A Real Man

Real men drink whiskey and beer
They get on their hands and knees and
clean the toilet because it needs to be cleaned
just after changing their baby’s shit diaper
while cooing with love and watching
their child’s eyes light up
Real men sit in pubs reading Hemingway
They salute the old brilliant fool by smashing
a shot because they wanted too and because they just did
They come home and stay home for weeks because
they want nothing more than to be with their family
Real men wake up early to make breakfast for their wives
They find the fluffy Maine Coon cat that isn’t allowed to sleep
in the bedroom, and walk as silently as possible as not to wake
their sleeping beauty- place Mr. Fully cat just so, and leave the
room wearing a smile. Check on the baby, race downstairs,
start the coffee, place the eggs on the counter near the stove
along with the English muffins, one package of bacon, butter, And
a can of beer. Because drinking a can of beer while making an
early breakfast before the family is up is fucking amazing.
There is no such thing as a real man. There’s only one thing a man
can be and that’s himself. And when he does that well, he’s able
to love the ones around him fully, wholeheartedly, and life will be good.

-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/

Contact
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odd walking thoughts – the thinking of it

A grizzled man sits at a pub. His beer is warm. He watches a man standing near him. He wants to know why a man would stand at a bar. You sit, he thinks, and you misery yourself. The man standing notices he is being observed. He says, ‘How’s your night going?’ The sitting man tries to speak but his throat was yet to be unclogged with the mucus built at the back of the tongue. Instead of a reply he nodded silently. ‘Your beer is almost gone. Want another?’ The sitting man pushed away anger at the thought of a free beer from a man who would stand at at bar. Finally, mucus gone below, he speaks this, ‘Why are you standing at a bar. Why not sit, relax?’ The standing man replied, ‘I was sitting. I thought about standing. Up I stood, so I would be done with the thinking of it. Just as I did when I asked how your night was. And then to offer another round. So when you take your first taste, I’ll be walking out the door, having left you behind.’

**
-M. Taggart

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 Raw, Heartfelt Short Story

From time to time I’ll mention a short story I wrote for my cousin, Adam. He was in a tough situation and the only item left for me to give was to write. And I did. I wrote from the heart. He read the story and loved it.

An excerpt, Chapter 1

His heart pounded in his chest and his ears rang. He was in hell. He was sure of it. This moment; with this feeling of sickness, and pure hatred for what he felt, was hell. Welcome to hell.

No vomit came from his stomach. No vomit came from his throat and no vomit came from his mouth. His mid-section wretched up and down looking like an October cat in a filthy dance. Up and down his body rose and nothing came out. Yet he smelled his own vomit lingering all about him. Again, he rose up, and again he produced nothing. Beads of sweat were on his forehead and it wasn’t long before they fell onto the surface of the tub. He lurched heavily downward with a massive cough and something came up. Something vile and red landed onto the tub’s floor. Black. He saw nothing but black as he slowly faded and fainted again.

-Below are links to the amazon and Barnes&Noble website pages where you can download the short story.  There’s a dog, mud, a river, and graphic situations such as the above excerpt.

Thanks for visiting. I invite you to read the reviews.  Cheers.

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Be-Sally-Based-Events-ebook/dp/B00DYAJ2ZW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433349895&sr=8-1&keywords=don%27t+be+a+sally

Barnes&Noble link-

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dont-be-a-sally-matthew-taggart/1116001656?ean=9781483503097

New England – More Than a Region

New England bands culture with devotion. Where the four seasons are to be experienced and enjoyed, not endured. -M. Taggart

IMG_0044 (1)
Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush Senior’s estate overlooks the ocean. Kennebunkport is a beautiful sea side town. Visit the shops or brew pubs and enjoy the views.
Waiting
Watch Hill, Westerly RI. Fog helps to set the mood. The child will not see whom he is waiting for again.
Maine Snow
Shapleigh, Maine. A man climbs a snow bank during a snowstorm (2014). The region had been hit by several snow storms. People in Maine are known for enjoying all four seasons. Apparently night time snow bank climbing counts.
brimfield-tornado.jpg
Brimfield, MA. The 2011 tornado badly damaged this New England town. Visit Brimfield’s massive antique show.  You can view the tornado damage and help the town by having lunch or staying the night. Here’s where to find info http://www.brimfieldshow.com
Emily-Dickinson-Homestead.jpg
Amherst, MA. If you enjoy poetry, visit the Emily Dickinson house then visit downtown Amherst. It’s not a large town, but it’s just big enough to make an afternoon out of it. And if you’re researching colleges, there are five within minutes of one another.
Maple Syrup.jpg
Maple syrup lines, New Hampshire. (source: Flickr user glass_house)
Wine Country
Jonathan Edwards Winery. North Stonington, CT.  Take a drive into the hills of Connecticut, you won’t be disappointed.
Lobster Maine
Perry Long’s Lobster Shack, Surry, Maine. Find more info here http://www.mainetravelmaven.com/my-favorite-maine-lobster-shacks/
block
Block Island, RI. Go here. Just, GO, Here. Take the quick ferry ride and find this beach.

New England consists of six states. Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Click the link below if you’d like to read a short story which takes place in the valley-farmlands of Western MA.

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

Cheers! -M. Taggart

To Smile Without Pause

Yesterday after work I sat and read. I was again at a favorite location. A number of the people at the pub, I know, and talk with often. I let the noise of the pub help to settle into my reading.

Now I’m reading and I’m turning pages and I like the book. I’m reading about how a child is trying to teach his father and the father misunderstands these lessons. I read about the drum tapping as soldiers prepare for battle. The Poet is doing everything. He manipulates his use of grammar perfectly for him and his words.

I’m deeper now and turning another page and I realize I’m smiling. I’m smiling and I’m turning the page and I’m seeing the bookmark and I stop to ask for a pen and I write-

To Smile Without Pause-
To This I give Myself Permission

Let’s write and then not.

While at a pub I watched an older couple split the bill. The man had asked to do so. I heard shame in his voice. I was reading and his shame brought me to listen. While it’s not my business, I understand the shame, and I want to tell him it’s fine. I observed and I wrote the moment within my mind and then the bartender dropped a glass into the bucket beneath the bar and it hit a plate so soundly that many of the patrons looked up. I wondered further how to write this well. The patrons had been in their own conversations, eating, and drinking. The sound brought them together. I watched as faces exchanged glances; a few smiled, some said hello. Recently I wrote ‘When writing don’t forget to live’ and this is what I had intended to convey.