Mr. Kermit P. Shipley and the Fish (poem)

Posted in characters, creative writing, poem, Poetry, surreal, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 5, 2017 by Robert Crisp

Photo courtesy of Flickr and the Creative Commons License

I use Fake Name Generator more for fiction than poetry, but in this case, the site served me well.

Mr. Kermit P. Shipley and the Fish

Mr. Kermit P. Shipley screwed
in his good glass eye and told
the fish she was a tall drink of water.

The fish, who had two functioning
eyes, looked over at Kermit and
made a sound like a distressed cow.

Kermit couldn’t help but be smitten,
dying cow noise or no, and his mouth
split into an an approximation of a grin.

The fish’s mouth opened and closed
as she realized she was not in water,
and she in vain tried to breathe herself

because Kermit had said she was a tall
glass of water, but she wasn’t…she was
just a dying fish who could mimic a cow.

They remained this way, stuck as if on
the event horizon of a black hole, never
making any progress toward or away.


Three Mothers (flash fiction)

Posted in creative writing, flash fiction, freewriting, short stories, surreal, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 31, 2017 by Robert Crisp

It’s Halloween, and I’m sitting in my oldest son’s taekwando practice. Close to me, three mothers discuss various things. I let their conversation drift in and out of my head as I wrote this spooky little piece. Please forgive any typos; it came out in a rush.

Three Mothers

“I just want them to play, but the little one starts digging,” says one mother. Her name is Jessica. She holds her pink-encased, glittery phone in her left hand as she scratches a lesion on her face with her right hand. She’s not an advanced case, so they let her out and mingle with the other mothers, all of whom are in various stages of the disease, but none so bad that Death has quit being polite and just barges the hell in, here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?

“Well,” says another mother–this one a small, blonde woman named Kathy who had fine features but now looks like the victim of an acid attack–“maybe you shouldn’t let them play in the graveyard.”

Jessica makes a disgusted face. “Let’s not call it that, please.”

“What the hell would you prefer?” asks Octavia crossly. She is the third mother (women aren’t allowed to gather in groups larger than three). Her red hair has started to fall out, but she’s styled it such a way as to minimize the damage. She looks almost normal from the right angle in the right light.

“The Resting Ground, as we’ve been taught,” Jessica replies and begins swiping on her phone. “No one likes my posts anymore. Dammit.”

“Because you’ve lost a kid,” Kathy says. “It brings people down.”

“But I have three more,” Jessica protests.

The other two women shrug. They know how it is, and Jessica does, too, even if she denies it.

“My youngest is the cutest thing,” Jessica goes on, loudly, as if others are listening. It’s just the three of them on a deserted street, but they’re never truly alone.

“The one who was digging in the graveyard?” Kathy says.

“The Resting Ground,” Jessica replies between her teeth.

Kathy and Octavia share a look. “The Resting Ground,” Kathy corrects herself.

“Yes, Baby Kenneth.” Jessica’s fingers fly on her phone as she searches for a picture of her child. “He’s very curious and very healthy!” she practically shouts as she holds her phone out for the other women to see.

“Adorable,” Octavia mutters, and Kathy just nods. Satisfied, Jessica closes the picture and goes back to her homepage. She scratches the lesion harder.

“How much longer do they say you have?” Octavia asks Jessica, not unkindly.

Jessica blinks several times before she answers. “I told them I didn’t want to know.”

“But Donald knows.”

Donald, Jessica’s beefy husband who nabbed a coveted job in the slaughter house last month, most certainly knows. Jessica has promised him not to tell her, and Donald is playing along so far. Unbeknownst to Jessica, he’ll wake up her up in the middle of the night three days from now and reveal her expiration date.

Jessica will visit each of her children and kiss their brows. She will linger the longest over Baby Kenneth, tasting his name in her mouth, tracing his eyebrows until touching him no longer feels real.


Minister Hot Tea Denies a Bird a Proper Burial (surreal fiction)

Posted in creative writing, fiction, flash fiction, freewriting, story telling, surreal, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , on October 31, 2017 by Robert Crisp

This oddness poured out a few days ago. Enjoy?

