Books and Brews!

Easily among my favorite days. The book signing was an incredible success. Even though my hands were shaking while signing the first few. 46982E77-AFA4-45BC-9691-E7BEDDCCDAA2

Summarizes my priorities. Me looking at my family.

What a memory! I’m one lucky man.

Cheers everyone!

Matt

Life, Blood & Charles Bukowski

I got the dreaded call from Gavin’s school today. He’s the youngest in the entire school. His teacher told us that he’s very smart, has an incredible vocabulary, and is brave.

“Hello is this, Matt? Gavin has been in the nurses office for about an hour. He’s OK, but he did bite his tongue and it won’t stop bleeding.”

While on the way to the ER, Gavin, fell asleep. I watched him in my rear view mirror knowing blood was filling his mouth. Eventually I could hear the blood interfering with his breathing. I asked him to wake up and swallow. He did, while half asleep, swallow the blood.

I parked outside the ER and grabbed paper towel. I reached back toward Gavin. I woke him up, with the paper towel ready to catch the blood. It took a moment for him to wake, but when he did, he wore a worried look and I could see he was active with his tongue inside his mouth. “It’s OK, just spit it into this.” Gavin opened his mouth and a clot was on top of his tongue. He spit the clot, along with more blood, into the paper towel.

He never once cried.

The ER doctors opted not to cauterize the laceration. They didn’t want to cause Gavin trauma. Megan held ice to his tongue all evening and finally the bleeding stopped.

And for some reason unknown to me, Gavin bounced his way up to ‘Alexa’ our digital-voice friend whom many of you might also have and said, “Alexa, play Charles Bukowski.”

Seems Gavin will be just fine. But I’m not.

-Matt

Flash Fiction – In the darkness of love

Flash Fiction
Written by -M. Taggart
8/6/19

 

In the darkness of love

 

It was dark in their bedroom. He had shut off the light, placed the book on the nightstand, and rested his head against the headboard. Some of the book was still in him. He couldn’t decide if it was more dark with his eyes open, or closed. Soon, he’d be able to see her silhouette. And after a few more minutes he’d be able to view her face and then he would watch her sleep and listen to her breathe. He liked it this way. He loved the ease in which she fell asleep next to him. He would notice her twitching as the initial moments of sleep set in. He’d continue to read until his eyes became heavy. While he watched her sleep he would remember small things like what they did on Sunday, or about how she wasn’t shy when grabbing his hand and not letting go. He liked that about her and he liked it about how she introduced him to her friends as “my” as if she owned him. He wanted to be owned by her. He belonged to her in every way. Even now as he rested beside her, he was hers. She shifted slightly and moaned softly. He stroked her cheek gently and whispered, “I love you.” Knowing she wouldn’t remember, but felt full for having done so.

-M. Taggart

Flash Fiction – Lakeside

Flash Fiction – Lakeside
written by -M. Taggart
7/8/19

The water licked the dock quietly. He liked how the breeze pressed against his body and how it made the hairs on his arms feel. His eyes were closed. The sun was hot but not hot enough to make him uncomfortable. He was content lying here doing nothing. He could remember only a handful of times ever feeling like this. One of those times was while he was with his grandfather on a summer day. He remembered rocking on a wooden outdoor swing in the backyard near the garden. He rocked until he thought of nothing, not even the sun or whether it was hot, or of the carrots that he wanted to pull from the earth, wash off with the garden hose, and eat right away. He rocked with a faint notion of feeling gratitude toward his grandfather for allowing him this moment and trusting he would be safe while alone. Even that faded and he didn’t think of it or about how it made him feel. Now though, the dock was his outdoor swing, sitting just above the lake. In the distance a dog barked and the bark echoed in his mind.

-M. Taggart

Published Work:

https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/my-book/

A Short Story

A Short Story
Written by
-M. Taggart
Non Fiction

A Short Story

 

It was her birthday. She wanted to talk. A lot. I like to listen, but had planned on reading a book. I ordered a Guinness.

