Empty nest haibun

Neat little story/poem. There is a lot going on beneath its surface.

Jane Dougherty Writes

The dead tree is the thin spike on the right.


In the dead tree, the nail-less finger that points at the sky, high as the tallest poplar, a woodpecker roosts. Each evening it calls from the neighbouring trees, calls a short, one-note cry as it flies to the dead tree, listens as it climbs to the top, but the call receives no answer. The old nest is empty now that the fledglings have flown, mate gone until next season perhaps. Autumn sun setting still strikes the bare tip, the dark hole, woodpecker sized, and fills it with warmth.

round and round the seasons go

the wind

the swirling water in the culvert

and love returns

with the spring


Photo© Gerry Zambonini

P.S. When I downloaded this photo, Wikipedia was down all over the world except here. Occasionally, living in the land time forgot has it’s advantages.

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Reviews, Awards and Anthologies, Oh My! — Mackenzie Flohr’s Author Blog

As summer begins to come to a close, I am surprised by how busy I still am. In fact, I’ll admit I feel a bit overwhelmed. Now, you may be asking, why? The weather is going to get cooler. You won’t be doing outside events. Why would you feel so overwhelmed? Well, let’s just summarize […]

via Reviews, Awards and Anthologies, Oh My! — Mackenzie Flohr’s Author Blog

Update: September 6, 2019, Marketing and Publicity and other Writing Demons

Selfie with Lotus in background near Arkansas Post, September 4, 2019

So far I have spent a small part of the day posting ads for my works for every day up to October 6. I neglected to do so for August and the few sales I have had show that.

Last night I went to dinner at Hoot’s Barbecue in McGehee, AR. The food is good. Hoot’s seems to be the social navel of the county and surrounding area. It’s the hot spot on the weekends. I happened to be in Dumas running errands as the time for the dinner approached.  To go from Arkansas Post to McGehee, my co-workers had to pass through Dumas. We arranged to meet in the Mad Butcher (yes, that is a business. Inexpensive meat) parking lot. As I had about an hour to kill, I went to the nearby El Toro Mexican restaurant and had some iced tea and jotted down notes about Shadows and Stars. I think I came up with a really good twist for the end of the story. Something hopefully unpredictable and jaw-dropping that will make readers drop their margaritas and stand up to scream “Of course!” to the heavens.

I like El Toro. I may go there to write when I can. The food is also good. Surprisingly, there is a good Mexican restaurant called Ameca’s in DeWitt. If you find yourself in this area, I recommend it highly. I had the combo Fajitas Hawayanas (Hawaiian fajitas). It contains the usual beef, chicken, and shrimp plus pork and pineapple and a light cream-like sauce, whose name I don’t recall. It was really tasty and plentiful. Prices are reasonable.

Yesterday, I visited the public library in Dumas. It’s a very small affair behind the police station. It has maybe ten free-standing bookshelves at most, some bookshelves lining the walls, and about half a dozen computer terminals. It also has a small display of Egyptian statues that a deceased patron collected on her trips to Egypt and bequeathed/donated to the library. The labels were accurate as far as I could tell. However, the display also included some foreign currency.  One bill was a 100-drachma note from Greece (I read some Greek). However, it was labeled as one Egyptian pound. I found the Egyptian pound taped to the side window (of course inside the case). I told the librarian on duty about the mix up and she said she would mention it to someone. She seemed rather indolent to me.

I went to Stuttgart, AR, on Monday. It’s a nice little town about 40 miles from here. It has an active little arts center. I may get involved there and try to establish another writer’s circle. It’s a little closer than Pine Bluff.


