Heat Wave in Rural Missouri

The sun burns sagging porches,
bleaching petunias and salvia.
The afternoon gasps its last.
From my window, nothing stirs –
I alone live, breathe.

I spy you strolling through a deluge of rain,
bearing me pansies and muguet,
your bowler and grey linen suit still crisp,
the last mirage before I fade – 

Knowing I exaggerate, and my demise
is not imminent in this air-cooled room
does not detract from my reverie.

If a tree doesn’t fall

If a writer sits in a forest

And the tree doesn’t fall,

Does anybody hear?

Too late, skip that,

Hey there, nice hat,

How you been, good day,

Wish I had more to say.

If the bird sits in the forest,

Keeps his song to himself –

Does anybody know?

No time, too rushed,

Gotta go catch my bus,

Still don’t know why

I don’t have any time.

If a forest lives

In the heart of a writer

And nobody finds it,

Does anybody care?

Aside — my writing lately


A poem of mine, “Deep Touch”, will be published soon in Tempered Runes Press’ inaugural issue of

Bluing the Blade. I’m really proud of this accomplishment, which reminds me: I haven’t been submitting short stories and poems lately.

I’m not sure why; probably because I haven’t written any lately, and I’m running out of good poems to submit. I have a lot of poems I’m not that enthused with. As for stories, I have a couple I’m in love with, but they haven’t caught traction. 

Time to think about writing short stuff again, even though one selection of serialized short stories is arguing that it should be a novel. Then again, given the space opera premise of the stories, serialized may be the best use of the material. 

Muse, where are you? I need some inspiration!

My Feelings and Creativity

 According to my horoscope, my feelings today are not going to be mild or even moderate! I’m supposed to let my feelings out through creativity. Good thing I already do that, eh?

That’s why I started writing — to let out a surplus of feelings. As a child, my feelings weren’t mild or moderate and tended to bewilder people. I wrote to keep my feelings manageable. 

Now that my bipolar medicine keeps my feelings more manageable, I write a greater range of emotions, varied plots, different poems. I still, however, write my feelings into my work, shaping the words to my feelings. 

Back to the horoscope. What will my feelings be like today? If the past two days are an indication, I will be impatient and frustrated. Great feelings for a poem.

A small triumph and some thoughts on improving

 I got two pieces accepted for publication yesterday! One was a flash fiction piece named “Literally” and the poem “Deep Touch”, which is one of my more favorite poems. (The poem above is neither; it’s just an illustration of what I write.)

I anticipate the journal didn’t get too many entries, because this is an inaugural issue of a journal and it’s not a high prestige literary journal. I’ll take it — I don’t write lofty enough for a high prestige literary journal. I also don’t use the modern convention of longer poems. My heroes are Emily Dickinson and ee cummings — they didn’t need more than about 24 lines. 

To be honest, though, I wish I could write longer poems. I wish I understood what people are doing in longer poems so I could at least see how they work. 

That’s something I wouldn’t have done when I was younger — try to improve. I now have this burning desire to improve everything I write, and I think I have improved to the level of my instruction, which is why I need more instruction.

I will always need more instruction.

I wish I could write modern poetry


I wish I was better at poetry.

If I believe the critiques I get, I quit writing before things get good. That’s not my feeling at all. I don’t want things to drag on; I don’t want to put words in just to put words in. I’m writing moments more than histories.

I cut my teeth on Emily Dickinson, who didn’t even end her poems except with a dash. But that’s not fashionable anymore; poems wander for pages now, and I don’t know how to do that.

I wonder how I can learn to write modern poetry without shelling out a lot of money for a master class or, worse, having to take a real college course. 

Poetry, ironically, is what I thought myself the best at, and it’s now what I write the least.

Interrogating a dream and finding a poem (Literary Work)

Ethereal boy,
you would kill me with a feather
fine-sharpened to a point,
intended for my heart,
and you would call it art.

Dreams as Fertile Fields of Meaning
This poem, like many of my writings, came from a dream. In the dream, an artist acquaintance from overseas comes to visit me, spending only a brief time with me in O’Hare airport. Then he wanders off. I later read an interview with him in a snippet of newspaper that says that he planned to approach me for a film, which explained the brief interlude. It also said he considered, for the same movie, throwing a feather, quill sharpened into a dart, at my back, and if it killed me, it would be art.

