Featured

First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Welcome to ZombiePirateship17, This is the site where I, who is counted among the living dead and a “villain of all Nations” since the age of 17, attempt to plot a new course by the venerable method of star gazing-in a metaphorical sense. In any case, you won’t find much about Zombies, Pirates, ships or even the number 17 here. Sorry about that. What you will find are poems, stories, and occasionally essays on the various demons which possess and or obsess me.

I am incarcerated, so I do not get the opportunity to return the favor of reading from the pages of the those who read me. I am at the mercy of snail mail. However I will eventually receive any comments or questions you have if you direct them to ZombiePirateship17@gmail.com. I appreciate any feedback as I am constantly revising pieces even after they have been posted and or published.

Character Study

Who am I?

Am I the convicted murderer? The comic book geek? The weight pit junkie? Am I the college graduate?

I admit it!

I am not the person I portray. I am not that person I want to be. Not exactly. I am not as strong, or fearless, or as selfless as I would like. Sure I try, but I am prone to profound despairs. I so very often want to surrender.

I never do. I always conceive some new ploy or stratagem.  Some false hope. First I convince myself I am backed into a corner, bloodied beyond saving, then I come roaring out ready to fight. I hate myself for that sometimes.

Can any prison sentence rehabilitate that?

Am I my desires?

I would like to laugh more. I want to regret less. I want to live up to more of my ideals. I would like to impose less on the people I love. I want to be just as difficult to deal with as I’ve always been, Maybe in different ways. A little more inspired, a little less foolish. But only a little. I wish I weren’t so crazy. I wish, for just once in my life, someone would love me enough to not leave. No matter the obstacles.

Think I can fantasize that away?

Am I my own creation?

I have worn the skins of so many hastily scribbled characters. I have peeled each off, scrubbed and scraped each away. From each I kept something, clung to some aspect I could not simply cast aside. The faint lines left after erasure. Am I the sum of these collected pieces?

Am I that small core which decides these parts are worth preserving?

The distinction sounds academic, but to me it seems deeply important. Though I cannot articulate how. Or why. Does considering these questions determine who I am? Am I no more than the questions I ask? Am I the answers I come to?

Am I strong enough to lift that off my shoulders?

Am I a work in progress?

I learn. It takes awhile. I am learning that as I strive and sacrifice, I am, in fact, surviving through insanity. I have found that sometimes, with perseverance, I am, in fact, the hero I hope to be are not all that far apart. Sometimes. I have discovered the path to wisdom is paved with perpetually broken hearts. I am learning that the only fate worse that death is a perpetually broken heart. I am learning that my past and my loneliness are as inescapable as this cage.

Does a degree open these doors?

So, who am I?

An untethered island forever floating around the edge of the archipelago. Some flightless creature leaping from cliffs.  A poet, writing with razors across wrists. Just some faceless specter passing through your life. The mixed metaphor which explains nothing and means everything.

A character study carefully wrought from chaos.

 

About “Character Study”

At some point when I first decided I wanted to write, I figured out that I would have to be willing to reveal painful and embarrassing truths if I was ever going to write anything worth reading. Character Study is a kind of self-portrait, intended as a way for me to understand how I saw those truths.

Character Study can be found in my collection Oubliette and in the  graduate issue of Writers bloc.

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on this piece in the past and I decided to post it here to see what you all think and because it’s how I’ve been feeling this week.

 

If you would like to purchase a copy of my book Oubliette please contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somniloquy

(For, Russ, Jodi, Eric, Vinny, Tom, John, Mikey, Brian, Steve, Amos, & Kim)

My mind is a cemetery

These blue-gray eyes regurgitate

Dissecated corpses

Whose lives I’ve swallowed

And held inside for so long

I’m swollen with every death

Except my own

My thoughts slide across

Floors greased by blood from

Your slit wrists

And I wonder if I had enough

Spread this hand for you to hold

If I’d tried

To slam the door on the car

That became your coffin

If I’d been there

Could I have cut

The noose before it was tied

To connect bars to your neck

If I’d just kept

My temper and some patience

Would your bones have come to rest

In some unmarked bush

Left by vengeful fingers who

Couldn’t reach me

From the dumpster where

They dumped you

Carved open and squeezed

Dry of every heart drop

We possessed,

That’s when they killed me too.

Yet I linger mausoleum-like

Shoving ancient remains from shelves

To make room for new vacancies,

Your tongue less skulls

Crowd my shoulders crumbled façade

Whisper soliloquies

Which leave me empty

 

 

About “Somniloquy”

I have memories of fun and laughter where I am the only person still alive. So many of my friends are gone now that I often wonder how I’m still here; I, the least deserving of them all.

