Indefinite Length, Part 5

17. Apr. 2018

© KIM BREEDING-MERCER / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Indefinite Length, Part 5"
KIM BREEDING-MERCER -"Indefinite Length, Part 5"

The brain can be tricked, and will often even trick itself, into hearing and seeing things that are not, objectively, there. You are a poor judge of the truth even on a good day, but the man who sits across from you at Your Friendly Neighborhood Bar & Grille(TM) looks real enough, even if Your Friendly Neighborhood Bar & Grille(TM) has somehow receded into the ether of before-and-after. You're not so sure of your own presence, though. You feel your lips move.

"I know you. Who are you?"

"Johnny Facenda."

"Yeah, got that part." Charlee looks at the man's face, and feels something tugging in the guts, or at the heart, or both. They stare at each other for a moment. Charlee's mind races, trying to connect dots that keep blinking in and out of existence. "What are you doing here?"

"Talking to one Charlee Hagwood, proprietor of a fine eatery and, let's admit it now, a sad sack with no light left inside."

Charlee's chest tightens. "How do you know me?"

"We've met later. You mix a great margarita. Now, though, at this particular point along the linear you, it's time to make you an offer." His hands, which are clasped in front of him on the table, part to reveal a small sphere. It is glowing a painful shade of chartreuse, the bright color of spring pollen. "You take this node," he says, and drops it into Charlee's palm.

You don't remember extending your hand. The—node?—feels weightless and fragile, like impossibly thin glass. It shifts against your skin, warm, and as you watch, it sinks into your hand until only a faint yellow sigil remains. It's a tall triangle, with smaller copies of itself arranged inside it, shrinking down in a spiral pattern until the tiniest triangle disappears. But you can see it. You can see the smaller ones, and smaller still. You blink to refocus. Your new tattoo tickles. You scratch it, and the node rises up again. "What do I do with this?"

"For now, put it away," he says, and the node wiggles and snuggles back down, leaving the sigil. "You can use it when you meet the right person."

Charlee's eyebrows rise. "I'm not interested in a relationship, man."

Johnny Facenda laughs, and it sounds a bit like a flute. "No one wants a relationship with you, either! Maybe after you get rid of your sludge." He points to the sigil. "When you find the person to give your darkness to, wake the node. It will handle the transfer. You'll be light as a feather again."

© KIM BREEDING-MERCER / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Indefinite Length, Part 5"
Indefinite Length, Part 5

Welcome to Indefinite Length, Part 5. Charlee is handed something magical to remove the darkness. Working in a bar is one thing. Owning a bar is another. So much darkness. Kim Breeding-Mercer finds the light in words. The script that is so much ignored by the ordinary and worshiped by the extraordinary. Indefinite Length is part of the Long Range Reconnaissance Role Playing Game: LRRRPG.com

© KIM BREEDING-MERCER / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Indefinite Length, Part 5"

#OgFOMK #KimBreedingMercer #IndefiniteLength #IDP #Fiction #streamofconsciousness



My Father Ellis

7. April 2018

Essay by Alex Nuttall, title: My Father Ellis, Original Date: 20180402 – © Alex Nuttall / OgFOMK ArTS 2018 – 2018 – Published .
My Father Ellis -- Alex Nuttall and Father

My grandfather’s name was George Ellis Nuttall.  He was a concrete contractor and builder. He was a fisherman, crabber and seafood vendor. He was a hunter. He was a crane operator. He was a World War II veteran. He was also a redleg.

George Ellis Nuttall and Alexander Nuttall -- Photo By Donald Nuttall 1984
George Ellis Nuttall and Alexander Nuttall -- Photo By Donald Nuttall 1984

Sometime during World War II my grandfather went to Fort Sill, Oklahoma to become an artillery man. There is where he became a redleg. A redleg is a fellow who served in artillery. This was more than 50 years before I found myself there in Lawton, Oklahoma at Fort Sill in 1995.

My father’s middle name is Ellis too.  My father is a builder. He’s a fisherman. He was a soldier in Vietnam. He served in the Signal Corps as a mess sergeant. He cooked for thousands of soldiers. He went to Fort Benning, Georgia.

Donald Nuttall and Alexander Nuttall, 1977, Florida
Donald Nuttall and Alexander Nuttall, 1977, Florida

In 1995 I decided to join the U.S. Army National Guard. I was 25 years old. I ended up going for my Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) around September 1995. I had selected to become a Fire Support Specialist because I was already studying computers and networking. A Fire Support Specialist is also known as a FISTer. A FISTer is a member of the Fire Support Team (FiST). The FIST element is part of DIVARTY (Division of Artillery). So in 1995 I became a redleg too.

In January 1996 I was still at Fort Sill. I graduated Basic Training and I was heading over to my AIT. I was excited. I had survived 9 weeks of Basic Training (Really 11 weeks because the government was shutdown a week but that’s another story). I was officially a trained soldier. I went from running 2 miles in 16 minutes to running 2 miles in 10:58 minutes. I was 175 pounds of light, muscular goodness.

Basic was definitely a challenge but I was able to take it. I was about 6 years older than most recruits. I was 25. So I was old. I survived Basic so I was ready now to pursue my MOS (Military Occupation).

My fellow recruits and I made it to Charlie Battery. It was different than Basic. Instead of being like prison where they handed you a weapon sometimes, AIT was like work release where you had to go to classes, catch buses to and fro and sometimes they handed you weapons, laser range finders, radios, computers and the authority to call in some nasty artillery. We would learn to rain Hell.

