“Nocturne: Poems of Love, Distance, and the Night, a callous and disinterested lover” is Being Published Today.

NocturneToday, February 2, 2018, I am publishing my latest work, my only book of poetry.  It will be available initially only in e-book via Amazon and Kindle, but a print version will be released soon thereafter.

These poems were written from about 1985 to 1993, during which time I was an officer in the US Navy. This was a time of rapid and frequent change for me in many ways, including geographically, emotionally, professionally, and romantically.

During this time I had several lovers, who were always of good character and heart. They doubtlessly loved me more than I deserved, but I had an overpowering drive to experience as many women as I could. It was never a matter of heartlessly notching my proverbial bedpost, but honestly enjoying women for who they were. All these women were sincere in their feelings, beautiful in body and spirit, and honest with their emotions.  I suppose that what prevented me from forming a permanent attachment to any was a subtle, congenital character flaw of a need for solitude that inevitably won out over a need for a solid relationship.

As time passed, I enjoyed the hunt for women more and more and was more and more satisfied with one-night stands that I could find in local bars. My original sincerity gradually faded as I grew to identify more and more with the nightlife and the night itself. I lived for the night. Dawn was the unwelcome end to my adventures.

What stimulated my interest was my move to my first duty station at Naval Air Station Whidbey on Whidbey Island in northern Puget Sound in 1985. I fell quickly in love with the beauty of the San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, and the whole of the Puget Sound culture. I traveled as much as I could on weekends and, whenever I could, I would drop in on some small, out-of-the-way bookshop, where I became familiar with the works of local writers such as Tess Gallagher and Raymond Carver.

Something about that northwestern literary voice alleviated much of the professional tension I was feeling and I began to devour more and more of the northwestern literature, which became a stepping stone to a new literary world as I expanded my reading to the Beats, W.S. Merwin, and many others around the world. Soon I dabbled in writing poetry and found it at least as enjoyable as reading it, because it allowed me to ideas and feelings that had no other escape.

Somewhere around 1993 I began developing an interest in photography, which allowed me to express myself in other ways in which I could interact more intensely with my environment. Over the following years my love for photography supplanted my love for poetry, and then, true to my fickle nature, fiction began to supplant my love for photography, though the attraction to film and darkroom still lingers like the fond memory of a former lover.

Over the past year, I have begun contemplating my retirement from my current career and have begun to work at establishing myself as a writer for my second career. As part of that transition, I decided to collect as many of my poems as I could find and to publish them as my first serious literary accomplishment. Some of these are based on actual events; others are fiction designed to capture the spirit of the moment.

In reviewing them, I detected a theme. Therefore, I arranged them not in chronological order, but in an order that tells what I perceive as the story of my spiritual and emotional development during those years.

I made none of the photos contained herein. They are all public domain photos from online stock agencies. However, I selected each one carefully for capturing the intended spirit of the poem preceding it.

“The Scent and Other Stories: the Dark Side of Love” Will Be Free on #FictionFriday ‘s, Feb. 2-9, and on Valentine’s Day

In this collection of short stories, I explore the dark, sometimes violent, sometimes twisted, sometimes touching side of love, the side kept not only from public view, but sometimes from our mates. Set in the modern era, these stories range from regretting losing a lover to forbidden interracial love in the hills of 1970’s Kentucky to a mother’s deathbed confession in present-day New Mexico to debating pursuing a hateful man’s wife to the callous manipulation of a lover in Texas.

To order yours and to view my other works as well, visit my Amazon author’s page at: www.amazon.com/author/philslattery.

Praise for Stories Contained in “The Scent and Other Stories”:

The Scent

“This story has a lovely dreamy quality whilst being unsettling too. It lingers on half processed emotional experiences and leaves the reader asking ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ – feelings that are familiar for so many people.”

“You wrote about something we can all relate to – how, out of the blue, the scent of something evokes a memory of something long past; and the emotions we felt at the time! A clever story …”

“This descriptive piece about remembrance, the thought of what might have been, is a common sad thread that will resonate with those have experienced the pain of that one love lost. Slattery’s use of scent was exquisite as we feel Quinn’s pain and hope that he finds his peace, at last.”


“Fantastic writing – I held my breath for most of the story. The descriptions of the countryside and the people were beautiful and the tension compelling. This could possibly be the start of a novel or a suite of stories. Thank you very much and good luck with your writing in the future”

“Suspenseful and engaging. The dialogue and descriptions kept pace with the action. Well done.”

A Good Man

“Lots of detail examining an old question of how do you judge a person’s life. It left me wondering.”

“Great job capturing the social climate of the sixties. Good choice for how to present the story – deathbed “confession” by the mother. I enjoyed it.”

The Slightest of Indiscretions

“Excellent writing brings this poignant story to life and makes the reader work to understand more of what might be. Very many thanks for a satisfying, emotionally intelligent read…”