Silhouette (A Poem)

I don’t write much poetry, and when I do, I do it sort of like I write my blog posts, off the cuff with little polishing. Years back, I took a poetry writing course in college, taught by the man who would go on to be Georgia’s Poet Laureate, David Bottoms, and one day, while suffering through some terrible piece by one of my classmates, I flipped my copy of the poem over and spontaneously wrote a poem on its back.

Later, I workshopped the poem, and Bottoms praised it highly. It was always one of my favorite poems I’d written, but at some point I lost any copies and didn’t feel I could recapture it by trying to write it anew. Recently, however, I dug out my folder of other people’s poems from that class (to share some particularly hilariously bad ones with a friend), and was thrilled to find the original, scrawled draft on the back of that other guy’s poem.

Here it is. I hope you like it.

The silhouette and
Me.

I must know.
Is it He?

I step forward
hearing my ankles creak
like old wood.
I feel the bones in my feet.
The silhouette, through watching,
glides toward me as well.

We approach each other through the mist
in this, my home,
my cold, damp, musty tomb. 
There is a jump in my heart
as I hear the clank of chain,
as I dimly see the blade
glorious at his side.

Then I see.
The silhouette, like a thousand times before,
is me.
In my own bloody mirror.
I, a master of illusion,
have deluded myself once again.

Above, beyond the frozen bars of my tomb,
my captor shrieks shrill laughter.
She knew, all along,
that it was not He.

And I, old fool,
broken stick of a wizard,
sink to my knees and cry. 

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Some Modern Pulp/Science Fiction You REALLY Need To Read

As most folks who know about my character Doc Wilde are aware, Dr. Spartacus Wilde was originally conceived as a contemporary homage to the classic pulp hero Doc Savage whose exploits I, and quite a few others, grew up on. I like to think that Doc Wilde is his own man though, with my fond memories of Doc Savage as the foundation on which I’m building something very much my own. Sort of the way that Robert B. Parker started writing his Spenser novels pretty much as an update of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, then let Spenser grow and become a distinctive character.

Doc Wilde isn’t the first Doc Savage-inspired hero, and he won’t be the last. Heck, Superman, Batman, and James Bond were all influenced by him in significant ways. Race Bannon on Jonny Quest was a Doc Savage ringer. And there have been many pastiche versions of him of varying levels of authorial ability. I’m currently rereading one I read in high school, A Feast Unknown by the great SF writer Philip Jose Farmer, which basically pits Doc Savage against Tarzan and  is as over-the-top a piece of transgressive, pornographic fiction as I’ve ever seen (and a pretty rollicking tale, if you can take the content).

There’s a new take on Doc out now that you need to know about. I’ve mentioned the Old Man stories by William Preston before, and in the time since, I’ve gotten to know Bill online and consider him a friend. The stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction and he is now offering the first two as an ebook on Amazon.

These wonderful stories are great science fiction with pulp trappings, written in a smart, literate style that far transcends the more juvenile style of the original Doc Savage tales. And they are stories which explore some pretty hefty themes, like redemption and the place of heroes in the post 9/11 world. The ebook is a scant $3, and you really owe it to yourself to read it.

Where The Hell Is Tim?

Hi.

It’s been a while since I posted anything substantial, and I intend to get back to the blogging soon. But I figured I’d let you in on the reasons, scraggly as they may be, for my lack of communication.

Part of it, of course, is I’m busy. Getting the new Doc Wilde books ready for publication is a lot of work, and there have been annoying delays. The dictum “Things always take longer and cost more” certainly applies here. But I’m still marching forward, and the books will appear.

Part of the busyness, too, is the time of year. It’s summertime, and I am a dad, and I’m a dad who actually thrives on a lot of contact with my kid. So once school was out, a lot of my attention shifted to him. Now he’s away at an out of state camp for a month and I’m about to dive into a much more intense writing schedule to make up some lost time.

And, finally, after last year’s extended public traumas, which I wrote about extensively here, I’ve found myself in more of a withdrawal mode this year in which I really don’t feel like putting much of my personal life out for public consumption. I’m sure I’ll cycle around to posting more personal stuff again, hopefully sans trauma, but for the moment I just don’t want to share the details of what’s going on in my emotional life. I’m in hermit mode, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering how much I have to do.