poem

Drank too much
and didn’t sleep
two nights in a row
I’ve had raging
heartburn all day
can’t get rid of it
Spent two hours on the treadmill
only thing to keep my mind off it
Self made torture
When am I going to listen to my body
I can be a real stupid S.O.B.

-M. Taggart

Poem

I haven’t seen him since 2016
This is us

Wrote a story about him
He’s in the middle
I’m on the right
Phil is on the left

Love the man
He always said
We got to try everything once

That was then
I wonder about that now

 

 

this is us

Screaming Hills – A published Story

This is the first chapter of Screaming Hills. An additional 4,000 words (along with this of course) is published with Z Publishing House. Enjoy the read!
Written by -M. Taggart
Fiction

Screaming Hills

“What can burn your thoughts, can burn your soul.” Nick tossed a rock over the edge of the cliff. He listened carefully as the rock hit the side of the cliff face. He didn’t hear it land at the bottom.

“What the hell does that mean? You should write that down.” Rick stepped on his cigarette.  Smoke spilled from his nostrils as he spoke.

“It means whatever you’d like for it to mean. Have you ever noticed how people are in this town? Not all, but most. The depressed expressions with sunken eyes and an edge of hostility in their walk?” Nick opened his arms wide with his palms up. They stood at the top of Indian’s Leap, the town overlook. One side consisted of the entire view of their home town, The Falls. The other side was a view of their High School rivals, Little-Vegas, as they liked to call it. “It’s as if they’ve given up.”

It was noon. The sun was too hot to not be under shade. Rick knew the heat of the sun wouldn’t keep Nick from standing in this one spot for the next hour. Sweat would soak both of them and their shirts would stick to their backs and he knew Nick wouldn’t move. He’d stand there and look at the town.

“I guess. Maybe I’m one of them. I don’t know. There’s not much money in either of these towns. The paper mills went under years ago and now they sit and rot. What’s to be happy about?”

“Isn’t that just it though?” Nick smiled.

“Don’t go on one of your rants. Come on, let’s get down and find a place out of the sun.”

“It’s funny. When I’m asked a question, I expect that I’m expected to answer the question. You asked. Now I answer. How about the corn fields. How about the next strong thunder storm, or the wind that comes with it, or the rain that drenches the fields which creates the corn. All this corn throughout this valley and the sweet smell it spreads and no one can find a reason to love this? No one but maybe the farmer? But! We know the farmers’ kids, and they are dealing, and walk with their sunken eyes and spread nothing but filth and hate along with a deadly addiction. So the happiness stopped with the farmer who created the sweet smelling corn and begs the skies to open and dump beauty on his fields; only to be crushed to a stop by his off springs’ inability to accept happiness. Does that sum it nicely for you?”

Rick lit another cigarette, inhaled fully, and again smoke vacated through his nostrils. “You won’t be here much longer will you?”

“I’ll stand here longer. But no, I will not stay in this town. I argue with myself. I’d like to stay and conquer my back yard. I’ve read and heard how important it is to do this before leaving. Otherwise you chase what you had failed to accomplish. But, I doubt this is true because if it were than no one would ever be anywhere without having failed first. I also think most of the people who say this only say it to sound as though they’ve put true thought into the statement. And from what I see, people are full of shit. I want to develop as a person and I’m sure I’ll stunt my development if I don’t leave. I want to walk in a town that lives on hope and feel what that might taste like. Do you see?”

“I get it. You asked me a question. I need to answer. But you asked if I see. Yes, I see, but I don’t understand. How can you feel what hope might taste like?”

“I only said that to be sure you were listening. Actually, it’s like this; what if hope was chicken soup made from scratch served at a restaurant that was loved by the town. What if the chef was a grandmother who had ten grandchildren and those grandchildren stopped in from time to time to have the chicken soup. What if the grandchildren loved their grandmother so much they hoped she might live until she was one hundred and twenty and what if each time they stepped into the restaurant they said a prayer asking for just that. And then, they order the chicken soup.”

Nick’s face was tense. Rick knew it wasn’t easy for Nick. How Nick expressed himself with words was a fraction of what Nick felt inside. He’d seen Nick turn to the Nick that the others talked about. Feared. “You know, this time, I think I do understand. And yes, I’d order that soup. And I’d taste hope. I get it.”

“Then why can’t the people of this town get that corn is their fucking chicken soup. They are blessed with the most fertile valley in all of New England. The fucking river rushed over its fucking edges so many times in the past that it’s literally farmland handed to them by God and they don’t see it. They don’t get it. They smash their bodies with heroin and coke and whatever other drugs they can get. And they fall into what they consider normal for any small town with its mills gone. And they die. They all fucking die.”

Rick watched as Nick’s face transformed from tense to focused and angry and relaxed again. The sun was still too hot. And their shirts were now sticking to them. But he’d stand right here with Nick and the both of them wouldn’t be going anywhere, just yet.