She told me she was lucky to make it. She was now 60. She didn’t say the number out-loud, instead she faced me and asked me to count her fingers.

For the next half hour I listened to her story. She had lived in foster care, had been abused, physically and mentally, found herself at 18 with a vicious tongue and lost herself completely in her twenties.

She had attempting suicide multiple times. The last attempt landed her in a coma and in the hospital. During the explanation of her life she bounced from age-to-age and from addiction to health. By her mid-thirties she had once again found herself and had stopped drinking. She also stopped using drugs.

She found both again and lived another round of almost not living. She was homeless for a time. She vomited feces while she was dying. She woke up on a Monday, put her make-up on, and lived.

I didn’t bother trying to read my book. I wanted her to finish her story. This happens to me often when I sit at the bar. I don’t mind. When I don’t want to talk, I stand in the corner, alone, with a book and a beer.

She is very kind. Full of love for life and happy to have not died during her attempts to end hers. She told me this while pouring her new beer into an empty pint glass. Her eyes widened as she started a new chapter of her story.

Slowly, I entered small facts about myself into the conversation. “You lived in Turners Falls, MA?!” she replied? “No, I went to High School in that town. And Turners was a border town to my home town.” “No wonder you had anger! There’s nothing there!”

That wasn’t the reason I had anger. I love that town.

She knew the drug houses, the homeless issue, the violence, the left over edge one has after spending any length of time in that region. And here we sat, in a pub located in Maine.

She asked if I was familiar with Greenfield. “Yes. Greenfield is where I was in one-too-many fights and also where I spent time in jail.”

She told me she lived in the woman’s home in Greenfield and that’s where she got clean. It took over a year, but they were amazing to her and saved her life.

I told her I wrote a short story that had much to do with the small town mindset of that area. And there we sat, enjoying our lives in the now, talking about the past. About the very town where I’ve lost friends due to addiction and violence. The very town where I found love for the first time and where I learned driving alone late at night, with the windows down and radio off, was a form of freedom that I was only just beginning to understand.

 

-M. Taggart

The Motionless Moose – A Short Story

The Motionless Moose
Written by -M. Taggart
Fiction. 4/14/19

The Motionless Moose

 

The lake reflected the moon in shimmering splinters as the wind pushed waves inland and finally to his feet. The wind drove directly at the camp from the Northwest. He couldn’t smell the campfire, although he could hear the flickering of the flames just after one of the men shuffled the burning logs around. They were constantly doing this while complaining about how no one could keep a fire going.

That’s the thing about being at camp, he thought. We are in the middle of no where and the owner insisted that we use the metal fire bin with wildlife depicted on the side. They don’t work. The airflow is stifled toward the bottom. He had mentioned that they should drill holes at the bottom of the fire bin for better airflow and was scoffed at. It was always like this. Or, they would talk around him. He left the fire, and them, and brought a chair to the foot of the lake to watch the wind push the white caps around.

Only two men sat at the fire now. The rest had gone to their bunks. It was late but he didn’t want to be in the bunkhouse. They toss and turn and snore while he lays quietly and doesn’t sleep. No. He’d rather sit here and let a moose walk up to him. The wind felt nice on his face. It wasn’t cold. It felt like a comfortably blanket that moves. The waves licking at the shore landed with a calming rhythm. If he could talk with the lake he would have enough company to last the night. Sometimes he could catch a few words of the conversation at the camp fire, but he didn’t want to know what they were talking about so he tried not to listen. He could see the outline of the mountain range on the far side of the lake. He thought about the Indians who knew those mountains and traversed them hundreds of years ago. They truly knew the mountains and lakes and the game. They were not there to own it, but to be with it. He wanted to talk with them and sit at their camp fires even if he didn’t understand a word they said.