Besides the school, tech stuff and advanced field training we would run. Every other day we would run 2 miles, 3 miles, 5 miles, 12 miles. We ran because a FISTer is supposed to be able to carry a lot of stuff. He had to carry beans, bullets, an M16 A2, A radio, a laser range finder, binoculars, a field artillery (Light Tac Fire) computer and toilet paper. A FISTer also had to do what the infantry did while attached to the Infantry. So we ran a lot.

In the down times I had the greatest thing in the world. I had a cheap personal radio/cassette player. Many times I just put on my headphones and listened to Public Radio. If I listened to my two tapes1 the batteries would die quickly.  I chose public radio so that I could enjoy classical or jazz and no stupid commercials.

One night while feeling proud, a little nostalgic and mostly at peace with myself, I put on my headphones and dialed in the Lawton Public Radio Station (http://kccu.org/). It was about 2100. Lights were out. I was listening to a jazz piece.

As I listened I thought about who I was. I was a warrior. My father was a soldier. My grandfather was a soldier. I imagined all the times I spent with my grandfather and my dad. I was feeling a bright shining connection to life.  You see I had no idea that my grandfather went to Fort Sill when I joined. It was only when my grandmother told me as I was saying goodbye to her before I left for training that I found out. I thought about that too.

As the jazz piece ended I heard the disk jockey’s reassuring voice about what I had just heard. He said, “That was Wynton Marsalis, “My Father Ellis.” I thought about my Father, my Grandfather and all of my family. I thought about this composer and his father.

I shut of my radio and went to sleep. The Universe seemed very right. I felt love and loved.

By feinsteinphotos (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Wynton Marsalis, “My Father Ellis.”


    1. Ellis Marsalis Jr. – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EllisMarsalisJr.jpg
    2. Wynton Marsalis – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wynton_Marsalis
    3. Fort Sill – http://sill-www.army.mil/ 
    4. Fort Sill – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Sill
    5. 111th Field Artillery – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/111th_Field_Artillery_Regiment
    6. Virginia Army National Guard – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Army_National_Guard
    7. 29th Infantry Division – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/29th_Infantry_Division_(United_States)
    8. FIST – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forward_observers_in_the_U.S._military
    9. FIST 13F – https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/browse-career-and-job-categories/combat/fire-support-specialist.html 
    10. KCCU Public Radio – http://kccu.org/ 


1. [Salem 66, “Frequency and Urgency” and Meat Puppets, “Up on the Sun”]

1996 Alex Nuttall was thinking about his father, his grandfather and his relationship to them. He thought also about where he was, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. While listening to a Public Radio Broadcast he was given a sign that he was surely in the right place of his life.

Essay by Alex Nuttall, title: My Father Ellis, Original Date: 20180402 – © Alex Nuttall / OgFOMK ArTS 2018 – 2018 – Published .

#OgFOMK #Journal #Prose #AlexNuttall #MyFatherEllis #Father #Grandfather #FortSill #FISTER #13F #Army #Artillery



A Tree Was Planted

6 Apr 2018

© Cristy Johnson Bowen / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - Poetry -- "A Tree Was Planted"
A Tree Was Planted -- Cristy Johnson Bowen 

A tree was planted
Promising strength and longevity
The clouds rolled in
Threatening uncertainty and turmoil
The rain fell
Intending to dampen dreams
Lightning lit the sky
Set on piercing tranquility
Thunder roared
Calling on fear and anxiety

A tree was planted
The clouds warned her
The rains fed her
The thunder and lightning stood no chance
She was already grounded
Alive in the storm

A Tree Was Planted -- Photo: Alex Nuttall, Stratford Hall, VA
A Tree Was Planted

Cristy Johnson Bowen writes from the heart with words that befuddle gentlemen and ladies. She can conjure the divine from the rags of life to the riches of civilisation. Here she illustrates a tree that has no fear of the storm because the chaos of the storm is what develops and shapes her!

Photo: Alex Nuttall, Stratford Hall, VA

© Cristy Johnson Bowen / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - Poetry -- "A Tree Was Planted"

#OgFOMK #CristyJohnsonBowen #Poetry #Tree



Indefinite Length, Part 4

5. Apr. 2018

KIM BREEDING-MERCER / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Indefinite Length, Part 4"
KIM BREEDING-MERCER / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Indefinite Length, Part 4"

The man who sits alone at the second booth on the left just inside the main entrance to Your Friendly Neighborhood Bar & Grille(TM) has sandy-blonde hair, a thick set of matching blonde eyebrows, and an old, beat up pair of transition-lens glasses that still show a bit of gray, unable to fully clear up anymore. He had ordered a coffee, a water, and a slice of key lime pie two and a half hours ago, paid his tab, and refused any offers of refills. The waitresses thought the poor guy had been stood up at first, but as the time ticked by and other patrons emptied out, they began to worry for themselves instead. A trio of them goes to Charlee with their concerns.

"Boss, do you see that man over there at table 2?" asks the short brunette.


"He's been here ALL NIGHT," moans the tall, thin one.


"No, he just had coffee," the short one replies.

"He pay?"

"Yeah, but that was like, a hundred years ago," says the one with the dark, round face. "He's just sitting there."

Charlee takes a longer look at the man. "He mess with anybody?"

The girls look at each other and shrug. "No?" says the short one, her voice rising. "But I mean, it's weird."

Charlee nods. "Ok, I'll keep my eye on him. It's fairly dead in here so if you want to clock out now and leave together, go ahead." The girls agree and walk off, chatting in hushed tones.

Closing time approaches, and as the last barflys settle their tab and the kitchen staff begins to clean up, Charlee walks over to table 2.

