I’ve been sitting on this one for far too long, and I’m excited to finally put it out there.
This Can’t Be All There Is was originally intended to be both a poetry book and a fully recorded spoken-word album. I’ve dabbled in the idea in the past, but this time, I got close. Every song was demoed, and most of them were completely finished, save for a few touch-ups, and one major aspect: the vocals. I never was able to get my voice to a place I liked or could even stand.
But I’m proud of a lot of these poems, so the book is moving forward. The album might come someday. I still have a lot of work to do before I’ll know for sure.
This Can’t Be All There Is contains 27 poems:
The House You Built for Me
Someday Will Eventually Come
All My Favorite Songs
At the End of All Things
Take Me Away
When I Went to Bed
This Can’t Be All There Is
I Live Here
I Need You, Summer
Shapes and Spaces
A Long Night’s Conversation
Just Passing Through
The book will be available November 15, 2019. Its cover might change before then. I’ll also post a selection of poems on my site before release. (Keen visitors will find that a few of them have already been here for years. I promise I didn’t shoehorn them in; they were always a part of this collection. Like I said, I’ve been sitting on it for too long.)
Pre-order the digital edition here:
To start things off, here’s “Nowhere Road”.
Hey, weary traveler
Come with me tonight,
All you have to do is be a passenger.
You can recline your seat,
Roll down the window,
Maybe even get some sleep.
There won’t be anyone on the roads,
Because this is a direction nobody goes.
It’s a way that very few people seem to know,
And the ones who do know better than to take it.
I’ll take you somewhere the lines have faded
And nothing divides us, places
Go by like faces in a crowd,
Faded and drowned out.
You and I and sounds like
Tearing the sky.
I want to see the way the asphalt stretches toward the bottom of the glass,
And how surrounding towns burn down to ashes as we pass.
Watch the fog fight the defroster,
Turn our music up full blast.
And, for once, relax.
Your hands can ride the wind,
And when I want to scream I don’t have to hold it in.
In the driveway or out on the highway, we can cast aside our sins
And leave our virtues in the back seat with our vices and our whims.
If I drive fast enough,
Maybe you and I will blur together.
Maybe time stands still and lasts forever.
We can outrun our pain and all bad weather,
Catch storms in our eyes like your hair catches light.
Hey, innocent bystander.
Take me with you.
I’ll go anywhere your soul is aching to.
I’ll show you places they don’t put on maps,
Hold your hand across old railroad tracks.
We’ll go out to the edge of your heart and back,
Or over and fall forever, if you want.
Just take me somewhere the stars aren’t falling
The buses and cars stop calling
My heart isn’t walled up and cold,
Tone deaf and old.
Here we are and nothing,
No matter how far,
Can tear us apart.
Hey there. I’m back again, and I brought another friend with me.
Everyone knows about the afterglow: When someone dies, their spirit briefly visits the living soul who meant the most to them, before quickly fading from this world.
Jake and Emma were normal teens in high school, until a tragic accident claimed Emma’s life. Jake’s understanding of the world is fractured when Emma’s afterglow appears before him—but somehow doesn’t recognize him at all.
Confused, depressed, and in a daze, Jake turns to Emma’s sister Elise for answers, and instead finds a bond unlike any he’s ever felt before. But Elise knows what Jake doesn’t, and the secrets Elise swore to keep could tear the two of them apart.
The Afterglow is a young adult coming-of-age story about ghosts, railroad tracks, summer, and what it means to connect with each other on a spiritual level.
The Afterglow will be available in print and eBook formats July 26th, 2019. You can pre-order digital editions at the links below, which I’ll update as more editions become available.
For the past few years, I’ve been slow to write or publish new fiction. It’s time for that to change. Late last year I was part of a team of talented individuals who published Crypto Bizarro, an illustrated horror story collection for adults. I’m just getting started.
I wrote this one a long time ago. Many of my works have touched on science fiction, but few have flown so far as to reach space opera territory. I ended up writing a novel in the genre, and while I felt like it had a large scope and a lot going on, it ended up being one of my shortest novels yet. That story is focused on a small set of characters on a very specific mission, but the world I found them in had a lot of other stories going on. The Forever Earth is one of them.
In the distant future, humanity has reached the apex of space travel, finding themselves alone in a dark and quiet solar system. Then the Navigators appear, a species of aliens capable of bringing mankind into a new frontier via teleportation.
Cody is one of the first settlers to uproot his life and move to a space colony orbiting a habitable planet half a universe away. People from all walks of life make their way to the colonies, hoping to earn a shot at one day living on a new planet’s surface.
But half a universe isn’t far enough to escape humanity’s demons, and Cody and the rest of the colonists soon find themselves cut off from Earth, stranded in the silence of unfamiliar stars. Culture shock, separation anxiety, and lawlessness collide, and Cody’s only hope for peace rests with his dreams of the little blue planet he left behind, and his ability to find his way back.
The Forever Earth will be available on May 10th, 2019, from most eBook retailers. Pre-order links can be found below:
It’s been a while, but I haven’t been idle. I have a few projects in the pipeline, hopefully coming soon. In the meantime, my latest is available right now.
Introducing Crypto Bizarro.
Welcome to the world of Crypto Bizarro, where all manner of ghosts and ghouls and things that go “bump” in the night come out to play. This fully-illustrated collection of horror includes short stories, poems, puzzles, cryptograms, secret messages, a choose-your-own-adventure tale, and more. From restless spirits to physical monstrosities, dastardly acts and forbidden rituals, the frights found within ask the reader to question their reality. As the tome comes to life in your hands, you’ll have to search beyond the book itself to unlock all of its mysteries, but take care—when you venture into darkness, the unknown has ways of making itself known.