Minister Hot Tea Denies a Bird a Proper Burial

“I give not a fig for how the bird died,” said Minister Hot Tea, “nor do I wish him to be buried on this sacred ground. A pauper’s grave for the bird, now see to it.”

Minister Hot Tea’s wife was an unwilling accomplice, but she had run grown weary of playing Go Fish with ghosts, so she gathered the bird’s broken body and transported it to the burial ground just outside of Gehenna.

She said a hot, hasty prayer that got tangled in the clouds and lingered in the air long enough for the bird to reincarnate, leave the nest, and glide through an immaculate sunset, his heart beating in time with his strong, blessed wings.

Life Cycle of a Rain Monster (poem)

Posted in poem, Poetry, surreal, writing with tags , , on October 28, 2017 by Robert Crisp
life cycle of a rain monster

Art work by my six-year-old


For the curious, the drawing inspired the poem, not the other way around.

Life Cycle of the Rain Monster

He starts as a bloody puddle,
dangerous despite his lack of
claws, teeth, and pointed tail.
He can make you slip and die
and people will skip your funeral.

After a while, he moves skyward
where he forms a terrible cloud,
black and grumbling, shot through
with lightning and unrelenting fury,
able to strike you from fifty miles up.

Finally, he pours himself onto the
tired Earth and covers everything.
No one is immune from his soaking
touch and violent whispers more
soul-chilling than the coldest rain.

Then he starts all over, his black
memory strong after lifetimes of
moving up and down through the air.
If he missed you last time, he’ll make
a special note and seek you out.

The Organ Grinder (poem)

Posted in poem, Poetry, writing with tags , , on October 26, 2017 by Robert Crisp
organ grinder

He carries glandular meat in that box (photo courtesy of Flickr and the Creative Commons license)

In case you’re curious, “glandular meat” refers to animal organs…liver, brain, sweetbreads, what have you. I just like walking up to my wife and finding creative ways to work “glandular meat” into sentences.

The Organ Grinder

The organ grinder pauses
for a moment because he’s
fresh out of organs, and so
he summons Jerry the monkey
to go fetch a liver, a brain,
hell, even a fuckin’ spleen
so he can get back already
to the one thing he’s good at.

Rejections, Rejections…(and a poem)

Posted in creative writing, poem, Poetry, surreal, writing with tags , , , on October 23, 2017 by Robert Crisp

The rejections are rolling in, and I sigh and file them away. Every now and then, I look at the poems that weren’t a good fit for a particular magazine, and I wonder if I should change my writing style. Then I laugh to myself because I can no more change my writing style than I can change my eye color. I could pretend and mimic other styles as I did when I was cutting my teeth, so to speak, on poetry…but that would be artifice.

So I’ll keep writing the words that pass through me. Here’s one I’m fond of that was rejected.

Pretend Escape Plan

Get these damn spots off my hands! you demand,
meaning the blood, of course. Always the blood.
It’s not so simple, I say, and you try to disappear,

but you can’t pull off that magic trick anymore,
having used up to much of the Divine’s good will.
Stuck there in room with me and the cooling

body, you pace over to the window that looks
across the tangled courtyard and the hills beyond.
There’s peace out there somewhere for me, you say,

and while that’s true, I also know you’re never leaving.
I hold one of your killing hands. The blood doesn’t
bother me, never has. I hold you close and spin lies,

telling you it will be different this time, that we’ll
escape and live in the green hills, and you laugh
and you cry and, more importantly, you believe.

A Moment (poem)

Posted in poem, Poetry, writing with tags , , , on October 19, 2017 by Robert Crisp

The weather here in Savannah, GA has finally turned pleasant. The stifling humidity has receded, and I’m able to step out on my porch in the morning without breaking into a heavy sweat.

Though this poem is centered on the turn from winter to spring, it’s also evocative of any moment when the unexpected occurs. 

A Moment

It was a rare occurrence,
this sudden burst of spring
in a winter-haunted world,
and the riotous blooming
of flowers thought long dead
made mischief in the minds
of those too often spooked
by their own shadows, lean
and black against the ground
which received the sun’s stare
with a sound soil rarely makes.