"Everything ok for you tonight, sir?"

The man grins. "Doin' good. You free now?"

"Excuse me?"

"Closing up soon, right? Got a minute to chat now that you're not busy?"

Charlee blinks. "Do I know you?"

"Oh sure," the man replies, extending his hand for Charlee to shake. "Johnny, Johnny Facenda."

Charlee's hand raises of its own accord. They shake hands, and Charlee sits opposite him in the booth. The world shrinks around them, the single pendant light hanging above the table is the only lumination in the galaxy now, and a low hum drowns out all other sound, and thought, and reason.

You know this man.

Indefinite Length, Part 4 -- Kim Breeding-Mercer
Indefinite Length, Part 4 -- Kim Breeding-Mercer

Kim Breeding-Mercer has lit up the sky now with the 4th part of her series: "Indefinite Length." Charlee meets with the mysterious man and we still don't know too much about Charlee but we know Charlee is all business. Now a mysterious man has entered the bar. You know the bar, The local bar.

© KIM BREEDING-MERCER / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Indefinite Length, Part 4"

#OgFOMK #KimBreedingMercer #IndefiniteLength #IDP #Fiction #streamofconsciousness



FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

4. April. 2018

Hard Times Skate Shop, Toney Herndon Interviewed by WVEC 13
Hard Times Skate Shop, Toney Herndon Interviewed by WVEC 13

Help, HELP, Help!!!  Emergency, EMERGENCY! Your assistance is required IMMEDIATELY.  URGENT.  OK, not really, but I’d really appreciate your help.  It’s been a while, so I’ll reintroduce myself.

Hard Times Skate Shop, Toney Herndon Interviewed by WVEC 13
Hard Times Skate Shop, Toney Herndon Interviewed by WVEC 13

I’m Toney Herndon, owner of Hard Times Skate Shop, located in Portsmouth, VA, Google us.

Recently we entered FedEx Small Business Grant Contest, and we could use your help with some votes.  In case you’re not familiar with Hard Times Skate Shop, here’s a quick run-down.  We’re like a quick escape from the up, and downs of everyday life.

Hard Times Skate Shop, Toney Herndon Interviewed by WVEC 13
Hard Times Skate Shop, Toney Herndon Interviewed by WVEC 13 

We offer the latest skateboard necessities, apparel, and footwear from some of the most respected brands in skateboarding.  With simple objects, like a plank of wood, a set of metal trucks, and four plastic wheels, we’re able to teleport you from the stresses of everyday life.  It doesn’t matter if you’re old, young, or just looking for a new challenge.  We’re here to help you along the way.

Hard Times is retail therapy for thrill seekers, in search of something more than just your typical shopping experience.  We are actively involved in our community and our atmosphere is easy going.  Our number one priority is to make sure all experiences are positive and happy.  HURRY UP, go vote now at:

Last day to submit votes is April 4, 2018 at midnight..  

Thanks, for the love,


Toney Herndon was featured in a local business article about another business: http://www.13newsnow.com/mobile/article/news/local/small-business-gets-big-boost-in-portsmouth/291-535301644

(We had the video here but the ad automatically started the commercial so it was removed. --Ed.)

Toney Herndon is working very hard to keep the Afton Square Shopping Area and Portsmouth in a positive lifestyle with edge. His skateshop offers all the services you'd expect but his business also hosts artists, events and networking. Hit the link above and vote for his business to get this grant. Toney will invest it in the area and Portsmouth will benefit!

© Toney Herndon / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - THE WHATEVER SERIES - NUMBER OF SERIES - "Hard Tmes Skate Shop/ FedEx Small Business Grant Contest"

#OgFOMK #ToneyHerndon #HardTimes #SkateShop #Business #Grant


Making the Publishing Leap

04 April 2018

My first book was “Cordwood”, brought out by 22 Press in 1985. Shortly after publishing my book, 22 Press folded, the publisher ran off with his secretary, and I started getting calls from the publisher’s wife, other 22 Press authors, and 22 Press creditors, all wanting to know if I had any idea of where he could have run off to. “Cordwood” was instantly out of print. An exciting first book debut.

My second book – more of a chapbook, actually – was “Sciences, Social”, 1995, from Palanquin Books, then an imprint of the University of South Carolina at Aiken Press. I suspect the University press is still there, but Palanquin Books most likely has evaporated. Nonetheless, there is at least one copy of “Sciences Social” on sale at Amazon, at twice its original asking price.

I took a while off. I had published perhaps 700 poems and stories in places like “The Iowa Review”, “The Alaska Quarterly Review”, “The Altadena Review” and many, many other venues. It was time to reflect.

When I came back in 2009, the world had changed. Now there was the Internet. MFA programs had exploded – even the local University had one. There were still print publications, but webzines had taken the place of the mimeograph collections, and some of the off-set print efforts, I had been part of before. Whether or not it was read, you could now publish your work in a venue that, theoretically, was available to a billion readers – instantly. E-books were beginning to come into vogue.

As an aside, my two latest published fiction pieces have in the last few days come out in “Tuck Magazine” and “Spank the Carp”:

Be one of the billion.

After re-inserting myself into the fast-moving literary world, I began to think about doing another book. I wanted to bring out my first collection of mini-fictions, “Constant Animals”. I started looking at the small presses, but I noticed more of them in this modern world were charging reading or contest fees, and that many of the published authors were coming out of the MFA production line. I sent out some trial balloons that slapped my checking account and which fell with a thunderous disapproval at my feet. I felt I had a publishing resume that would indicate a favorable outcome for a book launch, but I was not finding like-minded publishers.

