You scratch my
I’ll scratch yours,
maybe even skim it,
so long as my commission
is paid in turn.
Blurb for a blurb
is the going rate in this
circlejerk of authors who are
corralled like livestock
by the stud-farm publishers.
Like the Art world
where galleries stoke the value
of a few select artists
so those premiere galleries can
cash in on their
rigged insider trading,
so, too, authors
are pressed to praise
what does not impress
as it goes to the presses.
What goes around
comes around
in a marketplace of
And the blurbs are hyperbole
taken to such a degree
as if to be a secret signal
or warning
through unintentional satire.
“This generation’s War And Peace.”
“Would unnerve Bram Stoker.”
“I could not put it down, yet was fearful
of the next word.”
“Love In The Time Of Cholera
meets The Idiot by way of
Rudyard Kipling.”
“Kaleidoscopic usage of adverbs.”
“Will affirm all the worthwhile things
in life, awakening the heart of the reader
one page at a time.”
There is no difference
between sleeve jacket hymns
and porn-parody except
one is sleeved in plastic
and the other in latex.
It is MLM levels of
hype, the hyper hype
done with a strained smile
bordering on a psychotic breakdown.
The books may have spines,
but the authors don’t,
or perhaps they have no taste,
only a hunger for exposure,
even if it is exposure as a
Or perhaps in this
dog-eat-dogshit world
it is better to swallow one’s pride
and expel a hairball blurb
than be choked to silence
when publishers refuse
to groom your works, works
lost in the multitudes of
willing to sell their souls
one blurb at a time
for a blurb of their own.
It is a game
full of winking,
but you must never blink.
It is a farce of superstition,
yet you must believe.
Blurbs are the
conman’s currency, the
conman’s creed, the
conman’s rites,
the concentrated extracts of reviews
slavish to the publishing companies,
and, if you don’t mind,
please compare my book to Dickens
as I would like to evoke his everyday whimsy when readers read the blurb on the back of my book. I, in turn, will compare your book to Shirley Jackson so as to resonate with lovers of gothic literature, even if your pastiche of her work is diluted and amateurish to the point of absurdity…


In a small corner of my head
squats a ramshackle little shed
where I place on a cobwebbed shelf
all the dreams I had for myself;
boxes upon boxes of books
all covered in dust—no one looks
at such things, away from the sun,
along with other things I’ve done;
stories…poems…by the hundreds,
like waste that clutters other sheds,
stowed away, unread and unloved,
where doubts and bitterness have shoved
worlds of wonder, flashbacks of days,
where the black mold of Time decays
the flimsy whimsy, each thin page
lost to mildew—that necrophage.
Sometimes I glance in the windows
and see the books there, lined in rows,
but I rarely go in…rather,
I know it foolish to gather
dreams from a rickety old shed
soon to collapse within my head.
So I wait…frown…sigh…shrug…then leave,
forsaking all, lest I deceive
myself with hope that any book
could be saved from that moldy nook.
Yet I return, despite the mold
growing rampant and taking hold
with its toxic odors and spores
permeating the air indoors,
and I read from the books, sometimes,
horror, fantasy, and some rhymes,
unable to leave what I should,
the fool’s hope stronger than the wood.
The shed trembles as if to fall,
yet I remain, each crumbly wall
a part of me as much as aught,
just as each book is my own thought,
and, so, should it crash at long last,
(which it will, the die just-so cast)
I will be among the remains,
among the books and wood and panes,
decaying together, the whole
as always was, body and soul.

Bland Bones

An unapologetic rebuttal to the praise of Maggie Smith’s poem “Good Bones” and, generally speaking, the poetry publishing world at large.

Life is too short for
flavorless poems
a dime a thousand, ill-advised
and to be kept from children
lest they prematurely age into
cynics, or worse,
instagram poets.
The published poetry world is at least
fifty percent terrible,
and that is not a
culture-vulture’s estimate.
For every such Aryan-Carrion bird
there is a
hundred bones to be picked at
by the more modern among us.
For every adored confessional poem, I confess
another mediocre poem
too many, sunken into its own
bland language, collapsing as it is
eaten up with terminal
osteoporosis. Life is short and
the poetic world is at least half
blandness, and for every trite poem
in the collective consciousness,
there is a thousand that would
benefit from
humbling sobriety and
iconoclastic terrorists.
A kind stranger might do well to
break you
from your banal habit of beautification.
Nor can subversion save unremarkable
imagery or diction. It is not that
is not beautiful,
such as any fragrant flower
wilting and dissolving into
but that your perfume is nothing more than
vanilla extract
being celebrated by Lotus Eaters
who have forgotten, in this time of
accessibility excess,
the stress-test standards of
and so deprive their children
of a world not sold to
suburban planning and
the lowest common denominator.
The poetic world is a real
and nothing about its
bland bones
could ever redeem the
dead pledge of its
mortgage rates,
even as pretentious publishing elites
lounge arrogantly alongside
Motel 6 swimming pools.
Just like in the realty market,
anyone can be a poet,
but that does not mean that
any of them know what they are
blathering about
while touring the downtown neighborhood,
nor does it prevent the next
market bubble
when all such propped-up poems
collapse under their own
oversold listing price.
Even if you can talk up
good bones
it does not mean that you
have a good foundation to start with.
It is, at best,
affordable housing
with a vista into your neighbor’s
backyard, which happens to be
identical to your own.
You could make this poem beautiful,
you would only make it