Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Sonnet #357

 The annual fantasy we take in Memorial

Wherein the war is behind us, now

And no one else need bleed to show

Their glory to the school tutorials,

Wherein the price is just the backdrop

of a show on pbs about the price

that love demands, once or twice

a century past, and our grief stops

with the rolling credits, play the music,

maestro, fireworks dazzle and doge

commands, where snow falls to this

cemetery old men visit to show

the children about the horrors of the past.

All of it a lie: the horror comes again; it lasts

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Check out the latest issue of ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT for a new story about Wind and Astroboy!

 The July/August Issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, available wherever your periodicals are found, including as an eBook, magazine, etc., will have a short story that I'm proud of and think is one of my better ones. It's also part of that mosaic novel thing I've been sending around to publishers called WIND OF EARTH, WIND OF TAU CETI, that is a life story of the interstellar immigrant experience, where Wind is a child on Earth (remember "Salt Gator Girl" in 3-Lobed Burning Eye? Remember "Finnegan, Feel the Pain" in Analog two July's back?) and follows her life trajectory to a new planet, a new colony, (Remember "Wind Gets Her Own Place", "Astroboy and Wind", "Long Day Lake", all in previous issues of Analog?). 

Well, here comes what ends the book, in question, justabout, quite nearly. There's more stories in there, and maybe a publisher will pick up the whole thing soon, but until then consider this a chance to check out an excellent piece from a book I think is pretty good for what it is, and hope to share with everyone someday soon.

I'm pretty busy, right now, with some things I'm not really able to talk about, but I know I'll be putting together something new, soon, and maybe you'll see more pieces of it flying around the world, and maybe even the whole shebang.

Pick up your copy, today, and let me know if you like it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Sorrow of the Cranes gets some love from KidsBookBuzz

 “ So far, this has been one of my favorite books and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy novels. It should be in every middle school library.

Reviewed By:  

See the full five star review here: , and share it and the book with all your friends!

Friday, June 10, 2022

Sonnet #356

I will try my best to be a tree

I found my ground and dwell there

Let fires come to burn my branches bare

Let drought drive roots deep to seek

Let waves of worms to gnaw my bark

Let winds blow strong to bend me down

And every fell creature tumble around

I will hold this place, and touch the dark

With my high branches, and when sun

Comes, I will sing the quiet song of trees

I will spread my roots to touch the ones

Who share this place with me, quietly,

A brotherhood of peace and quiet, a patience

That can only come from practicing patience

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Christianity and Gun Ownership

 I just don’t get the cognitive dissonance. 

What is the reason to own a firearm? To kill. A handgun is not a hunter’s tool, and neither is an armalite death spraygasm. These implements exist for only one purpose: killing people. There are hunters, of course, and folks in rural areas who worry about wild animal attacks and putting down injured animals, and I get that. But, that’s why rifles make sense. Bolt action, not too many bullets, with the expressed use of animal husbandry and game shooting. Okay, I understand that even if I disagree and think everyone should be vegan or vegan-aspirant in a world of climate change and ethical and nutritional advancement. But, whatever.

So, you’re a Christian, then, who believes with your whole heart that life is sacred and god’s creation is marvelous and martyrdom for the sake of life is the highest of gifts. And you own a gun that is intended to end life?

Self defense doesn’t come from an individual alone, standing alone. It comes from community, neighbors, prosperity and health for all. It comes from dogs that love you enough to bark and growl and fight for you if it comes to it. It comes from neighbors that rush to your aid, and call the police when they see something suspicious. It comes from police that don’t just shoot and kill and treat their community like a war zone. 

Defend yourself with peace. Arm yourself with relationships and kindness and a willingness to take the harder path to security where no one gets hurt.

Seems the only Christian thing to do, no?

