Into the Night (from Build Yourself Better)

by David J. Lovato

Into the Night

I held a sinner’s tongue
In a throat swollen red from saying your name out loud
I kept a broken clock
So I would never know if time was running out

We gathered all the gold,
But couldn’t tell it from the dirt
You said “This is getting old,”
I said at least it doesn’t hurt

We fight the cold,
The wind reaches out to us
But we explode
And there’s no front that could keep up
And we alight like birds
Before we return
Into the night

You held my shaking hands
With fingers fragile from the things that you had done
You kept a missing link
So the world could never put a chain on us

We tried to chase the moon
You said “Jesus, I am tired.”
I kept a broken watch on you
Does that make me a liar?

I’ll see you soon,
Time chases after us
But we’re too smooth,
Pretty soon it will give up
And we alight like fires
Burning higher
Into the night

We hold the pieces of our broken hearts
In chests we turned the locks of years ago
Said they would never open up again,
But then we met,
And I’m not sure where all the hollow went
And we alight like passengers
Carried to our destinations,
We don’t have to know where we are going
We just have to trail headlights
And together drive
Into the night


from Build Yourself Better and Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails, available in print and digital formats February 29th, 2016.


Two Books. One Post.

This has been finished for a while, but A Means to an Ens had been finished even longer, so this one had to wait its turn.

cover art by david j. lovato

Two people meet, fall in love, fall out, and fall apart, left wondering what to do with the pieces that remain. A collection of narrative poetry.

Build Yourself Better is a poetry collection, and the final in a trilogy called Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails, which consists of Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages, A Means to an Ens, and Build Yourself Better.

cover art by david j. lovato

The whole trilogy can be purchased as a set inconspicuously titled Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails, which will also include a fourth collection, B-Sides and Rarities, consisting of poems cut from the first three.

All in all, each collection is a set of narrative poetry, meaning the poems tell an over-arching story. Together, the collections form a thematic, loosely-related trilogy.

Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails gathers four poetry collections:

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages details a narrator’s struggle to find his place in the world as he drifts through parallel universes, replaces the people around him with fictional characters, scatters his poetry to the wind, and keeps the things he can’t bear to lose by writing them down.

A Means to an Ens follows the last man on earth. Years after waking up to find himself seemingly alone in the world, the narrator heads out on a journey to find any sign of life in a desolate place, but is instead confronted by the ghosts of his past.

Build Yourself Better chronicles two people who meet, fall in love, fall out, and then fall apart, and what they do in the aftermath with the pieces that remain.

B-Sides and Rarities features poems originally cut from the above collections.

Build Yourself Better and Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails will be available in eBook and print formats on February 29th, 2016. Because the chance to release a book on February 29th doesn’t come around very often.

Before then, you can look forward to previews of a few of the poems by keeping an eye here, especially on my Scenes page.

Thanks for everything.

Pre-order links (more will be added as they become available):

Build Yourself Better: Amazon, Smashwords, Google Play

Pen and Paper, Wood and Nails: Amazon, Smashwords, Google Play

A Means to an Ens

A Means to an Ens

A Means to an Ens is a poetry collection, and a spiritual successor to Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages. A Means to an Ens follows a much more linear, fictional narrative, and tells the story of the last man on earth.

The collection is about half as long as Permanent Ink, so it felt wrong to slap it into a paperback and sell it for the same price. I wanted to do something a little more special with it. My first thought was to record it as a concept album, but I’m bad at that and would probably never finish it.

What I ended up doing was an extension of my Scenes project. Each of the poems in A Means to an Ens has been placed over an accompanying picture. These range in size and dimension, and the idea is for the reader to be able to zoom in and out, scale it, scroll it, maybe even rotate it if they so choose to get the fullest experience from reading the text.

Thus, this collection is presented as an image album. It goes in chronological order, and text should be read in columns, from left to right and top to bottom (so the farthest column to the left, read from the very top to its very bottom before moving on to the column to that one’s right).

For those willing to overlook the cost for the length of the work, a physical edition (minus the images) is available, but that’s entirely optional. I also won’t hide that I’m working on a much more substantial collection featuring all of the poems you’re about to read and more, so if you’d rather hold off on buying it, I won’t mind.

Enough of my babbling. Please enjoy A Means to an Ens by clicking on the link to the next page.

Front Cover ⇒

Or, if you prefer, you can download the collection of images by clicking here: Gallery

You may also download it in eBook format by clicking the following links: .mobi, .epub, .pdf

And the print edition can be found here:

What’s in a Name?

Big changes incoming!

Perhaps you’ve noticed this very site (as well as Twitter) list me as “David J. Lovato” while the name on all my covers and storefronts simply reads “David Lovato”. That’s going to change.

