A love poem from Shimmer to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone:

 

Organic Love

Love is made of soil
Clay, wind, rock, and bone
The way an apple
Rounds and ripens to pulp and juice
So love ripens

At an apple orchard
You pick one
And offer it to me
And I pick another and offer it to you
Love deepens
Is round and ripe

 

Above is the cover of my new poetry book, Shimmer, now out from Black Moss Press

Here are links to the recent publications of my short stories and poems over the past year. I wish to thank all of the editors of the various magazines for believing in my writing:

 

BOOKS

 

Line published August 2018 by Black Moss Press

Shimmer published August 2019 by Black Moss Press

Don’t Hang Your Soul on That forthcoming from Guernica Editions in 2021

NOVEL and Novel EXCERPTS

 

 

Don’t Hang Your Soul on That forthcoming from Guernica Editions in 2021

 

From Don’t Hang Your Soul on That – Excerpts

Chapter 1 – published in June 2018 issue at: The Write Launch

Chapter 2 – forthcoming in August 2018 issue at: The Write Launch

FLASH FICTION From Pink Puppet – in the works:

 

Tale of Amber Eyes in Christmas 2019 issue (page 39) of Edify Fiction

Tale of the Letter In the Winter 2020 issue of Grain Magazine

 

PROSE POEMS From A Piece of Rag Wrapped Gold – in the works:

 

Delayed Neutrons in issue 209 – Winter 2019 of The Malahat Review

The Half-Life of Uranium-238  in Fall 2019 issue of  deLuge Journal

 

SHORT STORIES and NOVELLA

 

From Release – Short Story Collection

 

A Hint of SaltFall 2019 in Prairie Fire

Release Spring 2019 in Stoneboat Literary Journal

High Water – Spring 2019 in The Antigonish Review

KeepsakeFall 2018 in Zone 3: A Literary Journal

Interventions at Eclectica Magazine

Jogging Alone at Vanish: A Journal of Arts and Letters  (Links not working at this time)

Messy a novella at The Write Launch

Photographing Dreams at The Write Launch

Little Pink Houses at The Forge Literary Magazine

 

From Line now published by Black Moss Press

The Hurry at The Jellyfish Review

A Trick of the Brain at The Danforth Review

 

 

POEMS

 

From Line now published by Black Moss Press

 

Reaching Light  at  Laurel Magazine

Moral Shadow in Canadian Literature

Rabbits Along the Highway in The Malahat Review

Spirited Away in Carousel Magazine

Love’s Greater Orbit at Carteggiletterari.it

Six Poems from Line in Offside Magazine

 

 

From Shimmer – published August 2019 by Black Moss Press

 

Entanglement Theory, Hibernationand VIP Chair at Juniper: A Poetry Journal (in the Summer 2018 issue)

Mother and Die and Die Ballad in the Spring 2018 issue of Grain Magazine

In The Dark in the inaugural issue of March 2018 Mantra Review

Two Poems at Eclectica Magazine – Your Maker and Lorca’s Grave

Three Poems at The Write Launch – Including Don’t Hang Your Soul On That

Set Matters at Open: A Journal of Arts and Letters

On The Half Hour at The Penultimate Peanut

The Maker in the latest issue of  Plume Poetry Journal

 

 

Interview

 

Interview at The Forge Literary Magazine

 

 

Remembering My Mother on her 93rd birthday

Posted: September 18, 2019 in Uncategorized

Remembering my mother today on what would have been her 93rd birthday. Here is a poem from Shimmer to honour her:

Mother
(For Hazel Hilles Sept 18, 1926 to Jan 20, 2012)

Mother these hardened days
Without you cast long shadows
Water causes the most damage
And yet it holds me
In ways nothing else can
Time spills over
Nothing to hold it back
You spent weeks alone each summer
Dad putting up highway signs
In Sioux Lookout or Dryden
No phone only the radio
And TV for company
Your children off in cities
The world too big

For outstretched arms

For the end of poetry month here is the poem Lorca’s Grave from my new book Shimmer that will be published in the Fall of 2019 from Black Moss Press (it’s 50th year of publishing). This poem also originally appeared in Eclectica Magazine.

 

Lorca’s Grave         

               

I think of a worm

Inching toward light

And the euphoria of

That first puncture of air

Lorca the lover

Stands in a field

Amongst working oxen

Poems plucked

From the heat of animals

 

For Lorca writing poems

Means walking up a steep hill

And resting at the railing

Of the important house there

Sin opens a rose

 

He wears a bow tie

And flannel suit despite the August heat

In one hand he carries a notebook

Behind the house are more hills

And he walks into those

Away from the olive fields

Says love is a shadow

 

Weeks later

He’s arrested

Driven into those same hills

Forced to stand

In the car’s headlights

No one hears the gunshot

Except for a sleeping ox

That raises its head at the noise

But doesn’t hurry away

 

 

Here is a new poem from Line published b Black Moss Press in 2018:

 

Sketchy

 

Time zigzagged for my mother

Like jazz on a sax

She was born poor

Had six sisters and three brothers

Her family eked by

Her father a religious man

Thought God pugnacious

And taciturn

A torturer at times

A dangler of easy promises

Her mother

Played Mozart on the piano

Tiptoed about the house

In the middle of the night

Sat sometimes for hours

At the piano without playing a note

 

My mother ran away to the city

Wrote a few letters home that’s all

Fell in love

Married my father

Love never the making

But what the heart lets

Stay buried

She played the piano too

And prayed for hours

An amalgam of the house

Where she grew up

Where music had to fight noise

And then a sister would

Throw open the door

Let in the wind and snow

Rush in

Her father standing

In the doorway

Coat pulled tight about him

On his way to feed the pigs

 

All her sisters left home

Because of love

Their beliefs a product

Of radios and chewing gum

My mother took her time getting to me

And later my brother and sister

Her body resisting

All of us sketchy

Time a kernel

From which life grows

Even those deeds

The good hold fast

I said goodbye to her

A final time on the phone

And then looked for the moon

In the half doused sky

But saw only blinking lights

In the street below

The present pressed

Too firmly into place.

