Poetry

"The Green Carpet" Now Appears at Words Dance Publishing

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My poem "The Green Carpet," which also appears in my new book from Unknown Press, We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine, is now featured over at Words Dance Publishing, a fantastic site that posts all kinds of great literary content. The poem looks back on my fond childhood memories of my elementary school library and how formative that place became, and all the feelings that can overcome you later in life when you realize those warm, wonderful places feel so far behind you that you'll never be able to reach them again. It's a good example of the kind of work you'll find in my book, which is available at Amazon or by contacting me at jhdwriting@hotmail.com. My deepest thanks to Amanda Oaks for accepting the piece over at Words Dance. Definitely check out their site! And thank you for reading.   

Three New Poems In Three Of My Favorite Lit Magazines

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Things have been rolling this week. On top of my new book dropping Halloween night, I have three new poems appearing in three different magazines around the net. 

My poem "Hunger" joins a slew of others in a special edition of Drunk Monkeys: The Year of Trump, a collection of poems, prose, interviews, and art about life in this "new normal" that shouldn't be normal at all. The writers here are no fan of 45, and my pieces laments over how to deal with loved ones who have gone lockstep in a strange and frightening direction. The issue is full of wonderful writers, like Rachel Nix (Hobo Camp Review's new associate editor!), Ally Malinenko, John Grochalski, Cat Conway, and others.  

Another "Trump" poem of mine, "Last Cigarette," appears over at Winedrunk Sidewalk. This site publishes a new poem every day about life under 45. Keep checking in for all kinds of voices speaking up and out.    

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Finally, Lonesome October Lit (one of my favorite new online journals) has included my poem "The Incident at Choke Cherry Farm" in their big Halloween extravaganza yesterday, and I'm so happy to be part of it. Anyone who knows me knows I adore Halloween, so this is super cool. My deepest thanks goes to poet and editor Kate Garrett, who also selected my poem "Prayers from Dunwich" earlier this October.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you all down the road...  

NOW AVAILABLE: We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine

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My new collection of poetry, We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine, is now available from Unknown Press! This has been a long process (over two years!) to get this from the page to the reader, but it's finally ready to share with you all. This collection explores the childhood memories and nostalgic daydreams of a grade-school bookworm now grown up to face cancer, chemo, debt, solitude, and the fear that all the joys and hopes of a bygone youth are slipping out of reach. I couldn't be happier to have worked with writer/publisher Bud Smith on this project, and I included a poem below as a sample of what you'll find inside.

The book is available at Amazon, by special order through your local bookstore, and by writing me at jhdwriting@hotmail.com for signed paperbacks. (Yes, yes, good old ancient Hotmail.) Blurbs and recommendations are available at the book's page on my website. Free PDF copies are available for reviewers, and I'll have free physical copies for reviewers soon too. If you'd like one, please contact me. Thank you all!!

 THE GREEN CARPET

It is a waiting room of chipped plastic tables full of
wrinkled copies of Highlights magazine and cardboard
flip-books about bears flying in hot air balloons, the
scent of rubbing alcohol and Lysol. These children here
are bald or soon will be and I run my hand through my
own hair, find bloody fingertips, red robins in flight
through my very flesh, flying away and away and away.
Opening my eyes and counting my inhale/exhale, I see
that the carpet here is lime green, shag, just like the
green carpet where the small children of Green Meadow
Elementary sat in the library, 1985, ‘86, ‘87…we read
books about dinosaurs and planets and gigantic men who
chopped trees in days gone by alongside blue oxen. There
were books of women who flew planes and disappeared,
and of ghosts who haunted castles, books of egghead
professors with childish brain games, and books of
children who had troubles just like the troubles we had
at home or in our classrooms, on the bus, with bullies,
siblings, nightmares, parents who disappeared, feelings of
isolation, feelings. None of them had the troubles we had
when we grew up though, or the troubles the bald
children here have discovered. Publishers and sales reps
probably don’t like tallying such figures. Back then,
Letter People lined the walls and a TV with Ramona
played on rainy days. There were book club sales, book
reports, and wooden chairs lined up along the wall,
straight and small. All of us sitting on the green carpet. I
believe the rain still falls on the windows there, while
kids here grow old, fall down, their eyes drifting against
the wash of a television glow in hospital rooms and daybeds,
their blood and marrow melting, betraying,
hounding them, the pages of their stories thinning out
and fading blank. And then someone calls my name so I
rise and walk across that green carpet to see how many
pages my own story has left.

Can you Hear Those "Prayers from Dunwich"?

I'm a big fan of anything Lovecraftian -- all those tales of ghoulish, cosmic creatures and devilish cultists who aid them in their dark New England dens and subterranean hideouts, with stories full of grimoires and ghosts and slimy undead things that crawl through the night. I also love anything related to October or Halloween, so being able to combine all this has been a fantastic bit of fun. A great new webzine called Lonesome October Lit publishes eerie, macabre poetry and short fiction and they just released my new piece called "Prayers from Dunwich," and any fan of Lovecraft might understand the spirit of the piece. I hope you enjoy this creepy poem, and please consider ending Lonesome October Lit some of your own work!   