Dreams are symbolic, so I woke up doubting that said acquaintance had any desire to kill me, nor could he kill me with a quill pen. As that was what he described the murder weapon as.

Gestalt Dream Analysis
Because I found the dream poetically compelling, I interrogated it using Gestalt methods, which basically instruct the dreamer to tell the story from the viewpoint of all the major people and objects: 

  • Me: You know my part.
  • The artist: I play with images, I play with image. I play this scene with you, and I will not tell you why. I could stab you with this feather; fear not, it’s all illusion.
  • The feather: I am a pen; from me ideas flow. I am an arrow; Cupid does not miss. 
  • The paper: There are no secrets. I announce success
  • The airport: I am the place where people cross, where people greet and part, the resting place between journeys.
What Does It Mean?
This dream is too complex to define linearly, so maybe I can put in place themes that don’t necessarily contradict each other:
  • The journey: my journey of being a writer
  • The artist: my inspiration/an established artist/personification of mischief/Cupid
  • Cupid: ludus (crush energy) as vehicle for inspiration
  • Brief interlude: a surprise
  • The newspaper: He’s arrived; I have not. Also, an implication that I have importance, but as a abstract concept
  • Feather pen as weapon: Cupid’s arrow, creativity, ludicrousness (see ludus); vague sexual reference but lazily so
In conclusion:
That was fun! If I had to guess, I’d say this poem is about the nature of inspiration and our muses. Ludus, sex, death are all tools of the writer, and of the artist. 

Have you ever used a dream as inspiration for one of your works? Let me know in the comments or at lleachie@gmail.com

Back to Work

My writing time yesterday was taken up by 1) signing the contract to have my poem “Limerance” published in the Winter 2019 issue of Wingless Dreamer; and 2) replacing 56 passwords that Google said had been compromised. This took pretty much all my writing time.

Back to “no excuses but I don’t know what to write” mode. I saw a flash fiction item on Submittable with the theme “Your character feels submerged but valued”. Just about anything in the Archetype universe fits that category. Problem is that I think it’s due today. Or yesterday. Let’s see.

I’m once again not writing another novel by suggestion of an awesome editor I met at Gateway Con (an artist’s conference). The plan is short stories, flash fiction, and poetry until one of the books gets picked up. 

So wish me luck.

My Muse

My muse holds a magician’s top hat in the spotlight,
busks on a street corner playing with fire,
pens sonnets in the corner of the coffeehouse.
He disappears in crowds as I arrive,
and I pursue him to no avail
through the trail of illusion, through lingering tones,
through words scattered in my path,
through his vital force imbued in the air like ozone.

Poem and Origin

You break me in this place
Of aborted dreams, this ice
Wrapped around age seventeen,
My missing innocence,
The fear, the blinding fear
That I should love you with this sullied heart.

You remind me of what I haven’t known —
Beam of light in the dark,
Holding pure secrets,
Embracing my dichotomy
And fear, this blinding fear

That I should love you with my sullied heart.

When you realize that crushes, the crushes that started at an entirely too-young age, that persisted through your marriage to a very patient husband, are all ways of trying to break through the dichotomy that permeated your childhood:

I am innocent/I have been used sexually.

Now, as an adult in my fifties, that pattern of seeking someone’s attention as a mystical cure for a secret affliction continues. I learn more and more every time, and I hope to reach an escape velocity from it soon.

The world assumes that those who have been sexually abused as children have somehow invited it upon themselves, that they have somehow lacked the innocence that would have stopped an abuser otherwise. The child accepts this judgment and judges themselves as someone worthy of hurt, and if the child is female, the purity culture surrounding them proclaims them soiled.

I blocked my memories throughout my childhood, only remembering them in adulthood. So I felt sullied but didn’t know  why, and when I hit adolescence, I needed that proof that I was still loveable. And all those other things I felt I was lacking — beauty, personality — got rolled up with the damage from my abuse.