Life of The Party

My brother hates the holidays. Not just the long winter season, but all of them. They remind him of death. If it were up to my brother, there would only be one day that repeated itself over and over again until he ran out of days and passed away, surprised to find out that he ever got old.

Christmas is depressing and crass, he says, a commercial nightmare. Everyone misses their family, or whatever they wished their family would be. People spend money they don’t have and are reminded of how much they don’t achieve. Suicide rates soar like flying reindeer.

New Years is arbitrary. Every day is the anniversary of some point on the calendar. China has its own New Year and they’re doing alright. The years will just keep coming whether we notice them or not. You can be sure of that.

Valentine’s Day is a pink sham dreamt up by card companies who produce false sentiments and litter. The sugar is an obvious metaphor for rot.

St. Patrick’s Day is the lame, white Mardi Gras. It’s also racist and makes it impossible to wear a green shirt without getting in a conversation about it. (Mardi Gras is the lame, American Carnivale. Carnivale is just stupid, especially for those who do not observe Lent. Don’t even get him started on Lent.)

Independence Day promotes nationalism, obesity, drunk driving, and sunburn. It’s a celebration of wealthy tax dodgers.

Easter is an uncanny mess stuffed with mismatched rituals and bad chocolate. Jesus was a zombie. If the Resurrection was real, then Jesus held out on the secret and that makes him a prick. The entire holiday exists to keep the basket industry afloat.

Thanksgiving is bogus. The first one was in Virginia, not Plymouth Rock, and the pilgrims were intolerant fanatics and murderers anyway. Not that it matters. There is no one out there to say, “You’re welcome.”

I worry about my brother sometimes. I don’t think he has a very good attitude. Not just toward the holidays, but life in general. I am not always sure how to be a good sister to him. Like today, as I helped my mother bake him a cake and drive to the store to buy candles. I did it for my mother. The cake will not make my brother happy.

I try not to think about death so much. I want holidays to remind me of life. Life is happening, I tell myself. Not passing by. My brother looks at an hour glass and counts the sand. I am happy just to see how it looks as it falls. My brother sees the sun as the headlights racing each day away from him like a truck on the highway. He sees the moon as its taillights glowing in the distance. I see pretty balls in the sky.

I wouldn’t be so worried if he were more mature about it. If only he thought about death in a healthy way, not dwell on it so much. Then it wouldn’t bother me that he hates the holidays. A lot of people probably do.

My brother is uncomfortable with all these people gathered around, watching him. The candlelight dances on his face and makes him look like he is listening to a ghost story. I try not to worry about the future. He’ll live, I say.

Still, it’s a shame to not enjoy the holidays, even just a little bit. Especially when you have so many of them, a whole lifetime, laid out in front of you, I think as I watch him struggle to blow out his candles. All twelve of them.

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The small boy filled his hands and stuffed his face until one day he was a man who thought himself old enough and wise enough to be thankful, but he was still hungry so he spent his time eating and working for money to pay for his food and shelter and considered himself too busy to be thankful.

I will be grateful later, he thought, when I have more to be grateful for.

So the boy grew older, without noticing at first, busy working and sleeping and filling his hands and stuffing his face and now also on the lookout for a woman, a thought that always filled his head, even when he was supposed to be doing other things.

There is no time to be grateful yet, he thought. There isn’t even time to age. When I am old and have very little left to busy myself with, then I will not be able to do anything but lie in my bed and be grateful. So, of course, I will do it.

I hope that will never happen.

He stared straight ahead, chewing.

Age came as small gifts: a steady cough when running, bouts of constipation and bloating, a knee that went pop when he walked up steep steps. He accepted them because he did not know he had the power to refuse, but be did not pause to say thanks.

Later on bones became raw and brittle like crackers. Still, he went on eating. These fingers will get fat, he said. Very fat, like swollen bones. Everyone got over it. He/we always just asked for a couple more bones. Something, at least, to chew on. The boy was very old, and we were too, just then.

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Baltimore LED Haiku Project


I am excited to one of almost 50 writers with poems featured on the 50-foot  LED Baltimore Art Billboard on top of Metro Gallery at the corner of Charles and Lanvale, across from Penn Station. If you are in Baltimore, look up to check it out. Writers include: Anne Frydman, Madison Smartt Bell, Jen Michalski, Michael Kimball, Justin Lawson Isett, Juliet Escoria, Jessica Anya Blau, Cort Bledsoe, Stephen Michael McDowell, Dave K., Tim Paggi, Julie Reiser, RM O’Brien, Sarah Jean Alexander, Joseph Young, Heather Rounds, Erik Wagner, Fitz Fitzgerald, Jenny O’Grady, Yatsura Still, Tracy Dimond, Timmy Reed, Madeleine Mysko, Elizabeth Hazen, Bob Schofield, Marion Winik, Juliana Grace, An Tran, Justin Sirois, CarlaJean Valluzzi, Stephanie M Barber, Mike Young, Christopher Morgan, Brian Joseph, Scott McClanahan, Dylan Kinnett, Barbara DeCesare, Mychael Zulauf, Dianna Dragonetti, Amanda McCormick, Adam Robinson.

Beautifully displayed on top of enso drawings by Madison Smartt Bell.

Curated by Carabella Sands.

Here is a link to their website:

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Wonderland out now from Swarm Magazine


I wrote a little story about what it might be like to casually cruise into a fantasy world and it is up now at SwarmMagazine.  Here is the link:

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Coming Spring 2015, from Dig That Book Co.


I love the cover design by Micael Seidlinger!

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Reading from The Ghosts That Surrounded Them

Want to hear some of my novel, The Ghosts That Surrounded Them, forthcoming in April from Dig That Book Co.? Here is a video of me at Hey You, Come Back!, a Johns Hopkins event held at The Crown in Baltimore. Here is the link:

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Geo Poe

I am part of the Geo-Poe Project. Here is my hint: It is at Lombard Street in Jonestown. Beneath the big monument that looks like a steel knot. I will be reading at the end of the month at Westminster Hall. Learn more here:

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Overheard Comic Strip Up At Mutant Funnies

A conversation I overheard on North Avenue outside Pearson’s Florist was recently adapted as a comic strip by Ryan Onorato. It is up at Mutant Funnies. Check it out. Here is the link:

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Publishing Schedule: Zeb and Bunny Build Russian Dolls by Timmy Reed


Zeb and Bunny Build Russian Dolls is coming out as a limited edition chapbook and free e-book in March 2015, from Hidden Clearing Books

Originally posted on Hidden Clearing Books, LLC:

Greetings and salutations!

Do you remember Timmy Reed? He wrote our very first issue of Postcard Prose and Poems, “The Bridge.” We’re excited to publish his short fiction “Zeb and Bunny Build Russian Dolls” for our Chappies series.

“Zeb and Bunny Build Russian Dolls” is about two insignificant divine beings in a world full of insignificant divine beings (author’s own words). It’s a tale of creation and loneliness, full of Reed’s witty humor.

Coming March 2015 as a limited-edition chapbook and as a free eBook.

Reviewers & Bloggers: Interested in participating in this title’s release day blog tour? In exchange for posting a review, interview and/or excerpt within the first three weeks of the title’s release, bloggers will receive a review copy prior to publication and have the opportunity to participate in a giveaway. Interested parties please contact us using the form below or via email at (put…

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Empty Postcard out at Atticus Review

Check me out as part of Baltimore’s own Jen Michalski’s month at Atticus Review:

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