He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply bringing in all of the musty smells of the lake. He wondered if he’d be able to smell a moose or a bear if it were close enough. While his eyes were closed and the wind brushed passed his cheeks he heard a clopping sound coming from the shoreline just north of him. He opened his eyes to see a darkened image of a large moose feeding. The moose raised its long legs out of the water and dropped them back into the lake without taking its head out of the water. Just then he heard the harsh hissing sound of steam as the men were done with their night and putting the failed fire out for good. He didn’t bother calling to them. He liked seeing the moose alone. He liked that he could have this and they will know nothing about it. Even if he did tell them they wouldn’t believe him. They’d say a moose wouldn’t come this close to camp with a fire going. They’d tell him moose don’t feed at this time of night. Then they’d tell their stories about how they have seen moose and about how close they’ve gotten to them and him having seen a moose would have dissapeared all together.

The large head of the moose slowly rose from the water, tested the air, and stood motionless for a moment then again started to feed. He closed his eyes and replayed the motionless moose. He had what he needed and what he came for.

The End.

-M. Taggart

 

 

 

 

Short – Last Night is Today?

I like life. I had beers while moving all of the storage unit items from the garage to the basement and bonus room above the garage. I’ve never had a garage. Not one of my own. It’s going to snow tomorrow and I think my truck wants to be inside. I’m not positive because the truck doesn’t actually speak, or think, but I do think it’s possible it would rather be inside.

I enjoyed standing in our garage while listening to the plow truck last night. I think he was drinking beer too. Now though, this very moment, I’m sitting in my office looking out of the window at a very grey-dusty looking morning sky. The storm has yet to start. I still don’t know what the plow truck was plowing.

My coffee is hot and smells exactly how I had hoped it would. All I will do now is finish typing these last few words and settle into the rest of something.

I hope your day treats you well,

-Matt

The Oak Leaf – A Short Story

The Oak Leaf
A Short Story – Fiction
Written by -M. Taggart

The Oak Leaf

The wind rushing through campus was strongest near the library. A pure wind tunnel powered by an unseen bottleneck. The October air was just turning crisp and the sun was out making the leaves look brilliant and full of life just before dropping for the winter season.

The UMASS campus was packed with energy as students walked to and from classes ranging from one end of campus to the other. Some students took buses, if the timing worked. Others chose to walk even if it made them a few minutes late. Besides an ugly look from a professor, what would it really matter. Nick wanted to write. He wanted to not go to class at all, but instead to drive through Sunderland and park under Mount Sugarloaf in South Deerfield, and walk up the steep trail with the views overlooking the Connecticut River, the Sunderland church steeple, and the UMASS campus. He wanted to write about students walking to class near the wind tunnel while sitting hundreds of feet above it all. He wanted to remember what the wind felt like on his face and do the best he could to write it as if he were still there with everyone.

Nick turned and started walking to his car. Class will be there in two more days, like it always is. Maybe then he’ll want to sit and listen and learn and not want to sit on the mountain and write. Hemingway was in his hand. The Sun Also Rises. He’d read it in High School and again after on his own. And now again in his literature course. He felt as though he not only knew the book well, but that he was somehow attached to the writing. It lived somewhere in him now and he liked knowing that to be true even if he couldn’t explain it. Nick walked quickly, nervous he might lose the feeling to write before he was able to. Then again, he thought, even if he did lose the feeling to write he’d need only to read a few pages of the book and it would come flooding back. It was always that way when he read Hemingway. As though Hemingway’s sentence structure soothed him into a different state of mind where everything flows properly when thinking about even a simple thing. Such as a leaf falling from an oak and taken by the wind to a place it had never been until it finally lands.

“Nick! Hey, you’re going the wrong way.”

Nick lost all train of thought. Her smile took everything.

“It’s this way to class and I want you to sit next to me. And if you go that way, you can’t sit next to me.”

Nick sat next to Emma in an auditorium filled with four-hundred students. Their professor was shifting papers getting ready to start the lecture centered on The Sun Also Rises. 

Some fifty feet above the grassy landing on top of Mount Sugarloaf waited a leaf on the branch of an oak tree. The leaf was securely fastened and not yet ready to drop. Soon though, it would be. Soon the tree would need resources to be used differently within its shell of life and the leaf would become more brittle, and less full of vibrant colors, yet ready to experience somewhere it had never been.

*****

The End.

