Hmmmm…

Musically I am continuing to compose and lyricize, and will venture back to the Lizard Lounge with a couple of musicians (to be finalized) from The Rubenoff Project.   Two songs in ten minutes and a chance at performing a third tune in the final round if chosen.  If you’re in the Harvard Square – Porter Square, Cambridge area on Monday, January 19th at around 8:30 pm, please stop by and cheer (or boo).

My second favorite tune from the Lilypad was “You Locator.”  We’ll probably reprise that at the Lizard Lounge.


Much Music

November 7, 2014 1 comment

me_boneIt is very much a pleasure to have so much music in my life.  I am very busy with it, composing, arranging, playing, organizing.   For several years now I have become steadily more involved in music to the point that now I often write lyrics instead of a poem.  I still write more poetry than lyrics, but the percentage of my writing energy engaged in creating lyrics has increased.

Coming up on November 23rd I’ll be playing with the Klezmer band, Too Klez For Comfort, at Temple Beth Zion for the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.  We’ll do a few songs and there will also be other music including church and/or temple choirs.  It was a beautiful service last year at St. Mary’s Church and I’m sure it will be even more so this year at TBZ.

On December 5th Unclaimed Freight will open the show at Copperfield’s in Boston at 9:30 PM, and on December 14th I will be performing my own music with The Rubenoff Project at the Lilypad beginning at 3:30 PM.

I am still publishing the poetry of mostly others at Eye On Life, so stop by and read.  We have new poetry every week.

Slouching Toward September

August 27, 2014 Leave a comment

wachusettPIN62014_003Submissions are up at The Poetry Locksmith, which is COOL. We are blessed that many new poets have found us at Eye On Life, enriching our pages with their work. I (and we) are grateful.  Please stop by and enjoy the voices of Nina Longfield, M. Drew Williams, Valentina Cano and many others.

As I mentioned I have started posting a little of my own work at The Poetry Locksmith, too.  For years I felt it was a conflict of interest, but since we changed the design of the whole site a couple of years ago, and because I do not place ads on other poets’ poems, I have had no place to put ads on the Poetry Unlocked pages. Now I can put ads on my own work and feel that I have not done anyone wrong by marring their work with advertising – only mine. At the same time it gives me a creative outlet. It’s a win-win situation.

Musically things are often quiet in the summer because band members are on vacation, but now things are beginning to flow again.  Gigs are scheduled for Unclaimed Freight and Too Klez for Comfort already, and I hope to schedule a performance of my own work soon. I will be sessioning with a brand new group of musicians at the end of August to see where we can go.  If good recordings result I will be sure to cue you in.

My latest and greatest music can always be found at Reverbnation, a site that offers promotion services for musicians and composers like me 🙂  I have a few tunes there for your listening pleasure.

In the Hardware Genius sector I published an article about electric strikes and another one about how to become an online hardware dealer.

That about sums up my creative activity for now.  Hope you all are having as much fun as I am.