Big changes this far along can get messy, and I spent the better part of two days updating all of my book covers and websites to add one little “J”, but the end result will be worth it. Why the change? Well, “davidlovato” wasn’t available for use as a WordPress site, so I added the J way back when, and it’s always good to keep things streamlined. Another reason is that I’m not the only David Lovato in town, and I think it’s best to keep any potential confusion to a minimum. So, starting in the coming weeks, you should see “David J. Lovato” on all of my books and store fronts. Also, it turns out I really like the way it looks. It’s like a little hook cementing my name in place. At the risk of sounding full of myself, I think I’ve realized you can tell a great font by its J.

Anyway, It’s a lengthy process to change all of my links and descriptions and profiles, but I’m almost done, and hopefully I did it without breaking anything too badly.

So, while I’m busy writing a post about my writing, I guess I should give a general update.

I’m way behind on Camp NaNoWriMo, thanks in part to burnout and in part to a household emergency. I may or may not get caught up, but I do plan to finish this project someday, and hopefully not too far away.

I have another project, a big one, that I’m hoping to release by Halloween. More details on that when it’s a little more ready for the spotlight.

I’m kicking around ideas for another poetry book. Possibly two of them. I enjoyed writing and publishing Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages, but for these two, I’m thinking bigger. Maybe louder.

I’m sitting on some novellas! One is finished and polished and I’m working to get it published traditionally. Another one is finished but not edited, and the last is unfinished, but I hope to put the final touches on those two this summer. Not sure whether I’ll self-publish or try the traditional route with them; that will depend on how I feel about the finished products. I also have an almost-finished short story collection that will most likely be self-published; the stories are all set in the same world and follow a specific theme.

And, as always, I have plenty of projects always moving, some slower than others, but they’ll be revealed when the time is right.

In short, I promise I’m working on things, and I’m pretty sure at least one of them will see a release this year.

Speaking of Halloween (I know that was a few paragraphs ago but it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want), last year I started a second RPG Maker project in the spirit of Halloween. With any luck I’ll finish it and release it before Halloween this year. It’s just a short little adventure where I challenged myself to see how odd I could make things go in that game engine, but I don’t see the harm in getting it out there, supposing I finish it. My main project is still Let the Moonlight Give You Wings, but that one is a lot larger and less predictable, so I can’t give an ETA on it. If I do pick up my Halloween-ish game again, expect to see some previews around these parts.

That about does it as far as talking about what I’m working on. One last thing though:

My favorite band is back! I can hardly express how excited I am to see Brand New recording and putting out new material. My history with this band is a long one. I’ll probably write a whole post on it pretty soon. But for now let’s just say they have a new song called “Mene” and you should buy it because it’s awesome.

And that’s it for now. Until next time!

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages Release

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages is now available at most online book retailers.

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages

Each of the 16 poems in Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages stands alone, but also serves as a piece of a larger narrative. From the death of poetry itself in “At Rest in the Sea” to the lifetime-spanning “The Back of the Room”, the stream-of-consciousness piece “Alone” to the song-turned-poem “Sunday Calls for Cloudy Skies”, and the thematically-related interludes “Letters”, “Pages”, and “Poetries”, Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages tells the story of a narrator struggling to find his place in the world, drifting between tangential universes, and replacing the people around him with fictional characters, all the while writing letters he doesn’t send, poetry scattered to the wind, and pages full of everything he can’t bear the thought of losing.

You can find the e-book through these links:

Amazon • Smashwords • Apple iBooks • Barnes & Noble • Kobo • Google Play

The paperback should be up on Amazon and Barnes & Noble soon, and is available through the CreateSpace store now.

Samples of the book can be found at all of its storefronts, but you can also read several poems under the Scenes section of my blog, under “Samples” in the menu bar.

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages Announcement

My poetry collection, Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages, will be released next month in ebook and paperback formats.

Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages

Each of the 16 poems in Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages stands alone, but also serves as a piece of a larger narrative. From the death of poetry itself in “At Rest in the Sea” to the lifetime-spanning “The Back of the Room”, the stream-of-consciousness piece “Alone” to the song-turned-poem “Sunday Calls for Cloudy Skies”, and the thematically-related interludes “Letters”, “Pages”, and “Poetries”, Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages tells the story of a narrator struggling to find his place in the world, drifting between tangential universes, and replacing the people around him with fictional characters, all the while writing letters he doesn’t send, poetry scattered to the wind, and pages full of everything he can’t bear the thought of losing.

My plan is to release all formats of the book on June 24th, 2014.

The ebook will be up for pre-order on most major retailers soon. In the meantime, here is the table of contents. A few of the poems available for reading now, which you’ll find through their links:

At Rest in the Sea
Sunday Calls for Cloudy Skies
Shadows and Fingerprints
The Back of the Room
Be There
In the House Across the Street
On the Mend
I Could Have Shined
Love on a Page

On the Mend

I’ve been going over my poetry collection, and on the whole I’m happy with it. It’s looking very unlikely that I’ll scrap it at this point, so I’m probably going to share a few more poems in the coming weeks. I still want to give it another round of editing, then there’s assembling it for publishing, finding a cover, hopefully getting some external feedback, etc. Hopefully I’ll have more concrete information about it next time I mention it on here.

