First Reflection (voting is open)

#1 or #2

First reflection

deep in the night
lantern on a pier
lit and trembling
dark waves below

a voice, a shiver, a passing cloud,
a house with a garden
I can barely see

First reflection

deep in the night
lantern on a pier
lit and trembling
water at the base

a voice, a shiver, a passing cloud,
a house with a garden
I can barely trace

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Alice: Introducing the White Witch

Here’s a passage from my post-apocalyptic adult hippie fairy tale, Alice, introducing Christopher and the white witch.

xxx

Rat a tap tap. Christopher knocked at the cabin door of Alice and Evelyn. He didn’t really have to knock but it seemed polite, in case they were making love or having an argument. Alice and Evelyn didn’t really have arguments but politeness doesn’t always speak to what is but to what ought to be. And it was written somewhere that lovers ought to make love and ought to have lovers’ quarrels from time to time.

Alice opened the door.

“Christopher,” she smiled. “It’s so nice to see you.”

“Were you making love or having an argument?” asked Christopher.

“No, we were just making sangria for the gathering. Would you like to cut the oranges?”

“Yes,” said Christopher, and in they went.

Christopher was a regular guest, so there was nothing unusual about his visit. He occasionally came and sometimes spent the night. Sometimes he came because he was making a new map and reassessing the territory. Sometimes he came to help Alice and Evelyn in the garden or with the water lines. With his sandy surfer hair and his clear hazel eyes, Christopher had a mild-mannered way that made him well-liked in New Arcadia. But there was a physicality to his presence too, an outdoorsy vitality, slim but solid, that was almost rugged. He had a light beard and mustache, but nothing like John Wilson’s mustache. Nothing. And Christopher was practical, too. It’s always nice to have someone practical around.

“Making maps and helping with the water lines go together,” he said.

“Why?” asked Alice.

“I can’t tell you,” said Christopher.

“Why not?

“Because everyone needs his own mystery.”

“That’s just the way Christopher is,” Evelyn would later tell Alice. As if Alice didn’t know.

Christopher lived across the woods. You have to bypass both the factory and the hamlet to get there. His lover, Freyda, would sometimes tell him, “Christopher, why don’t you go spend the night with Alice and Evelyn?”

When she said this, he knew that she had night work to do. Her night work was maintaining the music of the spheres. The fairies couldn’t do everything. The music of the spheres must always play, but now and then one must tune the imaginary instruments. “Sort of like an organ,” Freyda would say, her red locks cascading down in a flame. “But with many trap doors hiding tiny mechanisms that are constantly changing. Sometimes they change so fast, you open a door and fix something and before you can close the door it changes into something else.”

No one could verify exactly what Freyda meant because, of course, the instrument was imaginary. But one thing everyone could vouch for – keeping it tuned was the task of the white witch. The fairies couldn’t do it. Freyda was the white witch.

xxx

See other Alice excerpts here and here.

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Kyoto haikus

.  road to okini

the old woman stoops
weight of a thousand worries
she turns to and smiles

.  otagi-nenbutsu

stone buddhas pepper
the field, the temple, two claps
bend into a bow

.  gioji

a river, a wooden teahouse,
a painted face in the window
a princess worn and awaiting
a bamboo hewer’s return

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Just kill me

Everyone liked the second version of my previous slant haiku. JMN and Isha in particular liked the firmer closure. I think their observations were correct. As I was finalizing, though, I realized that they had enlightened me in reverse. I wanted a little opening in that closure, a little space for melancholia to leak in. But I did not want to revert to the rejected draft. So for now I have this. Just kill me.

or cp.

Addendum: I just re-read them and now I like the one everyone chose last time the best. Forgive me.

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Which is best (Haiku #1 or Haiku #2)?

Two versions of a slant haiku. Please pick one.

Little Tokyo

cherry blossom float and scent
night boat on moonlit water
your second thoughts

Little Tokyo

cherry blossom float and scent
night boat on moonlit water
no second thoughts

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Good day for book gifts

Get’m books for Christmas. Below are choice picks at bargain prices by two-time Faulkner-Wisdom Prize finalist, Gary Gautier.

All on Amazon worldwide or in bookstores around the US. For e-copies, select “Buy for others” to send as a gift. For signed copies, email drggautier@gmail.com.

Click covers for links.

Alice
Kindle: 99c this week only
Signed copies: $14.50 + shipping

Alice’s little utopia in a dreamlike forest begins to crack when strange things start happening. A small deformed creature with a bowling ball head appears out of nowhere and turns to Alice for support. Her trips to the pond start to bring  transcendental omens and strange visitors. Thus begins a journey in which Alice wanders away from her idyllic home to find another world and to slowly connect the dots of her own world’s missing history. This post-apocalyptic adult hippie fairy tale is comic, poignant, thoughtful, and sparkling, a magical tapestry with many threads.

Schematics and Assemblies of the Cosmic Heart
Kindle: $3.91
Signed copies: $9 + shipping

A poetic landscape with the impact of human passion and imagination. The poems are both personal and archetypal, rich in intimate joy and sadness, but also connecting to something abstract and eternal. The focus may settle on a brittle image, domestic or mythical, or on a brief feeling that opens a transcendental vista and then, perhaps, closes again. Each poem is tightly sculpted and easily read, but in a way that keeps readers reaching into the heart of their own cosmic lives.

