Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let's Try This Again...The Same Terrible Storm Is Coming Soon

Well, here's what she's gonna look like, good people. The Same Terrible Storm, due out soon from Foxhead Books, has a fine look, I think. Thanks to designer and wizard Logan Rogers and Stephen Marlowe and the gang at Foxhead for giving me a lot of input on this design.

I tried to post about this yesterday and realized it went to a dead link. My apologies. But word got around, it seems, and for that I'm grateful. Still, I wanted to add a word or two and share this here at Bent Country.

I also want to thank K.L. Cook, Charles Dodd White and Rusty Barnes for the wonderful blurbs they provided for this book. K.L., a former teacher of mine during my MFA days in Louisville, is not only one of the finest writers working today but also just a wonderful person and friend. Charles and Rusty are two of the best Appalachian writers in the business today who have both given my work a great deal of support over the past couple of years. I couldn't be more pleased to have them read my work, let alone say such wonderful things about it.

I'll keep you folks posted on the launch. There's a tentative date that is just around the corner, but I'm gonna keep those cards close to my chest in case something comes up and that date needs to be adjusted. I truly am grateful to those who have shown interest and given support for this, my first book.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Slow and Mean

Put your hat on. Either one, it doesn’t matter. You’re hair’s a rat’s nest. In the mornings it looks like somebody’s jerked you around by head all night long

Me? No, don’t think so, hon. I’d like to about every night. That snoring, the tossing and turning, the whimpering and crying. And still, no talk of your dreams, or nightmares, I guess they must be. Either way, put a hat on. We need to go out for a bit for milk and bread and all those other items real people buy from time to time at places called grocery stores. You remember those don’t you?

Having so little to work with you sure still fall short. I saw a man the other day who was as coal-bucket dumb as you’ll ever dread being working at the plant out at Collins. The bottling plant. What’s it matter what I was doing there? None of your damn business, and you know it. Asking me what I’m doing here or there! Lord have some mercy on that crooked up soul of yours. I could sure as hell use it, a miracle like that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Stories at Connotation Press

Connotation Press: An Online Artifact has a new issue out. They've included a few of my pieces, and other fine works. Check the issue out. Thanks, as always.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For All the Good These Hands Have Done

Easy, now. Don’t speak too loudly. She’s asleep in the other room, my grandmother. Why? She’s fragile and godly. She healed in her younger days. She and my Papaw had their phone disconnected after about three years. Why? Well, it seemed selfish, but they were along in years.

For as long as anyone can remember, the phone rang and Mamaw and Papaw would dress. Papaw with his leather jacket and western tie and strong and Mamaw in her best dress and hair fixed perfectly. Three in the morning. Within fifteen minutes they were in town at the Calvary Hospital. Mamaw would lay hands. A bad heart, an afflicted leg, migraines. She would take both hands and lay them, wrinkled, tired, and place them on the chest of a friend, the head of a long-time friend. Papaw wasn’t just a bystander.

In his holy name take this from our sister, his voice spread across the hospital. Two or three nurses stopped to make sure all was good. All was good.

But they could not keep it up. Age overtook the compulsion to help their fellow Christians, and the phone was taken out. For a year after, I would still answer the door to a stranger asking for Thomas and Ann. Without time to be invited inside, they would share their stories. A sick child, a church member who had been in a car accident. But heart attacks were the most often in the following year. And then it stopped.

When the visitors stopped coming, Mamaw fell into depression, went bedfast. Her body was unable, but her mind was torn. Papaw took to preaching in their bedroom in his distinct baritone.

Sweet Jesus, take these headaches from my wife, he’d say. No, Lord, not headaches. Just this ache, in Your Son’s holy name, I pray. We pray. Lift her from this, Lord. Take it on your holy shoulders, Lord. We lift it up to you. It is too much for us, but nothing is too strong for You, Lord. Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord! Take this! Get away, you dirty devil. Bring her up out of this bed. Get away you dirty, lying devil. God will strike you down. Strike you down!

She told him to just shut up. Shut up. God wasn’t listening anymore.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Coal Poetry

Recently gave an interview that will be appearing later this spring. I shared during the interview a previously unpublished poem I wrote in 2003 while working picking rock and charging scoop at a coal mine. I write little poetry, but I've always been fond of this one because of the memories it brings back. I don't think they'd mind if I included it here in this post. Have a look, if you'd like:

I Could Feel the Ground Move

Some people talk about

feeling the ground move.

They say, "I swear I

could feel the ground


Watch men move mountains

and see, it's not so


What's romantic about

coal-covered faces and

hats with lights

struggling after a shift

beside open truck doors

to change pants so

they can keep the seats


Maybe a lot.

Maybe it means a lot to

the wife and kids,

something real they can see,

true effort, not the idea of

some black hole where

the ground moves.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Jarrid Deaton Writes Like Nobody's Business

It's always worth a reminder to read Jarrid Deaton's work. Here's a story of his called "Ted Bundy's Beetle". Enjoy. I know you will, fine folks.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Foxhead Books Is Worth A Look, Good Folks

A lot of folks are visiting the Facebook page for Foxhead Books and liking it like mad. I invite those who have not had a look do so. I believe you’ll like it as well.

Foxhead has already published Paul Kerschen, Parker Fritz and will soon publish books from myself and Julie Innis. The ball is rolling and it’s a sight to see.

You kind find the Facebook page here, and thanks for your continued interest!

Yes, I googled myself. But look what I found!

I googled myself yesterday. It wasn't the first time and it won't be the last. I have a busy online life and so I like to see what...