In the meantime, this poem is called “On the Mend” and it almost didn’t make the cut. It’s one of the shortest poems in the collection, but it fits the theme well, and I’m happy with how it turned out.

On the Mend

I’ve been throwing bricks
From atop this house of sticks
And I’ve been casting stones
Across a lake as dry as bones

I hope you never know
How much time I’ve spent planning for bridges
I never come to, much less have to cross

And I’ve been planting seeds
In a yard not fit for weeds
I’ve been writing words
That leave the page like little birds

I was pretty sure
I’ve spent most of my life burning bridges
I couldn’t sleep beneath, much less try to cross

I wrote you down so you would always stay
But a heart like yours won’t be contained
So I put quotation marks around your name, like wings
So you could fly away from me

I hope you never see
I’ve spent every hour since then building a bridge
And I can barely walk, much less bear a cross

Tonight I’ll try to sleep
Beside the secrets I don’t want to keep
Tomorrow I’ll start throwing bricks
At your makeshift crucifix

And hope you do believe
You won’t find any answers jumping off of bridges
Come down from there. You’ve suffered enough.

Shadows and Fingerprints

I’ve already posted this on my facebook page, but I’ve cleaned it up since then, and I’m really hoping to get some input from blog followers as well as strangers.

I’m just about finished with the first draft of my poetry book, which I’m calling Permanent Ink on Temporary Pages. The whole thing has been a new experience for me, one I’ll detail in a later post, but for now I can summarize: I’m somewhat new to the world of poetry. Not writing it, but sharing it.

Over the course of a few weeks, I had a burst in creativity, during which I wrote a few poems. I noticed recurring themes throughout them, so I decided to keep them together. With a sort of narrative in mind, I wrote a few more, and even dusted off some old ones that fit the theme, which has led me to a collection of roughly 16 poems. At first that strikes me as too few, but then again, most of them are longer than the poems I’m used to reading.

I’m going to let the collection sit for a while before I come back to it and edit it, but I want to get outside input on some of it as well, especially if this is going to be an actual book I put together and decide to sell. (Not sure if I can justify the cost of a physical edition of this one, so I might go ebook-only, but again, that’s all for down the road.)

So here’s one of my poems. It’s called “Shadows and Fingerprints”. I’d be very grateful to hear any thoughts on it, good or bad.

Shadows and Fingerprints

There are fingerprints in the dust on the underside of the cabinet
And fingerprints in the thoughts on the underside of my mind
There are shadows on the ceiling
Out in the hallway where I sat on the stairs
And shadows in my memories
Cast by someone who isn’t there

I’ve never been as awake as I am right now
I want someone to talk to, but everyone’s asleep
And that’s okay.
I shouldn’t want to trouble them anyway
I never come as clean as I’d like to, in any case

I’m going to lie down on the floor
And close my eyes until I don’t exist anymore.
It all keeps going back to someone I don’t even know
Or the fact that I don’t know them because I was too afraid to live

So I walk through this city
Trying to find myself out there
Find only passing headlights
And landmarks of my youth,
Like where we’d sit where the sidewalk ends
Walk up the hill and around the bend
Cut through the woods to the circle of stones where we’d sit
Contemplating the world around us and our places in it
It’s not quite the same as it used to be.
Without Ian, it feels a little bit empty.

We’ll get away for a while
Let’s go to Michael’s house, visit Loren in Ohio
Sip vodka and turn off the tv screen
Talk about life and death and philosophy
Get everyone together and go down to the lake
The sun goes down, the stars come out, but we’re wide awake

Let’s sit around a campfire,
Bring a bag of things to burn
Like journal entries
Written by someone who isn’t me
(not anymore)
Old letters
Torn photographs
Clothes that don’t fit,
And some that never really did
That cherub figurine
Unfinished poetry
And all my thoughts of her and me,
So maybe I could get some sleep

Get in the water
Float on your back
Let the wind in the waves wash away your every heart attack
Pitch up the tent
Get into bed
Stay up talking ‘til the morning brings the sun up again

Then go back home
Get on with our lives
Maybe never see each other again,
But that’s all right.

I’ll walk these city streets,
Try to find someone out there who feels like me
We’ll lie on the floor until our problems don’t exist anymore
We’ll listen to music, read poetry
Watch television or just sit quietly

No passing headlights
No landmarks of a youth I wasted being alone
No shadows, no fingerprints
No hallways, no dust, no cabinets
Just you and me and our thoughts.
Just you and me,
Or me and my thoughts.
It’s always me and my thoughts.

When we die, do we turn into stardust?
Can it wait until I’ve made something beautiful first?
Because so far I’ve made nothing but shadows.
So far I’ve left nothing but fingerprints.