Storm Shoes

hermit kingdom, NOMADIC SURREALISM

When Milo opened the window more students poured in. Not long after, there were 40 of them, in a room built for 20. Don’t be a lazy bird. When the lightning struck, the computer was fried, the projector was intact, but there was nothing to project. End of lesson. No more Animal Farm. Here, said Jonathan, take your shoes off. They found a damp towel together. But it was too late, his shoes were already submerged. It would take two days to dry them.When your feet are wet it’s hard to warm your body. If the river has overflown its banks, it is best to wade barefoot. If you climb on the fence it brings the lightning closer. The lightning hit the tree and then there was fire.


The bus stop was dark and street was dark but now and again a car would shine the lights and it was less dark, but still relatively dark. Don Whiskers wondered if the bus would arrive, and if so when. It was the eternal question. His toes were wrinkling inside his wet shoes. The faces in the holes were egg shaped. At the busstop a strappling young woman, with garters and a snake. They make eye contact, briefly, then back to looking down the street for the bus. The bus stop makes everyone anxious, storm or no storm. Will it come and when and if. Suddenly the sky opened into an egg yolk.

Workers of the World

hermit kingdom, NOMADIC SURREALISM

An excerpt from my novel in progress, Hermit Kingdom, is up today at Queen Mob’s Teahouse. Hermit Kingdom is interconnecting flash fictions, prose poetry, hybrids.

International Worker’s Day 2018, Pineapple and Don Whiskers, living in Madrid, walk the walk past Cazorla, with the best tapas, and the friendly waitress, down past the death ring, to gander at beautiful feminine male peacocks in El Retiro, eat homely tastes at the only Polish restaurant in the city, where Don Whiskers attempts to talk sports with little knowledge of sports, Pineapple dreaming the great dream of weekend getaways together, the nearby desert mountains, or northern, Basque and Asturian and Galician, magical escapes into nature, but also the realities of transient work and financial realities of lower middle class living, loving and living more with less, soaking into the sun, walking the walk, traveling to wake up, even if it is only within a few mile radius, friendship and travel and sometimes, despite the realities, a little hope.





The Hacking Powders


An excerpt from my novel manuscript, The Autobiography of Don Whiskers, is over at #thesideshow. Partly based on experiences in Katowice, Poland, Cercedilla (Spain), Madrid (Spain), and Palermo (Sicily). It is part of an ongoing trilogy of nomadic surrealist novels. Part autofiction, part magical realism.

This excerpt begins in Katowice, at the Zoo, with pagan deities:

At the back of the zoo, in the magic forest, once a year in deep night, the pagan deities are resurrected, painted faces & spooky howling, primal yelps, very good, it’s a start, it’s not enough. The zoo is full of highlights, for example, the invisible hippos, complete with diving boards and lifeguards, but no hippos, the hippos are in hiding. Also the sleeping lion, you can sit on the still warm bench and imagine the lion. The bees, however, in full force, non-invisible, landing on creamy mountains of ice cream.

Read/listen to the story over at Five:2:One






Adjacent Pineapple


Super happy to have an excerpt from book 2 of The Autobiography of Don Whiskers in Adjacent Pineapple.


Book 2 begins in Spain (Madrid) and the move to Barcelona. This excerpt is all about the body. And also the great Madrid fiesta San Isidro. It is also about friendship and creating a hermit kingdom as an outsider in a foreign country. It is also “toxic masculinity, toxic femininity, toxic capitalism, toxic Marxism, toxic plastic consumer frenzies, the news, toxic, his leather shoes, toxic, there is too much meat in the world and not enough vegetables.”


It is also about port o potties and peeing troughs and trying not to step in anyone’s drippings. It is expansive maximalist content in minimalist packaging. It is death and life and everything between. It is hybrid like all the great art.

Take a wee read over here:

From Hermit Kingdom


NOMADIC SURREALISM, The Autobiography of Don Whiskers

“Destroyer and Preserver” was written in Madrid in 2016, near La Elipa metro stop. It was my first year in Madrid, and Spain in general, and it was a very windy day. The rats were scuttling behind the dumpsters and some older couples were linking arms leaning into the wind. I ducked under an awning and began scribbling. Of course the poet Shelley came to mind. He wrote “Ode to the West Wind.” Maybe you know it?

So yeah transience. Change. It is good to remember. Life. What is it. How does it blow?

The prose poem merged with my novel manuscript The Autobiography of Don Whiskers.

Then it became part of an album called Never Mind the Beasts (available over at Bandcamp). A collaboration with the U.K. musician, artist, and writer Stephen Emmerson.

