Tag Archives: Venison

I shoot a sonnet with a rifle and chili and I don’t know

Made some venison chili. As usual, I just grab whatever and throw it in the pot. I saw this massive pepper at the store.  I’m not sure what type of pepper. Anyway, I brought it home and threw it into my chili. I punctured it seven times with a knife first, to let the heat and flavor seep into my chili. The chili was level 6, so I’m not sure if this process worked. This might be my last chili for a while. Spring is not for chili. Spring is for fish tacos and shrimp nachos and golden beer. Spring is for taking my kid canoeing and fishing. Spring is for running 26.2 miles. Spring is disc golf. Spring I might try to strangle a flower to life,  if I can, I’m thinking below my mailbox. No, I will go fishing. I don’t go around saying, “I’d rather be fishing.” I am not a green ball cap in a store in TN with wonderful potato wedges. You know why? Because I am out fishing and yes I curse too often around my son and sometimes instead of a rightful dinner I give him Cool Ranch Doritos and maybe a cup of blue yogurt but damn if that boy won’t have wonderful memories of fishing and the ability to catch fish and to read the dips, curves, eddies of a river and navigate a canoe and just realize for a second that we are actually the river and the river is us, our very blood and pooling synapses and that’s why it feels good, son, feels good to leave all the nonsense behind and get a cooler, two rods/reels, a bag of roasted peanuts, a big-ass Pepsi for you, a red canoe and kiss/wave/cough the crazy world goodbye to go fishing.


I did a YASOO 800 X 14 last evening.

4 X 6:00 mile pace.     4 X 5:56     4 X 5:52     Then one at 5:49, one at 5:27 mile pace.

The last one I was so exhausted and coughing a bit and I just didn’t know if I could finish the full 800 but then I remembered years ago Lance Armstrong said, “You can surprise yourself how the mind can overcome the body’s limits.”

(I used to dislike Lance because he was dating Sheryl Crow and I have a major crush on Sheryl Crow and didn’t want to have to imagine Lance pedaling all over her.)

That seems obvious or corny or whatever, but it is actually very true. So I just told my body, “Legs that feel like dead fish, lungs that whimper glass, you are going to stop soon, OK, you get to stop soon, but NOT RIGHT NOW.”

And I finished my last 800 and stumbled into the shower. I felt very tired but very alive and anyone reading this who has really pushed their body out there, out there into what I call The Crucible, knows what I am saying. Runners run because it makes you feel alive and real and actually spending a moment in your body NOT questioning, NOT questioning, wearing yourself like your skin is indeed yours and maybe things will be OK or glow for a little while.

Pretty solid, but I have been ill lately and the training has been lame-o like a duck. I need another long run before the marathon. I am am semi-fit but certainly need more mileage. The illness (a nagging cold) cut down on my mileage. We’ll see.

[Note: running at night is never smart. My metabolism was all sped up and my body hot for hours and I sit there in bed with tired legs and a very awake mind.]


Corium Magazine be crazy like talking soda. Lauren Becker did not fuck around! Thanks for asking me aboard, Lauren.

I have a prayer in the new Divine Dirt Quarterly. It is centered and I didn’t write it centered. I have never written a centered poem in my life, but maybe it’s just an editorial decision on their part or maybe they will change it or maybe it doesn’t really matter at all. I mean I got a mortgage and this little gutter on my house that sags weird like a broken rib and my dog is so stupid and never sits or comes back and here I am blabbing about some centered poem.


Over at HTML Blake got drunk and read a selection from Drunk Sonnets.

Drunk Sonnet blog here.

My interview of Daniel Bailey (Sonnet author) here.

Damn! I can’t get Blake’s sonnet video to embed. Have no idea why. I am an idiot.

Here, go to The Faster Times and watch it. It is worth a watch. Blake is trashed. Don’t drink like that, children.

Well, you know, I am a big fan of Blake and I am basically  a lemming so waited two days and knocked back a beer or seven and read another Drunk Sonnet, # 18. I then went outside and shot the sonnet with a tricked-out squirrel rifle, as is my way.

Enjoy. And remember, I am trained in both firearms and poetry, so don’t try this at home, kids.


Venison Chili. Diagram. Characters in Fiction. Amy Winehouse is Falling Snow.

I just put on an enormous pot of venison chili.


There’s celery in there. Onions, beans, green peppers, red vinegar, cumin, and garlic. I just walked by and impulsively dumped in a cup of black coffee I was holding. It was a Tennessee Titans mug, baby blue. It’s amazing, how it smells, the whole house, this chili. The odor of life, of beginnings, laughing and staggering home drunk, family-style crinkly menus of hope, like all the old ingredients of my pantry have been swept away, aside, and replaced by a new meal, fortification, sustenance and a sense of potential health. A glow of blooming nasturtiums in winter. A mix of somethings. Whiskey drinkers with bullhorns.

Cooking is better than writing. You consume the art you created.

But I digress.


Diagram has a new issue out, with ARLENE ANG! I keep trying to tell you people…

I saw Arlene once in Vancouver and she saved a seal from an old lady!



