poem-

It hurt to try and open it.
So, I did what I’ve always done
and went to a pub to read a book.
Only this time, I was in the book.
The bar was full so I stood in the corner
and ordered a dark beer.
The noise from the many conversations
faded, as they always do when I read,
but when I touched the book it felt electric.
“Here I am,” I thought. “About to read my own story.”
But I couldn’t do it. I opened the book to page 62.
Hell, I even took a picture.
But I couldn’t read my short story.
I couldn’t even get beyond the second line.
I’m not sure why. I don’t know what happened.
I’ll most likely read all the others and never read mine.

-M. Taggart

 

book view

It should never matter

We walked into a whiskey distillery in Winchester, NH
Inside was nicer than expected
Wood floors. Wood beams. Wood bar.
I stood near the wall, didn’t take a stool.
I like standing. It’s freeing for my heart.
To my left was the actual distillery
Whiskey barrels with grudge marks smiled at me
The owner is an amazing man
He’s been around the world and back
And talked to me as though I mattered
When we were ready to pay he asked
me if we could put it all on one
I looked at him, unmoving
I said, “My donkey is currently at the top of the hill.
I’m not sure which way he will go.”
He said to my brothers, “How long has he been like this?”
I liked this man as soon as we had walked into his distillery.
We talked about football, and basketball
at extent with a man sitting to our right
As soon as he told us his player was Barry Sanders I told him about Curtis Martin
and I wasn’t able to stop my mouth
about Jayson Tatum and his talent
His footwork
His intelligence
We walked from
this place
with a step
loving life
even though
we were the only
white boys

-M. Taggart

 

Black Cat Syndrome – A Short Story

Black Cat Syndrome
Fiction
Written by Matt Taggart

Black Cat Syndrome

 

It was late afternoon. The pub was busy. They had taken the last two seats. He sat with his elbow touching the wall. Pete was being crowded by an overweight man.

“Ever heard of the black cat syndrome?”

“No.”

“I was walking with Erin. Remember her? She was a good person. I wasn’t ready. Anyway, we were walking on the dirt road that splits the cornfield.”

Pete leaned closer to Eric. Not to hear him better, but because the overweight man laughed heavily and rolled his head back and crowded Pete even more.

The pub burst with noise as a new group of happy hour sympathizers opened the door and searched for their area of comfort. Eric noticed how everyone’s body language changed the moment new arrivals entered their space. He pressed closer to the wall. The wall wouldn’t change.

“Go on. I’m listening.” Pete said.

“We were walking toward the river. You could just make out the cliff face of Sugarloaf. I remember wanting to see how high the river was. As I looked toward the river a black cat walked out from the corn. It crossed the dirt road in front of us, and went back into the corn on the other side. I said to Erin, ‘You see the black cat?’ She smiled and nodded her head.”

Pete lurched in his chair. A portion of beer leaped from his pint glass and landed on his boots. Pete’s lips thinned as his head tilted. “Mother fucker” Pete murmured. The overweight man’s forearm had over taken Pete’s bar space.

“I’m sorry about that. I saw. I’ll get you another beer.” The bartender said.

“I’m fine. I have half left.”

“I’m still going to get you another beer. Be as fine as you want.” She smiled while walking back toward the taps.

“You’re always doing that. I see what you’re doing. You’re studying everyone.” Pete said.

“I don’t mean to. It just happens.” Even now Eric was looking passed Pete. The bar was dark oak. Half the patrons had food. Everyone had beer. Not one person had a whiskey. Someone needed to order a whiskey. It wasn’t right to not have a whiskey on this bar. A pub employee placed a hot plate of onion rings in front of a man. He could barely make out the scent of a woman’s perfume as the smell of onion rings filled the crowded air. And now the bartender was coming back with Pete’s beer, already smiling. The conversations filling the bar room were constant. Creating a noise with peaks and valleys, but it wasn’t random. It had somehow been designed with purpose.

“What the hell do you see?”

“I don’t know. Nothing really.”

“Here’s your beer, hun.” She smiled not the kind of smile demanding a good tip. And she lingered. Pete wasn’t very handsome. He was rugged, beautifully rustic, and sincere.

“Can I have a whiskey? Actually, a Manhattan. Not in a foo-foo glass either. I want it in a rocks glass. And I want the dirty rocks in another rocks glass, please.” Eric asked the bartender.

“You can, and will.” She didn’t look at him. She was watching Pete. Pete hadn’t noticed.

“Are you lost in the story?” asked Pete.