Take a listen over here to the track over here:

Destroyer and Preserver







After my brother Aaron died I went on a road trip with my brothers and sisters. We traveled from Utah to the ocean of California. Along the way we stopped in Hurricane, Utah, a place in southern Utah where we used to live. I lived there mainly for my senior year in high school and then a little after, but the memories are strong. Peaches and pecans. Mowing the grass. Crawdads and irrigation ditches. And much more.
When we stopped there on our road trip to commemorate our brother Aaron, we were gifted some peaches from our former neighbor. But they melted in the back seat.
Here is a story, from my novel manuscript The Autobiography of Don Whiskers. It is based on that life changing road trip that brought a intense awareness of both mortality and vitality.
It is called THE TIGERS
For Aaron Slease (15 December 1982- 7 June 2012)



Do you want the magic back in your life? Me too. Also people. It is so noisy out there. Meaning in here. How about some peace. We are all competing for endless roads to nowhere. But sometimes somewhere. I am at least 60% natural hermit, ditto Ewa. It depends on the day. Of course we are social creatures but the world is made for extroverts. How about those of us with more introverted energies. Some folks have already written books about it. The power of introverts. It is also nice to get your hands in the dirt every once and a while and step away from the internet. This is a story, very short, of a hermit. It is from book two of my trilogy of novel manuscripts entitled The Autobiography of Don Whiskers.

Always in progress.





Just before leaving London/Tower Hamlets to live in Madrid, I met up with my good friend and fellow artist Stephen Emmerson. We walked across Waterloo Bridge and wandered into a magic hat shop called The Mad Hatter. I ended up with a rabbit hat (thanks to Stephen). It is a special hat. I composed a lot of poems from my upcoming poetry collection The Green Monk in Madrid in my rabbit hat. I also performed for the last time in London in my rabbit hat. It is a good hat. It is here now in Castelldefels, in the next room, resting in a hat box, waiting for the weather to cool down (maybe never).

Nice Cage just published an excerpt of my novel manuscript The Autobiography of Don Whiskers. This excerpt is called Rabbit Hat. It is a true story.





The only award I ever won, and didn’t even enter, was for a poem called “Mr Whiskers and the Picnic Basket.” It was published in Hayden’s Ferry Review as a winner of the AWP Intro Journals Award. I was completing my MFA at UNC Greensboro at the time. Then it was republished at storySouth in 2004. This time of my life, in Greensboro, North Carolina with the terrific writing community of the UNC Greensboro MFA program, as well as the artist collective The Lucifer Poetics Group, was full of possibilities, wonder, and a sense of coming home as a writer. I mean, that is where my real writing life began. It was also one of the larger turning points in my life journey. Almost two years later, after a lot of personal therapy and marriage counseling, I reduced my life to 15 kilos and flew to South Korea to live. A few months after moving to South Korea, I signed my divorce papers. I also left the United States forever, although I have been back a few times to visit in the last 12 years.

It is 2018. So yeah, 14 years later, that one poem, “Mr Whiskers and the Picnic Basket,” rather suddenly infiltrated my novel manuscript The Autobiography of Don Whiskers, and that manuscript has already been infiltrated many times already. So, in other words, there is a lot of mutation happening. Various forms of alchemy.

For about six years, The Autobiography of Don Whiskers used to be called Never Mind the Beasts, the name of my MFA thesis, mostly coined by a good friend and fellow poet in the Greensboro MFA program, Dan Albergotti.

Never Mind the Beasts is also, of course, the title of this blog, in various incarnations since 2003.

Now my first novel manuscript has become The Autobiography of Don Whiskers. And Mr. Whiskers, from so long ago, is the main character. Of course, it is not quite the same character as the one in the poem. Don Whiskers has become fleshy and fully expanded and full blown. Me and not me.

The Autobiography of Don Whiskers is epic travels and immigration. It begins in Northern Ireland and then travels to Milton Keynes, England. Then Las Vegas, Utah, Washington State, North Carolina, South Korea, Poland, Turkey, England, and then the novel ends in Madrid, Spain. Part two picks up in Madrid. The autofiction of Karl Ove Knausgaard, as well as the surrealism of James Tate, Lukas Tomin, and Leonora Carrington, helped open up possibilities for this trilogy of novels in progress. Part one is called The Autobiography of Don Whiskers and part two, I am already 60 pages into it, is called Hermit Kingdom. It is a hybrid novel, a mix of various genres including prose poetry and flash fiction, but it is quite seamless as well. It is partly autofiction and partly nomadic surrealism. A nice blend.





“My step father grew up in Warrington, he joined the British Army. A way out. Northern Ireland. He married my mother. In Bletchley, we went to the swimming pool. Hot chocolate, in the plastic cup, from the machine. I’ll give you a pound if you go down the slide he said. In London, in the homeless hostel, a sip from his beer. Play Your Cards Right on the telly. Twisting his moustache and flexing his biceps, playing Mormon hypnotism, on Mondays, in Milton Keynes. In America, wilderness survival. Black powder rifles and shotguns. Then, snowed in. In the sleeping bag, hypothermia. Awkward bonding. I do not know how to hammer. When I worked construction, I could not find the stud. I am not a man. I am not a woman. Yet here we are. Father and son.”

From The Autobiography of Don Whiskers. My novel in progress. This except, “On Fathers,” published at European Review of Poetry, Books, and Culture.

You can read it over here: