And the Rain Came

And he had stayed while the rain came down; he had stayed while she sat alone, only a blanket provided comfort, and he looking out the window at the rain thinking about how he might need to leave or to maybe not be in the same place as her, anymore, and the rain came and nothing mattered about any of it other than the thinking of what to do and the thinking of what to do meant something needed to be done.

-M. Taggart

Walk to work #flash fiction

Walk to Work
Written by -M. Taggart

They said it was going to be grey. They said to wear a coat in the morning. I thought of my coat after not wearing it. A bit like I thought about how my feet moved forward on the concrete. Sometimes a foot would move just over an old piece of something, like gum, and then the other foot would fix the system by stepping on the next one. Of course this would be done in reverse to correct it all. A boy on a bike rode passed me. He didn’t look at me. I tried; maybe it was me. I quickened my step and stopped looking at how my feet made progress on cement, instead I found levity in the bridge ahead. Underneath was a smooth rolling river. If I closed my eyes and listened well enough I could hear the smallest of gurgling. It was nice to hear.

-M. Taggart

photo taken 3/3/21

And Said… #Poem

It was a stone
like any other stone
except it had a mouth
and spoke
of pine needles
and quantum therapy
and about how a few
fingers could cross the world
if only for eyes
to see
and a heart
to feel
It told about how the heavens
rained down so hard that the
stone’s eyes were worn away
and while it admitted it never
had fingers, it felt it nearly
could have while sadly
its soul drifted away, quickly even,
then slowly as the rain lessened
Eventually the stone lay still
with a bit of sun and less self
and more thoughts with less sight
until it was found by a frog
hopping around laughter
lit by courage
and carried by a young girl
wearing a yellow hat
She dabbed the stone with
a dry towel and said

-M. Taggart

Cheers #poem

“And no alchohol for twenty four hours before your surgery.”

I’m pretty sure she’s a grandmother

Sounds like a good one

She should know we don’t listen

I wrote with a blue pen
the drop off and pick up
time

Provided I wake up

“Matt! Stop messing with me.
What time is your surgery!”

I walked away
deflated

It was a good story
if she hadn’t rushed it

I’ll be dropped off

They’ll cut into me

And I’ll walk out
into this Covid World

It’s time for another beer
I have surgery tomorrow

-M. Taggart

Odd Walking Thoughts

‘You can force calm in the eyes of hatred, if you’ve been there before.’ He stomped through the mud, listening to the moist sounds, his boots covered in layers of love. “And what’s the about?” asked the tree with the misshaped mouth. ‘Nothing.’ “And why were you there?” ‘I don’t know, but I’m ready for when I am again,’ and the stomping continued and the mud said nothing.

-M. Taggart

A cold, sweet, thing.

Kindness isn’t something hard to remember.

It was cold on the lake.
All the children wore layers and thick hats,
the kind that make it hard to really see them,
and when a flag sprung, everyone said,
“Flag!” And pointed.

The layered children ran toward the flag.
Ice fishing in Maine has a way of making
children, and all people, stay outside.

Two fish were freezing to death in the snow.
They had been brought topside a few minutes earlier.
“Are they dead?” He asked. A curious four-year-old.

“Not yet. But soon.”

“Why are they dead?”

“Because they are freezing and belong in the water.”

“But, why are they dead?”

“Because we caught them and brought them up here.”

“Can I touch them?”

“Yes.”

“Hi, fish. Hi, fish.”
The boy stroked the dying fish with his gloved hand.

-M. Taggart

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

 

Poem-

I like my morning.
It’s crisp with a rawness from the approaching storm.
Sleet, ice, some snow and rain
are in the mix for the next 24 hours. So they say.
I watched, as Megan walked Gavin down our driveway
to wait for his bus. If the storm is bad in the afternoon,
we’ll jump in the truck and pick Gavin up at his school.
I like to do that for the bus driver on bad weather days.
We live on the side of a mountain and the road is steep.
Megan has the day off.
I don’t know what we’ll do today, but clearly, I’m already
ignoring ‘work’ and writing about simple things instead.
I like simple things. Maybe we’ll go to the movies, a simple
and random thing to do on a Monday.
And maybe we’ll go for a drive on a dirt road and listen
to the sound of the sleet as it pangs off the windshield.
Maybe I’ll take a photo to share, something rustic and wild.
That’s the thing about being a self taught writer/poet-
It’s All poetry to me. The waiting for the bus, the watching
out the window, noticing a slight breeze, the thinking of what to do,
the enjoyment of the matrix of life. It’s all right there,
in front of me, waiting to be seen.

-M. Taggart

poem – leftovers

In town is a bench viewing a man chewing his brain,
with little resources to find his thoughts; the bench cared nothing
for the perfectly structured oak tree whimpering in the chilly wind,
instead the bench wished to be ripped from its foundation and
connected to the man with the unruly thoughts. There at least
might live something, even if not holy in nature, possibly there
was hope. The man teetered, then steadied himself by grasping
the oak tree, “Aren’t you the friend I need,” the man said while
grinding his teeth and gazing upward and through the leftover
leaves.

-M. Taggart

 

Stutter Step

I’m cleaning the house.
We have a visitor arriving tomorrow.

It seems every time I start, I stop,
as though I’m going through a metamorphosis
and I’m suppose to know to step back and watch.
Instead I’m forcing my way through the steps
of productivity for the sake of finishing, something.

Earlier at the dump I told the men that my kid
was going to be jealous that I was there without him.
One of them told me how much he liked Gavin and
that he’s a real nice kid.

The man has a stutter. Gavin doesn’t care. He waits
for the man to deliver his words, thinks about an answer,
and does. Then Gavin generally shows him whatever toy
it is that he brought along for the dump run.
It’s nice being at the dump.

Maybe I’m done. Maybe the dump run was enough.
I’ll just lie on the floor and watch the empty ceiling until
something happens.

Or maybe I’ll have an early beer and clean the toilets,
scrub the sink, put on some music, and finish this house
while ignoring contentedness trying to confuse itself as failure.

I think the sun’s coming out

-M. Taggart