“Nope. So, we walked through the corn field, through the cemetery, and then to the river bank. The river wasn’t high. I thought it would be, but the storm didn’t bring it up hardly at all. I’m standing on the river bank, with Erin, and we’re taking in the view of the cliff face. For some reason I think of that damn black cat. I ask Erin, ‘Wasn’t it odd to see that cat walk out of the corn?’ I had thought it was odd because of its age. It was a young cat. Not a kitten, but not much older than one. And the farm was a long way off.” Eric said while watching the bartender make his drink. He wanted to see if she would spin the long spoon in the alcohol or shake it in a shaker. If she shook it, the drink would be spoiled. If it was spoiled he’d need to order a second Manhattan or else he wouldn’t let himself be comfortable. And the oak bar still wouldn’t be right.

“So that’s it. You saw a black cat on a walk?”

“No. It wasn’t that. It was Erin’s answer. She said, “What black cat? There wasn’t any black cat.”

“Why the hell would she say that? She just saw it with you. You said she nodded her head.”

“I don’t know. That’s why it’s the black cat syndrome. I’ve seen it everywhere since that moment. People have their eyes open and see about a third of what’s happening around them. Maybe less. I said to Erin, ‘You’re joking. You just saw the cat minutes ago. It crossed the road in front of us.’ But my flaw was that I was now talking with passion. Erin says, ‘Why are you yelling at me. There was no cat. Who cares anyways? Why do you always have to be like this?’ and now Erin’s upset and we’re on a brink of an argument and I can’t let it go because there WAS a black cat. If there weren’t a black cat I wouldn’t be passionate and it’s not even about the damn cat. It’s about her having seen it without locking it away as fact. And now I’m passionately digging through her mind to uncover this for her and it never works. It just never works.”

The bartender placed his Manhattan on the oak bar. He was afraid to taste it. “Why are you so fired up? You’re yelling.” she asked.

He wasn’t yelling, but that hardly mattered. “You’re right. I was remembering a time when someone wasn’t able to handle truth. And that pisses me off.”

“He’s not normal. He’ll talk to you, but he’s here and somewhere else too. Don’t mind him.” Pete said to the bartender.

Eric nodded in agreement. He slowly lifted the rocks glass filled with Manhattan. He brought the drink to his nose, smelled the tempting aroma of whiskey mixed with sweet vermouth, and tilted the glass. He wouldn’t need to order another. Unless he wanted to.

“You make a good drink. It’s exacting.” Eric said to the bartender. “Pete, take out your cell phone. You’re going to have her number.”

Pete had known Eric since childhood. He opened his new-contact screen in his cell and placed it on the bar.

She took Pete’s phone, entered her name, then number. She said nothing. She attempted a smile. She looked at Eric with something resembling anger. Beneath that was truth and that was all that mattered.

 

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https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/m-taggart/

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Brother

My brother called a month ago to ask if I’d like to be his best man. This will be the fourth time I will be the best man in a wedding. I’m not sure how this keeps happening.

My younger brother has always been my soft spot. He was my saving grace.

He asked if I would do an old-fashioned best man’s speech.

He said, “With how you are with your words I’d like to hear what you have to say. Just please include the memory when I threw the rock through your window at 3 AM because I locked my keys inside.” He was outside drunk. Alone. Happy.

While my brother was talking about the wedding I tried to stay in the moment. I’ll admit I did drift.

With everything that’s happened in the past few months, including nearly losing my wife due to an internal rupture, and internal bleeding, I drifted. I started to imagine myself at my brother’s wedding. Me going into the old systematic fold that I’ve always used when I’m around many people. No one knows. People will tell me it’s great to see me and I’ll think something along the lines of, ‘We gain too much knowledge and we die.’ I’ll shake their hand and observe how much time I think they might have left. Some people seem to have a harder time absorbing knowledge than others. They’ll ask me a direct question and I’ll answer them very quickly. And we’ll head to the bar.

-M. Taggart

Cheers

 

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

Smile – It’s a good day

‘Great ideas come and go. Execution hardly happens.’
-M. Taggart

I’ve spoken these words thousands of times. At one point I taped the quote on my computer. Forcing myself to take the book I was writing seriously. To ensure I wouldn’t fowl my intention. I did finish the book. And since that time I’ve written two additional books. I know one of them is not good. I also know the other is very good. However, I’m learning it doesn’t fit the current market.

I’m now on chapter five of a new project. And yesterday morning I pushed myself to again submit a batch of poems to a publication. The only shame would be if I hadn’t. I cannot be that man who says and never does. I cannot. I will not.

Finish your chapter. Finish your poem. Let it live. Once you’ve found completion you can relax. Submit your work. And submit it again. The feeling of rejection is art.

If interested, below is a link to the only book of mine that’s available online.

 

 

Or you can visit this-
https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/category/dont-be-a-sally-based-on-true-events/

Thanks for reading,

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.