The original versions of this piece are longer, sometimes much longer, but I had to cut it down to approach something good enough for those it’s dedicated to. There are more names which deserve to be on that list, more stories that deserve to be told, I’m working on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Luke-

This lamp

Hangs precariously,

Wayward perched

It shines inside.

Shaded

By threadbare cap’s brim

It spreads heat barely;

Still it lures

What would fly,

Elude the dark.

It’s light bounces

Around the walls and walls

And walls

Then absconds

Too soon

To do any good.

It’s skin brittle,

Its filament thin-

A tiny shake

or slight crack

Could end all brilliance;

Gloom-sunk

Blind to any

World

But these confines

Always alurk

Just beyond senses

 

 

 

 

About “Luke”

The Cornell Prison Education Program has a kind of literary magazine called Writer’s Bloc and this piece was written in response to a prompt asking us to write a poem about an object in our cell which is a metaphor for our life (full, disclosure, I wrote the prompt).

Anyway, “Luke” means illumination and the poem uses my clip-on lamp as it’s symbol. I wrote the piece with the idea that I am never able to fully express the things I have inside me, I always fall short, and yet some people seem drawn to me-sort of pulled into orbit-but those people never seem to understand how very fragile I am.

I’ve never understood the strength people think they see in me or the light. I know I have beauty inside, I see a world much better than the one we live in and I try to impose the one onto the other. Is to try and fail continuously a kind of tragic virtue?

If I have any light worth sharing I suppose it’s my vision of that better world and my resolve to love sincerely. My sadness is the ever-present shade which caps my dreams and leaves me longing in uncertainty and self doubt. I am confined by more than concrete and steel

.

 

 

 

 

 

The Reality of The Garden

It could most properly be called a Cathedral. Not one of those decaying medieval edifices whose stout doors defiantly face the rising sun, daring medicants and fallen angels alike to do their worst. No, this place contained several citadels of holiness within an imposing curtain wall. Labrynthine pathways crouched between stone work huddled together from all pervading sin. The occasional rocky countenance of a gargoyle leered down covetously at passing souls, forever calculating. It was a proper place of foreboding.

Somewhere within, he fled.

He ran down a corridor, open to a courtyard on one side, it’s ceiling covered in unhealthy crimson splotches. Past narrow pillars he could see rose bushes in tightly ordered rows, their blooms burst open like over-ripe fruit and wilting in the chill twilight. Amid the distance of storm-tousled skies he perceived spires, like spears, stabbing heavenward; slicing. Piercing out from the wound to the well. Laughter echoed around him like the swirling shadows cast by candle light.

His pursuer was close now.

The bag thrown over his shoulder was heavy. It had grown heavier as he’d run because of the need to accumulate the things in it. There had been no choice, it was about survival. Every fleet step of foot denied him some small portion of courage he would require to make his stand. Every length of ground gained was ground that would be lost later. Not slowly either, but all at once and suddenly. Fatigue fell over him like a shroud, blinding his mind long enough to trip him. Scraped knees and hands did not concern him.

The he realized he was cornered.

The hall had terminated into depressed gazeebo. A shortened pew gasped shortened out from each of its five sides. Some obscure idol rose from the center to gaze outward at the garden. He stumbled down to the far railing, kneeling on the bench there. Beyond the marching bushes the blank face of brickwork creeped out unabated in all directions. Not a single egress presented itself. Flash of lightening and again the laughter. Infinitesimally closer.

He turned back toward the statue. It’s face hung above him like the waning moon. Sculpted eyes gouged the space below it disdainfully. The nose bent over a mouth which had been shorn away. The debris of the defacement lay littered around the base. He was out of time.

The tendrils of It’s presence unfurled around the open space. He watched it approach with a sense of claustrophobia. Slender as a stiletto and sheathed in midnight robes, It’s sallow skin seemed to ripple with each fluid footstep. Lengthy strides precise and deliberate. Straight hair, the colorlessness of newly formed specters,   descended below skeletal shoulders. Emerging from cavernous sleeves, spidery fingers crawled from hands webbed with scars. A blade striking from the darkness. This seemingly fragile vessel had traveled from the belly of some long forgotten age. The malignancy of It had claws grasping from eons past.

Sweat tore from him in torrents. The storm of mortal understanding-a flash which polished his mind with abrasive sands until it shone like a star. with a light that would not be seen until long after it’s source’s demise. The realization that the only redemption is found in the pulse of struggle is no simple acceptance. You must simply accept it.

But acceptance does not necessitate surrender.

