Spared the Human Curse [Free Verse]

Seven Sages were spared the sickness
 of perceiving the possibility of perfection,
  a "perception" of the patently impossible --
   in truth, just dim and flimsy imaginings of mind,

   and, so, they didn't mind the inevitable
     flaws of the human world. 

BOOK REVIEW: The Storyteller’s Handbook by Elise Hurst

The Storyteller's HandbookThe Storyteller’s Handbook by Elise Hurst
My rating: 5 of 5 stars Page

Out: June 14, 2022

This is a book, but not one that one reads but rather one that one writes. It contains more than 50 imaginative and fantastical artworks intended to help creative parents build their own stories, while helping their children learn to become storytellers. There is a forward by Neil Gaiman (who has worked with the artist on previous occasions) and an introduction by Hurst, but otherwise there’s almost no text.

The animate subjects of the book are children and animals, but not just any animals. They are mis-sized, misplaced, mythical, imaginary, anthropomorphized, and extinct creatures in search of a clever explanation for their existence and behaviors. The usual suspects of our beloved stories are most well-represented: bears, lions, foxes, rabbits, birds, and fish – for example. But there are also less well-known creatures: mollusks, a mantis, kangaroo, koala, and armadillo. The settings are also designed to fuel the imagination: oceans, hot air balloons, impossibly floating places of all sorts, cities of gothic and fantastical architecture.

If you’re looking for a storybook where you have a graphic prompt to trigger your own story, this is a beautifully illustrated example of such a work.

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Gothic Imagination [Free Verse]

I first saw the stone beast
by the light of a bright day --
frozen, still & placid

My second sighting was on a rainy night,
a steady, careless rain,
the kind of rain
that seems to have declared
itself the new default mode.

I saw it in the space of lightning flash --
the silhouetted gargoyle.
It lacked the fine detail
of its sculptor's effort.
It lacked the clean edges
and ornamental effects.
Imagination filled in the lost detail
with scales rippling under
muscular flesh.

And while the lightning felt prolonged,
it was still just a flash --
leaving me to wonder whether
I'd really seen it rear back,
preparing to lunge off the wall?

And then I saw the world through its eyes
and all was better...

and then all was worse.

POEM: Imagination Tree

Under blue skies, the live oaks were just trees — hearty and expansive trees.

But in the feeble light of waning days or the frequent forays of morning fog, the rangy and sinuous moss-draped limbs became a Lovecraftian monster, head stuck into the damp loam in an attempted retreat to the underworld.

And if one stood still enough, those limbs just might start to writhe.

POEMS: Worlds, Real & Imagined

People die from skin cancer —
freaking out about nuclear power plants —
but not freaked out about the sun
enough to slather on some sunscreen.

A plane crashes,
and many decide it’s safer to drive —
clearly, they must be among the 93%
who are better than average drivers.

Mosquitos kill five orders of magnitude
more people than sharks,
and yet “PROBOSCIS” is not a movie
that will give “JAWS” a run for its money.


People pride themselves on living in the real world,
and yet…