Unless someone wants more. In that case it’ll be not the end.

 

Please, check out some of my published work:
https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/my-book/

And feel free to contact me:
https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/contact/

Cheers!

photo (75)

 

 

 

Odd Walking Thoughts

Clean writing feels like sleep. Eventually a reason to wake happens and we’re still thinking of the dream which hated us, or loved and still smell on our lips; not all dreams end when we’re awake as we pull them with us without permission into the daytime life we live, and around the mouths we currently know. Maybe it’s best to find the full moon and not sleep. Maybe it’s best to stand in the cold stream skipping rocks and counting, alone, guided by nothing but ringlets which all drift away from their center. Or, maybe it’s best to wake and write the best we can without hesitation.

-M. Taggart
copyright 2018

Paranoia’s Self Doubt is Truth – Short Story

Written by –M. Taggart
Paranoia’s Self Doubt is Truth
A short story: Fiction
12/19/18

 

“You don’t need to sit in here, you know. You can move the game outside.” Sandy said. “There’s that little table just on the other side of the window.”

The beer looked like it always did. She slid it to him on the bar. A light streak of whitish foam trailed the bottom of the pint glass.

“Do you want us to move outside?”

“I’m just saying you don’t need to stay in here.”

“I think I’m fine.”

A few of the men sitting at the bar were listening. They didn’t look at him directly, but he knew they were. He turned from the bar and walked to the chess game. Sunny was waiting for him. Ed sat at the end of the table acting as a referee of sorts. “He hasn’t moved a thing. I made sure of it.”

“I wouldn’t move a thing even if you weren’t here. You know I wouldn’t. I’m not a cheater. Are you saying I’m a cheat?” Sunny’s brow made sure Ed understood.

“I didn’t say that. I said you didn’t move a thing. Calm down.”

“I am calm. Maybe keep your nose out of this game.”

As Andi sat he thought he caught two men at the bar watching him. The men leaned in close to one another and shared a secret then glanced in their direction. “Go ahead and move.”

Sunny moved his knight into position to take his rook. “Think you’ll care about that being gone?”

“I’m not sure. Give me a minute and we’ll see. Do you know the two guys sitting at the right of the bar?”

“I know one of them.” Said Ed. “Comes in once and a while. Knows that guy you said you helped strip his roof.”

Andi squinted while looking down at the chess board. Knowing his next move, he waited, purposefully while the memory of the roof project streamed. It hadn’t gone well and ended badly.

“You gonna move?”

“Do you know him too?” Andi asked Sunny.

“Yea, I know him. You gonna move?”

Andi moved his queen into position to take Sunny’s knight if Sunny decided to take his rook.

“Why you worried about him? He’s not doing anything to you.”

“I didn’t say I was worried about him. Why’d you bother with that? I asked if you knew him.” The bar seemed to pull its walls closer to him. He looked at Sandy, she was looking directly at him. There was no missing it. She had been waiting for him to look. She nodded slightly toward the door. The two men had been watching Sandy and now turned to look at Andi and the chess game. One of the men slapped the bar and let out a cackle of laughter, “who fucking plays chess at a bar?”

“Your move.” Andi told Sunny. “You hear what one of them just said?”

“Hear what? A man laugh. So what. You think that’s something odd, Ed?”

“Nope. I don’t. I don’t see much in that at all.”

Sunny moved to take the rook. Andi immediately moved his queen to take the knight. “Your move.”

“I see that. Don’t you think I see that?”

“Maybe I don’t care.” Andi’s face was flat.

“What the hells a matter with you?”

“You know that job didn’t go well.”

“Well, he ain’t here, is he?”

“I disagree.”

“You’re paranoid.”

“Paranoia’s self doubt is truth.”

“What the fuck does that mean.” Sunny pushed the chess board at Andi, a few of the pieces fell over.” The men at the bar turned in their bar stools. One of them stood.

“You’re a bunch of fucking assholes.” Andi stood and flung his beer into Sunny’s face as the men rushed him.

********************************************

Contact: https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/contact/

Published Work: https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/my-book/