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At your core, gravity crushes hydrogen
into liquid metal, where it becomes
an electric conductor.

Holst, the symphonic astrologer,
orchestrated your old age as
contemplative, serene.

A sadness boldly pondered
resolving into acceptance

a vast lake of hydrogen
where tumult settles into ripples,
then the polished perfection of pearls.

Your moons attend you.
A family of sixty-two descendants
and admirers. They cannot leave your side.

Have you still the strength to
swing your scythe and reap for them
a harvest? Prepare a feast for solstice.

Io, Saturnalia! Celebrate the sun
we thought was dying but was only
far away. Revelry summons rebirth.

Close the courts. No justice
may be served today, nor any war declared.
We have eaten enough of our children already.

Let them grow old as we did.
Give them time to reach this aphelion
and wear these rings themselves.




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Second daughter of the sun,
Holst imagined peace in your embrace.

Without a moon of your own
you thirsted for the man
to caress your cloudy tresses
with cellos and rapture.

But without his fantasy
he could never survive your
pressure, such peerless heat
dripping sulfurous sweat.

Volcanoes erupt and
recarve your surface again
and again until they render you

Yet Gustav dreamed of you,
and in the lies one’s mind
spins while sleeping

he saw you not as you are
but as he wished you to be:
tender, resplendent, radiant.

Joe Sacco: Galvanizing Social Justice Through Comics


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In January, graphic journalist Joe Sacco gave this hour-long interview at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. From his journeys to war-torn nations in the Middle East, to an examination of his creative process, the discussion brings together art, history, and concern for human rights.

See Joe’s books currently available at Fantagraphics.




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perpendiculars 2017 (4)perpendiculars 2017 (2)


24 x 30; acrylic poured on canvas

No, it doesn’t require much technique, but it’s a fun way to cover a few square feet of empty wall. I did this as a sequel to Parallels since I had leftover paint.

library of female pirates: villains of all nations


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villains-of-all-nations-coverMarcus Rediker’s Villains of All Nations dedicates a chapter to female pirates. Though his account of Read & Bonny covers familiar factual ground, Rediker adds his thoughts on gender roles of the day, and their relation to the pirate way of life. He writes of other women at sea, for comparison, and analyzes how artwork depicting a female pirate in the frontspiece of Johnson’s General History may have influenced the painting Liberty Leading the People.

On the subject of the Atlantic pirates in general, Rediker examines the working conditions of sailors in those days, and how piracy was a rebellion of oppressed laborers. Rediker is no stranger to the horrors suffered on ships back then. I studied his book on the Atlantic slave trade, and he painted a grim picture of life at sea for not only the captured slaves but for the sailors hired to transport them. Villains of All Nations briefly touches on this slave trade and how the 1720s crackdown on piracy was influenced by pressure to keep slave trade routes open and profitable.

Rediker’s narrative clearly sympathizes with the Atlantic pirates for liberating themselves from intolerable working conditions, and he openly criticizes government campaigns of propaganda and public hangings used to deter piracy. He details the code of collective self-government pirate crews adopted, but he does not unilaterally glamorize them. He does not shy away from their cruelties, nor their increasingly unconscionable violence as the crackdown turned against them.

But in giving a clear picture of the harsh living conditions which compelled them to rise up and resist captains and empires, to form their own multi-ethnic and independent societies, Rediker provides a unique insight into the decision to go “on the account” and become a “man of fortune” in the 1700s. The book is scholarly but never boring, and much of it could be read as the makings of a manifesto in an age where millions of laborers continue to suffer in oppressive conditions around the world.

The Atlantic pirates may not have been the romantic heroes portrayed in theater and fiction, but many of the justifications for their rebellion echo ideas we now consider noble or even take for granted: self-determination, reasonable working conditions, respect for diversity, and a voice in our governments.

 Villains of All Nations is available on Amazon.

A Passion for Planning: Nine Things I Wish I Knew Before Making My First Book


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This quick-start guide to the world of self-publishing will get you up and running on your first book! It helps you answer the most important questions and make decisions that lead to a successful self-publishing project. In just nine short chapters, this easy read will demystify ideas about writing, marketing, budgeting, and choosing a platform to distribute your book.

By focusing on what you need to plan from the beginning, you will keep your costs down, avoid common mistakes, and nurture the passion that got you thinking about a book in the first place! A Passion for Planning is an indispensable guide to all the things you don’t yet know—but need to!

Now Available on Kindle for $9.95

Available in Paperback for $9.95.



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On a morning ruled by chainsaws
they cut off all your branches
right down to the ground

then carted you off to burn.
But you would not be dispatched
so easily.