I thought about it and said maybe I should be doing my own e-book. This is when I found the generational divide. My older writer friends, from the pre-1995 days, said, “Eck, vanity publishing”; my younger writer friends, post-2009, said, “Sure, why not?”

I felt I was on solid ground. Of the 42 stories in “Constant Animals”, 39 had been previously published, and one had been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Unlike a novelist publishing his own work, my stories and poems got to roam about the literary world as individuals, providing me feedback about their efficacy.

The high days of vanity publishing entailed sending your manuscript and check off to a “publisher” who would print X copies of your book, ship them back to you, and you could hand them out to your friends. Self-publishing an e-book, or a print-on-demand (POD) book, seemed more a personal investment in self than a display of ego. Maybe that is the rationale of a revisionist.

So, initially, I did “Constant Animals” as an e-book. After six months or so, I realized that a lot of people wanted physical books, so I went through Amazon and produced a CreateSpace book.

It was surprising to me when I found that many authors were doing this. And that many presses were fronts for collections of writers who were using the press to bring out their own books.

So, I came up with Barking Moose Press: www.barkingmoosepress.com. I manage my current four books through the LLC:

  • “Constant Animals”, mini-fictions
  • “The Book of Robot”, speculative poetry
  • “Victims of a Failed Civics”, speculative poetry
  • “Avenging Cartography”, mini-fictions

Since the books are carried by the distributors Ingram, and Baker and Taylor, they can be bought on just about any bookselling website, can be ordered at most bookstores, and are carried in my local area by two independent bookstores.

I control the type, I control the proofreading, I control the covers. The dream of a megalomaniac.

If you want the specifics surrounding the actual mechanics, I can provide that in another column at a later time.

“Avenging Cartography”, mini-fictions
“Avenging Cartography”, mini-fictions

“Constant Animals”, mini-fictions
“Constant Animals”, mini-fictions

 “The Book of Robot”, speculative poetry
 “The Book of Robot”, speculative poetry

“Victims of a Failed Civics”, speculative poetry
“Victims of a Failed Civics”, speculative poetry

Ken Poyner has been writing for many effing years. Here he lays on the ways and means of his literary success. Like a bull he pushes through with his works and he is unlike that bull able to share with us what his experience is like. He does readings, workshops and enjoys sharing his work. As far as the business goes he is learning like the rest of us. He toils. He farms. He produces. We thank him for his service!

© Ken Poyner / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved.

#OgFOMK #KenPoyner #Publishing #Selfpublishing #NonFiction #Books



Two Poems, Tax and Publishing

31 March 2018

Two of my poems, “How Assumption Defeated the Unisex Invaders” and “New Planet Landscape 7” are now out in “Star*Line” 41.1, and my Rhysling nominated poem “Maintenance Call” is out in the “2018 Rhysling Anthology”, the collection of poems nominated as the best SF offerings of 2017. Both are available from The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association at www.sfpoetry.com. Both paperback and PDF are offered.

On a funny side note, my tax preparer finished our taxes and noted that a loss from Barking Moose Press (yes, I did have sales, but I also had business expenses, web expenses, and the cost of producing “Avenging Cartography”) helped to reduce my tax bite. The way she put it: “smart, to be able to deduct the cost of your hobby”. Oh, yes. And I made money on my poetry/fiction individual items side, so, with the loss with Barking Moose Press, that income got wiped out for tax purposes, and I came out ahead in ways. Well, I had decided sales were not good enough for me to press ahead with another collection of fiction, tentatively “The Revenge of the House Hurlers”, but, heck, I might do it as a write-off.

What has really most impressed me with publishing and pushing my own books is that everyone wants you to pay them to do their work. A number of independent bookstores have offered to stock my books if I pay a monthly stocking fee. They have a published policy for how they ‘promote’ independent authors – one lists $30.00 to keep two copies of one book on the shelf for one month, and they keep their 40% of cover price if any actually sell. Organizations have offered to push my books for several hundred dollars up front. It is all very cookie-cutter. I was naïve. So many venues that loudly claim to be for the independent author or market seem to come at you with their hand out looking for greasing up front. Quality or reputation do not matter, just credit card number.

So, when you read about an institution or venue that supports the independent author or artist, check closely to see whether their definition of independent means willing to pay to play.

And “Constant Animals”, my first self-publishing effort, has broken beyond even, earning back production and advertising costs. The other three keep me from moving entirely into profitability, but that could be achieved in 2018 if I do not do “The Revenge of the House Hurlers” -- but it looks like I might do it and take the deduction. Still deciding.

By the way, I was paid for all three poems above – not much, but there were no reading fees, and funds based on number of lines in each were sent through PayPal to my account. I’d have to look it up, but I think all three netted me about $28.00 combined. Luckily, I have government retirement, social security, and IRA to pay the rent.

Photo by Linus Sandvide.
Photo by Linus Sandvide.
Photo by Linus Sandvide.

Ken Poyner sends out a great email newsletter about his progress and life in general as a published, self published and manager of publishing, poet and author. We've had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife in person and we enjoyed every minute. His writing is just as natural too. Please share this and let's encourage Ken to share some more too!

© Ken Poyner / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved."Two Poems, Tax and Publishing"

#OgFOMK #KenPoyner #Publishing #RecentOfferings #Poetry #Taxes



Hog Barns = Hog Wash!