We discussed characters in my Fiction One class today. I always begin this lecture by showing two photos:

This one:


And this one:


After that, the conversation is self-explanatory.

We talked about Direct Characterization:

I am a nervous neat freak. I am possibly OCD and overcritical.

Versus Indirect Characterization:

(From Ray Midge’s, The Dog of the South.)”I ordered a glass of beer and arranged my coins before me on the bar in columns according to value. When the beer came, I dipped a finger in it and wet down each corner of the paper napkin to anchor it, so it would not come up with the mug each time and make me appear ridiculous. I drank from the side of the mug that a left-handed person would use, in the belief that fewer mouths had been on that side.

The rest of the lesson I led my students through the fundamentals of characterization in fiction:

1.) Dress your characters in all purple. All purple, everything, head to toe.

2.) Have them hold a pipe, a blanket. A baby food jar. Or dress them in all purple.

3.) Flannery O’Connor made little outfits for her chickens. Little vests and top hats. Then one day someone said, “Why don’t you just get peacocks?” She got hundreds of peacocks. She was famous for these peacocks.

After her death, the birds were moved to a monastery and a cancer ward and some lady’s farm in Ohio.

Where foxes ate every damn one of them.

4.) I told my class that this life is not dress rehearsal, and that creating a character who keeps using psychedelics is OK, as long as you have a purpose in the story. Like Raymond Carver had all his characters drunk. Why? So their impulse control would drop, thus allowing awkward truth and hitting on wives and I like that story where the black horses appear in the fog, the living room, I think.

I’m scared of horses. Their heads are shaped like caskets.

(I have a memory like a bamboo grove.)

5.) I told them to go downhill skiing. In Colorado, right above the Boar’s Back. Start at Copper Mountain and work your way west. Stop at the casinos and get thrown out of all of them. Then downhill ski for two months. The definition of “fun” is when you are finally not watching yourself, analyzing yourself. If you stop to ask if you are having fun while hurtling down a black diamond at Breckenridge, you will die.

Fun is when you CAN NOT examine your activity while doing the activity. This explains the popularity of extreme sports, and sleep.

6.) I’ve yet to see a squirrel display self pity.

7.) I told my student to read a story. They did, mostly, I think. Story was about a grandmother who was a narcissistic, self righteous, selfish, oblivious, lying crone. So then a man shot her family (she led her family to the man). And then the grandmother three times in the forehead. The end.

The truth will out.

In the Old Testament, if you screw up, you die.

Ever heard of the “Hard Teachings”? No one really wants to turn the other cheek, and give away their possessions, and act all meek. Show me a meek man. Someone striving to be meek.

One time this dude walked up to Jesus and said, “Hey man. What do I need to do to get to heaven?” (A good question–I mean if you have a few moments with a deity)

Jesus pauses, places a hand on the man’s shoulder, smiles, and says, “Sell all your belongings.”

(Matthew 19:21: “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me”)

Boy, you know that guy thought: FUCK THAT!

Jesus called the Pharisees proudly praying on the corner “urns.” That was wicked. Jesus could drop a metaphor on your ass. An urn is shiny and glowing on the outside. Inside, it’s dead, cold ashes.

I prefer the Gnostic Texts, where Jesus kicks people’s asses, and not just with words. He strikes one dude blind. Wowzers. That’s not just throwing over some card tables in the church.

Lots of people talking. But walking it?

All the above is about this.

8.) I told one student he wrote an excellent line about losers. A character was trying to convince another he was king of losers, a real peach at losing. He compared the person to the Cubs. Then to Buzz Aldrin. Then this…The line was, roughly, “You’re like Amy Winehouse.”

Poor Amy Winehouse. Her nose is now apparently falling off. I can’t imagine why.

9.) Lastly, I told the class to go stalk someone and write down everything they do and say. Then take this character and put them in a story with a dead cat and a slammed door.

I think that pretty much does it for characterization. That’s the basics, I feel.


My house smells like a manifesto right now.


I am using a chart I found on Diagram to write about Regis Philbin. I pretended Regis died. Then I thought: How would my narrator react? Here is the chart:


So I wrote a section for each pyramid. I would include an excerpt here but I don’t feel like including an excerpt and this is my damn blog.

Every single section above has a corresponding text in the story.

Ok, I will include an excerpt:


All the busy signals of my life forming a wound. A laceration in my heart, alongside rib bone, possibly leaking blue. Possibly arterial, thrusting. One less sparkling studio of gloom and doom. One less coruscating necktie. One less opportunity to become, with relatively little effort, a millionaire.

( life)


I like this J.A. Tyler work over at Sub-Lit.

It made me remember how I was invented, touched. I worked in a warehouse once. I pushed buttons once. I could show you repaired drywall and a martini the size of purgation.

Also I like Molly Jones’s Heart Mechanics at Thieves Jargon.

Very wicked, Molly.

It reminded me of a patient at the hospital. He had an artificial heart. You want to know the most profoundly weird thing about waking up from surgery with an artificial heart?

You no longer pulse. No beats in your chest, your hollow.

you whir