Underground you waited, untouchable
by sun, and moon, and me—
but not the rain. You drank

and planned a bloodless revolution
filled with sap and life
all covered in thorns.

You never lost your dream about finches
singing in your flowers and cleaning
caterpillars off your leaves.

You never doubted, and you never
held it against me when I did.
You only proved me wrong.



galaxies lament


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2016 was, among other things, a year of musical discovery. And few songs I found in that time make me as happy every time I listen to them as Galaxies Lament by Snail. Snail’s album Blood has become one of my all-time favorites, but this one comes from Terminus.

Pick up a copy from the band:

And here’s the jam on YouTube:

Galaxy, will you wake up from sorrow?
Quarks weeping from the heart of a proton. 
Cold tears in the endless expansion. 
Small voices in the heliosphere…

How can you sleep so good,
hosting your incubi?
End your solar eclipse of the sun
to flee the waking dream.

Here are a few more tunes in heavy rotation at Martian HQ. Crank it up!


problems of political appointees in federal government


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This academic work examines the detrimental political and social effects of the federal government’s current approach to staffing top leadership positions in its agencies with short-term political appointees rather than career administrators. 8500+ words.

Available on Kindle for $3.95 USD.



Today is my forty-fourth birthday, which means Mars Will Send No More must be starting its seventh year. Since its rashly considered inception in January, 2011, it has grown from a secret geek obsession with comic books into something far greater: a tool for spreading the comic book obsession like a virus throughout the entire solar system!

Yes, those are bold words from a site that can only brag about having 1.3 percent of the lifetime page views racked up by this video that will never give you up.

But you know what? College (and some high school) classes now send their students to this site. Seriously. Several of the classic EC Comics stories I pirated from a zillion sources (some of whom hate me) and dragged into the light on this site have become educational material for online classes which link from their course modules to individual posts here.

LOL! Let’s hope they don’t read the rest of the site, because I’m pretty sure most of it violates the university’s code of student conduct! For the love of all that’s holy, pray the innocent youth don’t see naked cat women, drug-fueled psychedelia, anarchist ravings, and deranged comic books printed with the blood of innocents in their ink!

Then again, that sounds a lot like any issue of EC Comics, so read on!



animal inside you


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Animal Inside You: Poems of Chaos and Euphoria collects 31 free-verse poems in a Kindle edition for $2.99 (free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers). Available in paperback April 2017. Now available for Nook Book and iBooks.



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Do you have the courage to be loved by the sun?
What daughter of Earth can bear his solar flare?

Better perhaps to write your verses in dark
deep forests where hushed voices of deer
have only the moon to contend with.

Better perhaps to fold your sails and choose
for your harbor a cove where his scalding corona
remains a whispered legend.

But you, daughter of soil and wind
of leaves and blades of grass, you
who have known fear but once and never again,

your defiance carries you up the peaks
and into the light.

You cast aside your gown of slumber
to weave the dawn into your tresses.

You gather flocks of songbirds
to nest in your palms and encircle you.

Robed in such finery, you welcome him.

journal & sketchbook


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journal-small-for-webRegular visitors to Mars Will Send No More know I am a big proponent of using journals and sketchbooks as tools for nurturing artistic and poetic inspirations, personal growth, and ideas for writing projects. In 2015, I published a 150-page dream journal called Three Years Dreaming; and in 2016, I published a 100-page, full-color retrospective of drawings and paintings called Sketchbooks Volume One.

But my first publication of 2017 is devoid of words and pictures of my own creation. It’s a blank book called Journal & Sketchbook: A Place for Creativity, and it features 100 lined pages and 50 unlined pages—all waiting to be filled with words and images, at a conveniently portable 8.5 x 5.5 size.

The cover to this paperback features a scan of an abstract acrylic painting, one of a dozen 8 x 10 canvases I created in the last two months with the intent of making unique, colorful backgrounds and textures for book covers, business cards, website banners, compact disc covers, and anything else that needs a personal, artistic touch.

The title page, instead of displaying my name, has a blank line where you can write in your own, and places to write the dates when you start and finish filling the book. In other words, this isn’t a book by me. It’s a book by you!

Available in paperback on Amazon.



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Painted butterfly bushes
and permanent flowers
whose colors never fade.

Here, a panther can dream
or a child, even children
whose bodies time has aged.

Some verdant forests are
denied the waking and only
grow in starlight, real

or imagined. When you look
with your heart and not your eyes
you see a different truth.


—for CK



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Tonight you will take time to remember
why you could not tell her everything:

why galaxies weep and clovers sing
why each raindrop forgets its name
before it strikes the ground.

Tonight Venus the evening star
will shine brightly enough to inspire myth
but not illuminate a forest.