30. Mar. 2018


Dutch firm prepares to open hog facility (29 Mar 18)

Given that the definition of accommodate is not only to provide "a place to stay and sleep" but also "what is needed or wanted", it is quite the stretch to use it to describe the conditions the 2,600 boars  imprisoned in the Topigs Norsvin hog facility will endure.  No doubt they will be subjected to the same extreme confinement experienced by their female counter parts.  How else would you keep that many intact males under one roof from fighting?  Just by doing simple math alone, if every inch of the 52,000 square foot factory farm was dedicated to housing, that would mean each boar is allotted all of 20 square feet to live out his life.  This is not much larger than a sow stall.

Why are we investing in a method of production that is not only cruel, but is inefficient, responsible for environmental degradation and species extinction and has huge impacts on human health?  The short answer is that a few will benefit to the detriment of many.  The future of food for a burgeoning human population that seems incapable of controlling its numbers lies not in animal agriculture, but in plant-based protein and clean, lab-grown meat.  

The Topigs Norsvin facility comprises 52,000 square feet and is scheduled to open by July. 

The Winnipeg Free Press (AKA #Freep) writes about a new hog facility that will breed boars and genetically engineer  them for the consumption of meat eaters around the world. Debbie Wall calls Hogwash on this as this factory farming only hurts humanity in the long run. In the short run its just to get a few perks for a few jerks. 

© Debbie Wall / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - Square Peg  - "Hog Barns = Hog Wash! "

#OgFOMK #DebbieWall #HogFarming #Meat #Vegan #Winnipeg #Manitoba



Indefinite Length, Part 3

27. Mar. 2018

Kim Breeding-Mercer - Indefinite Length, Part 3
Kim Breeding-Mercer - Indefinite Length, Part 3

Indefinite Length, Part 3

Charlee left the apartment at dawn, like always. A light fog sat above the ground, turning the neighborhood into the graveyard set for a horror film. Charlee was the only zombie shambling about at that hour, smoking a cigarette and coughing. Blow smoke into the fog. How many particles in that mist are someone else's secondhand smoke? Sneezes? Car exhaust? Inhale, the molecules from the last billion years, stardust and orange rinds and afterbirth now mix with your blood. You are one with everything and apart from yourself, trying to see several yards ahead so you don't step in dog shit. Inhale that, too.

Charlee unlocks the door of Your Friendly Neighborhood Bar & Grille(TM) and goes about the process of readying it for the day's business. First to arrive, last to leave, with a few fifteen-minute breaks sprinkled in between the rushes, the life of a restaurateur is marked by sleep deprivation and usually a few vices, but other than the occasional smoke, Charlee kept clean. Kept hidden. The long hours keep the body and mind busy, and less sleep means fewer dreams.

The most popular meal ordered today is the boneless chicken wing platter with jalapeño slaw and steak fries. Charlee is always struck with a mix of bemusement and despair by the child-like appetites of grown folk. Charlee does not eat steak fries. Charlee prefers meat with the bones intact. The smell of the fryer and fresh peppers and the shouts of the line cooks and the clinking of glasses and the laughter of the teenage wait staff and the screaming babies customers drag in and the sports blaring from the TVs over the bar overwhelm the senses and Charlee's mind is blank. This is the perfect state, this is autopilot, this is instinct-only action and reaction.

This state is upset by the arrival of a man at nine o'clock, table for one, please, who is prepared to wait around until closing time to talk to Charlee.

  Indefinite Length, Part 3 -- Kim Breeding-Mercer
Indefinite Length, Part 3 -- Kim Breeding-Mercer

This is Part 3 of Indefinite Length (#IDP). Indefinite Length is the Indefinite Length series!

Kim Breeding-Mercer is building a mystery, or a thriller or an existential fete for those brave enough to follow. Truth be told she has been doing some research and her findings may become a little uncomfortable.  Who is Charlee? Male, female, transgender or lukewarm four horseman!

© KIM BREEDING-MERCER / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Indefinite Length, Part 3"

#OgFOMK #KimBreedingMercer #IndefiniteLength #IDP #Fiction #streamofconsciousness



Indefinite Length, Part 2

9. Mar. 2018

Kim Breeding-Mercer - Indefinite Length, Part 1
Kim Breeding-Mercer - Indefinite Length, Part 2

Indefinite Length, Part 2

Fever dreams are part of the healing process. You know this even as you complain aloud in the darkness about having to wipe sweat off your chest, and getting back into bed to lay in a coolish puddle. Elevated body temperature is proof that your cellular soldiers are on patrol. War zone wet sheets and now you're awake, remembering the dream, mind casting about for proof of which parts actually happened.

Metaphorically, of course. You're convinced you learned something.

It always starts at your parents' house, you're always back home, they are working in the garden together and the sun is shining. Maybe the dog is there, maybe another dog you don't recognize. Maybe the backyard is full of relatives. Your bike is in the garage. No one has died, divorced, moved away, except you. Your boss from two jobs ago is in the kitchen, and your ex from three relationships ago is suddenly there and grabs your hand to escape from some nameless threat. (That threat would be your cold virus, but you don't have a cold now, not here.) You run and the house becomes a great wooden sailing ship at sea, you're on the deck, and the wind is steady. Crowds of people mill about dressed like summer tourists and your ex is now from only one relationship ago. You have a sense that something is expected of you, but your only impulse is to keep moving.

Night has fallen and you are walking through a parking lot, in a city you don't recognize. A distant fast food sign shines high above the scene, like a plastic moon, and a group of older kids (some multi-ethnic gang from an 80's dystopian future movie; man, their clothes are crazy) are trying to play basketball across the tops of empty cars. You understand that they would kill you for invading their territory but the buildings around the lot are close and tall and you can't see a way out. You have a children's book with you, and decide to sit and read it, but the pages scribble themselves until everything is a tangle of black and purple lines, red crayon, and typewriter mistakes. The kids have seen you now, and pull knives on you, so you read the book to them.

