“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life. Aim above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something.” –Thoreau

21 December 2009

I'm not terribly fond of sonnets.


Dawkins’ Delusion creased on every page,
To hang a noose no longer out of reach—
To chew the floor out of this Wire Cage
And break the teeth that chattered hateful speech.

Run and run and run and run our mouths
Which have no time to breathe or smoke or eat;
So let the convicts build our Godly House
Like soldiers fight a war on wounded feet.

Cattle bedeck a calendar on walls
Which reek Asbestos Memories while we sleep.
Bow down together, scratch each other’s balls,
And bite the bits that we no longer beat.

When I can find a Heaven full of doors
Then I’ll admit it’s Theirs and Mine and Yours.

01 November 2009



fish tank bubbles over-
cat keeps punching me in
the stomach
and I can hear the rabbit
throw toys at the
I think she wants out

I think I need a drink
I think I need a break

I think I need a gun
to shoot
the fish tank

glass explosion
in every direction like

depression shrapnel

and fish-water

maybe I need to take
a walk

but then I might get mugged
and neither the fish
nor I
deserve to die

keep looking at the ceiling and thinking
this is what ants think like

and that feels sort of good
to be small again
and thinking


in the end
my feet are still cold

and the fish bubble on and on
and on
you know

it’s hard to sleep on
the couch

when I miss you

and someone’s
in the bedroom

24 October 2009

Episode three is complete.

Everything is as we expected.

Looks like you’ve managed to disarm our loaded gun.

How’d ya knock her out?

Highly concentrated drip of valerian and Jamaican Dogwood.

Charlie is surprised.

Sometimes the old remedies are the best.

We’ll be able to protect her until the hearing is over.

Protect her. Don’t you mean control her?

You understand our situation, Doctor Kricke. Don’t act like you think she’s harmless.

She’s a teenager. This is inhumane.

Despite all your noble allusions, Doctor, Katarina Rodriguez is a member of this community now. She can never again use that excuse.

Aletta Guzman starts down the hallway, with Joe at her side. Charlie and Ma Wei follow them.

She’s already caused enough trouble for ten wards, and she’s only likely to trigger more. I don’t believe even you want the proverbial loaded gun in the hands of teenager?

Joe reluctantly shakes his head.

Neither do I. Even if she is my granddaughter.

14 October 2009

Chapter one, done.

     Circumstance can sometimes transform familiar scenery. Priestess Enaya, the Baroness of Judive, sat in her parents’ kitchen and watched her work-worn mother brew chamomile tea. Deryn Sawyer looked calm as she arranged the food and set the worn tabletop, but Enaya knew it was mostly for show. Her mother grew shakier and shakier as their meal went along until her husband had to take the mug from her hands to prevent her from dropping it. Enaya’s brother Orsin covered a smile with his hand.
      The news of Enaya’s elevation to the peerage shocked Deryn and Becker Sawyer, and it was several days before they recovered enough to look their only daughter in the eye. There were questions, of course— what could little Ena Sawyer have done to garner such reward? Why would the King put such faith in a common child?— but it seemed to Enaya that her parents feared hearing the answers more than she feared giving them. Now the family prepared to travel to court and watch as Enaya’s title was made conspicuously public.
      After breaking their fast, the family changed into rich clothes crafted for the occasion. Enaya had considered sparing no expense, the newly-awarded wealth still a dangerous and enticing unknown, but her pragmatic father had reined in those fancies a bit. Gleaming in fine white lawn and brown silk, Becker Sawyer held himself with pride no noble draped in jewels could match. Enaya kissed her father’s cheek and took one arm while her mother took hold of the other. The whole party strolled out to meet the waiting coach, sent by the King to carry them to the Palace in style.
            On Midsummer’s day, the streets of Abriad City were wreathed in flower garlands which overlaid the rich, muddy smell of the streets with perfume. There was a persistent clamor of enterprise; birds and beasts squawking and howling while vendors shouted the nature of their wares and buyers argued down prices. Enaya’s toddling nephew, Myllar, raised chubby hands toward the sky as his father kept him from tumbling out the open carriage window. But Enaya wanted to break free too, to still the churning of her stomach by pounding bare feet against the soil. She took several deep breaths and closed her eyes against the tumult.
      The long wait to be formally introduced was torturous. They had been there nearly a candlemark when Enaya noticed Finngall of Shern and his younger brother, Lord Sandro, enter the antechamber. They were tall, blonde, and sleekly muscled, like a matched pair of regally dressed greyhounds. It had been nearly a moon since she’d last seen Finn and she fought the urge to call out to him from across the chamber. Finn smiled cautiously when he caught her eye and led his brother over to them.
      After introductions were made, Lord Sandro smiled warmly at Enaya’s parents, who looked nearly ready to faint.
      “Don’t you think the waiting is just awful?” He commented conspiratorially to Deryn Sawyer. She nodded hesitantly. “So much unnecessary waiting, especially when there’s honest work to be done.” He and the Sawyer men launched into a careful discussion of the weather, a serious subject for farmers and fishermen alike. It was clear that the lanky page had far greater ease with strangers than his self-conscious older brother.
      “How do you feel?” Finn asked Enaya in a low voice. “Are you nervous?”
      Enaya shook her head defiantly. “I’ve seen worse,” she replied. Finn chuckled unexpectedly and Enaya pushed away a suspicious fluttering in her chest. A rush of honesty spilled out of her. “I suppose I can’t be expected to feel prepared…”
      “No, I suppose not,” Finn interrupted. “But it’s just another grand adventure, Enaya.”
      “Grand is relative,” she responded, sighing.