He raised his fists, his only defense, but there came a billowing of black robes like the bellowing of brass bells-the silence.

Flash of lightening , another unhealthy crimson stain, and again the laughter.

 

 

 

About ” The Reality of the Garden”

This started as part of a very strange dream I had during a period when I was reading a lot of H. P. Lovecraft. Go figure. Anyway, I wrote it with the intention of telling a story about a man running from a personification of death/time within the confined of a labyrinth which I thought of as a symbol for our societal structure. The garden  of life is always just a step away , but man never thinks to take it because he sees no way to escape that way. Man continues to flee within the structure because he thinks the structure was constructed to offer a way out, never realizing the structure circumscribes his existence.

I wanted to tell a story about humans obsessive beauracracy-building siphoning the joy from life, creating the rat race against time where only emptiness and fear are found surrounded by the structures man has constructed in an attempt to create meaning. That’s why the Church like setting and allusions to the religious belief.

Unfortunately, this has never become the story I wanted to tell. It really hasn’t even become a story. There are some great lines in it though, so it hasn’t been a waste. I’m sure I’ll continue to play with this periodically and maybe someday it will become something.

I’m sharing it because I’ve been drowning in a vicious sort of writer’s block, but I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about time so I’m hoping someone’s comments might stimulate some momentum.

 

 

 

Votive

Low-lying stone

under bended weeds

Hinderant

Not hiding, but unseen

Worn down by wind

Silently unyielding

Belligerent monument

Altar to

Broken lawnmower blades

And winces at stubbed toes;

Sacrifices to lesser Gods

Who take what they can get

 

 

About ” Votive”

“votive came out of me musing about early hominids’ religious practices and what became of their religious artifacts, if any existed. I imagined that after so much time it was possible altars or other artifacts would be unrecognizable as anything out the ordinary. I also imagined ancient hominid gods forgotten in their unremarkable stones, living off of accidents like gremlins.

American Gods is one of my favorite novels, so with the television treatment of it now airing I thought this would be a good time to post this.

 

 

 

 

Reluctantly

I admit it

Reluctantly, but still,

This desire to Surrender

If I know how,

Tired of this burden

Sometimes life

Ticked down to nothing,

How many hours now

Have been dragged along

In solitude?

Pushed past razor’s

Edge against wrist

Of surrender-

If I knew how.

Those moments always settled

By fist-imprinted rock bottoms

Of foes’ sharp tongues

Thrust through ” I told you”s

I cannot give them

Even that

So small a victory,

Though I should surrender

If I knew how.

 

I survive by defiance

And a fear they’re right,

Because I am a monster

with visage and past

Violent as any horror

Movie Villain-

I know this.

But I still can’t

Seem to figure

What the fuck

Is so wrong

with being me

That it makes everyone leave

Then I remember

Reluctantly, but still,

I’d leave me too

If I knew how.

 

About “Reluctantly”

This is less a poem than it is a vomitus emoting on the page. “Reluctantly” is what results from most of sessions at the “desk” ( I actually write on my bunk, though I occasionally kick my feet up on the desk) when I’m writing to purge but can’t seem to capture my thoughts on the page. I figure this happens when I haven’t yet obsessed enough 🙂

Believe it or not, this is a revision of “Reluctantly”, I just can’t seem to get it right. I’m never really done working on a poem, so I’ll continue to play with this one even though I think it will never be anything more that practice.

Anyway, I decided to share “Reluctantly” because I feel this way a lot of the time and I guess I wonder if anyone else does too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn

Tonight while walking I saw

a daffodil sprung alone

along a spar of rotted wood

as though washed there

on tides of waving grass

Between chain-link fence

And the wall it faced

Away from me

Leaned into concrete and braced

Against it’s own shadow.

Rooted in dusk.

Yellow petals paled at edges

as if bled out around it

Onto pools of dark and floodlight

I wanted so badly

For either of us to reach

Back through the dappled gloom,

Bloomed despite our respective cages,

To grant the other a little color-

But then,

Why should a daffodil be different

Than anyone else?

.

About “Turn”

I pass a small rectangle of grass, enclosed by a chain-link fence, on my way to school.

It was a little after 7 pm, early April, and I noticed a lone daffodil growing in the middle of the grass. It caught my attention, not just because it had blossomed before even the dandelions, but because rather than leaning towards the east or some other area of sunlight it was turned toward the thirty foot concrete wall and growing within the shadow of a guard tower. I thought ” I understand” and I watched that daffodil every evening on my way to school as it’s petals began to fall off and it became almost indistinguishable from the weeds springing up around it. I guess I understand that too.