Monday, July 30, 2018



—MY EYES ABOVE, WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. 

…Did you wonder if I’d ever come back?  I sometimes do.

…Does absence make the heart grow fonder?  I don’t know.  It can already be 100% fond, unable to get anymore fond of someone.  But distance can certainly create a burning yearning.  That’s why when—like last week for me—it is truly a gift if you are able to spend extended time with the ones you love, but haven’t seen for so long.

..."So long."  Two words I never want to hear.

…Some people absolutely hate the word giddy.  Who knew?

…This is going to take some time getting used to.  Give me a couple of weeks.

…Ppl can be me mean to me, it’s okay.  It happens to everyone, but when a female is mean to me, all I see in my head are these pictures of my mother, and it feels really scary.

…I hate when I can’t explain something the way I’m thinking it in my head, then when my words are out I’ve just botched things further and the person listening looks at me like I’m a traitor, or insane.

…I spent some hours in a coffee shop last week and saw four different people writing in their journals and I thought: thank God for that.

…108 degrees in Phoenix today.  Try explaining that.

…I’m telling you, you gotta be careful.  They're crooks lurking everywhere.

…I hope the person (?) who stole my backpack is a reader and can decipher really hideous handwriting.  I hope he/she (?) is reading this right now and feeling shitty.  Does hoping that make me a shitty person, too?

…At the airport, I helped a woman carry her heavy bags down some wicked steps and her daughter, about five or so, said, “What a gentleman!”  I’m not really, but it was cute.  Even a five year old can make me smile.  Especially a five year old. 

…At the airport, I saw a toddler wearing a Captain America costume.  He wore an eye mask with a capital A in the center of his brows.  Not much later, I saw a toddler girl with a pink cowboy hat and outfit.  God, I love kids.

…I hope I don’t look as agitated as most people at airports look.

…It’s only at airport bars where they ask, “Six or nine ounces?” That could be a metaphor for things, if you think about it in the right or wrong way.

…I drink too much.  I could blame it on ppl, past or present, or circumstances, but the fact is I’m the culprit.  I’m the tragic figure in this play.

…“I’ll have another, please.”

…What if my good friend Cabernet is really just out to get me?

…Someone explained to me that being a member of the Mile High Club can just be something that happens under a blanket.  That made me relieved.  The thought of a couple doing it in the airplane lavatory is disturbing to me, and not sexy or exciting at all.

…Lavatory or restroom?  Bathroom or powder room?  John, or Jack Kennedy?

…How do planes fly?  I mean, really, how?  200 people on board with all that baggage...

…People sure like to sleep on planes, and when they do, they never show their good sides. 

…There's nothing worse than having to pee very badly while 200 people in front of you deplane in slow-motion.

…There’s a lot that does and doesn't happen on a plane.  Someone could write a really interesting book about that.

…Be careful, the contents may have shifted.  Yep.


Friday, July 20, 2018





—SOMETHING’S CHANGING IN THE SPIRIT.  SOMETHING’S BREAKING I CAN FEEL IT


…The demands of living have consequences, and that is called fate.

…It’s a funny phrase, isn’t it, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”?  Or, “Bite the bullet”?

…I’m that voice you’re hearing in the dark.

…In about seven hours from now I’ll be in New Mexico with people I adore.  From that standpoint, things are looking up.

…When people say It’s not personal, they don’t know what they’re talking about.

…The difference between what it’s worth and what it’ll sell for are two different things altogether.

…I mean anyone can find a reason to be happy, right?  Even when they’re unhappy?

…We all get a little scared as we get older.  I guess that’s all that is.

…Life can taste like flowers or expensive wine, but there’ll come a time when you’re sick of it.

…Good wine or bad, I can never tell for sure.

…Eating too many roses can be a problem, and cause for concern.

…Some people can be too literal about things, which can be a real problem for other people.

…It’s the strangest thing, wanting something back so badly.

…Yesterday, I received my contributors copies of New Micro: Incredibly Short Fiction, out from W.W. Norton.  I’ve got two pieces in it.  Yay.

…My newest story collection, This Is Why I Need You, has a cover, and hopefully will be coming out soon from Ravenna Press.  Yay.

…Today is already one of the thirstiest days ever.

…I think my dog has a very good understanding that no one loves her more than me.

…We are all going to die, and nothing can be done about that, but there’s now, and this, and that.

…So much for first impressions.

…Most of the time I don’t know what this is about.  Most of the time I don’t know much about much.

…Outside the sea is a mirror looking back at me doubtfully.

…There is one side, and then there is the other.  It’s where the shadows brush that things are fully explainable and become agreed upon.