***

Here’s the Amazon link if you’d like to read the rest.

https://www.amazon.com/Americas-Emerging-Literary-Fiction-Writers/dp/1097684032/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Emerging+literary+writers+Northeast+region+z+publishing+house&qid=1568726600&s=gateway&sr=8-1

And here’s a wonderful testimonial:
“This a fantastic short story collection of current emerging writers. Lots of great, varied stories. Matt Taggart is the reason that I bought this and his small town, mystical nuanced story is excellent! Matt is a fantastic writer and poet with a fantastic blog on word press. I highly recommend you check out his writing in any format.”

Have the best day possible,

Matt

 

Odd Walking Thoughts

And mud walks on. We smear our hands to feel. Isn’t it nice to know. He tilts the bottle one more time until empty. When I tell an addict they’ll be OK they say, “I know.” We walk toward death with an even pace. I ask, “Does it bother you much?”

-M. Taggart

It’s just a dream

I had a very disturbing dream last night. I was unable to fall back to sleep. Instead I looked at the bedroom door, wondered what might be on the other side, and for the first time that I can remember I thought of Hell as an actual fact.

To the best of my daytime memory it went like this:

I was jogging in the inside of the circumference of a tennis court. The tennis court had a gate made of wood built around the entirety of it. The wood planks stopped roughly two feet from the ground. I noticed two homeless men sleeping under the two foot gap. They both wore blue jeans. Their faces were haggard. The men appeared to be sleeping off a large affliction of some kind.

I jogged to the exit of the tennis court where a third homeless man awoke as I came near. His eyes had dark circles under them. He meant to speak to me, but I jogged passed him and down the hill to the building below. I entered the building. The building resembled an old YMCA and was empty. I stood near the entrance desk. The form of a man I knew appeared, squatting, with his back against the wall on the other side of the desk.

“Hello, Matt.”

He looked healthy. He looked good.

I don’t remember everything he said. I wish I did. I asked him about the three homeless men. He told me they are stuck in a cycle and that they will be stuck. The three men were him, but not him. This was a healthy him.

The dream fluttered and I found myself outside of the YMCA look-a-like building with the man’s son. My best friend.

“I just saw your father.”

“What?”

“I saw your father’s ghost.”

His smiled. “Show me where.”

I took him into the building and showed him exactly where his father had been squatting against the wall. The dream developed into the oddity of being that it is, his father reappeared with a bit of a halo. Now though, he was standing, and his eyes shown a deep imprinted knowing.

“There he is.” I nodded my head toward his father’s ghost.

“Where? I don’t see him?”

“He’s standing right there looking at you.”

Scott was speaking, I can’t recall what he was saying.

“Why can’t I see him?”

Scott replied to both of us, “Because he’s still dead.” Only I heard.

“What did you say, Scott?” He replied. I can’t remember what he said. I wanted to know how I was dead. Scott then shook my hand and said something similar to, “I’m going now.” He then turned toward the wall and opened an unseen door. As though it was a portion of time, or fabric of time, itself.

I thought I might see the entrance to heaven. Scott stepped inside the most pitch black tunnel heading steeply downward that I’ve ever seen, dream or otherwise. He was gone.

 

-M. Taggart

 

 

 

Ups and Downs of Alcohol Abuse

I know how difficult it can be to battle internal demons. I know what it’s like to lose someone to those demons. Many of us do. I wrote Don’t Be a Sally to show my cousin that I saw greatness in him. Even during the worst of his moments. I know what it feels like to be locked in a cell, both mentally, and physically. I wrote this for him. Not against him.

I took an honest approach to the good, bad, and ugly of alcohol abuse. Please give this story a chance. Don’t turn away because of the descriptive first chapter. If you have a family member, or friend, who’s battling with substance abuse, read this, have them read it. It may help. It may not. It’s helped a few, so maybe, it’ll help a few more.

There’s a happy ending.

To read an snippet of chapter one, click the below link.

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

To jump to amazon and read reviews, click the below link. (This link will not make it to my email followers. It’ll be filtered out. You’ll need to login to view the link.)

 

Thanks for reading.

Matt

 

Happy Ending

My cousin has been in my thoughts lately. For things I’m unable to discuss, or write about, for the time being. Twice last week friends from home called me. Twice they pulled over and let my cousin use their phones to call me. They’d found him walking down random roads.

If all anyone hears is the negative said about them, we as humans, often fall into what those negatives are. Rather than focusing on what’s great about them. I prefer to focus on what’s great about someone. In this story I wrote about the good, the bad, the raw. The truth. This story is not PC. I do not write PC.

Grab a whisky, or wine, or a bottle of cold beer. Or room temperature porter, if you so enjoy a room temperature porter. I know I do. Open said drink(s) and take a little read.

Cheers,

I took the picture for this. I stood on the top of Mount Sugarloaf in Sunderkand, MA. Thanks for reading. I’m finally becoming more comfortable with commenting back and forth with a few of you. Thank you for that. It’s certainly not because of me.

