Hurricane outside, Maelstrom within (poem)

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Flickering lights and uncertainty rolled out in front of us
myself, my family
the wind crashed whistling through the eaves of the house
like an errant train in the dead of night
lightning danced 
Death had come ashore and ghosts were marching to martial music
thundering heels against the coal black night

the telephone rang
in foolish compassion I answered
and a voice from the grave spoke to me
suddenly I felt thirsty, ravenously hungry
and though the conversation was pleasant
my veins began to ache
and my body began to ache
to be possessed by old habits of a foolish youth
spent locked in torment

after we said goodbye
to fight against the desire of anonymity
I flung the doors open to the storm
wind, leaves, and rain rolled inward
when the threat between my ears
became greater than the one that ran screaming through the night

I pulled up shades
threw open windows and breathed in chance
in giant cleansing gulps
hoping against hope that I could exorcise my dutiful mistake
between The Father, and The Son, and three glasses of red wine – the blood
This I did in remembrance
I all of a sudden felt needy
to be possessed by creatures of the veil not far beyond my touch

I watched the storm blow the rest of the night
between flashes of lightning and gusts of wind
the fourth horseman I knew galloped close by
I waited for upon my cross of bones and childrens toys
for the sound of his thundering hooves
my gaze locked in on the shadows beyond the trees

At some point I fell asleep
only to awaken at dawns first light with my mouth
tasting like yesterdays news
and my clothes just barely damp
I rose from my leaf littered bed
my solace sleeping soundly next to me
my protection asleep soundly on the floor

I rose and peered into the stillness with a heavy head
a tongue that cleaved to the roof of my mouth
I noticed the lightening of the sky with the rising of the sun
now that the storm had blown itself away
and though there be no track marks, no bottles laying strewn on the floor
even though I knew the name of the man next to me in my bed
I still felt the shame of a misspent night
and the lingering feeling of poison in my veins

I’m an addict without a habit
no that isn’t true – no, there’s a habit there
and it isn’t in recklessness or immoral lack of judgement
it was in a simple act of compassion
that now, today burns a hole in the center of me
that wracks my body with a guilt even though I never did anything wrong

In the stillness of that morning
I slowly rose up from my sleep as a hangover
thudded mercifully between my ears
and before the rest of the house woke
I stripped down and walked naked into a cold shower
humming, “Precious Lord, take my hand.”
as shakily, shivering from the cold, I washed away my shame
and I climbed back on the wagon

Authors: Get Paid!

Not so much a rant as an observation.

People’s work has value.

If that person punches a time clock, or if that person is a salaried employee, if that person works as a contractor, or if they work for themselves. That work has value. I haven’t said anything wildly out of line there. Sort of a ‘no duh’ statement right?

Why, then, do we have such a hard time paying people what they’re worth?

Or better yet, why do we expect certain work to be done for free?

I’ve seen so many posts in the last couple of years about raising the minimum wage, universal health care, teachers salaries, wallstreet screwing over the little guy videos, antilobbying videos, pay equality in the workplace, and on it goes.

Yet, people are working harder and harder for less and less. I always hear people put it off on bloated corporations like Walmart – but I am starting to think that that isn’t the case.

I am starting to think people believe they are entitled to more, for less.

Well, There is no such thing as a free lunch, is still a valid economic observation.

Someone is paying for that shortfall.

However, it’s not just the consumer at fault. Someone had to have come along and devalued work for a reason. That reason is to jump ahead of the competition. However, take books for an example, someone came in and sold their book at 99 cents and suddenly they have best seller status . Then another one does it. Then another. Soon you have 60,000 plus word novels being sold in their entirety – months worth of work – for the cost of a bag of Doritos at the gas station.

That isn’t the end of the story, now readers who’d been buying up these dollar books now that the trend is set, balk at 6.99 for a novel. It’s not their fault. Why would they?

Then comes KU and for less than a paperback a month, you can read till your head explodes. The author is paid 0.0046 per page. Amazon publishes 3,000 books per day. I was reading other people’s sharing of the blog from the author who announced she was leaving KU. One commenter replied, “I know these people are being short changed BUT without KU I couldn’t read all I want.”

I’d been working for a company for a little while. Was hired in, excited go work for them, excited to work with them, we’d agreed on a salary and I set off – full steam ahead.

I poured everything I had into making this thing work, late hours, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes all nighters. Project after project. I worked as a troubleshooter, liaison, Public Relations, head hunter, you name it.

Yet, before too long the emails started rolling in. At first they were pleasant enough, then they started being a little more curt, then brash, then demanding. Not only was I doing all this stuff over here, now I’m dealing with multiple personalities and that was just from one person.