On the other side of the parking lot, your (dead) father watches, and he is young and un-handicapped. That is when you know you are dreaming. That is when the fever breaks.

Kim Breeding-Mercer - Indefinite Length, Part 2
Kim Breeding-Mercer - Indefinite Length, Part 2

This is the New Stuff - "Indefinite Length, Part 2" is part of the Indefinite Length series! Kim Breeding-Mercer is letting go of the cubical and the shovel. Instead she has laid out the plans for a design build. She regularly engages in the clarity of business with the language we all use. The difference is that she is accountable. Her words are fluid like the river. Her words are strong. Kim's dancing the way she likes. No matter what you think. You can thank her later.

© KIM BREEDING-MERCER / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Indefinite Length, Part 2"

#OgFOMK #KimBreedingMercer #IndefiniteLength #IDP1 #IDP2 #Fiction



Predatory Garage

07. Mar. 2018

The first obstacle to attending the Norfolk Public Library Local Authors Fair was parking in the Main Street Garage.  We pulled in that Saturday morning around 9:30. The garage has a system which works by a driver pressing a green button, a device then ejects a time and date stamped ticket, the restraining arm goes up, and the driver can go in.

What I did not know is that there is a time limit to this.  If you press the button, and the ticket spits out, you must take the ticket within a limited number of seconds, or the restraining gate will not rise.

I was not fast enough.  But I did not know you could simply repeat the ritual, retain the second ticket, and – if you were quick enough – be rewarded with the rise of the restraining arm.

I saw an attendant and flagged her, whereupon she motioned and went the other way.  I sat waiting for about two minutes, then engaged the horn on my stunningly loud Ford Focus.  Quickly, the attendant appeared, repressed the button, took the ticket and handed it to me, the restraint rose, and I was able to enter the garage.

The Main Street Garage was not through with me, however.

Later that evening, upon exit, I could not reach the exit slot into which I had to enter my ticket to leave.  It seems most of the various slots on the exit machinery are designed to be operated from monster trucks.  The obvious solution is to stop well back of the machine, walk up, conclude business, watch the arm rise, get back in the nearby car and drive through. 

The exit designers had anticipated this.  The machinery will not work unless the car is pulled up parallel to the device, as monitored by a sensor in the pavement alongside the exit automaton.

So, my wife exited the car, I pulled up, she squeezed between the car and the leering machinery, placed the ticket – which had been validated by Norfolk Public Library – into the slot, the gate lifted, I drove through, the wife joined me on the other side.

Sunday morning, it took me two tries, but I foiled the entrance monitor and got in with relative ease.  The garage, as I would learn later, apparently took notice.

When we attempted to leave, we executed our Saturday method, but when the wife inserted the ticket – which again, had been validated by Norfolk Public Library – the screen showed “Ticket not valid for exit – press help”.  I had a downed gate in front of me, and two other people wanting to exit (did I note that only one exit lane was open?) behind me.  I was trapped.

We hit the help button, which phoned someone, who spoke to us through a speaker, and decided there was something wrong with our ticket.  She advised we talk to the Norfolk Public Library.  Not great advice since I was blocking the only exit from the garage, and traffic was already backing up behind me.  We read her the numbers on the ticket, the time, the date, and offered to pay if she could tell us how much we owed and allow us to ransom our way out of the garage.  She phoned someone else.  That person had us try the ticket again.  Neither of the help people had ever heard of exactly the directions I was getting from the self-satisfied device’s screen.

We conversed for perhaps three minutes, until she asked me what lane I was in, and magically the restraining gate rose, I drove through, retrieved my wife, and we hurtled off into freedom.

We will stay clear of the Main Street Garage.  If we present at the Local Authors Fair next year, we will park at MacArthur Mall, pay the parking ourselves, feel safer.  Being eaten by a parking garage once is quite enough.  We feel lucky not to be sitting there now, ensnarled in the enmity of automation, machinery and concrete.

Ken Poyner - Predatory Garage
Ken Poyner - Predatory Garage

Ken Poyner's - Predatory Garage is about the future, which is now. The future is one where we all need s little coaching into whatever contraption big brother has thought of. Big brother is compassionate and wants to get paid too, just like the rest of us. But big brother hired his little brother who is on crack to engineer the fast paced, stuck on stupid, eschellon of goodness. Ken is letting us know that his journey is perhaps an excuse for automation or a retraction for luddites. What do you think?

See More of Ken Poyner's work at: http://www.barkingmoosepress.com/

© Ken Poyner / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Predatory Garage"

#OgFOMK #KenPoyner #LocalAuthorsFair #Parking #Norfolk #Tidewater #HamptonRoads



New York Life... Downtown... Getting picky!

3 Mar. 2018
By Mykel Board - Bio

New York Life... Downtown... Getting picky!
New York Life... Downtown... Getting picky!

Question 1: How do they know who is and who isn't?

Question 2: This is a landmark building... once the tallest in North America. Do they have a right to deny entrance only to tourists?

Question 3: How about if the tourist is accompanied by a native?

Mykel Board shows that a sign in New York is getting kind of picky.  Sort of like the sign here in Portsmouth that says: "Swimming Point" and then another sign under it: "No Swimming."

If you've enjoyed his writing here. Look below and check out his books.