…Words, words, words.  Silly words.  Sometimes that’s all I have.

...“I like my music to scream at me.”  Yeah, I get that.

…The spiders are back, hanging from the windows like flat, dead eyes that have seen too much.

…I think you might have hit me in your sleep last night.  I never realized how sharp your knuckles are.

…The silence tells me everything I need to know.

…I saw a star fall from the sky last night, and I saw the hole it left behind.

…Would you love me if I was someone else?

…I wonder how many more mistakes I’ve got in me.



Wednesday, July 18, 2018





—I’M DOING THE BEST I CAN DO RIGHT NOW


…This is me, starting all over from scratch.

…See that big empty chair over there?  That’s where I’m sitting.

…I’m trying to remember how to hum, the reasons for it, both jaunty and meaningless.

…I know people are supposed to love sleep.  Everyone seems to, but me.

…People who love, outwork workers every day of the week.

…The real problem is the urgency of now.

…I have surrendered to the terrain before, and I’ll probably do it again.

…Emotion is a terrible driver, but a great passenger.

…Someone told me tears are like love glue, then said HaHa Eew!

…It’s just the time when it feels like all is going fabulously that we make mistakes, we overreach and over borrow.

…The more I’m able to see beauty in the broken is the more I’m able to change my perspective on everything else.

…I’m such a tool.  When a team’s behind 9-1 in the 7th, I still think we have a chance.

…What difference do words make anyway when there’s all that body language?

…The absence of something can exert a very strong influence.

…Very well, but the answers are all in the palm of your hand.

…I’d like to think I’ve been falsely accused, but thinking that would be false.

…Look here: these lines, they tell you everything you need to know.

…There aren’t words for half of what goes on in this life.

…Being a child is living in a world apart.  And when one falls from it, it is like an angel cast from heaven.

…No one who has private thoughts going on in their head is quite sure of not being overheard.

…Show me your thoughts when you’re ready, and I’ll show you mine.

…When a person is drunk and trying to eat at the same time, it’s often helpful to make the attempt while looking into a mirror.

..."Once upon a time, the only way to keep from falling was to cling to the roots of the trees.” Joy Williams

…You have to love someone, and hopefully you start with yourself.

…Someone told me that a tree struck by lightning can come back to life.

…When you’re a kid, you are possessed by emotions that will guide you forever, in a good way or not.

…Reality is so confusing.  The senses are such bad witnesses.

..."As one barfly said to another:  life is a dirty glass, or a very dirty glass.” Joy Williams

…Sometimes we are like salamanders dancing in the fire, and other time we are like lollipops awaiting that first lick.

…If you turn into nothing, then I will turn into next to nothing and be next to you.

Monday, July 16, 2018





—WHO AM I TALKING TO AGAIN?


…What a day Friday ended up being.  I could have done without Friday, that’s for sure.

…But I took the online writing workshop at Bending Genres, led by Meg Tuite, this weekend.  As usual, it was fantastic, and as usual I produced a lot of work.  And I (braggart alert) got some really kind, and encouraging feedback:


--Truly stunning work. You write on another level, with great insight and emotional force. Your language is poetic and mesmerizing, a triumph in itself.

--Len, this is truly exquisite writing. Every line is poetic and speaks to one's inner way of understanding. Really, each of these pieces is a knockout. Well done.

--Len,
You never cease to blow me away with your words and how prolific you are! These are all heavy with the weight of their beauty in horror. Your choice of words is gorgeous and the subject matter terrifying.  Beauties.  LOVE!  LEN.

--Len, "Your morning mouth tastes like kelp and your conscience has an asterisk attached to it again." WOW! Each one has that special Len wow factor. I don't how you do it. So succinct, so unique, so bleak and dark yet tender and genuine... all while still kicking my ass in Words with Friends. Do you sleep? Do you eat dictionaries and shit flash? I don't know your secret, but I admire the hell out of your writing.

--Len, I am still doing a slow read of "The Dishonesty of Certain Mirrors." You have a rare ability to combine the macabre, scintillating, sensual. You also are very VERY good at self-editing for publication. Your work ethic is enviable. What I want to say is you said at the last retreat that you don't know how to write "hopeful." I counter that by saying every act of writing you do is hope. And the reader you reach will feel less alone and more validated, edified, and fascinated. You model a positive sort of masculinity. Vulnerability is the greatest strength there is. And our boys need to hear it more than ever. Keep on, friend! And don't let the paintings hit you on the head.

--I love what Sara said, in fact am in tears over it. Only because I relate to your writing in a very similar way. For me, it's vital. It's alive. It speaks over the volumes of other detritus and weakness. I relate and that is such an important aspect of the risk and heaviness and risks you continuously take on the page. Keep up your prolific workshop work, my friend. Way to go!