However, the work was finished. Everything planned out for a year, signed, sealed, delivered. Yet through all this they pay started to diminish before it disappeared entirely.

Yet work remained, maintaining and daily ops work remained, but I couldn’t stay.

I quit.

My time and effort was worth something to me. The work I had done was worth something to me. Yet like the KU lady – the work I had done became something they were entitled to.

Even after three months of not getting paid.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. People are NOT entitled to it. You are ENTITLED to get paid for work you do. Stop selling yourself so goddamn short. Your work has value. Make them pay for it.

This isn’t about money at a certain point it becomes about self respect.

P.S. I think I may have been a Union boss in a former life.

My book Trailer (When Heaven Strikes)

Award Winning author Micheal Scott Garvin calls When Heaven strikes – ‘a magnificent gem..’

Paranormal Romance Guild said, “The author holds a beautiful line of the interaction of the new lovers, and the suspense of the upcoming Garden Party and the imminent storm; which was genius in its flow.”

Others have said,

praise for heaven

Here’s the book trailer

When Heaven Strikes

Here’s the buy link

When Heaven Strikes

Enjoy

Violence and Scars ( a call for passive resistance)

 

gerrie-van-der-walt-286099

Photo by Gerrie van der Walt on Unsplash

I remember the day 9/11 happened. It’s something that is seared into my memory.
The whole day I was in shock.
I fell asleep to CNN and woke up to it still playing on the television with picture after picture, replay after replay of the hijacked airliners and the damage they’d done.
The body count.
People standing outside of The World Trade Center weeping, begging God and passerby’s to deliver them their loved ones.
The next the numbness of it all wore off and there I was, nineteen years old, weeping into the arms of my sister.
I was scared.
Knowing all those people died, it broke my heart.
I remember asking my mom if she thought there were ‘saved’ people in those buildings.
The other day, with Charlottesville I sat down and cried again. I’m thirty six years old and later on as I prayed the ‘Our Father’ with my husband – clinging for some kind of comfort – when I got to ‘Thy Will Be Done’ I choked it out.
I’ve lived a long life.
Not in years but in experiences.
I am a survivor of fundamentalism.
I was raised in the belief that I had no inherent ‘good.’
That the world had no inherent good.
I was beaten. Often. The religion was rigorous and I often rebelled against it.
I knew as a kid there was something inherently wrong with them.
I couldn’t put my finger on it – I mean, the people we talked to were polite, they dressed nice, the churches were nice, they drove nice cars….and in a lot of ways, it wasn’t the worst of circumstances.
Until it was.
And when it was, baby, it was a honey.
I’ve seen and been through things too bizarre to put in 9 books let alone one.
My sisters, can even top my experiences.
Those experiences have put a scar in me, on my heart, so deep it cuts into my very being into the foundation of who I am as a person.
And if I am not careful, those scars, get infected.
I have to be vigilant.
There is an old Sunday School song that goes, “Oh be careful little ears what you hear. Oh be careful little ears what you hear. For the Lord above is looking down – in love – oh be careful little ears what you hear.
It’s in what I hear – that requires the most vigilance.
Like someone who’s had a weather related injury, such as heatstroke, or frostbite or someone who’s come in contact with poison ivy – I’ll always be susceptible to the tone of a message than the actual message itself.
Passion, rhetorical flourish, and charisma are the cornerstone of any good speaker. It’s not really in what they say, that makes us listen, it’s all in the delivery.
Think of your favorite speaker, preacher, politician, or public persona.
Don’t listen to what they say, give that a rest, listen to how they say it.
There’s a lot of umph to their message, a schtick they use, they’re just like you….but they’re not. If they are public speaking, have their starched white shirts rolled up, can deliver a speech without any reservation or nervousness, they haven’t been one of you for a very long time. Most people I know HATE public speaking.
Right now, there is a lot of talk about Nazis and their alter ego – Antifa.
There’s a lot of passionate rhetoric being tossed around by both sides. Promises of violence. Actual acts of violence and confrontations.
A whole lot of passion.
We should always stand against fascism. Always. There’s no room in a free society for authoritarianism. Period. White supremacy and it’s ugly older brother antisemitism and ugly older sister bigotry – ruin and destroy – and have never once created a thing.
It’s led nations into ruins and took its people along for the ride.
And while there is something in the idea of standing up to a Nazi and ‘giving them their just desserts’ violence never creates anything. Like racism and bigotry – violence only begets more violence.
I’ve seen so many people on social media talking about ‘getting ready ‘ for some kind of showdown with the evil that is Nazi’s and no doubt – they are evil.
Yet these same people are unaware, or maybe they are aware, that they are slowly becoming being pushed into the very thing they’re trying to fight against. They become the other side to the same coin.
I feel like a fool when I quote this man, because everyone does who try to drive home a point. Bigots have used this guy, which isn’t too far a stretch since a racist will use Jesus and the Bible to justify their deep rooted hate. But Dr. Martin Luther King stood against much worse, so much worse, and was far more effective in his methodology of passive resistance than any armed conflict can ever accomplish.
War is not about success no matter what General stands up and delivers his speech ‘to the boys’.
War is about failure.
It’s about people failing to come together and work out their issues.
It becomes mindless.
To commit an act of violence against another human being, you have to work yourself up into a state of mindless rage and once that line is crossed – there’s no coming back.
Ask the vets who’ve come back from Iraq and Afghanistan how they feel.
I am not telling you to march. I am not telling you not to resist. I am not telling you to just let them hit you or hurt you. No. You have a right to defend yourself from bodily harm.
All I am asking you to do – is listen not to what your side says – listen to how they’re saying it. Listen to the words they use, not in a way that convinces you to join their cause, but what they are calling for.
The French know about this.
While their revolution was probably 100 percent just. It became a mindless stream of violence and death because people couldn’t back out of the frenzy they found themselves in.
There were so many different factions inside of that event that when someone starts to talk about the French Revolution – you are 100 percent justified in asking, “Which one?”
Are we facing some dark times? Yes. No doubt.
‘ The other’ regardless of where they fit, are in dire straights.
But ladies and gentlemen, there is power in numbers.
Passive resistance like Dr. Kings wasn’t very popular in America. He was murdered for it. Like Christ, he used to the parts of the society in which he lived to shame the wise. He held a mirror up to this country and let it get a good look at itself.
Sure you may face violence and worse when you stand up for what you believe in in any capacity.
But there is one sure fire way you’ll be unable to avoid it and that is by being violent yourself.
A man that lives by the sword will die by it each and every time.
Whoever got a hold of those 15 hijackers used passion to convince them 100 percent of their righteousness. The man who plowed into the crowd of protesters was 100 percent convinced of his righteousness.
The man who sucker punched his little boy, and bounced his head off a tile floor in the kitchen because they were angry, was 100 percent sure – in the heat of the moment – he was right.
Curtail your passions. Or they will destroy everything around you and trust me, there are some fates that are worse than death.