Crypto Bizarro is a fully-illustrated collection of horror-themed short stories, puzzles, and poems for a mature audience. This collection is the culmination of two and a half years’ worth of work and correspondence between myself and Josh Leichliter, as well as the contributions of our wonderful writing and producing team: Sarah Carswell, Seth Thomas, Nick Brown, Aerys Bates-Leichliter, Andrea Wright, and Ariana Wright.
The book is available in hardcover and eBook formats. You’ll find links at the bottom of this post.
Crypto Bizarro is more than a collection. It’s a brand, a flavor if you will, and this collection is just the start. To keep up on all of our crazy ideas, visit www.cryptobizarro.com and sign up for our mailing list, or follow our page on facebook. Right now you can find a few free samples and a nice little puzzle, with more on the way. This is meant to be a growing, evolving, living (or perhaps undead?) collection, and Josh and I have much more up our sleeves.
There’s never been a storm that didn’t break,
Though there’ve been some we couldn’t see the end of til it came.
There’s never been a night so dark we went to bed but couldn’t wake
Or been a silence so extensive we had nothing we could say.
I know it hurts right now,
But there’s never been a problem so complex we couldn’t figure out
Or been a time so frozen still we couldn’t wait it out,
Or a word so painful you could never let it out your mouth.
And it’s okay to cry,
There’s never been a watershed so wet you couldn’t dry your eyes
Or been a dark so heavyset the sun refused to rise
Even after love so close you thought it too strong for goodbyes
You’re allowed to be happy.
There’s never been a suffering you needed an amount of,
Or been a pain so absolute it couldn’t be healed from,
And I wish that I could promise someday would eventually come
But that’s not fair to say,
There’s never been sincerity exempt from a mistake
Or been a promise so assured it couldn’t possibly break
And I am not infallible, despite how confident I stay
If I could make you better,
I’d do it right away.
But there are no diseases I can cure with my embrace,
Or wounds that I can close with all the words I softly say,
Or history I can erase by putting smiles on my face.
If I could really fix you,
I’d have done it long ago.
But there are no words I can say to force you to keep hope
And I can’t make you believe things nobody can know,
Or send you down a better road if you don’t want to go.
All that I can really do is ask you to believe,
There is happiness out there for you even if it’s not with me.
There’s never been a distance so great you couldn’t try to run,
But I hope you never stop believing someday will eventually come.
I’ve grown so tired of the sea,
This salt-stained deck beneath my feet
The endless shaking of the waves,
That swallow everything I say.
And I can see the shore,
The places that I used to know
Too shallow here to moor,
And will be forever more.
So tie the anchor around my legs,
And help me walk the plank
Watch me fall for fathoms deep,
Into a bed where I might sleep.
The seagulls cry, but not for me
And hold wakes in the foam
My ship won’t be the first to sink
Just miles from its home
I thought I saw you on the sand,
Hair blowing in the wind
I thought I saw you lift your hand,
To wave goodbye again
And I’m a ship that has no crew,
The water gods had cursed
To roam the oceans, far away
For all eternity.
So sing your song for me,
Guide my ship toward the rocks,
Send me to the bottom of the sea,
Remind me what it’s like to breathe.
Oh, Winter Morning
Wake to find the whitened light
Sliding through my windows
Creep across a hardwood floor
The chill of morning scrapes at my nose
Crack my door to feel a greeting kiss from the cold
Stare into a winter sunrise as it stretches all the shadows
This is the only friend and oldest friend I’ve ever known.
Listen close as everything freezes
No birds or words or slightest breezes
Only ice as it spreads across all things,
The trees and skin and all my reasons
Fall into the loneliest of seasons, never pause
The air so cold it brings the seconds to a stop
Spend the rest of my entire life inside a broken clock
Stand barefoot in the snow until my toes fall off.
Stare into the dimlit sun til I see God.
Only the winter wind could ever move my skin and bones,
They are the only vehicle my soul has ever known.
The snow will hold all sound to stillness, kill the tone
While I run back to my bed and sleep until I grow old alone.
from Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails, available now.
Happy Leap Day, everyone!
Build Yourself Better is a narrative poetry collection, meaning the poems tell an overall story while also standing on their own. Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails is a collection of my narrative poetry collections, and includes Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages, A Means to an Ens, Build Yourself Better, and a collection of poems originally scrapped from the above three works, titled B-Sides and Rarities.
You’ll find both available in eBook and softcover, as well as a hardcover option for Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails. Those interested in checking the books out before buying will find samples by highlighting the “Samples” link on my site’s top menu.
Store links can be found below.
As always, thanks for everything.
Now and Then
On the ride home she was singing songs to me
I was trying to stay conscious in the passenger seat, and
I was thinking there was nowhere else I’d rather be, but
Now I’m thinking that I’d rather be right there, forever.
Now I’m sitting naked on my bedroom floor
Trying to remember what led you to the door
I won’t apologize for not being good enough,
I know it wasn’t something wrong with me, but us
From the back porch I watch the light from her window stretch across the yard.
It’s the only light in the neighborhood, the rest of the world is dark
My eyes keep trying to adjust,
The way they were always trying to get used to “us”
I don’t think they realize that darkness is the point now.
She flicked cigarettes across the pavement
The way I skipped stones across the lake, and
I was thinking there was nothing we could lose, but
Now I’m thinking I’ve lost everything.
From the office I watch the dog stare out the window and whine
I think she thinks of herself more as yours than she was ever mine
My heart keeps trying to believe
The way it’s always trying to get used to now “just me”
I don’t think it understands that belief isn’t the point anymore.
She slept softly in the bed that I had made
The way I speak softly if I ever have to say her name, and
I kept thinking maybe she’ll come back for me, but
Now I’m thinking we should exist separately.