Here is a prose piece from Calling the Wild, published by Black Moss Press.

This is for the memory of my brother, Brian Austin Hilles, who would have turned 64 today, Sept 9, 2017

Calling The Wild Cover

Ghost Lake

 

Ghost Lake was a mythical lake that only a few people, including my father, claimed to have seen. When my father was twelve or thirteen, Royal took him to see it. Local legend was that only good people could see the lake and that a bad person would walk right into it and be halfway across before they realized it was there. Most of them drowned.

According to my father, Ghost Lake was five miles north of Royal’s farm and was only about a 1/4 mile across, but so deep it didn’t have a bottom. Toss a stone in it and the stone would fall forever. The lake was so plentiful with pickerel and lake trout that fishing was as easy as dipping in a hand. The water was so clear he watched large schools of pickerel dodging each other only inches below the surface.

When my brother and I were teenagers, we spent a summer in search of Ghost Lake. Nearly every morning, we’d pack a lunch and walk due north as my father instructed. No matter what route we took, in no time we’d reach water. We swam in a dozen different lakes over that summer. But none of them had the mystically clear water of Ghost Lake. These were lakes full of tadpoles and bottomed by leeches. Any fish in those waters was bound to be God-awful ugly bottom feeders. Catfish or suckers

When we’d had enough of swimming, we’d circle the lake in search of berry patches. Wild strawberries and raspberries in early July, blueberries later. We’d eat our fill before returning home with hands dyed red or stained purple.

It was while we were picking blueberries one afternoon in early August that I thought I saw water shimmering between the trees. When I went to investigate, I saw another lake through the spruce boughs, a little more north of where we’d normally stopped. I left the blueberries to my brother and set off to explore on my own.

At the first, I lost sight of the lake, but I climbed a nearby poplar and it came back into view. This time I fixed on its location and continued in that direction. From the tree, it appeared not to be far, but I as I walked, it didn’t get any closer, and I wondered if it was a bigger lake than I first thought.

Finally, after I’d been walking for about half an hour, I reached it. The lake was the right size to be Ghost Lake, but its water was filthy brown. I knelt down to test the water and it was icy cold.

Just then, I heard a scream and turned in time to see my brother charging straight at me. He must have been tracking me the whole time. He pushed me into the water, clothes and all. I screamed and grabbed at the bank but couldn’t pull myself out. Asshole. I shouted at him and called him other names too as he stood smiling down at me. That is when I felt them. Little nudges at first against my leg and then they become more urgent, and when I felt around I realized that hundreds of fish surrounded me.

Help! I yelled at my brother who must have seen the terror in my eyes because he dropped to his knees and quickly pulled me out.

Jesus, what did you do that for? I swatted at him but he was too busy looking in the water to notice.

Look, he said, fascination in his voice.

I joined him at the bank and the water was roiling from the tails of huge silver fish. My brother reached in, pulled one out, and tossed it on the bank. It must have weight five pounds.

The fish lay gasping on the ground. It had an ugly head with large deformed eyes. Maybe the lack of light caused the eyes to mutate. I kicked it further up the bank over earth, which smelled strongly of dead fish. Half decayed or stripped carcasses were scattered everywhere. Bears had feasted here recently. The thought of that made we want to head home, but when I turned back to the lake my brother had stripped and jumped into the water and was trashing around to keep the fish away. His feet struck something on the bottom and he gave out a yell. He struggled for a moment and then hoisted out a rusted bumper. He searched around some more in the water for car parts and ended up throwing another fish up onto the bank before getting out.

My brother wrapped up the larger of the two fish and put in his pack and then we left for home. When my father saw the fish he said it was some strange kind of trout he’d never seen before. We called them Ghost fish because of the way their colours camouflaged them and made them hard to see in the water.

My brother and I were curious about the bumper of the car. How did that get in there? My brother asked.

At first, my father didn’t believe us and thought we were making it up.

Maybe there was a road there a long time ago, before the war, and it has since grown over. My father finally said. There used to be all kinds of roads out here before the highway.

I wondered how many other cars were rusting away on the bottom of that lake. I wondered too if they had something do with the fish being so deformed. My brother and I decided to call it Rusty Lake although years later I learned its proper name was Puma Lake.

My brother and I never did find Ghost Lake and by the end of summer, I started to wonder if Ghost Lake wasn’t just another of my father’s drunken stories that he kept telling because he wanted them to be true and if he told them often enough they might be.

An older poem from Nothing Vanishes. To remember my father who died 22 years ago today on July 16, 1995. He died the year before this book came out although most of the poems in it including this one were written before he died.

 

Last Words To A Father

There can be none, only a short wave or certain smile that comes again when you are asleep or talking to your daughter, her head tossed a particular way. On some Saturday or Sunday you will call home and there will be no answer only a long ringing in your ear, and as you put down the receiver the words will form again at the back of your mind, and you will think of a particular color or taste, and you will open your mouth as if to speak but you will step forward instead and look into your hands as if they held something beautiful, and as you do you will begin to cry, and from across the room a thin pale smoke will drift as if your father has just finished smoking one of his strong cigarettes. You will stare at the empty chair. The house quiet on a quiet street. Off in the distance a dog will bark at someone. The world will become so faint that you will begin to see behind it the face of your father and his eyes. How did they get there?