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Monarchy is a Blight

 The Queen’s pending jubilee is a great reminder that the monarchy is a blight. Once upon a time, feudal warlords conquered and claimed, and filled a necessary protective role in pre-industrial societies where mounting armed warriors on horses was critical to protecting the peasants and people from slavery and death. Not so, today. They trot them out for ribbon cuttings and speeches, refusing to take sides on controversial issues (and thank goodness, because these aren’t exactly folks with a strong background with a strong background in philosophy and social justice issues), and generally just keep up appearances to great expense of the common taxpaying citizen. Cut them off from governance, and they’re still fabulously wealthy plutocrats with investments and property that really should just be turned over to the state for museums and refugee housing, and let them go. 

That they are nominally a head of both a church and a state rings alarm bells of ethics, in the modern era. They refuse to exercise these rights, on the whole, and just trot out for ceremonial appearances. Does their salary and upkeep fit the role they play in public life? Should the budget for their daily staff exceed the gdp of some whole countries once ruled with iron and death by these same warlords? 

As an American, I am often mystified by the Royal obsession. One thing that is often not well-conveyed by the rosy British-loving propaganda shows on Britbox and Mystery series is how miserable everyone was. The warlord culture was one of being cold to children, who might not survive until adulthood. They were sent to miserable and abusive boarding schools, raised by staff, and generally taught to see the world as a place to dominate. Alcoholism and domestic violence were common and expected. And the long, damp, cold winters pushed everyone to the limits of endurance. The royalty that emerged from these conditions conquered the world and spread vile racist lies that continue to haunt our world for generations. 

On the queen’s pending jubilee let’s all take a moment to consider how ending monarchy and enacting democracy was one of the most important moments in human history to date, and celebrating that democracy is a greater cause for joy this summer than the birthday of an old woman who should have retired decades ago, along with the very job she claims to hold. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Fiscal Responsibility and Bloodshed

 Apparently, factions in this country believe the solution to the problem of guns in schools, is throwing more guns at school. Arm teachers with guns, which is not at all remotely an unsafe idea in the chaos of a classroom with an authority figure handling frustrating and complicated interactions. Put more police in schools, to really ramp up the illusion of securit. Do this because that’s more important than preventing a disgruntled 18 year old from legally purchasing two long guns, and however many rounds of ammunition, and charging a school and barricading himself inside of it.

If guns made us safer, why are we living in such a dangerous country?

Also, who on the side of fiscal responsibility thinks paying to beef up security in school is more financially responsible than just keeping guns out of hands of people who have no need for them.

Guns are just a tool, and they are not toys. They are treated like toys, and the will to keep them as toys to create an illusion of power is a profound brain disease in our country. Guns are tools, not toys, and should be treated like a tool that’s caused a major epidemic of violence and misery that’s changed the very fabric of public life. 

Except some people are afraid they will lose their toys.

Monday, May 16, 2022

If they had their own country

 Give the Xian white supremacists a planet and let them go to it. Let them hoard their weapons and count their coins and pretend they need no one else’s help but their fellow superior race.

Incest would destroy the children of the very few left alive in five years time.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sonnet #355

 They who do not work: they do not 


It says, but also says the book to feed the poor

Give the widow mercy, coin, the leper more

And throw to ceaser, let a pile be on the street

Also make your money work for you

So you can stop the work, retire, 

And spend your weary days at fires

Warm and fishing holes and maybe cruise

The book says much of slavery, so do we

The wage enslaves because the money does

Not work for you. Whose fault this is is yours

But if you’re poor receive the blessings, says

The book, of a spirit world that rewards 

More than any path of bankers pays.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Sonnet #354

 The plankton at the heart of life submerged

In endless waters must not feel too much

Except the briny flow of all they touch

Like breathing, in and out, a binge and purge,

We like to say there’s more to life than this

Diadems rise, and doges pound their fists

And angry men and women make their lists

Of all the sins of the world on the tip of a kiss;

The fog comes on little cat feet, and then

Feelings are first so no one pays any attention

The wind blows in the branches, I sit and then

I look, and then I walk a bit to ease the tension

And then, and then, all the senses binging

On the place I am, the where of it, no purging.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Changes and Cranes and Sorrow

 I’m off social media, so I can’t just casually post a link and pray it goes viral (not that it ever did, to be honest) but I am also going through some significant changes at home, and so I thought I’d mention that I have a book available for sale that you might have missed!