Violence is NEVER the answer. All it does is create a whole myriad and painful questions. Questions like, “Why me?”

What’s worse, is some questions then, have no good answer and because of that – there is are scars that never heal right.

Silver Haired Man (Poem)

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Photo by Shamim Nakhai on Unsplash

 

silver haired man
brother, I hear your hearts song
though martial music fills the air
like thunder it rumbles and shakes the world
there is familiarity here in your words
like the soft sighing of grass

there is a longing, there
the shadows of what could have been
ghosts of ‘what if’ gone silent and still
as your path turned left and you
leaving ‘what could have been’ behind you on the floor
weeping behind their glass wall

winters, oceans, the strangers house
I know these things as well
the hungry, the longing, nuances others overlook
I’ve cast mine eyes there
it’s one thing to view the world
it’s another to inhale it, hold yourself still, and see it

Silver haired man
the hand of God hasn’t been removed
its mark is still burnt onto your being
as now, you speak with his tongue
and notice the infinite in the cracks, pot marks,
and driftwood of humanity

You see the lesser, because you are the lesser
but the greater for it
for the veil has been pulled back
and the truth – that drove priests mad
stands in stark nakedness
exposed this time to eyes that seek to cover
not it’s shame, no

No, what you do isn’t an act of embarrassment
what you do is an act of empathy
you cover it not to hide it from the world
but to protect it, you, us, from the cold
like a good father would

Last Day of my blog tour: When Heaven Strikes

When Heaven Strikes - High Resolution (1)

 

Blog Tour: Interview Prompts, Excerpt & Giveaway — F.E Feeley Jr. – When Heaven Strikes

 