© Mykel Board / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - Mykel's Photos - "New York Life... Downtown... Getting picky!"

Hashtags: #OgFOMK #MykelBoard #NewYorkLife #Tourists



Indefinite Length, Part 1

26. Feb. 2018

Kim Breeding-Mercer - Indefinite Length, Part 1
Kim Breeding-Mercer - Indefinite Length, Part 1

Indefinite Length, Part 1

The beginning, as usual, was preceded by the end of something else. Sunset, moon rise. Your Friendly Neighborhood Bar & Grille™ went dark, and the last person to leave locked the door and didn't light a cigarette, but thought about it. Charlee wore an overcoat, not anticipating rain or cold but enjoying the concealing bulk of it, the extra pockets, the pretentiousness. The fact that it didn't have a logo on the breast. Charlee took pains to make no eye contact with the few other people on the sidewalk, focusing inward and seeing the environment from far away. Don't step on that trash. Don't run into the hydrant. Don't think about the night you spent in jail 18 years ago. Don't forget you need to call the landlord about the blocked drain, can't use the bathroom sink, standing water, stagnant muck of hair and spit and toothpaste and picked scabs. Real people aren't beautiful, real people have spots. Don't think about your spots.

The sidewalk gave up just past a bus stop, in front of a rolling lawn which led down to a white-shingled Cape Cod, and Charlee continued through damp grass, technically trespassing but unwillingly to walk in the gutter. Urban suburbia. A driver's delight, a walker's dismay. The streetlights turned everything to peach fuzz, draining leaf and house and litter of their boundaries. It was easy to imagine an alien landscape, to imagine that we were the aliens, imposing our inventions and improvements on the native products of natural selection. Charlee watched the tail-lights of passing cars and felt a rush of certainty that they were our spaceships, and then decided that machines and sodium lights were products of evolution just as much as the light-bending feathers of a male peacock, which looked blue but weren't. Magic. Trickery. Strides forward in the name of self-interest. Charlee strode forward in the name of self-interest. Having an apartment to go home to at night was a sound evolutionary strategy, just one small tick in the "likely to successfully procreate" column. The artful illusion of seeming to have your shit together.

Don't think about the fact that you don't have your shit together.

Kim Breeding-Mercer - Indefinite Length, Part 1
Kim Breeding-Mercer - Indefinite Length, Part 1

"Indefinitel Length, Part 1" is part of the Indefinite Length series! Kim Breeding-Mercer opens the door to Charlee after leaving the bar. Charlee is prepared to do anything! This is fiction but don't think that for a moment there is nothing real here.

© Kim Breeding-Mercer / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - "Indefinite Length, Part 1"

#OgFOMK #KimBreedingMercer #IndefiniteLength #IDP1 #Fiction



Judgement - The Nature of Our Safety

26. Feb 2018
By Tim Skiba - Bio

Do you not hate to be judged? I certainly do and how I judge myself is even worse than the misinformed judgement of others. They usually only know less than half of how hard I have worked to get the less than desirable out they are sliding in to judge me on. I will  let you in on a little secret shortly.

Back to this judgement deal,  we all do it and we are now told that we shouldn't be doing it so as to be politically correct. Now stop for a moment, we all judge, and are told to not judge. Hmmmm, makes me wonder why more people are not having a nervous breakdown? 

The secret is that it is our primal need to make judgements so as to keep ourselves safe. Safe from what you may ask?  Whatever might be. Way back in the day it could have been a life or death confrontation with the dreaded saber tooth tiger, but not today it feels at times life or death confrontation with our spouse, friend, student, boss , child or any other person place or thing that we have to make a judgement call. What's the difference to? Today we live in a world that requires us to judge fight or flight five, ten , twenty or more times a day. 

A simple timeline on a judgement call could be short if it is minor maybe a a moment a few seconds if there is no real emotional connection,  no harm no foul, but those other judgement call we must make we ponder over and may not know the outcome for a long period of time.  Wow , do you have one you are dealing with right now? Can you feel that knot in your neck or stomach? This is the same feelings everyone has felt at one time or another. 

Question: Is it really life or death?  If yes than give it the time and focus it deserves make the call , do the job, measure twice and cut. If on the other hand it is not that big of a judgement call step back a bit push it away from being right in your face and once again measure twice and make the judgement. Now how do we deal with the aftermath? Our own personal judgement of the choices we make? The simple answer might be you made a decision to the best of your ability  and simply move  on down the road putting it behind you. 

That being said can you do that or have you done that or are carrying all those past judgements with you? If not than great but if yes then release yourself from the past which you have no more control over. This as easy as it was to recall the thought that you want get rid of,  you can simply imagine that thought or event find the picture in front of you , yes it has to be there or it wouldn't be bothering you,  yes now you have found it draw big black frame around it as to focus on this one event as you hold it in front of you let's focus on the image and like the old tv's had a knob or adjustment for contrast simply make the adjustment to ether blackout or the opposite whitening it out whichever feels better when you know it has been reduced to the best feeling you can now write across the image using your dominant hand writing whatever might be important to remember about that imagine and letting the rest go.

 After completing the process of writing we can early shrink down that frame to the size of a postage stamp and raise it up over your head all the way back and nail it in the past intuitively instinctively completely putting it the past where it belongs. The information is available if needed but like your old taxes on a shelf somewhere  totally forgotten. If you want to test and try to bring back the feeling you can try but in most cases it is truly best left in the past.

This is a simple tool to help release old feelings that no longer serves our needs. Most of us shower or clean our bodies daily,  simply cleansing our mind and memories our unworthy thoughts is just as important allowing us to live our dreams. 

