Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stone, a poem


Unlike Sisyphus,
I, someday, shall sleep
in the shadow of my hill.

Let this stone then stand,
speechless sentinel,
at my head, companion still,

marker of the grave
where I, weary grown,
lie forgetting want or will.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

I suppose this could have been a longer, more ambitious piece, had I chosen to go that way. But I didn't---just the basic metaphor is sufficient, I think, and any more would be nothing but embellishment.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Progress Report

I continue to work on revising all the titles offered by the Arachis Press. The poetry chapbook, PIECES OF THE MOON, is now finished and should be appearing in a new edition at various vendors. This was the first book we published, back when we were still the Nihil Crocodile Press.

New versions of the Young Adult novel, THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, should be ready soon — the end of this month or early next, most likely. Then, I shall probably tackle the poetry collection DREAMWINDS, before moving on to the Donzalo novels.

As far as writing new stuff goes, I think the ‘serious’ contemporary novel will be set aside for a while and I shall attempt to dash off a fantasy adventure I have had on my mind, tentatively titled COAST OF SPEARS. This novel will be set – as a starting point – in the early Twentieth Century and then find its way to lands ‘beyond the field we know,’ as Lord Dunsany put it.

Right up front, I shall admit that it will show some definite Burroughs influence (That’s Edgar Rice, not William.). And it does take place (eventually) in the same world as the Donzalo books, but millennia earlier.

There are still those books that need illustrations, of course. Someday perhaps I can get onto those. Children’s books, poetry collections, and so on — I am not able to muster much enthusiasm for art work these days. Indeed, I must admit to have hardly painted for the last twelve years, despite considering myself primarily an artist up to that time. Most of my output since has been illustration and design, and my focus shifted largely to writing.

Incidentally, the protagonist of the new novel-in-progress will be an artist — not a Bohemian type but a polished society portraitist of his time, hobnobbing with the rich and powerful.

Flotsam, a poem


I am cast up on your shores,
flotsam, wave-worn memories
of the man I was, the sailor
of dark seas and broken days.

Gather me. Among the polished
pearled shells, I wait, a dreaming
on the margins of tomorrow.
Once we found such remnants, there,

tokens of the unseen storm.
Call to your horizons, misted
with the songs of pasts forgotten;
all that we have yearned for lies

sleeping in the distant blue
reaches, lies yet undiscovered.
Might you sail to such a venture,
taking ship along the curve

of a restless golden morn?
Might you rise across your days?
I remain, on shores a world
distant, discard, sea-gift, flotsam

drifted from unvoyaged depths.
Find me there, someday, among
treasures of the tide; then hold me
to your ear to hear my song.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Something more formally constructed and probably at least in part a result of reading French Symbolists of late.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Here and There, a poem

Here and There

One place is
much like another, really,
and the people here
are not so different
from those over there.

I didn't like them,

Stephen Brooke ©2015

just a curmudgeonly little throwaway

Friday, January 09, 2015

At Dawn, a poem

At Dawn

The sun does not creep this morning,
but grips the sky, all at once,
in pulses of orange and gold and gray.

The storm is minutes away, revealed
along a doubtful horizon glow,
an intimation of dawn postponed.

Thunder heralds a darkness, wind-hollowed,
to fill with rain and remembrance.
I make coffee and wait.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Thursday, January 01, 2015


I am not one to make resolutions, but I do have goals and plans for the coming year. One of those is to finally get my music room/home recording studio straightened out and into operation. At this time of year, that room – a 14 by 22 space with high ceilings – is closed off (as is about half the house) for purposes of saving on heating. That is not keeping me from getting into there to move stuff about and see just how I want to lay it out.

My Christmas present to myself was a big recording desk, six foot wide with rack spaces and so on, that was on too good a sale to resist (plus there were free speaker stands thrown in — I’ll find a use for those). This replaces an older four foot desk I have been using the last dozen years and which got a bit bent out of shape when I moved it here eight years ago. It will probably go against a wall and maybe hold a keyboard and my midi equipment. We shall see how that goes.

I’m not sure which direction to orient the new desk in the room. There are advantages to both ways. Sound-wise, of course, I should be sitting with the longest end of the room behind me. However, that means my back would be to anyone I was recording in the same room. Since I do not know when, if ever, I might convert the carport into a live room, I will be doing any recording in the same space as my control center.

It also looks better and leaves a larger open space if I go that way. But, if I turn the desk, I can cut the room into two spaces for performance, etc, one on either side where I can see what is going on. I should admit that I switched the former desk back and forth a couple times and never could quite decide! I shall get it set up soon, one way or the other.

Another task I have set myself is to revise and edit all eleven books from Arachis Press (more than 11 if one counts the ebook versions too). I have found THE ART OF K PAGE BROOKE and A MOUSE IS IN THE HOUSE to be without problem, so they will need no changes, but there are typos and formatting mistakes in the other titles that need to be fixed. I found only one small problem in THE CONTRARY FAIRY which might just be ignored, but I am also considering issuing an ebook version (in addition to the PDF now available) so perhaps I shall go ahead with that. I just don’t know if the intended audience (early readers) would be using e-readers much.

Anyway, I have finished the revisions of our very first poetry chapbook, PIECES OF THE MOON, and it will be sent to the publisher this month — in that we are using POD and ebook, changes are easy to implement at any time. I am currently going through THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE and should be able to get the revised versions of that book ready soon. Then, the two other poetry books and all four volumes of DONZALO’S DESTINY. When I have finished with the Donzalo books, I do intend to offer a print volume that includes all four novels (which, yes, are really one longish novel).

Of course, I do intend to have new books available this year as well. As ever, my slowness to provide illustrations has slowed some releases. Maybe I need to farm out the pictures to someone else! And speaking of someone else, I might well consider publishing someone other than myself this year. Especially poetry. Especially if I find time to start up that literary magazine this year.

Or maybe I should just consider myself retired and go to the beach more often.

Shards, a poem


What words? None complete this,
none carry me far enough.
I only fling what I have
into the waiting darkness.

Much goes unsaid; that has
ever been so. We can but chip
away at the infinite,
display our shards and pretend

to wisdom. Surely knowing
something, saying something,
has, too, its value.
So what if the gods laugh

at our pretenses? There are
things beyond them, as well.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

The last poem of 2014, completed last night, appearing this morning. Looking into my files, I see I had used the title before, back in '03, but I reckon there is nothing wrong with recycling.