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Monday, May 16, 2016

Eighty Six the Poet: Defibrillated

Image via Flickr by Bernhard Wintersperger

It's been a long time. I shouldn't have left you without a strong rhyme to step to.

Eric B and Rakim

I have many stories to tell, but let's start with the fact that I'm back from the dead.

I just took my dog for a walk, had a La Perla Maduro and recited a couple slam pieces for old times sake. It feels like the artist in me is waking up again.

Go back a couple posts and read "Eighty Six the Poet is Dead". You'll understand how I was feeling about selling cars for BMW. What did I do after that? I quit my job, of course, but started working for another dealership. I was hoping to see more traffic and have a broader inventory. I did, but I still wasn't making much money. I was still dying inside.

So I dumped that job and am back in the restaurant business. I'm working for a seafood joint with a great view that reminds me a lot of a great spot I worked at in Seattle. I'm back doing what I do best and am coming back to life.

The best thing that ever came out of my time in the auto business was meeting a fellow post-apocalypse fan. While staring out the window and waiting for customers (they call it "licking the glass") we got to talking about a potential novel. We have a structure, a calamity and two main characters. Soon we'll have some whiskey and cigars while knocking out some text. More to come on that.

I'll write more soon. I will put what I learned about cars, especially the plug-in ones, on my other blog: WhereIsMyElectricMinivan?

I need to get back on stage and perform some verse. Then my heart will fully be back in rhythm.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo: Reformatted and Rereleased

Hard to believe it's been nearly five years since I first published an ebook. Is it easier to believe that I've made almost nothing on that poem? I've earned more money writing about teaching preschool than from the best 10,000 syllables I've ever composed.

Some of you know what I'm talking about. Some of you don't and it's all my fault. I've let myself shrivel as a creative writer. The business has beaten me until I've almost given up. But I won't give up.

Cathartes Aura and the Apocalypse Zoo is the post-apocalyptic story of a zoo on the day no one showed up, narrated by a captive turkey vulture. The story is built of one hundred ten-by-tens. That's 10 syllables per line, 10 lines per stanza, 10 stanzas per chapter and 10 chapters in all for a total of 10,000 syllables. Yes, I counted them all several times.

Step one of my rebirth is rereleasing things I've already written. When I first published Apocalypse Zoo, I didn't include a page break between each stanza. Smashwords strips them out anyway. Therefore, when you read it on your device, you will probably get more than 10 lines on your screen. It's difficult to consume one stanza at a time that way, which is how it was intended to be read.

I just reformatted it to have only ten lines per page. I resubmitted it to Amazon:

As you flip through the pages on your device, you should get ten lines at a time. The whole piece should be easier to grasp that way.

Please buy it and read it. $2.99 is as cheap as I can sell it on Amazon. I keep 70%. You'll spend $3 on less valuable things this week, I'm sure.

This poet is rapidly heading toward a future where his kids wonder whatever happened to his dreams. Help me achieve my biggest one.

Coming very soon, the sequel: Cathartes Aura on the Road from Nowhere. Also reformatted. Then Inside the Skull of David Priest and The Cheshire House will get some new noise. Growing at the Sun also needs to become an ebook.

Then I need to look into print-on-demand and get them printed in the real world. Who has some POD advice?

I want those books to start doing something for me. Then I'm getting back to work writing fiction. I haven't been myself lately. I miss being constantly exciting about building characters and crafting plots. Those things never leave my head once I get working on something. They haven't been in my head for a long time.

I'm tired of being shy about self-promotion. No one does it for me. So please, buy the book, read it and share it.

The writing is precise. It's exactly 10,000 syllables. How could it not be precise? It's physical, forceful and sensory. It's narrated by a soaring scavenger. You've read nothing like it.

Three bucks.

Thank you.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Eighty Six the Poet is Dead

RIP Eighty Six the Poet
October 5, 1974 to September 15, 2015

It happened fast and then it happened slow. So slow no one noticed, not even the artist himself. But he is no doubt gone.

It happened the day he became a car salesman. At first, it seemed to make sense. All his life he'd worked in customer service. Then he became a mercenary freelance writer on any topic. What really interested him was his work with green cars.

He bought his own electric car and loved it. Frustrated with the low income ceiling in the restaurant business, he chose to step into auto sales. He got a job with BMW, the best green car company in town. Like he'd done his whole life, he lowered his shoulder and got to work.

He knew it wouldn't be easy. The hours would be long, but doubles in the hospitality biz never bothered him. He even imagined his writing could help him gain clients. He started Where is My Electric Minivan?, aspiring to be a strong influence weaning people from gasoline.

But never did he have the time or the energy. He had to sell what the customers wanted. Getting up on his podium and banging his shoe about driving electric was a turn off.

And he never earned what he wanted in the car sales game. He never wrote. He never appeared at EV events or sounded off on EV forums. He faded away.