--And I'm thanking you too, Sara, because I remember that comment of Len's as well and have thought of it often. So glad you said this to Len, because truth needs to be said. Wish I had, glad you did.

--Len, Your writing! “Sulfur hands.. the towel you toss me… Your morning mouth tastes like kelp, and your conscience has an asterisk attached to it again” unforgettable phrases! One night and The Event are perfect portrayals of dead sex, dead relationship. The Weight of Survival and Circa 1969 just make me want to weep for this child. Ending this like Meg, Len! Love!

…And then there was this from someone in India: Astonished to connect with such a brilliant mind!  Len Kuntz, here's to reading more of you!

…On Friday I head to Taos, NM for eight days for another workshop and what should be a ridiculously enjoyable time.

…But here’s one of the pieces from Saturday:


Circa 1969

Your keyhole eyes tell me everything I need to know, that there’s no way out of here.  You’re the parent prison warden purple monster terrorizing the air.

My shattered glass eyes show different photos of the world.  Babies stabbing babies.  Throats on fire.  Decapitated hands inching across the floor.

As I’ve been instructed to do, I kneel in the corner staring at another narrow crease in this toaster house.  The rocks under my bare knees are the ones you told me to load up in a bucket.  My hands are raised over my head, where they must remain for an hour, or a new Satan will take over hitting this piƱata.

Every few seconds, wraiths appear smelling like coal and moldy earth.  Flat in front of me, they blink and blink, then skitter away, frightened by what they’ve witnessed.

Someone in this room is smoking a cigarette.  Someone else is knitting a shawl out of leftover newborn skin.  Someone else seems to be enjoying themselves greatly, singing, “We’ll be coming around the mountain when we come.”

On the TV behind me on the far wall, Walter Cronkite is relaying body counts, though he’s never been to this house or the locked dungeon under the floorboards.


Friday, July 13, 2018





--COME AND BLOW ON THROUGH.  COME AND DO WHAT ONLY YOU CAN DO


Drinking

Drinking to forget
Drinking to remember what’s been
Spent or lost
Drinking to slur the remaining muscles
Shame the voice into a ludicrous
Pin of silence
Drinking on lay away
Labor Day
Any day
Every day
Drinking because the moon said so
Because the glass has poured
Itself full again
Made itself so big-breasted
Boastful and sultry
Drinking just to drink
Drinking because of you.



Wednesday, July 11, 2018


 

--I JUST SHIVER AND SHAKE


Gray Everything

Today there is gray
in everything,
old wounds and raw scars,
collapsible joists and bones,
broken sails and leaky boats,
smoke, always smoke,
slaking through the bleak brine
of another otherwise bright day
while a charcoal canvas,
wide as any ocean,
flops across the brittle spine
of an animal without name.
My eyes go on with their
blind man’s vacant groping.
My fingers knit themselves
a needy corpse.
This room wants me dead,
same as any other room
or loamy future.
Outside, the famished vultures
swing in haze
as the ceiling pounds
its tantrum fists,
the windows weak as rotten teeth,
relenting and imploding,
shattered away,
shattered day,
shattered life,
glass to sand again,
the plumes thick enough
to blur and swallow
what should have been
buried long ago.



Monday, July 9, 2018





--SORRY TO BOTHER YOU


…Sometimes the word real is a real problem.

…I am a terrible _____, but it’s not because of what you think.

…Anymore, if I smile wide or scrunch up my face, it turns into a galaxy of wrinkles, all those stories laying in the ravines, some already told, some needing to be told.

…You’ll be sorry if you ask me to take a survey of this place.

…Who’s idea is this?  Who is kneeling there, praying for a better future?

…Sometimes I want to feel something, but today is not that day.

…You can want the flame without the burning, but it doesn’t work that way.

…Inside, ashes of an actual life, tucked in a corner, in a gray husk, covered by a stained wash cloth.

…Sometimes not even the memories are enough to get you through the night.

…Sometimes what you hear is, I’m not your mother, I’m not your therapist.

…Things were uneven, unexpected in my house, so I never invited friends over if I had any.  Once I did, and it started out badly, and ended worse.  Makes a kid gun shy.

…Sometimes the wrong play is the actually the right play.  Or vice versa.  Or maybe not.  I mean, who can really know for sure?

…Dear paper gown, my nakedness is not yours to protect.

…Some turns are sharper than others and there’s nothing you can do about it.

…My cabernet says, “Bestie.”  Sometimes that’s all I have.

