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Dear Visitor:

From his Deathbed this past spring in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains, the late poet Demod Smith suffered the Breach of his final haiku by a fictional character who had been drinking epic amounts of fictional beer.

The drunk, a down-and-out hay farmer named Arnie, had staggered into the poem’s bit about a shimmering meadow and was about to stomp all over perfectly rendered Wildflowers.  Forcing the dying poet to put down his Pen.

He slammed it down. Haikus interruptus!  Demod Smith was furious.

December 14, 2010

SAMANTHA EVANS:  Good evening, Professor Hawking.  Before I ask my first question, I would like to congratulate you on the recent publication of your latest book, The Grand Design.  You’ve had an amazing career as a theoretical physicist and writer, and it is an honor for me to talk with you this evening.

DR. STEPHEN HAWKING*:  Thank you, Samantha.  But don’t think I’m overconfident about meeting you.  I’ve read an interview or two of yours and have concluded that even though you’re in the sixth grade, you’re more than a match for me.

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

There is, to be sure, a recklessness in The Hayfield’s opening line.  But benders, jags, and drunks began filling literature’s tankard from the get-go.   And many excellent lines, rhymes, twists, trysts, tragedies, and epiphanies are found squirming around at the bottom of a bottle.  Even more are found drowned there.  For that matter, give me a nickel for every pickled literary scholar, and I could pay Nathan and Hotaru for the liquor run we just sent them on.  But judging from Thomas’ uptight post just below, more than anything else, he could use the drink I plan to make for him.

Thomas Pinkhurst

Thomas Pinkhurst

Chaucer’s narrator of The Canterbury Tales told his audience to “turn the leaf [page] and choose another tale” if offended by certain stories such as the raunchy Miller’s Tale. This was the first known use of a metafictive device in English literature, and it surprised fourteenth century readers to be addressed directly by a literary character. But no doubt it engaged them. Seven-hundred years later, The Hayfield’s poet begins with a try at another metafictive device, and it’s a drunk trespassing over the boundaries of his poem.

Dr. Catherine Shockley

Dr. Catherine Shockley

There is no legal limit in Missouri to a fictional character’s soaring Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). So long as it soars on one’s own make-believe property. And if L.C. Knights tried to ask us in his 1933 brilliant and mocking essay, “How Many Children Had Lady MacBeth?”, who really cares what’s happening beyond the text, I wonder how exasperated he would become at our speculation over what’s happening within a character’s bloodstream.

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

Ink and night fell together moons ago with tattoos I kept getting after bars as a young man.

Some of those tats were later removed by virtue of a strongly worded gift certificate from my first wife.  But among the tattoos that survived her stern largesse–those not emblazoned with the names of pre-marital lovers or lovely muses–there is one unique work of art still gracing my body for which I thank another woman, Alessandra Portinari, an Italian beauty I met during grad school in her tattoo shop in Venice.

The life coach from Horns & Halo nodded toward the PowerPoint screen and its photograph of a man in his mid-forties.

“This man calls himself Dr. Edgar Scattergood and he’s in some hot water,” began Katy Brown.  ”First of all, he’s in a losing battle with the District Attorney’s office. I say “losing” because he outright defrauded people. We like to talk about goals at Horns & Halo and Scattergood’s goal is to outright defraud people and their families after they die. After they die. Clever to try to scam this particularly defenseless group, but the fact that he does it through websites is not so awfully clever.”



March 7, 2011 (not certified until July 19, 2011)
Volume IV of IV






Department Y
The Honorable Asa Hornscar

(Continued from Volume One in which Deputy District Attorney Carla Found and defense attorney Simon Singh made their appearances before Judge Hornscar, from Volume Two where Deputy Found asked to go off the record to inquire about me, Fast Mattie Jennings, the court reporter who never goes off the record, and from Volume Three where a live cricket jumped out of an evidence box and into my stenograph machine.)

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

Dr. Miguel Starkweather

“Clearly, we went too far on this one. We need Mary Shelley to best describe the odd yellow gleam in Thomas’s eyes.” –Dr. Catherine Shockley

In her very recent post, Professor Shockley suggests that Karen and Thomas’s use of Doppler principles to learn more about a character was an experiment that unfolded in the illest, most Frankenstein way.

But the text itself emits Doppler. This is the pinche deconstruction of a poem (along with a little reconstruction) and Doppler’s an apt device. Wallace Stegner showed us this in one of my favorite books, Angle of Repose. Angle says that Doppler is a physical and metaphysical law. What we hear and see coming right at us can be bigger than life. What we hear after can be distorted, lower in volume, buried.

Hotaru Miyake

Hotaru Miyake

Forget all that solstice jazz. That’s for the people who see stars in the sky. But I think that’s boring and plays hell with your neck!

Out here, I know it’s summer when I can see stars hovering just above the ground and hayfield, a blanket of constellations spread over the land. And unlike that inflexible old universe, these stars move! Constellations shift and merge and collapse right before your eyes. No need to wait billions of years! I’m pretty sure I couldn’t wait that long, even if I was able.

The best part? In this land-slung universe, every single one of those stars is out there burning…burning to get laid. And it’s life or death. No sex, no stars. What passion! What drama! Can’t say that about super-heated balls of gas, can you? When was the last time our sun ever tried to get down with Alpha Centauri? (Although, that would make for a pretty kinky three-way.)

And so, I give you the true start of summer, a terrestrial cosmos populated entirely by desperate, horny…fireflies.


Hey Miguel,

Hope you can read my handwriting here. I knocked on your door for a bit with no answer. I’m hungover, too, so I don’t want to hang out here on the porch in the sun forever.

Anyway, attached is a first draft of a post about the summer solstice that Dr. Leucas told me to write. He also told me to run it by you before we post it. But you have to give me any comments by three today because we post the final version at 5:30, just before the exact moment of solstice. Thomas will help me with the science, of course.

Hope you’re up and at `em soon.


P.P.S.  If you had answered the door, I was going to greet you like this: “Summer is coming, Lord Starkweather, and it could last forever.”  Ha ha. Get it? Bet you’re sorry you missed me now.


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