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"The Reservoir" Nominated for the Best of the Net 2017

The editors over at Vox Poetica just sent news that my poem "The Reservoir" is one of their six nominees for the 2017 edition of The Best of the Net. I'm happy to share this honor with Moriah LaChapell, Nancy Scott McBride, John J. McKenna, Mel Paisley, and Simon Perchik. Good luck to all, and thank you again to the editorial team at Vox Poetica! 

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"Feral Kingdom" now appears in Picaroon Poetry #9

My new poem "Feral Kingdom" now appears in Picaroon Poetry Issue 9 (on page 19, click on the cover toward the bottom of the page to open the PDF of the issue) alongside a veritable pirate crew of dastardly poets, such as Tobi Alfier, Amber Decker, Darren C. Demaree, Robert Okaji, Howie Good, and more. My poem takes a look at a life spent living out of boxes, on the move, dependent on kindness, luck, and every penny one can scrape together. It's not an easy life, it's not always even a good life, and it's the kind of life that flies by a little too fast if you ask me. I hope you enjoy it. The issue is downloadable as a PDF, or you can flip through and read it online. My deepest thanks to the editor, Kate Garrett, for accepting my work! (She also took another poem of mine for an issue due in November.) And thank you out there for reading. I always appreciate it.   

Rusted Ghosts of Sidewalk Town

My poem "Rusted Ghosts of Sidewalk Town" now appears at Windedrunk Sidewalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland, an assemblage of poems about our modern life during the 45th presidency. This particular poems reflects on the unspoken hopes of the homeless, the steel-hearted indifference of our lovely modern age, the hollow men and women who run the show, and the shattered windows, empty shoes, and racist graffiti that trails in their wake. I hope you'll read with an open mind and an open heart. Thanks, and please consider sending them your own work!

New Poem in Trailer Park Quarterly, Vol. 6

My poem "We the Faithful" now appears in Volume 6 of one of my favorite publications, the always top-notch online journal, Trailer Park Quarterly. The poem appears alongside the fiction and poetry of many fine writers, such as John Dorsey, Puma Perl, Alan Catlin, Michelle Hartman, William Taylor Jr. (winner of this issue's Annie Menebroker Poetry Award), and others. I hope you take a look at the whole issue and consider sending you're own work! And I hope you'll enjoy my piece as well, a little something dedicated to my mother and all the other single parents out there fighting the good fight. Thank you.  

Guest Blogger at The Poets That You Meet

Shanti Weiland graciously reached out to me to ask that I contribute to her blog series The Poets That You Meet, where poets talk about the inspiration and writing process behind one of their poems. My post is titled "Wading Into the Sea Change", in which I discuss my poem "The Last Appointment of the Day" and how sitting in an endless series of medical waiting rooms over the last few years made me start to take a closer look about what made those rooms so unsettling, so static, so haunting, so sad, and even at times so comforting. I also recorded an audio version of the poem (pardon my voice) which you can find in the post. I hope it's an interesting and maybe even enlightening post. Thanks for reading.     

The Troy Poetry Mission Reading Series

I'm very proud and honored to announce that I'm the new co-host of the Troy Poetry Mission reading series, a monthly event that takes place in O'Briens Public House, a stellar Irish pub in the heart of downtown Troy, NY. The creator of the series, poet R.M. Engelhardt, hopes that the two of us will be able to expand upon the already great readers that attend each month and bring some new faces to the area. It's my first time hosting a regular series, so I aim to do my best to add as many diverse styles and voices to the lineup as possible. The series takes place on the last Wednesday of each month, and includes an open mic for any and all who wish to read. Stop in to take the stage, mingle with fellow writers, have a beer and maybe dinner, and let's continue to make Troy a thriving hotspot for poetry!

"Nights Don't Die" Now Appears in Five:2:One

My latest poem "Nights Don't Die" now appears in Five:2:One, Issue 15. The magazine is "dedicated to the transgressive, experimental, and the progressive of the literary world," as their website declares, and each issue is full of art, poetry, fiction, drama, and book reviews. It's available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace. I got to read through this issue a week ago and I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of work and effort the editors put into the magazine. It really looks great, and they have my deepest thanks for including me.    

"The Young May Love Without Fear" at Winedrunk Sidewalk

My poem "The Young May Love Without Fear" now appears at Winedrunk Sidewalk, a blog that posts a poem every day of Donald Trump's presidency. The poem itself is from a line from the Humphrey Bogart anti-fascist film Passage to Marseille, in which he plays a French anti-fascist newspaper publisher who is imprisoned by the Vichy government, and later escapes from prison to fight for a free France. It's a fantastic film, and I only hope my poem humbly but accurately represents the film's driving emotion. And make sure to submit your own work to Winedrunk Sidewalk when you can! Thanks.    

Poems, Reviews, and Upcoming Fiction

It's been a busy winter so far, and it's only getting busier. Here's a rundown of what's out now and what's coming soon!

