Flash Fiction #2

Thanks go to Jack McKenna for writing this piece of flash fiction inspired by one of my poems.

Moon Studies By Jack McKenna
Inspired by Poem 82 by Oliver Baer

I’ve been attempting to capture the moonlight. I’ve used bowls of water. I’ve used lakes. I’ve used handheld mirrors. I’ve used full-size mirrors. I’ve used 17th century daggers found next to the grimoires of burnt witches. I’ve used bowls of wine. I’ve used bowls of milk. I’ve used bowls of V8. I’ve used beer spilled out onto the floor of my apartment where the moonbeams hit the wood-like linoleum every night at 2am. I’m usually up at 2am anyway. I’ve sketched this all out in a small black notebook I keep in my night stand, but so far no success. I’ve only noticed that every day since I’ve started I’ve lost a new body part. First it was my ring finger, so I didn’t really care because I wasn’t using it anyway, but when I lost the left pinky toe I found I had to hobble. Sometimes the body loss was imperceptible. I’d lose a hair or two and wouldn’t notice until most of my eyebrows were missing. I lost the color in my left iris first and it took weeks to lose the other one to match. The losses were never even. I’d lose a whole finger one day and just the tip of one the next. But the losses were the only mote of progress I’ve had so I keep writing everything down. I’ve tried incense and spiderwebs. I’ve tried fishing nets and sea shanties. I’ve tried painting a moon on the linoleum, and I’ve tried spilling poetry all across the bed. I hate poetry. I’ve tried building dreamcatchers with plans I found on google, but I never learned the language for saying thanks. I got tired. I found that if I concentrated hard, I could make my phantom limbs visible. I wrote that down. I couldn’t keep the bits from falling off but I could see where they were. For example, if I put my missing hand to your face I could feel your cheeks being brushed by fingers. But by this time I had to hobble on peg leg stumps, and my digestion was going.
I’ve tried just sitting on the floor and looking up at the moon. The linoleum was sticky from the beer, and I already drank all the milk. I played cat’s cradle with the spiderwebs while I waited for moonbeams to collect in the empty bowl, but I had no cats. I finally wrote in my journal that the moon wasn’t coming. I grew tired of my dayface. At least my lips were becoming spectral. My phantom parts were bright blue. I focused on making the blue more clear. This is of course when I decided to unfold you, even though you were just as blue as me. You were crumpled on the floor in the corner, and I thought I could uncrease you. You took control when I paused, but are either of us really in control of anything? We’re both sad, and how can we try anything at all after that? I sighed. You took in a deep breath and readjusted yourself. I wiped the moonflecks from my shoulder and we started over.

For those of you who like to play along, here is the poem that inspired Jack’s piece:

82. I blame the moon
Belladonna you were
Wide-eyed, spectral lips and pale
Matching the night sky face
Blushing, it pulled clouds in front
To hide its chastity
Having never seen the less than evil we did
This phantom limb memory embraces me
On days like this too
The day face glaring at me
Exposing my wandering heart to you
Every word irradiated milk drunk in haste
Swallowed in gulps to aid its digestion
Shade thrown, finger against lips
A hiss in the ear
“Say something sexy”
A poltergeist in our true love suite
Ghost feet knocking against mine
I promise to sit with you
Today and ever after
Until another comes along
With whom we both can have ghost sex


Flash Fiction

Poem #17 has been reinterpreted as a flash fiction piece, “Darkness in my Soul”, thanks to Maria Neuda.

by M.C. Neuda,

I live in a place of darkness. The darkness is in my soul. It entered into me the day you left. Now you will say, I never left, your claws ripped out my heart. And I can’t deny it. My desire for you was all-encompassing, I wanted to devour you not just in spirit but in body, to have my eyes close, to have my teeth sink into your neck, to ignore your screaming, to drink deeply, to sate myself.
When I opened my eyes, you were gone.
And now I live in this place of darkness.
My eyes blinded, my ears deaf, my mouth cutting swaths into people’s souls with my words.
They explode from my lips like glass shards aimed at their hearts.
Love cannot enter here, I don’t allow it in.
For I live in a place of darkness.

From a collaboration with Oliver Baer on the following horror poem:

I live in a place of darkness
Love enters but I don’t allow it in
My eyes refuse to be blinded
My deaf ears are full of flattery and praise
My mouth seems to speak nothing but deprecation
Is it no wonder that I am alone?
I’m the boy with the goblin glass shard in his heart
Walking through the world of the Sun King
Cutting swaths into people’s souls with my words
As I see the awkward moments of their lives
Knives explode out of my hands
A feral desire overtakes me
My eyes close, I reach for you
My claws rip out your heart
My fangs sink into your neck
I ignore the screaming and drink deeply
Sated, I open my eyes, to find it’s not you
And I remember why I live in this place of darkness

Poem #70

Thanks to Brett Sullivan for creating this video of his and Erica Schreiner’s musical interpretation of Poem #70 which was performed for A Conclave of Baer during the Summer Antifolk Festival 2016 in Sidewalk Cafe.

70. Do you remember that day in November?
Tinderous treasons slow burning
Smoking a gunpowder black mood
Anonymous plots planned through subterranean subversion
Summer shadows us through fall
Haze limbs keep us afire in the ship of state’s space
Swiping blood aside with mistaken identity questions
Footsteps trampling echoes
Obscuring how tight vendetta’s grip holds
Still smoldering after grasping the straw of revolution
Their iron hand, their tower
Made you sip from the traitor’s camelback
Now your face is exploding everywhere
A mask exhorting people to never forget the summer’s fervor.

Radical Vaudeville Reading Performance

I did a poetry performance piece for a Radical Vaudeville show in July 2015. Unfortunately, it is hard to hear what I’m saying. The link is on Facebook but it won’t stay here. Something about it does not want to be seen. Perhaps it does not matter as the rest of the madness is revealed. Beatboxing by Terry “Kid Lucky” Lewis, Dancing by Kathrynn Dunn and Venus Pain, Background Video by Karl Erickson