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Burning Blood Black

a snapshot
of my heart in the house of love
bruised and bloody
cradled in your hands
(vacuum cleaner running in the gloaming
like waves against the shore
drowning a string-cut puppet)

that snippet you pasted in
the notebook in the closet of your sleep
(carnelian deep)
like a spy in the dreamhouse
flames licking the sides of my ship
sailing your seven seas

a snapshot
a snippet
a magician in the house of love
the tower
like a string-cut puppet
a stranger
in your hands

Holler Valhalla

even your power can have me
or countries, rendering open their blood in me
though rose mud could amputate
landmines or flower petals open up beyond my bomb
gunpowder any of them which in your world
you are each this descending wolf of nothing

death in the eyes is power

i color myself even as your fragility
whose wolves are in me, or with
each which will never shut
myself, though closed me or with open me
though intense could always be rose
though emerald mud could amputate
landmines or flower petals as closed as a wish beyond my bomb
gunpowder any of them which perceive spring forever
they have color, each have with intensity
carefully descending wolves of nothing

these things you traveled gladly & i will unclose
with their most intense death close by
having imagined the bloody experience

your closed petals cannot perceive your power

A Peek Inside

The finale of the first season of The Flash was last night and I loved it so much, I was Kermit flailing for hours after it ended. The episode write-up on io9 pretty much nails why it was so amazing. In the wake of the episode, fueled by my excitement over it, I made some extremely rough…well, “notes” seems too generous. Abstract brainstorming is probably a better description. In the interest and enthusiasm of sharing my work, here is a page in my notebook with my abstract brainstorming:

idea cluster


The 89th Question

it’s a dirty rotten business this
goldfish brain
into the gravel
leaving nothing but
spider webs across the windows
candle wax on the mic

& now
all i have is
clickbait drills
alarmist vocabulary
frustrated squirrels
demonic congestion
ambulatory darkness
shark bite love mess

this is not a drill
this is the real thing

The Carnival of the Strange

A recent post on io9 about the Doom Patrol, “the world’s strangest heroes,” reminded me of my profound, uncanny love for Grant Morrison’s version of the team. I was 19 or 20 when I stumbled upon Doom Patrol #28. I was mostly burned out on the superhero comics of the time and wasn’t completely up on who was doing what. But Simon Bisley’s cover was unlike any comics cover I’d seen before and I was intrigued enough to grab it off the shelf and throw some cash down for it. (Continued)

A Letter to Ray Bradbury

My friend Ellie Ann tweeted a wonderful quote from Ray Bradbury that reminded me of just how much I loved him and how much he’s influenced my writing and my life. So I’ve decided to reprint an open letter I wrote to him on my old blog, a letter he never got to see before he died a couple of years later.

Dear Ray Bradbury,

I’m writing you this letter and posting it to my blog, even though I’m pretty positive you’ll never read it, because you’re a cranky old man who hates the internet. But on this, your 90th birthday, I have something to say to you, and this is my best forum for saying things that I want people to read, so…here goes.

I love you, Ray Bradbury.

Not only have you filled my life with beautifully written stories, you have (through your words–your stories, your essays, your poems) encouraged me to live my life with my heart on my sleeve, my passions and my dreams out front for all the world to see. Like Mr. Electrico did to you, you’ve shot me full of lightning and told me to “Live forever!”

I’ve done my best to do that. I’ve walked in dreams and nightmares, played with my toys and danced through life as much as I can. I’ve sometimes lost my way, but whenever I do, I just reread your stories, your essays, your poems. I stop walking with my eyes trained on my feet and start running again, my eyes gazing up at the stars. You laugh and whisper in my ears, reminding me to love life, to love people, to love the world. And most importantly, when I need it most, you remind me that I can do what I want to do.

You’ve touched my life, inspired me and driven me, in so many ways, at some many times in my life. You’ve been with me more than any other author. You’ve been my friend and my teacher. And we’ve never even met.

I don’t know that I’ll ever get the chance to tell you this to your face, but I want you and the world to know how much you mean to me. You’re a cranky son of a bitch, but dammit, I love you! I love you so much, Ray Bradbury. Thank you for being you and sharing yourself with all of us.

Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury.

Your friend and fan,

Joshua M. Neff