Book Review: Predators by Michaelbrent Collings — HorrorAddicts.net

This is the first book I’ve read, by Collings, and if it’s any indication of his talent and skill as a storyteller, I’m definitely coming back for more. Predators grabbed my attention from the opening scene and kept me hooked until the climax. Collings’ story is peopled with an incredible cast of well-rounded and believable […]

via Book Review: Predators by Michaelbrent Collings — HorrorAddicts.net

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Pengabdi Setan (Satan’s Slaves) — HorrorAddicts.net

Plotline: After dying from a strange illness that she suffered for 3 years, a mother returns home to pick up her children. Who would like it: People who like movies about demonic possession, fans of the undead, secret societies and cults High Points: I like that its an Islamic based-faith movie that doesn’t deal […]

via Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Pengabdi Setan (Satan’s Slaves) — HorrorAddicts.net

Update: GoFundMe account for Murray Arviso

Photo of Murray Arviso
Murray Arviso, 2019

Today, I received a link via email about a former (as of August) co-worker of mine named Murray Arviso. Murray is in the Maintenance Division at Chaco Culture National Historic Park, where he has worked for around twenty years. Murray is in a bad health situation and will not be able to walk for a while. His family needs financial help to build a ramp for his wheelchair. Ironically, under normal circumstances, Murray is quite capable of building a ramp. Now that he needs one himself, he is not physically capable of doing it. A ramp is inexpensive compared to a lot of medical needs, so anything you can give will go a long way.

If you would like to help out, follow this link to Murray Arviso’s GoFundMe page, which explains the situation. This condition started a few months ago and has been worsening. Donating even a little bit will help.  Here is the note that came with the link:


I thought you might be interested in supporting this GoFundMe, https://www.gofundme.com/f/expenses-for-home-ramp-amp-home-medical-supplies?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet.

Even a small donation could help Colleen Arviso reach their fundraising goal. And if you can’t make a donation, it would be great if you could share the fundraiser to help spread the word.

Thanks for taking a look!

If you can’t help out financially, at least spread this word to as many people as you can.
Murray with granddaughter?
Murray Arviso

“Nocturne: Poems of Love, Distance, and the Night…” is Available on Amazon Kindle

Nocturne: Poems of Love, Distance, and the Night, a callous and disinterested lover is a collection of my poetry written from the mid-80’s to mid-90s, a turbulent, fluid time in my life in many ways, but especially romantically. I have taken many of the poems written during those years and compiled them into a dark narrative capturing the emotional turmoil of a narrator who descends from romantic love for a woman into a lonely world of alcohol and night clubs, where his only love is the night that envelopes him psychologically, emotionally, and physically.  It is about 110 print pages in length and lavishly illustrated with photos I found in the public domain (no, those are not photos of me or of my former paramours).

You can read samples of it and my other works at my Amazon author’s page:  Amazon.com/author/philslattery.

I have tried to make this a wonderful experience for the reader, exploring the bliss of love to the depths of despair and then to resignation to one’s fate in an existential crisis.

Don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or other social media!

While there, you might want to check out my other work on relationships: The Scent and Other Stories.  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.

Two reviews have warm praise for Nocturne…:

J. Muckley calls it “Beautiful, Sad, Authentic and Vulnerable Look at Love and Loss” and gives it five stars, saying:

Nocturne: Poems of Love, Distance, and the Night, a callous and disinterested lover by Phil Slattery is a deep and raw “picture” of experiencing love and lovers of varying type, capturing the moments of ecstasy and pain in a most beautiful way.

Slattery speaks with one voice as his words and pictures depict the full range of human love and loss that both tempts the soul to engage and urges the heart to resist. His opening quote by Augustine of Hippo captures this work perfectly: “I was not yet in love, yet I loved to love…I sought what I might love, in love with loving.”  –Augustine of Hippo

The poems are mostly untitled and written in free verse form. The reader meanders through the past relationships as they ebb and flow through varying stages. The introduction poem tells of the types of poem you will soon encounter:
nights of love
full of life and laughter
as empty as an empty

The poem closes:
Bring me to that ultimate pleasure
in your all-consuming eyes.
Let us become one
and share the horrors of this

All in all, Nocturne, is a beautiful but sad read that speaks to the reality of love and holds nothing back. It engages the mind and the heart longing for lasting, meaningful love that always seems just outside of its reach.

P.S. Winn calls it “Great Poems with Pictures”, gives it four stars, and says:

I like this author’s poems which have a great feel to them. The book is about love but a lot more is included inside the pages. I like the photos the author included to enhance the poetry. A few of the poems held descriptive words about nature and I enjoyed the way the picture author paints in the readers mind is also displayed in the photographs that correspond with the words.

Check back frequently for updates.