Rgg cover fr KDP

Love’s Ragged Claws
Kindle: $3.93
Signed copies: $7.85 + shipping

Faulkner-Wisdom Prize finalist. In this short novella, Gabriel enters confession for the first time in 50 years and tells the priest he has only three sins, all sins of the flesh, and the confession opens up the byways of human identity and human relationships as it weaves the tale of three sins. The account moves back and forth across decades, pulling out the little epiphanies that would be reference points of meaning for the rest of Gabriel’s life. 

 

Goodbye, Maggie
Kindle: $3.88
Signed copies: $11 + shipping

Faulkner-Wisdom Prize finalist. In a culture of health food stores, gurus, quacks and seekers, Phil’s stagnant life is rattled when his charismatic brother shows up with the news that he has murdered someone and asks for sanctuary. Thus begins a dramatic comedy of misdirection, as our heroes find racism, madness, and unlikely friendships as they roll through the Louisiana bayous into New Orleans.

Hippies  
Kindle: $3.94
Signed copies: $14 + shipping

The Vietnam war resistance, psychedelic drugs, sexual openness, the freedom of the commune – it seemed that everything about the 1960s could be incredibly liberating or wildly destructive. Filled with the sights, sounds and ideals of the Age of Aquarius, this hippie epic follows Jazmine, Ziggy, Ragman, and a coterie of hippies as they discover an LSD-spinoff that triggers past life regressions and sweeps them toward a dramatic climax.

 

Spaghetti and Peas
Kindle: $5.99
Signed copies: $14 + shipping

What would you do if you saw a snake in the lettuce? Rachael had to figure that out fast. And she found a magical adventure in her own back yard, within smelling distance of the spaghetti sauce her dad was cooking on the stove. Enjoy this zany, richly illustrated, hardbound picture book as a read-aloud or early reader.

Mr. Robert’s Bones
Kindle: $3.94
Signed copies: $11 + shipping

In a neighborhood full of quirky characters, three kids’ search for hidden silver in an abandoned house pits them against forgotten ghosts and the house’s dark memories of racism and betrayal. The quest for the silver is especially nerve-racking for Annie, the kid who actually sees the ghosts. Her friends want to believe her but can’t, and she herself is torn between running away from it all and following the ghosts into the house’s dark history.

 

Phineas Frecklehopper
Signed copies: $5 + shipping

Phineas Frecklehopper was not always picked first at sports. He couldn’t always remember to take a bath or brush his teeth or do his homework in every single subject. Still, he considered himself a normal boy in most respects. But he did have one peculiar hobby, or at least others thought it peculiar. He loved to cook. But could rendering a recipe really make a hero? Absolutely! Read to see how. Then cook Phineas’s sample recipes! Ages 8-12.

Shipping (USA):
First book                                            $3.50
Second book in same shipment          $2.00
Additional books in same shipment    $1.00

drggautier@gmail.com

Ragged Claws Review

Lee Hall gives a new review of Faulkner-Wisdom Prize finalist novella, Love’s Ragged Claws.

“For a short read, Gary Gautier packs in so much …  I’m definitely urged to go back a few times and read it just to capture everything.”

See the full review at Lee Hall’s Book Reviews.

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Alice in pieces

Here’s a clip from Alice, a post-apocalyptic adult hippie fairy tale, now available online and in bookstores in New York, Chicago, New Orleans, Austin, and Guanajuato. (Cp. the opening scene here.)

xxx

John Wilson lifted one of his bushy eyebrows, and the black hairs came to attention. Alice thought of a black cat’s tail with the hairs standing in response to a threat.

“Your eyebrow looks like a black cat’s tail,” she said.

John Wilson reached up with a massive paw and touched his eyebrow, and then touched his equally bushy mustache, as if to compare the two. He looked for a moment like a distraught walrus sloshed in a button-down shirt. Then he went on.

“The fairies,” said John Wilson. “The hum went away by the pond last night. No hum for an hour and a half.” The fairies kept the whole of New Arcadia going. They were rarely visible but often audible, a humming that recalled the humming of bees restless to massacre the males and slaughter the other princesses to please their sister, the newly chosen queen. The fairies did not work in the fields or in the factory. They did not cook or clean. But it was they who wove a sense of destiny into New Arcadia. Without a sense of destiny there would be no going on, for there would be nowhere to go.

The fairies had no enemies – for how could destiny have an enemy? – save one. Ladybugs. Tiny orange specks with wings. Wings with tinier black dots. The ladybugs made no humming noise. No hint of massacres for the newly crowned queen. They just flittered in quiet beauty, careful to disturb no one, seen but not heard. Thus, no one, not Alice or Evelyn, not the kleptomaniac, not the mapmaker, not the white witch, not the rain king, not John Wilson, not even the sweeper as far as anyone could tell, could divine their purpose or what it was about them that touched the spleen of the fairies.

 xxx

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Ex machina

fullness of heart
at first sight
sweet
.     calm
.          jagged
.               flowing
velvety as wine cream
.     sweet
.          calm
.               restless
the simplest of pleasures
a knit of human connection
a banquet of fruit and chocolate
deep and dark and bittersweet
and floating in the room
the candle now still
a time to depart
ex machina

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