Last Day of blog tour. It’s hard with everything going on right now to give a shit about book sales and book reviews etc as our country worships at the altar of our lady of perpetual bullshit.
However, I do want to give a shout out to Lily for being amazing and for taking care of this.
All the people in my life that encouraged me to keep going with this. You’re in my heart. Thank you very very very very very much.
All the blog spots that hosted me.
It means a lot. 
I know we’re kind of in a funky place right now – especially gay guys being shut out of publication.
Your life, your love, your road, your sex, your pain, your passion, your faith, your lack of faith, your hopes, your families, your marriages, your failures, your triumphs, your lives, your deaths, your spirits, and all that comes before you and will come after you – are important. You are important. You’re a thread woven into the tapestry of life, without you there would be a lot of color missing from the tableau.
Don’t be discouraged. Self pub if you have to.
You’re stories are important. They should be told. Popularity isn’t the standard.
Feedback isn’t the standard.
Ability is – talent is – hard work is – if this is what you burn to do. If this is what you feel you were meant to do, male or female, gay straight or whatever, you should follow that.
Don’t let people talk shit to you. Don’t let anyone put you down.
Aspire to the art. Aspire to make yourself better at your craft than the book prior.
Stay humble to those who have been supportive of you.
Take criticism with a grain of salt.
Evolve.
Don’t argue anymore. Don’t get into fights over trivial things because people will always try and distract you by raising the bar.
You’re enough. Be enough.
That’s all anyone can ask.
Thanks to everyone who spent their hard earned money on this book. I am so thankful to you. Without your support – I couldn’t go on. I love connecting with you, I love meeting with you in mutual understanding, and giving you a break from the crazy. Thanks for ‘getting me’ and my work.
See y’all soon.

Healing Hands (poem)

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turn on the light
bare your bruised chest
throw your head back
take it all in

show the cracks in your armor
call out to God
let the stranger place his hand
on your head

Go walking in your sleep
there’s no salvation in skin color, child
nor should there be any burden there
no promise in your bones

But the healing touch
of another’s hand
can deliver you from the deep
fathoms of your broken heart

let a cool hand
caress your fevered brow
don’t worry after the color
the faith, the culture, the labor
those hands have known

Trust it, feel it, and
Weep for our foolishness
no politicians can save us
only we can

Then let those hands
dry your eyes
and let them clothe you
as you lay your weary head down

Turn off the light
and fall fast asleep in the deep
sleep of someone forgiven, child
rest there knowing your safe

 Heather Hayer
(R.I.P Hero Heather Heyer – A casualty in America’s war with it’s own conscience. She stood up for love)

Tina Turner (poem)

 

Tina

 

I love Tina Turner
Cher
Billy Joel
and Elton

I love Pink
Bon Jovi
Evanescence
and Brandi Carlile

Mary J Blige
Sure knows what she’s doing
give it to me
Lauryn Hill

Eric Clapton
is great
no one is greater than
the faith given to me
by Leonard Cohen

Marc Cohn
Walks me through Memphis
The Eagles helped me escape
California
and Madonna – well – I’m gay

George Michael, Prince,
Nothing compares to you
Melissa Ethridge
I climbed through your window

Janis, Joss, Joan
God is indeed, one of us
Lindsay and Stevie forever
as I took this love and I took it down

Sweet Caroline, Neil
You don’t bring me flowers no ‘mo
Barbra
but god woman, can you sing

Heaven is a juke joint
on Karaoke night
and I can’t wait to duet
with my favorites

What does love, really, got to do with it?

Everything.

I am your Voodoo Lady (poem)

 

 

 

joshua-fuller-204247Hand me a Ouija board
throw out some candles and
give me your tarot
the demons are talking tonight
all at once
even with Emile Sande
begging for something to believe in
through my headphones

It’s a map, all laid out
not a single memory
it’s all of the memory, all of it
my room is crowded with them
I am you’re voodoo lady

Pay me in trade, boy
sit in front of me and wait
while I cast bones
while I spin tables
with the taste of cold coffee
on my tongue
I hear stories I don’t want to

forbidden fruit
sweet to the taste but bitter
in the gut
as voices speak through me
each line I write
I’ve paid for in chains
and a pound of flesh

Last night
I prayed my first rosary
Holy Mary mother of God
I’m so tired
I counted the beads
and said the ‘Our Father’
but tonight I’m reminded
what a jealous creature
I am

Tonight, I thought
I was emptied out completely
that nothing would stir
but it does, precious
it stirs in me
as I am now ghost writing
what they want me to say

I’m untalented
all this is a conduit
the praise, the adulation
your five star darling hooker
and I can never tell when
the door is going to swing open
but I have a fear
deep in my soul should
it one day swing open
and the crowd steps through
this time it wont be to deliver the goods

It’ll be to take me with them
There is no Sibley Road for me anymore

Censorship is not a form of protest

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I read an article today on Vulture.com entitled The Toxic Drama of YA Twitter.

In this article (linked here) Kate Rosenfield explored an interesting trend happening on social media.

