Poem

I can’t write you into emotion and leave.

I went bald while in college.

That’s why I have a hat, I learned how
to wear it in Turners Falls

Tough people there
tough kids with bats

I was told my forehead was too big.
Wore my hat.

Backward.
Been in a few fights over that.
Sometimes I win.

Bars look funny when you’re on the inside.

It was a girl btw
who told me my forehead was too big

It’s easy to feel ugly.

-M. Taggart

-M. Taggart’s Odd Walking Thoughts – I’m somewhere in between.

Held back massively in 2020. Be prepared. I plan to post as often as I feel on this blog in 2021. However, and whenever I like. I posted 120 less times in 2020 than in 2019. This blog is the reason I’ve been published. This blog was, and is, my outlet. This blog helps carry my soul on stairs most wouldn’t care to walk on. Had a baseball bat swung at my head through my car window, glass everywhere, spit it out onto the pavement; watched the largest moon I’ve ever seen near a wide and deep river, where years before, Hell was shown to me, in front of accidental viewers: how can anyone steep in such lowness and enjoy their lust. Maybe a walk down memory lane will help clear the view. Maybe I’ll drive to the very spot, drag a few with me, and see what’s to see. The moon walks on land when we let it. Saw a dark sky asking for a view the other night.

-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

 

the last chair

To break the world. Sit on your ass some more and tell the world how to be. Spit on a man’s future the day he steps out of jail. People look for death when told to. And the music still fucking goes on. And when you fucking die you’re just as dead as all of them and none of them knew you and none of them ever cared to know you. So just sit on that fucking chair and spew your greatness.

-M. Taggart

Odd Walking Thoughts

We remember you speaking. The yard wasn’t green. The Sun wasn’t yet too large. We wanted to imply nicely that your words weren’t much. We’d seen your last step. So our look, is a look, and a word isn’t said. Now, let us tell you, the sun did go down. We found ourselves a book. In the book were the words you’d been looking for.

-M. Taggart

copyright 2017

Odd Walking Thoughts

How long does one hang before each drop of good is drawn? Let us disinvite.  Can we trust hope. A small ice cube slides at the bottom of your glass. It slid because you tilted. Can you ever tilt the same? It’s no matter. The ice has melted more and it can never be repeated. And isn’t that greatness.

Odd Walking Thoughts

Drink the wine little boy. Drink it. Look at the lines, little boy. The box fills you well. Have you run along the walls? Have you opened the front door? A man walks toward you. Climb the curtain. He wants a question from you. The man. With the purple. We can’t tell about the purple because it’ll give it all away. A boy finds a marble. The marble is clear with a stripe. The boy asks the marble, ‘What color is this stripe. I can’t see colors.’ The marble replies, ‘Watch me roll. Watch me spit into your mouth the color I choose while you scream for help. You’ll do nothing.’

copyright 2017 -M. Taggart

The Noble Seagull – Flash Fiction

Written by M. Taggart

Fiction:  This short story is much about unconscious societal behavior.

Copyright 2015 by Matt Taggart, aka -M. Taggart

The Noble Seagull

The sand was hottest when his feet left the shelter of his beach towel.  He placed his toes in the sand to feel its sting.  The sun was high and bruising.  His mother had lathered him with sunscreen lotion.  He smelled like a hospital room.  His mother was sitting in a beach chair next to him.  She was on her phone talking to her sister.  Her voice arched upward when needing to alert her sister just how much she understood.

He watched a grey and white seagull walk toward a bag of chips not far from him.  The bag was left open by a family that had gone to swim and be in the waves.  The seagull had a large puffed-out chest and dark flecks of color around its eyes.  It was a large bird.  He liked the bird and noticed the size of its webbed feet.  Its feet look very sure of each step even if its eyes did not.  He wanted to ask his mother what seagull feet were called but she was still on the phone.

Now other seagulls were flying overhead and squawking at the one below.  He watched as they circled and then dove down.  His bird flapped its wings at the approaching competition.  It was as though he were watching a dance.  Though, he knew this dance wasn’t an ordinary dance.  If the family came back, they’d surely chase the seagull away and he wouldn’t eat the chips.  If another bird pushed him away then his bird would need to find another bag and start the process over.  Just now his bird strained his neck and opened his large wings while he pulled a number of chips from the bag.  The seagull snapped at the chips and they were quickly gone.  Its darting eyes now found a number of his brethren had landed near him and were coming closer with agitated motions.

The boy looked from the mass of seagulls surrounding the bag of chips to other families lying on spread out blankets and beach chairs.  Each family had brought food.  Some of the food was kept cool in plastic coolers with ice in them.  Others brought food in plastic bags that didn’t need to be cooled.  Near the sand dunes were overflowing metal trash barrels.  Seagulls were pulling at the plastic bags to break rotting food loose.  People ran and jumped into the ocean and smiled while splashing one another.  Fathers asked daughters to come out deeper where the big waves were.  Mothers dared their sons to pick up seaweed and wear it on their heads.  The seagulls walked and flew in between them all.

His seagull flapped its wings and charged another while squawking then dashed quickly back and clasped the end of the bag then lifted; each remaining chip now lay in the sand.  A great chorus of squealing birds erupted.  The boy thought he read sadness in the bird’s eyes. A strong sea wind flipped a number of the noble seagull’s feathers backward.  The onslaught was too much for any one bird to defend.  He snatched a few large chips and took flight.  He watched the seagull soar into the air and wanted to know where it would go.  He thought the bird flew with dignity and he hoped he would live a long life and not become too cold during winter.   The bird flew near the overflowing metal trash barrels and then over the top of the wooden steps leading to the beach bathrooms and then was gone.

A thrashing took place over the upturned bag of chips.  Only a few oily crumbs were left in the sand.  The birds fought over the empty bag.

‘Get out of here!  Nasty sky-rats!’ his mother shouted.  She held her phone away as not to yell loudly in her sister’s ear.  ‘Honey, those are nasty birds.  They are scum.  Get up and chase them away.’ His mother went back to talking with her sister.  She hadn’t known he made a new friend.  She didn’t realize he thought his bird was noble and walked with sure steps.  He didn’t ask what the seagulls webbed feet were called.

 

(Note: I’m considering a second chapter.  Feedback would be appreciated.)

If you enjoyed this short story you might also enjoy my self published short story found via the link below.