Matt

A Poem – to visit this place

a whiskey-sour waits with strong patience-
the wood floor, covered with booted footprints, didn’t ask permission to be
and the patrons themselves loved both the old floor and their friendly whiskey

forget calculated questions, they never matter much anyway, ask truly how the day went
and listen.
listen with bent heads and shaking of the hands for another day to break

it’s worth the while to visit this place
soon the whiskey-sour is empty and another is needed
want has nothing to do with it
and now the door opens itself to greet with the rest

elevated laughter sounds off,
a man is hitting at his leg, he is wearing blue jeans, dust explodes
his eyes are smiling- he stops at the hitting of his leg to finds his bottle of beer
the bottle is small in his hand

outside is becoming dark, though not dark enough
drinks are given and received while men and women trade secrets
the floor listens to them all, and collects each with normal curiosity

the whiskey-sour, no longer needs to be patient
tonight the chorus of life drinks heartily and happily
without hesitation, for hesitation breeds inability to act,
and to not act would be to not visit this place

-M. Taggart
copyright 2017

 

Hemingway. A small piece.

‘Now he would never write the things that he had saved to write until he knew enough to write them well. Well, he would not have to fail at trying to write them either. Maybe you could never write them, and that was why you put them off and delayed the starting.’ -Hemingway, ‘The Snow Of Kilimanjaro’

A brilliant short story written by my favorite author. Notice his use of words and non commas when many would argue a comma was needed. I would debate that the commas not used were by design and the flow of the sentence as Hemingway saw it in his mind is much more important than where a comma ought to have been placed. The first line is a good example of what I’m typing about. Imagine a comma after ‘Now’ the entire sentence would stall. In my opinion he wanted the reader to keep pace, or to speed up.

And further, what Hemingway is writing about is truth. All of us writing currently, or whom have stopped writing, know exactly what Hemingway is talking about. For Hemingway to sum it up in one fucking sentence is why I honor the man. There is only one Hemingway and there can never be another.

I appreciate any and all of you who have continued to read my work.

Read on. It’s good for the brain.

A Brutal Thought – Fiction, Short Story.

Fiction- A Brutal Thought
Written by -M. Taggart
copyright 2017

A Brutal Thought

‘Did you see that? He’s on the back deck. He leaned over the railing and puked blood. It was all over his t-shirt too.’ Mona said. ‘I’m serious.’

They drove further and she no longer could see the man standing on the deck. ‘Should we go back? Or call someone?’

‘Call who? He did it to himself. All that booze he drinks.’ Eric said.

‘Even if he is a drunk he might be a good person.’ Mona said.

‘All he does is sit inside. Each day. He does nothing. I don’t know what kind of man does that. Rachel says he stands in front of his windows early in the morning, naked with the lights on, hoping someone sees him. Fuck that guy. I hope he pukes blood. I hope he kills himself.’ Eric said.

**

Pete leaned away from the window. He could hear a car coming. He lived on a dead end street. He was working with his shirt off. He was writing a marketing campaign and he’d just finished the first draft. He liked to work near the window. When his eyes became irritated from the screen he’d look from the screen to the woods and back again. Making his pupils adjust. Then he’d blink rapidly.

A neighbor once drove by and looked into the window of his office just as he stood from his desk. It was 5 am and dark outside. His office light had been on. Just as he stood, his neighbor, Rachel, drove by his office window. He wore only briefs. On that morning he couldn’t sleep. He’d been up late testing a new product and wanted to finish the process.

The car passing by was Joe. Joe wouldn’t care if his shirt was on or off. Joe knew he worked his ass off. Joe had once asked what he did for employment. He liked when someone asked. He felt to assume was a human condition making the race less intelligent on a daily schedule. When Joe had asked, he’d taken his phone out of his pocket and showed him exactly what he did. ‘You think of that shit?’ asked Joe. ‘Yup. I do.’ Joe drove through and gave a quick honk. He could see Joe’s hand waving over the roof of his car.

It was late afternoon. There was a breeze that moved the leaves around nicely and there were huge puffy clouds to look at. He wanted to be outside. He wanted to celebrate his new client and to cheers the afternoon sun. Every day he promised himself to find something to celebrate. A new idea, a good conversation, a line from Hemingway that shredded his being to the core; or for being alive and watching a cloud formation float overhead knowing it’d never been seen before and will never be seen again. He tossed a white t-shirt on and walked to the kitchen to begin his transition from work, to life on the deck with a beer and a book.

The beer was very dark. It was nearly thick. It was a strong porter. He poured the porter quickly into a frosted mug that had been in the freezer. The head was an inch thick. Watching the foam shrink and lower he poured the remaining beer from the bottle to his mug. The deck and the sun begged him to join them. Though of course wood and sunshine can’t speak, not normally. But they do, in fact, they do. Especially if you’re able to listen, he thought.

He pulled the sliding glass door open and stepped onto the deck. The beer sloshed and foamed up. He had tripped slightly and now wore a bit of beer on his t-shirt. ‘Adds to the moment’, he thought. He took a pull of beer, which was mostly foam, and leaned over the deck railing to spit it out. He noticed Eric and Mona’s vehicle passing by. Mona’s eyes flashed in his direction. He wanted to wave, but they were gone too quickly. He hoped they’d had a nice day.

**

Interested in reading another?