Laurie Forest wrote a book called The Black Witch, ARCs or Advance Review Copies were sent out to different reviewers to create buzz for her book. Everyone loved it.

Everyone except for Shauna Sinyard.

This is an excerpt from the article:

The hype train was derailed in mid-March, however, by Shauna Sinyard, a bookstore employee and blogger who writes primarily about YA and had a different take: “The Black Witch is the most dangerous, offensive book I have ever read,” she wrote in a nearly 9,000-word review that blasted the novel as an end-to-end mess of unadulterated bigotry. “It was ultimately written for white people. It was written for the type of white person who considers themselves to be not-racist and thinks that they deserve recognition and praise for treating POC like they are actually human.”

What follows in the article has to be one of the most chilling tales of an attempt at censorship that I’ve ever read.

In this age of Trump,  Fake News, rising accounts of racism, homophobia, antisemitism, anti – religious bigotry concerning Muslims, Russian involvement in our elections, and just generally shitty behavior by adults (a term I use loosely) the world has become a terrifying place.

With all eyes on Washington, the media, the majority of Americans, and entertainment has been wringing their hands ready to jump at the slightest totalitarian movement out of this current administration. The first being, censorship. If you shut down the media that’s a deaths blow to democracy.

Thank God for them.

Yet, this article shows us another group of people. Readers. Yet they’re more than that. They’re readers turned social activists that lead campaigns to have major (and minor) publishing companies pull books off shelves. They ‘drag’ people, these authors, on social media. There are even threats on their life as well as they tell these authors to ‘kill themselves’.

We seem to have found ourselves, lately, in a world of extremes and it’s terrifying.  On the right, in our government, we have out and proud fascists who would clamp down on this country if they found any headway.

Yet this group of people who are doing this, are just as fucking scary and I am not sure if these people are doing what they’re doing out of a desire to do good or a desire to become the next INTERNET superstar.

Social Media has become a fertile ground for radicalization.

I am a lover of the 1st Amendment, am a card carrying member of the ACLU. I do not believe in censorship. I believe in the marketplace of ideas.  The free flowing exchange of ideas. To me, and to most rational people, it is in this place where debates rage and freedom of the press, freedom of ideas, freedom to express those ideas in a peaceful way, is at the very heart of a healthy democracy.

Some would say these people are just passionately participating.

I disagree.

There’s a difference in actively participating in a forum of discussion and bringing a bomb to it.

Silencing your opposition out of fear, is not advocacy.

It’s terrorism.

Shauna Sinyard’s review reads like a manifesto. It’s 1/6th of a novel’s length which, quite frankly after reading all the glowing reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads, people pointed out that the book was ultimately about a young woman overcoming societal views on race.

That’s a good thing and quite frankly, something we need in the world today.  The detractors have said that, “Well, it just enables white people who treat POC good like they should be rewarded.”

Well, this white girl just go the Rachel Dolezal award for, “Trying too hard.”

That being said, even if the book was the equivalent of Mein Kempf part 2 – it still has value. Even if that value is negative.

The marketplace knows how to deal with it.

That’s a free society.

Despite this groups efforts, it’s done nothing to curtail the sales of this book. As the article points out, it was 1 on Amazon. Also, the Young Adults have all left whatever social media groups these people have taken upon themselves to protect and have disbursed leaving a bunch of harried, angry, and foolish people all alone.

Most people would think that was a win for Laurie Forest. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

Ask George Tiller how that worked out for him.

As the term ‘political correctness’ is now a political football used by everyone today, mostly by people who want to have the freedom of using the “N” word without repercussion, similar to adding ‘gate’ to everything that is politically scandalous, Australian Comedian Steven Hughes describes where we are perfectly, “….the age of political correctness which is actually intellectual colonialism and psychological fascism for the creation of thought crime.”

Silencing authors or the written word is nothing but fascism. I don’t care if you voted for Barack twice, are a card carrying member of the ACLU, and lead your local PFLAG meetings – shutting down authors, starting write in campaigns to publishing companies to get them to pull books, telling authors they should kill themselves, is nothing more than a mob mentality.

There are other people who are out there who want fiction ‘cleansed’ too. The Holy rollers. Advocates of ‘clean fiction’. Then there are those on the right who burn books.

At some point it no longer matters what boot is on your neck, be it right or left. You’re still choking.

This is chilling and it ought to scare the fuck out of lovers of a free press, free exchange of ideas, and free thinking individuals anywhere.

We’ve got to start standing up to this.

“The Black Witch is the most dangerous, offensive, book I’ve ever read. “

No ma’am.

The only ‘dangerous thing ‘ here is banning books.