You will notice a shade of green in the sunset
unlike anything which came before.

You will remember how to dance
but forget how to walk.

No consolation awaits you in the
brick broken alleys between here
and home.

Nothing heals a hopeless heart like the dawn
and mockingbird song strewn across playgrounds
and parking lots in random perfection.

But that must wait until tomorrow.
Your name means nothing to you now
but you will choose one that does.

Think of the animals whose lives you stole
and the ones you cared for. Then ask yourself
how they are any different.

Think of the exceptions to every rule
then realize they are the norm.
Consider why we began breaking laws
in the first place.

Recall Pluto has not completed
a single solar orbit since we discovered it
then stripped it of its planetary status.

Our new year does not belong to the outer planets.
They have their own sense of scale and scope.

If you ever wonder if something as small
as a bee or an ant can feel love
then you don’t understand yourself at all.

Remember this tonight when you stumble home
at 3 a.m. clutching the walls and
groping the empty city.

Remember this when you
break your resolutions tomorrow but hold on
to promises you never intend to abandon.

Tattoo your body with stars
and understand it means
we could never leave each other.

Where could we possibly go that we could not
be together? What canvas in all of history
could have been painted, if not by us?

Our hands held the brushes
as they hold each other now.
We could not let go without
taking all of geology with us
like continents.

blue feather


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blue feather
acrylic and feather on 8×10 board-mounted canvas



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Her majesty the raven
dressed in afternoon sunlight
gilding her feathers with liquid fire.

Owning nothing,
she takes what she needs.

Her empire begins above your head.
Air currents sustain her, lift her
giving grace and meaning to her wings.

This she accepts as her rightful tribute
her payment for centuries of survival
and her genius in conquering gravity.

Spying her mate, she sails the sky
carrying her prize in a beak as black
as the flag of no nation.

Solar gold, stolen silver
and her lover’s heart:

What will not last forever
today belongs to her.

flytrap year 1




My Venus flytrap is a year old now, and it’s been a wonderfully green, insect-killing addition to the office. But I almost let it die.

Back in February, I posted the picture below. It shows a stalk growing among the various fly-eating leaves. I didn’t know flytraps made stalks, so I left it alone to see what would happen. I might as well have signed the poor thing’s death warrant.

venus flytrap in a cup

That stalk is meant to become a flower. Fortunately for my flytrap, that never happened. The stalk only turned black and shriveled up like the leaves do on a regular basis. I say “fortunately” because when a second stalk sprouted a few months ago, I did the research I should have done in the first place. It turns out that when a Venus flytrap makes a stalk that flowers, it really puts its murderous little heart and soul into it. Once the flower blooms, the plant has done its job and gives up on life. It dies.

As soon as I read that, I cut off the new stalk and, per the article, placed it into the sphagnum moss beside the rest of the plant to give it a chance to sprout and flower on its own. It didn’t. But hopefully I cut the cord in time to keep my plant growing. It’s hard to say, as this wintry time of year is a dormant phase for flytraps.

venus flytrap closeup

Is there a lesson to be learned from this? Maybe it’s “Do your bloody research.” On the other hand, how dare I interfere with my plant’s attempt to create its ultimate biological masterpiece: a beautiful flower that is the apex of its existence and its entire reason for living? Why should my goals for the plant be more important than the plant’s goals for itself? Shouldn’t I just let it do what it wants?

After pondering this problem in relation to mammals I have known and loved, be they human or feline, I realized I am projecting my personal problems onto my flytrap, and that the solution isn’t mammalian in nature. What would actually make my little plant happy is not pointlessly dying, nor my trying to rescue it from itself. What it really wants is a mate: another plant, with another flower, with whom it can share pollen and create new flytrap seeds together, and spawn a whole new insect-killing generation.

So, besides “do your bloody research”, the other lesson here is: Even flytraps need a friend.

I’ll put it on my list of things to do next year. Catch you in 2017!

venus flytrap



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His garden of stars
he nurtured with his own blood
and toil. Seasons

come and go. No more
wandering the streets, begging.
The harvest grows near.

The foliage shines
luminescent and gravid.
Today we are born.

Resting on his spade
he considers the journey
from the past to here.

He was once the fool
and perhaps will be again.
No matter. That time

is over and done.
Only the future concerns
him now, its tempest

and its aimless storm,
the gift it gives and the toll
it demands from him.

He plucks the first fruit,
brings it to his lips to taste
the stellar forces

he tended so long.
Their sweetness will sustain him
through the months ahead,

nourish him through the
gathering darkness and the
unkindness of winter.

His pentacles hold
all of summer’s promises
and her sunlit dreams,

the wealth we cannot
build nor mine, but only grow
from seeds we planted.