Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

For Cigarettes

Appeared in BLACK HEART way back in April 2007 for Erotic Poetry Day:
For cigarettes

For a pack of cigarettes he let me see his sister naked
through a hole between their rooms
at first when he checked he said she wasn’t doing anything
I looked she was on her bed talking on the phone reading a fashion magazine
we waited reading comic books, he would check every ten minutes
then finally he said alright and I knelt down and looked again
she took off her jeans and t-shirt then her bra and panties
put on different underwear, white cotton for shiny black
black tights black skirt red shiny blouse high heel shoes
brushed her hair gold earrings red lipstick
looking at herself like she knew she looked good

A car honked outside and she left
we waited hours playing video games listening for the click of her door
I’d never stayed up that late before
for one of my comic books he let me watch again
she opened her window sat on the bed crossed her legs lit a cigarette
blew the smoke out into the night and watched it
undressed in front of the mirror
folding the blouse and skirt bending to put them in a drawer
her underwear smooth and shiny on the floor
she put on her white panties and the t-shirt and turned out the light
we went to bed too in sleeping bags on the floor
I waited till he was asleep got out in my underwear
went to the hole stared at the darkness
wondering if she knew about it, if she ever looked
listening for anything only hearing his slow breathing

Friday, April 24, 2015

1st page of a rough draft for a novel

First page of a new longer fiction piece I'm working on. This is about two revisions in, as I continue to add to the larger manuscript. Tell me what you think!


ComiCon is a dream, a nightmare, a chaos, a masquerade and therefore a reality. ComiCon is a sub-culture, a culture, a world, a nostalgia, a childhood dream where women walk around in tight bodysuits, and where men show people the type of hero, superhero, they would really be if they could just stop eating so many Doritos. There are parties every night at ComiCons, and a ComiCon itself is one big party.

I hate parties.

I should stay in my hotel room and write, work on a script due soon. But I’ve been invited to a private party tonight, every night of the Emerald City ComiCon actually, and the comics biz is very much about networking. A comic book is team effort, and you need to know people to have a team. I am the Grinch of ComiCons, and am constantly amazed that people there welcome me with their costumed arms.

ComiCon officially unofficially begins tonight, Thursday, with the first party, for those locals in the know, and those of us creators (writers and artists) and editors and publishing folks who have come in early, which is most of us. One of the big publishers (not the big big ones, the Big Two, but the big medium ones) takes on hosting chores at a local watering hole each night.
Weather today in Seattle was surprisingly nice, with actual sun when my train arrived in the station early afternoon. After I check into my hotel room, I go for a quick run down on the along the piers, dodging traffic and tourists and other runners, the Olympic peninsula and mountains actually visible, across the bay—most other times I’ve been here they’re in the clouds. And how ComiCon-esque to be able to see Mount Olympus rising to the west. You’d almost expect to see gods or superheroes (which are our gods) flying around.

After my run and a glorious hot shower, I even have some few hours in the afternoon to walk around downtown and be somewhat normal. Though of course, nerd that I am, my main destination is Elliot Bay bookstore, uphill climb right past the Convention Center actually, where I poke around looking at books without pictures, though there was a graphic novels section, with one of my books, my Aquaman compendium. It isn’t that big of a section, so that fact that a book of mine is featured is something. There are bigger comics stores in town, which I may or may not get around to visiting this weekend. As a reward to the bookstore for carrying me, and to be subversive and potentially thrown out, I take out a sharpie and secretly autograph it: Dear Elliot Bay: Aquaman was right!!! —Mark Singer

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mountain poem for a woman who died climbing

This appeared in BELLOWING ARK, a print journal, back in 2010:

Mountain poem for a woman
who died climbing

Thundercells and lightning all around the valley
playing my guitar out on the grass
swatting mosquitoes and singing sad songs
looking in at the people in other trailers
drinking and watching tv
cool wind and an open patch of stars

I didn’t know you
our helicopter flew your body back down
you weighed nothing
and we flew you out in a bag
attached to a cable and hook

you fell two hundred feet
maybe more
your partner had her phone
though it was too late even then
even before the rangers could get there

your friends seemed like good people
they cried not because they didn’t understand
but because they did
that you were doing something you felt passionate about
and why should someone die doing that?
and yet what other way would there be to go?
standard procedure is to land the body away
from the helispot
where the coroner can pick it up discreetly
but they walked over to look at you
to open the bag and see you one last time

I couldn’t
I would have liked you
I have always liked the idea of women like you
physical and strong and independent

I stayed where I was
it was sunny there
and wrens kept circling around us
picking up small pieces of grass and dirt

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Passing Influence—poem

This appeared in FENCE way back in 2001. My first 'big' publication in a 'big' literary journal:

Passing Influence
                                    for Susan Wheeler

This is the best part, hate which now
brings you the whole head in reality–
the man’s SUV slides down the road.

Dancing on the (I don’t know the word) tile
you look down slowly;
this is exercise or punishment.

For only a few minutes you have reeled in, forgetting to
lose (you forget cacti), and before it was obscure:
the driveway which surrounds this dry desert
is the dawn entrance of rapists. In this life
they catch children at the critical moment
and undress the bodies in the heat.

The real stupidity, you know, is always
                                    paying the asking price.

Then the plane lands, and the man
lights your joint and takes a stone from his briefcase
and leaves a ship of idiocy in the seat.
You are sinking; he has bent your arm, whispering
you are under the boot of a man.
Clumsiness is insect-like, it means punishment.
So you did everything expected, and in your pain
you remembered not to ask whether it was irrational
or only a steady pool on the floor. Loss, fade
distinguish, worms crawling in the dirt,
a maze of arrivals uncrossed like coathangers around which
during pleasant days, voices make mounds of death.
Every night you have locked a door and turned on a lamp
that leaves only the best comfort.

He calls to say he is ready to come. There is
nothing. Now you can’t recognize the abyss
for what it was, now in there, under the dying river,
a goatman is leaving you, nervously straight; promising death.