Sorrow of the Cranes is a great all ages book appropriate for any kid old enough for books with mikk no inal or no pictures, and adults as old as nearly dropping dead. It has received high praise already from some major review sites, but like all quiet, little books, I doubt the Kaiju Preservation Society will even know it exists. Unless, of course, you, fair reader, take a moment to investigate and share your thoughts on this title wherever such thoughts are beat and effectively shared.

I wish a dedicated fan would print up a QR code under a picture of the cover that links directly to a sales link, and posts them all over their respective town and country. I’d love to stumble one day to someone who loved my book so much, they printed up a flyer and posted on a lamp post and no one even knows I’d encounter it, at all. I have always wondered how much work I must do and for how long until people care enough to just put it on a piece of paper and post it out somewhere people will see, a graffiti lind of love, a rude and hurried kind of affection for an experience that is so personal as reading a book.

Maybe you could be the one whose little homemade billboard I encounter?

Sonnet #353

 The one who dips their bread in the dip

Will betray me, and who would dare

to do a thing like that? To stand before

the Son of God and place the tip

of some half-eaten crust into a bit of oil?

When the consequences come, this man who betrays

Will not believe how much blood is in the soil

How mobs run streets and hunt who prays

How everything that rises must converge

And empires fall, and kingdoms unkown merge

into empires, and a kid sits alone under a bridge

Feeling like they can never go home again

And all form and order breaks at the edges of time

and nothing rhymes, anymore, a man dies on a cross

And nothing rhymes anymore, dip bread into this

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Sonnet #352

We talk about the weather, about the sky

How it turns upon us as we turn 

upon each other, how it burns

to see the birds dead in gravel, try

not to see the weeds in the grass

to lean back and just see green

and let the sun take us, how we preen

each other, refuse the metaphoric task

that demands we see ourselves in nature

that demands a sign and portent here

and how we hold our proud stature

even when it hurts to stand, to bear

the weight of metaphor, the force of earth

that demands we know more of us and more

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Literary Awards and Lotteries

 I am getting very tired of this news story that keeps popping up around some important literary award. Someone, an author, is surprised by a major literary award or a surprise bestseller, and it turns out that they are a janitor, a waitress, a menial laborer, driving for Uber or Lyft or DoorDash, an adjunct contingent employee. And the award provides prestige, a cash prize, a boost in sales, and lifts the author out of poverty. Hooray for the artist.

But, the house always wins in games of chance.

The monopolists and pseudo-monopolists that sit at the heart of international media networks have created a system where the vast majority of creatives, more so than any time in the last fifty years, have no real path to financial security in the arts. Academia, perhaps, provides a cushion but that favors the academic authors who aren't really the same sort of author as the ones who write for money and all time instead of tenure. The rest are mostly working day jobs, for the benefits, for the stability, writing their lottery tickets, their hopes and dreams and all that. Winner takes all. They win the prizes, win the attention of the readers, the movies get made, and all good things come for winners who take the all. There are very few of them. The vast and overwhelming majority of writers read the news story about the prize that comes for the janitor, and wonder if someday that could be them. Then, they put on the rubber gloves and scrub the dang toilets, dreaming of a world that will never come in time to pay their rent, feed their kids, make good on their debts and obligations.

And the winners that take all make it all justifiable, the way we have built our whole economy around the dream of sudden, amazing transfers of wealth and prestige, that moment when the floodgates open in a burst after years of chipping away at the edges. This is the capitalist success story, the harbinger of generational wealth, and when it comes, when the work and the work and the work becomes the overnight success story, the work gets the credit, not the overnight luck.

Instead of working to build a sort of world where no one is ever truly left behind, we have built a world where the dream of winning the metaphorical lottery is the only thing that keeps us from screaming and marching in the streets.

So maybe we should be marching in the streets.

Metaphorically, of course. Who is there to even protest? The system has diffused the blame among so much noise and confusion, distributed networks, and pissing them off means losing access to the vanishing few channels that lead to meaningful success. 

March quietly. Shout quietly. Try not to make too much noise. Be noticed just enough, but not too much.