An Evening With Mr. Vein (poem)

Posted in characters, creative writing, poem, Poetry, story telling, writing with tags , , on October 13, 2016 by Robert Crisp

Still in a bit of a spooky mood. Thus we have Mr. Vein, revered teller of dark tales, and those who gather ’round him.

An Evening with Mr. Vein

There was something moving in the woods…
We listened with intent, garlic-heavy breath,
having just consumed an erstwhile vampire.
Mr. Vein gathered all our attention to his bosom
(gray, mottled thing that it was, more suited
to a moth monster than a man of his sensibilities)
and treasured the moment, not knowing when
when we’d all gather in his house of bones
to hear stories and, after hours of his low voice,
demand more til sunlight spread like a leaking wound,
spelling the end of our satisfying, unholy visit.

Nuptials (poem)

Posted in creative writing, poem, Poetry, writing with tags , , , on October 13, 2016 by Robert Crisp

Like many of my poems, I’m not entirely sure what this is about. I think it needs a few more drafts, but I’m intrigued but it.


I feel for the meat hooks and the tender eyes
that patrol the harbor, the insincere toasts
given at my oldest brother’s wedding the day
of the monsoon when all renounced figgy pudding
and said, “The hell with Christmas, we’re going
to Azerbaijan for the so-called holidays.”

And so we did, dooming my redoubtable brother
and his his Manichean bride, large of eye and heart,
to swim the coldest waters of Tungsten Sound
and fly desolate paper airplanes from the dirty beach.
We sent them a postcard burned at the edges.
It read, in part, “There’s an edge of the world.”

In Honor of Cowboy Wayne (poem)

Posted in creative writing, Poetry, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , on October 8, 2016 by Robert Crisp

*Incidentally, the red and black template is for the month of October. I don’t think I want it as a full-time look.

I have an odd fascination with cowboys and the American West and in my poetry (which doesn’t translate to my non-writing life). Perhaps this is because my maternal grandfather came from Oklahoma to Alabama on a covered wagon in the early 1900’s, and he maintained an interest in the West. He loved the show Gunsmoke and Louis L’Amour books. He could also rock a bolo tie. In many ways, he was a hard man to get to know, though he was always loving and perched me on his knee and told me stories. He was also an amazing visual artist.

Both my grandmother and the heroic (or, in my case, usually anti-heroic) cowboy figure appear in my work. The following is a recent example:

In Honor of Cowboy Wayne

I can’t countenance what I don’t cotton to,
says Cowboy Wayne, in love with his scruff
and the tin alloy of his voice, the blue smudge
of life in his veins, the chalky cliffs of his teeth.

Li’l dogies burst into flame rather than incur
his wrath, which stretches from barbed-wire
to unsettled valley, old homestead to bloodied hearth.
When he coughs, mermaids boil in distant oceans.

In a closed theater, a talkie runs backward,
a great feat to the projectionist who whistles
past the graveyard in his memory, the black
and white grain of Cowboy Wayne’s gaze.

On the blasted prairie, the man of the dismal hour
bakes his supper to death, gurgles a hymn through
a cup of black cider procured from the medicine man
who warned him to lay low, avoid people, eschew praise.

Posted in creative writing, story telling, Uncategorized, writing, writing craft with tags , , on October 7, 2016 by Robert Crisp

This came to me during a freewriting session some time ago, and I just discovered it again. Spooky.

Somehow, the lights still flicker in that doomed place, though the power was cut decades ago and the rats and roaches are the only tenants—except for the ghosts.

The walls are riddled with them, scattered like bullet holes, but that only makes sense if you know something about ghosts, how they only take corporeal form when a person pokes his curious head around, intent on seeing beyond the ordinary, or when someone strains her ears to hear something from the past. Until then, they blend into the walls, dozing in a kind of sleep, dreaming of vanished life.

I only visited one time, which was enough. A damaged spirit (I suppose all of them are damaged) appeared to my right and begged for help on a frequency that my soul heard, heard and consequently ached to answer. But I could do nothing, and the spirit sank back into the wall.

I could not forget the experience, of course, and so I drive by sometimes and look at the lights in that ruined house, wondering if anyone will hazard those hallways again, and if they have what it takes to make a difference. -Barbara Needly, A Brief History of Ghosts and Haunted Places, 1958

Interview…with Me?

Posted in creative writing, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized on October 7, 2016 by Robert Crisp

Here’s a first. I’m indebted to Lisa McLemore over at Zany Zygote Review for interviewing me. I’ve never done so before, and I greatly enjoy talking shop with Lisa. 

Here’s the link to the interview:

Story (poem)

Posted in creative writing, poem, Poetry, writing on September 24, 2016 by Robert Crisp

That headline is a tad confusing.


He found subtlety in her spaghetti,
which was reason enough to marry.
She loved the coal-dust in his laughter
and how when he ate her food he got fatter.
The hills around them rotated ten times
before he collapsed in a hole and died.
Her people told her to move on, but it was
ten more years before she learned to get along.

The Man and the House (prose poem)

Posted in creative writing, poem, Poetry, Uncategorized on September 22, 2016 by Robert Crisp

The Man and the House

The lawn mower creaked and moaned, discontent as always. Face high rank, it said, expecting the grass to waver like an unsure jury. Oh, shut up, the blades said. Crab grass. Typical.

The chair rocked back and forth and decided the kitchen clock needed dismantling. It went into kitchen and said, “Your gears are mine.” The kitchen clock suffered its fate with characteristic integrity.

The bedroom was witness to fire but kept it to itself, even when the man shook a broom at it and shouted, “Give up your secrets!” The bedroom muttered resolve to itself. Mum was the scorched word.

The bathroom cried itself to sleep.

The garage fantasized it was a root cellar.

The man, shaggy and dumbstruck, stood in the middle and calculated risk.