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Friday, August 17, 2012

Tinies no. 4


It's time for another of the Tinies, those mysterious word-doodles that I have committed while being too busy with a major reading deadline to write (but one can't not write entirely, of course.) Scroll down to see earlier Tinies or else click on the Tinies label below.


Omin says that everything is a prayer. When he lets his glistening line into the deep, past the push of mid-sea waves and into the heavy stillness, right down until the world turns black: that’s prayer. When he brings up the pick-up sticks of the drowned, it’s prayer. When he cauls them in cloth made from the silk of spiders, that too is prayer. When he holds the pearls of eyes in his hands, prayer.

The passage of blood through his veins is prayer. The drift of the soul from the body, prayer. The scales of the fish, catching the light in rainbows and adhering to a salty, weathered bench, prayer. The sniff, sniff, sniff of the broom along the floor is prayer.

The first time I glimpsed what he meant, I felt the orb of sun rolling in my veins, shooting through me as if my body were a great pinball machine—though I have never seen such a thing, and my imaginings of objects from the other world are all filtered through Old Martin. What I felt was more life, an excess hardly bearable. It took me, and I cried out because always I fear being taken.

4 July 2012


If you're a newish visitor and want to find out more about my work, please explore the tabs above, particularly ones for my 2012 books: A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage (novel and winner of The Ferrol Sams Award of Mercer University Press) and The Foliate Head (a limited edition poetry collection from Stanza Press in the U.K. with art by Clive Hicks-Jenkins and design by Andrew Wakelin.) Forthcoming in November is an post-apocalyptic epic poem in blank verse with vignettes by Clive Hicks-Jenkins and design by Elizabeth Adams: Thaliad (Montreal: Phoenicia Publishing.)


  1. Well, I really think these are keepers. That sniffy broom! And fearing being taken...

  2. Thank you, Elizabeth!

    Am hoping that they keep me from forgetting how to write during The Deluge of Books...

  3. My friend Mary Bullington just told me that she failed word verification repeatedly.

    If anybody else is having a problem, please send me a note! (Via twitter or facebook or smaragdineknot [at] gmail dot com. Last week I got rid of the verification business but immediately got a load of spam.

    Maybe I'll try dropping it again... Or maybe Mary is just a Big Nut! Get glasses!

  4. This is what I tried to say (I've learned the hard way it's best to copy my comments before I submit to the damnable riddler):

    Better'n'better these keep poems gettin, Marly.
    Makin somebody I know real well jealous: "The sniff, sniff, sniff of the broom along the floor is prayer." Is poem-envy prayer too? I think so!

  5. Thought you might have fallen into the Gulf of Spam, Mary! But I just looked: nobody in there. I'll have to think about what to do about all this. I'm not crazy about moderation of comments as a solution.

    And thanks. Glad you are jealous!

  6. PS Your blog has the meanest riddle test I've ever encountered. How come?

  7. I know not!

    They have taken to using photographed images of house numbers, etc. Bit tricky. One has to keep upping the ante with spam bots, it seems. So I expect they will get even more ingenious and strange over time.

  8. The numbers are the EASY part. They scrinch all the letters in the word so tightly together that it's sometimes impossible for me to sort them out. And unlike most of these buggerboos, they don't seem to offer you a second choice.

    By the way, there's one sentence I don't understand in your poem: "and my imaginings of objects from the other world are all filtered through Old Martin." Who is old Martin? Is his last name Luther?

    Or is he just an excellent acoustic guitar?

  9. To understand them completely, you need to start from Tinies no. 1. Old Martin has appeared in a mention already and will appear more later.

    Oh, I know. I really have to stare at the letters. Just copy first, just in case. Or hit refresh before you write your message if you know you can't read them.

    No guitars!

  10. I'm with Mary. The damned verification number below is out of focus and the word distortion is a bit dodgy too, there being occasional 'nodules' that can be mistaken for dot on an i and suchlike. I've noticed this has happened over the past week or so, and not just at yours. I understand the need for vigilance, but they should check up to see if the processes are working.

    OK, I've copied this and will now embark on typing verification. Here goes!

  11. Interestingly, because the number was completely indecipherable, I typed in the first thing that came into my head, and it worked. I think that maybe you can sneak in if you score reasonably well on the copy, rather than hit all the correct answers.

    The tines are fantastic. You are no more going to forget how to write than I'm going to forget how to easel paint this year. It's in the bone!

  12. Oh, I suppose I'l turn it off again. It is just annoying, all the dang spam!

    Must go take Progeny no. 1 to an interview...

    Do hope something is in my bones. They tell me, "not much!" XD


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.