  • My review of Nice Feelings by Iris Appelquist now appears at Up The Staircase Quarterly, which is a stellar publication you should be reading.
  • My poem "Going Ghost" now appears at Boned, a journal of skeletal writings. I omitted this poem from my collection Berlin (Maverick Duck Press) so I'm happy it finally found a home.
  • My poem "Nights Don't Die" should appear in the upcoming issue of Five:2:One this month.
  • I have two flash fiction stories coming up in late winter: "Desperate Ain't Lonely" will appear in Full Of Crow, and "Thompson Hill" will appear in Ink In Thirds. I'll post links when they both hit!
  • And finally, for now, I recently had a poem called "The Carson Effect" in Winedrunk Sidewalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland, and I'll soon have another titled "The Young May Love Without Fear". They publish a new poem every day of Trump's presidency, and if you're not the biggest fan of the current admin, you'll want to take a look.

Thanks for reading and all of your support!

"The Old Note Book" Now Appears at Picaroon Poetry

Picaroon Poetry has a new issue sailing the high seas of the internet and its crew is a fine one, full of poets and scribes with words galore. In their new issue, which they unofficially dub the "sex and death issue", you'll find my poem "The Old Note Book". I take notes when I travel and after finding an old clothbound note book I opened it to find so many memories I'd nearly forgotten, and some I most certainly don't recall. I hope you enjoy the poem, and please take a look at the rest of the issue! 

New Review of Dead City Jazz at Albany Poets

A new review of my chapbook Dead City Jazz now appears at Albany Poets. In the reviewer's own words, the collection "explores the geography of human emotion, love, loneliness, desperation, fear and indifference using robust imagery while simultaneously intertwining narratives." All of the poems take place on or are inspired by alcohol-infused and neon-lit evenings in San Antonio, Texas, and while some are certainly bar poems, others hover in more remote corners of the night, on back streets and in quiet rooms in a suffocating silence. The review does a good job of getting to the heart of the poetry, especially the part where the reviewer recognized "how we improvise through our experiences like jazz music," through every conversation and relationship, every night and day. I'm proud to have my hometown poetry organization host this review on their site. Take a look, and thanks for all of the support! Single copies are still available through me, but the whole Punk Chapbook Series from Epic Rites Press is just that, epic, and is worth your time and money.   

Dead City Jazz & the Punk Chapbook Series

Dead City Jazz, my chapbook about the neon and nightlife of San Antonio, TX is now available as part of the Epic Rites Press Punk Chapbook Series, in which you receive 12 books for $40 (plus shipping) all at once. I should have VERY limited signed copies available by early October, but there are so many talented writers in this series that your best best to to get them all before they're sold out. Below is a sample poem from Dead City Jazz called "Death of the Cool". 

Death of the Cool

sewing through Alamo Heights
after midnight, headlights and red lights
and Chet Baker, Miles, news of
your suicide in that cracked little
bungalow further downtown, soft
highway sounds like the ocean
we loved so well

your records and books were gone
by the time we got there to pay respects
but that’s alright, we’ll always
have the night, and all the
pain in the world

 

New Poetry in Bare Hands Issue 23

My poem "The Ruby Hope of You" now appears in the gorgeous Bare Hands, Issue 23. Included in the issue are Eithne Lannon, Roisin Kelly, Trevaskis Hoskin, Tia Paul-Louis, Brian Kirk, Eoghan O'Sullivan, and Seth Jani, with some beautiful photography throughout. My poem is an older one, reshaped and reconstructed through the years but holding dear to a stoic moment in the southern grass at dusk, staring up through the trees with the last of the red wine and a fresh batch of wonderful, awful pain. I hope you enjoy.  

Dead City Jazz Gets a Cover and Release Date!

Epic Rites Press will release my poetry chapbook Dead City Jazz as part of their Punk Chapbook Series 2, coming this October. Last night I added one more poem to the chap, "Death of the Cool," and and now the chap has a cover too, with artwork provided by Janne Karlsson. The book is available in bulk with all the others, 12 books in total that ship in one package. For details, check out Epic Rites Press, and I'm going to try to get my hands on a couple individual copies for future readings and such. Stay tuned for all that.  

Dead City Jazz coming soon to Epic Rites Press

Epic Rites Press has selected my poetry collection Dead City Jazz for inclusion in their Punk Chapbook Series. This is the second season of their series, which includes 12 chapbooks released over the course of a year to subscribers for just $40, a little over $3 per book. This is an exceptional deal considering the subscription includes work from Ally Malinenko, William F. Taylor, Karina Bush, and many other talented writers, with more to be announced.

Dead City Jazz is a collection of San Antonio poems, of late night breakdowns and smoky bar crawls, of darkened streets and glowing cantina lights, of fading love and frightening lust, of death wishes and jukebox laughter. I'll see about getting my hands on signed copies, but I don't have full details yet on how the series works as far as that goes. But at the price listed for all of the chaps in the series, it really is a good deal to go all in. Many thanks to Wolfgang Carstens for accepting my work! More details coming soon.