29 September 2009

Prose poetry: an attempt.


They don’t travel together anymore. Not to bed anyway. Which seems to matter most it seems. And she pretends to care about hurting his feelings which is a lie which doesn’t fool anyone. Anymore. He pretends it doesn’t hurt and that he doesn’t know what he deserves. Only that might not be a lie. If it were like this all the time in the world then I am not sure it is for me. The world. Our rabbit says it isn’t so, but she can only eat what I feed her. When I lay down beside you it makes me think things. That we should leap away, off the world like cows do. I tell you and you think I’m lovely and strange but I worry about it all through the night. You roll over to heat the south end of the bed. I sit up and wonder: To where do you travel now?

28 September 2009



she calls

to say youre fine


       an emergency
took skin from hands and face.

                           you  reck
                           less shit.

13 September 2009

Proof the second book has begun in earnest:

Enaya had to conclude wearily that she simply did not like children. It was a disheartening thought. Every young woman—every normal one, any way—cooed and awed over babies in roughly the same high-pitched nonsense language. Enaya could barely stomach it, let alone participate.

To be fair, Enaya knew that even her own mother raised her voice and waggled her eyebrows when addressing Enaya’s two-year-old nephew, Myllar. He would grin and giggle and play hand-clap games. He would cheerfully devour his winter vegetables. Enaya could see that the strategy worked.  But she still felt silly making galloping knights and flying dragons out of spoonfuls of beets. Even thinking about it later made her grouchy.

Not that she was supposed to be thinking about any of this just now. She was supposed to be praying. High Priestess Savita would be scandalized to hear that the Goddess's own representative to King Solon's Council was thinking about beets at a time like this. It was not precisely holy.

13 August 2009

Sometimes my work is weird.

Today's search history includes:

"dna altered by radiation"
"skull vault"
"Mary McLeod Bethune Council House"
"rates of decomposition"
"granulation tissue"
"synonyms for 'molestation'"

Good times.

30 July 2009

More episode three.

They don’t want you to tell me the truth.


What was it… mind control? Some kind of drug?

If I were to tell you, you would not remember.

Why not?

I would be forced to make you forget.

Nyah stares at him.

You can do that?

We all have gifts, Nyah. Even Regulars like yourself are gifted in some way.

I don’t think there’s a lot in common.

Much more than you know.

26 July 2009


(I think that means it’s over)

not even my dirt
lives here anymore.

it moved out in
puffs of smoke or
marshmallow powder,

have you noticed how
dust tastes?

it slips down my throat

shivering like some
old things do when
it isn’t cold

and I think
even memory
of me must be

and you’ve beaten it out-
my dust-

which seems
to me

and if I drag my finger on
any surface it just


24 July 2009

Episode three.


Joe is sitting at his desk, working industriously on a computer motherboard. He uses a host of specific tools and he works with extreme care.

In the background, we see Charlie sitting in a chair and watching him. She is bored. She is eating potato chips very loudly. She rattles the bag.

I know you’re there. You do not need to keep reminding me.

What exactly are you doing?

Repairing my video card. These new models are very delicate.

Oh my lord, you are like sleepin’ pills lately.

Your bad mood is hardly my fault.

You see anybody else here actin’ all tedious?

Go away, Charlie.

That ain’t friendly, you know—

Go away, Charlie.

I’m gonna go for a walk.

Good idea.

20 July 2009


i heard it on the news

s true:

some animals
eat their young.

              we dont

leave them in trash bins.

                                  arent we ed

18 July 2009

Something new.


long taut line becomes
a highway
tar plus
i force my ear
to filthy
ground rumbles like
avalanches topple inside
with their own

17 July 2009

Still episode two.