Poverty and failure will do that to a person. You don't want to be seen, you don't want to speak, you don't even want to be around people when you have nothing good to say.

Eventually, he ceased to be.

The 86 the Poet tattoo on his arm, rather than being an affirmation of purpose, became a mockery in the mirror every morning as he rose before dawn. He shaved, showered and put on a BMW polo before driving to work to put on an energetic facade.

Coming home after earning no money to a family that needs it is like being fired every day. Except you have to keep going back.

Now, analyzing all that has happened, he realizes his is nothing he used to be.

He doesn't write, perform on stage, go on field trips with his kids, make his wife smile, eat well, have fun or have cash in his pocket.

It can't go on. He ain't going out like that. So I'm taking the CHAdeMO charger for my Nissan Leaf, sticking it in his chest and defibrillating his corpse. People always like poets better once they're dead anyway.

Eighty Six the Poet is dead. Long live Eighty Six the Poet.

Pressure and friction.
The only way out
From between two millstones. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Rams Again?

The old women and one old man came to the rec room at the home to start the new season with their Seahawks. The snack table was a little more full, but not at the A level of quality and competitive preparation that surely will come as the weeks roll on.

The old women don't like the Rams. The Rams are bullies and sneaky. The Hawks don't have to play them again until December. The old women were confident when their boys played the Rams last time that they would win. That didn't happen. Sportscasters talk about the Ram's special teams tricky plays. Coach Pete Carroll, though very clever himself, seemed not to be able to keep up.

The last play of the game when he sent RB Marshawn Lynch to charge through the Ram's D- line for the 1 yard play to get a first down and keep the ball failed. Some of the old women remember that last miserable play and interception at the Superbowl and said “Oh now he sends in Marshawn”.

As they watched, the old women could see their mostly new O-line were hardly a match for the for the Rams D- line. Russell Wilson was beat up on and the new line worked to get it together, but veterans Russell Okung and JR Sweezy couldn't be everywhere at once. Russell was sacked 6 times. Each time the old women screamed “don't hurt him!” and even short of breath, they held it to see that their boy would get up off the turf OK. The old women believe that Russell has a big target on his chest and worry about him each game.

The old women missed the excitement of watching SS Kam Chancellor light up the field. Fill-in SS Dion Bailey looked like to the old women that he just needed a hug and years of experience. They knew, as only a practice squad player, he could not even come close to Kam. But so far, Coach Pete hasn't knuckled under to Kam and his agent. Failing to keep his feet under him on one the Ram's QB Nick Foles' last passes to Lance Kendrick, Dion showed he has a ways to go. The one old man in the room asked, “Did that Bailey kid just fall over his own feet?”

K Steve Haushka's botched “pooch” kick, whatever that is, just proved that the old women were not going to see a win today.

The old woman keeping track of the penalty count announced that there was a total of 13 and, of course, the Hawks had more than the Rams. They were playing at the dreary, dark Edward Jones Stadium. There were not many Ram fans there and a lot of 12s made it to St. Louis. The old women were happy to hear them nearly out scream what Ram fans were there. One old women said she could see why the Rams wanted to move to L.A

The old women gathered up the leftovers from the snack table. Nothing is wasted. It would have been more fun to beat the Rams, but at least no one got hurt and Russell is OK. They take small victories where they find them.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Raider Run-In

There were only an handful of old women and one old man for the Seahawks and Raiders game. The snack food was better.

No question about who got the remote for the TV. Learning how to mute out the sound on the commercials is not complicated. Keeping the volume up above conversations is not complicated. One old woman took charge of the remote and another kept track of penalties. Hawks got the most calls. The refs were more officious than ever but reasonably fair.

The old women knew that the Raiders were at the near bottom of the pile for teams. It didn't matter. So many stars-to-be for the Hawks made the game more fun. Working for a spot on the roster kept their boys on their toes. Stand outs already were Tyler Lockett and Frank Clark. Lockett outran everybody and Clark just bullied the Raider's offensive line to get to QB Christian Ponder. BJ Daniels floored the old women when he stepped in at QB after Russell and RJ Archer. They said they did not see where a WR could go to QB. He showed he was a scrambler and could pass.

The old women are glad all the preseason stuff is over. They said now we can get down to some football. Mostly the old women were happy none of their boys got hurt too bad. Looks like backup QB Tavaris Jackson's ankle will be healed up soon.

The old women are more than irritated with SS Kam Chancellor's money game with coach Pete Carroll.

They heard that he will not play the starting game with the Rams. They cannot believe he owes over 1 million dollars in fines for not showing up for practices. By not playing on Sunday, he will be charged over 200 thousand dollars or some such amount. It is too bad. Being a jerk has cooled off one of his more vocal fan clubs (the old women in the rec room at the home) and he probably doesn't even know.