Do you not hate to be judged? I certainly do and how I judge myself is even worse than the misinformed judgement of others. They usually only know less than half of how hard I have worked to get the less than desirable out they are sliding in to judge me on. I will  let you in on a little secret shortly.

© Tim Skiba / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. -  Judgement - The Nature of Our Safety

#OgFOMK #TimSkiba #Judgement #StreamOConcrete



Drawing Blood in Helen Macdonald's H Is For Hawk

11 Feb. 2018

Her huge, yellow eye quickly scanned and re-scanned the crowd, assessing danger and potential prey in a continual restless rove. One slight twitch and that eye locked on mine. I had just emerged from Helen Macdonald’s evocative, emotionally powerful book H Is For Hawk and the unexpectedness of crossing paths with a red-tailed hawk at an outdoor festival froze me in place. My mind was still echoing with passages of flight as I drank the hawk in - her curved beak, her wings folded in promise of quick eruption, her cruel, highly effective talons. She was beautiful. And deadly. And I was in thrall. Such is the power of Macdonald’s unique blend of nature-writing and memoir. She inducts you into the arcane world of hawking and falconry. You learn to know and care about jesses, mews, and hoods. But she also is blunt about the single-minded carnage such birds are designed to wreak. Macdonald uses that unemotional, violent death to deal with another.

Helen Macdonald creates a book unlike any one I had read before. Weaving natural history, a scholar’s love of the arcane, and a raw dissection of grief, Macdonald’s talent for haunting prose sweeps these three seemingly disparate themes into a revelatory piece of non-fiction. She shares a cataclysmic time in her life. Her father’s unexpected death changes the warp and weft of her world. It is too much for her to look at straight-on. So she side-steps. Captivated by birds of prey since childhood, she throws herself without much preparation into rearing, training, and ministering to one of the most savage predators known, the goshawk. So great is her need for distraction that she abandons her fledgling career as a Cambridge Research Fellow, sacrificing any pursuit or relationship that does not align with her mission. In her darkest moments, she becomes almost as feral as her hawk. All to avoid the outline of loss in her periphery. 

Mabel is Macdonald’s enormous goshawk, a comfortable maiden-aunt name that belies her power. As Macdonald falls under her spell, weaving descriptions of majesty and wildness around the bird, we too join her as devotees at the alter. “She is a conjuring trick. A reptile. A fallen angel. A griffon from the pages of an illuminated bestiary. Something bright and distant, like gold falling through water.” But if her main purpose was to avoid death, Macdonald fails as she soon finds herself its intimate partner. “Every tiny part of her was boiling with life…The hawk was a fire that burned my hurts away. There could be no regret or mourning in her…My flight from death was on her barred and beating wings. But I had forgotten that the puzzle that was death was caught up in the hawk, and I was caught up in it too.”

Out of doors, in the hawk’s element, Macdonald’s depictions of Nature are cathartic and stimulating and alive. There is breath-catching beauty in descriptions of dawn trudges, quiet woodland overgrown with thick brush, the solitude that’s not silent but alive with the distinct chatter and hum of living things. But the idyllic can turn on its edge and as the weather shifts, Macdonald’s sojourns become bone-chilling and rough. The pain and discomfort, the sheer wildness of Nature penetrates to the bone - lessons Macdonald uses to accept the cycle of mortality and heal.

Another layer to this memoir is the ghost of T.H. White, author of the iconic Camelot tale, The Once and Future King. In hopes of a mentor, Macdonald turns to White’s notebooks documenting his own attempts to train a goshawk. Instead she quickly recognizes a fellow broken heart attempting to salve wounds with a wild beast. Both White and Macdonald immerse themselves to such a degree that their ordeals take on the quality of heraldic knights. Sleepless days and nights tied to their hooded hawks, walking with forearm aloft, bearing their not-inconsiderable weight, coaxing trust with skinned rabbits and raw offal, their own faces and arms the confused, frustrated animal’s whipping post. Macdonald writes about White’s frustrations as a school master, his struggle with creating a literary identity while still trying to define his personal one, and his lifelong partnership with fear. Macdonald’s obsession with outrunning grief spurred her in much the same way.

Helen Macdonald’s unique journey is visceral, memorable art. She made it. With wits and all ten fingers intact. And the result is a beautiful, honest, and ultimately cathartic addition to the literary pantheon. H Is For Hawk uniquely combines the human relationship with Nature, mortality, and scholarship, achieving alchemy in the process.

*Post Script* 

This past November, PBS aired a series “H is for Hawk: A New Chapter” wherein a more at-peace Macdonald conducts a masterclass in how one trains a goshawk, using the lessons learned with Mabel. Her clear eyes and peaceful smile indicate a larger lesson hard-won, the peace richly deserved.

Drawing Blood in Helen Macdonald's H Is For Hawk
Drawing Blood in Helen Macdonald's H Is For Hawk

Ghillian Porter-Smith writes about H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald’s unique blend of nature-writing and memoir. She inducts you into the arcane world of hawking and falconry. You learn to know and care about jesses, mews, and hoods. But she also is blunt about the single-minded carnage such birds are designed to wreak. Macdonald uses that unemotional, violent death to deal with another. 

© Ghillian Porter-Smith / OgFOMK ArTS -- 2018 All Rights Reserved. - Books on Review - "Drawing Blood in Helen Macdonald's H Is For Hawk"

#OgFOMK #GhillianPorterSmith #HIsForHawk #HelenMacdonald #THWhite #Books #review #Falconry #hawking