Charlie is pacing her living room. Joe and Nyah sit in the armchairs while Kate stands against a far wall.

Tell me again why you been talkin’ to that lot
lizard? ‘Cause that bit a logic do continue to escape me.

She was telling me the truth! All the stuff you wouldn’t say, wouldn’t explain, and I need to      know! Joe!

Joe won’t meet her eyes.

Joe, don’t I need to know about myself? I have to be informed. I have a right to—
Information like this is something you’re meant to earn. You earn the right to knowledge through hard-work, honesty, integrity…

And not by being a little shit!

15 July 2009

Episode two.

Her cell phone rings. She opens her eyes.

She reaches for the phone. The caller ID reads “PRIVATE”.



Christ, Joe, ain’t I supposed to ask you that when you’re callin’ me on private lines?

Joe’s voice is ragged.

JOE (V.O.)
I— I need to know it’s you.

Barron, Charlie. I eat crackers with peanut butter and hot sauce. My mama calls me “Kitty” but if you do I’ll gut you.


Through the phone line we can hear a woman wailing.

Oh shit, Joey, why didn’t you start with that?

11 July 2009

Style experiment.

An open letter to a non-responsive God
In the style of John Milton.

My Body, broken china doll, is cold
And every breath of wind through brittle Bones
Blows hard and fast, seeking those warmer homes
Dissolving from my Blood as I grow old.
A sense of shattered breath barely controlled
Which every Atom lodged in Flesh disowns
By heaving Breast which thought cannot atone
And logic could not bear, and yet condoled.
If air shall break apart this living Sheath
Which some high God created to be low
And I have been a long-forgotten child
Left too long in a world that lies beneath,
I will not my wounded Nature than bestow.
No, I will be a Spirit, running wild.

10 July 2009

More poetry.


grammar school mispronunciations
anchored in side
ways glances
that never came
over for dinner despite
asking if milk is
leche’s brand
name brand shoes two weeks
too old for inevitable inversions of
god and dog that
barks and barks and won’t come 
in spanish everything seems more clear
cut out at age seven
and never put back again

02 July 2009

Un cinquain.

what they don't tell you about this place

       god knows

i ate myself

to death.

         the toilet ate
me too

       i fed him sandwiches

                 and teeth.

Jumping off.

People who know me know that I love famous words from other folk. I often use those words as a jumping off point for my writing. A quotation from Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche (1886) was the starting place for "Shiver." It has informed all of my work on the show so far. I thought you might like to see it:

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." 

28 June 2009

Still shivering.

Another teaser from the TV pilot I'm working on, tentatively titled "Shiver".

Charlie and Kate are training. Kate is going through staff fighting combinations, faster and faster, as Charlie observes.


The start of the Crusades.

1405 to 1433.

Zheng He, from China. He travels. He makes the first trip around the world.


Kate stops.
Is that true?


Because I thought it was that Magellan guy. In, like, the 1500s.

Not every part a your history book is true. 1945.

Kate swings back into action with a sigh.

World War II ends. And they executed Mussolini.

You bet your ass we did.

25 June 2009


I'm working on the TV pilot this week, with the goal being to complete an act every day. An act is basically all the action that takes place between commercials. Yesterday I completed the teaser (which occurs before the opening credits) and act one, which I do think turned out pretty nifty.

Of course, I know even less about selling a TV pilot than I do about selling a book. But right now I'm just concerned with writing it. I'll deal with trying to sell it later. A very small taste of the script is posted below. Enjoy.

Joe still sits at his computers, brooding. Charlie appears in the window and raps on it, getting his attention. He opens the window to let her in with the food.

Civilized people enter by way of the door.

Charlie has made her way inside and shuts the window.

I got no doubt that’s accurate. But it ain’t strictly friendly.

08 June 2009


(From Chapter Thirteen.)

Sir Finngall’s face was distant and his posture rigid. When he responded, it was with extreme politeness and a frightening indifference. “I know,” he said quietly. “I know this. But you asked for unsentimental dealings. I feel— I feel it might be best if we don’t discuss our prior interaction. It was—” He rubbed both hands across his face in a gesture she was coming to recognize. His voice took on a slightly pleading tone. “We are partners in this venture. But, as you say, you do not know me. I do not know you. If you wish to part amicably and irrevocably at the end of this journey, then I cannot know you. We cannot…” He turned away from her and leaned his weight against the wall. Enaya sat on one of the dusty chairs and stared at his lean back.

“We cannot,” she continued, “become friends.” He kept his back to her, but nodded. She remained seated while neither spoke.

(And that is all you get.)