…I think this keyboard is very hungover.

…When my back cracks, I call it honesty.  When I hit my funny bone, I call it a coincidence.

…Someone said, There are things in the stars we’ll never know.   I thought it was you.

…Time, which is so impatient, which wants to go on, is lying there stealthily in woods, like an sickly animal that needs to be fed.

…And isn’t that enough?  To love, and not expect any consequences for the love that was given freely?

…Most people dig the pomp, but not the circumstance.

...“I know that I’ll be a mess and you won’t be surprised.  It’s nothing new.”

…Writing this way—maybe that is the problem.

…In my defense, I meant everything.

…Call it a century of longing.

…What matters is that you’re happy.  Truly.


Friday, July 6, 2018





—A LITTLE INSOMNIA

…Insomniacs are true accountants; they are smug about the time they keep.

…I can be dumb sometimes.  I don’t always know what I’m thinking.

…The reason you think you’ve been there is because you have.  Your memory’s just fading a bit.

…Me, a hole, a gap, a breach, a space, an absence, feckless. 

…What could I be thinking of when I scissor through the plugged in cord?

…There is nothing we can do about the howling.  Walls are only so thick.

…I took them and tossed them.  I didn’t care where they landed.

…The light is a salt in my eyes, but I keep blinking into it nonetheless.

…I remember the impulse to kneel.  What an embarrassing story.

…People seem to assume the best of me and I’m like, why?

…One of these days I will get around to it.  I’ve been meaning to do everything for a while.

…Yes.  Yes, please.

…“There must be some way out of here, said the joker to the thief.”

…Why not just use some kerosene?

…When you tell me the worst thing I can do is (…), I think, you have no idea.

…You are holding onto your beliefs and I am holding onto mine.  We’re just different people, after all.  There’s nothing malicious about that.

…Nobody wants a lecture about how they’re not good enough.  Nobody wants a lecture, not even the student who paid to get one.

…I’ve been told I’m fragile.  I hear I’m a lot to handle.

...I'm strong, I'm a coward.  I'm cruel, I'm kind.  I'm thoughtful, I'm thoughtless.  What am I really?

…If you haven’t noticed already, times running out on the clock and there are no more get out of jail free cards left.

…There are many things I cannot put into words, even though I’m supposed to be good at doing that.

…Today the lake whispers her secrets, the sound like a soft cloth on cloth.  She looks green and insistent, pleading her case to whomever will listen.

…You do not know my kind of loneliness.

…Think about it.  I do.  


Wednesday, July 4, 2018




—THANKS FOR BEING HONEST

…Hate is a pretty strong word.  It’s the bloody footprint at a crime scene.

…I can count the number of people who’ve said they hate me on one hand.  Maybe one finger.

…Honesty begets trust, and without trust you’re just floating down the rapids, going wherever the current wants to take you.

…I wrote a few terrible stories because I was trying to be like somebody else.  And then I realized the only thing I could speak on with authority was something I actually knew about because it came from an honest place, even if that place was quite dark and chilly.

…It’s good to do things that make you uncomfortable, so long as you’re confident in the end game.  Otherwise you could have a trapdoor waiting for you.

…I keep trying to make my bones blossom, but that takes a hell of a lot of booze.

…Here’s what I’m asking myself today: where is my place in the world?

…As with anything, the dose makes the poison.

…Not to be a sad sack, but I am carrying a cargo of sorrow on my back.

…Everybody knows the war is over.  Everybody knows the good guys lost.

…It’s one thing to see a photograph and another thing altogether to see the real thing in person.

…Doubt is good.  We all doubt when we set out to do anything new or challenging.  That’s a motivating factor.

…Oh, those sad country songs, sharp as surgical scalpel knives they are.

…Everybody knows the dice are loaded.  Everybody rolls with fingers crossed.

…Not one thing’s gone the way I thought it would, so I won’t make another prediction.

…Childhood is a different time.  One sees things differently then.

…Were you here when they dug the hole?  Did you notice how deep it was?

…If you don’t find the answers, I hope someone else can help you with that.

…When you’re down in the dumps and everything’s shit, it’s nice to have a dog to snuggle.

…I love wind puppets.  They always make me want to shimmy and shake my shoulders.

…Death is a hopeless resolution at best.  The soul separated from the body at last, but still retaining memories and having hungers.

…I’ve been sleeping with my eyes open, like a scarecrow on ice, and that’s no way to sleep.

…When you’re reeling with causality, it’s best to look in the mirror.

…I caught a train that was backward bound.

…I may veer off in different directions, but I’m still here.  I’m right here.

…It’s going to be one hell of a noisy night around here, different from all the rest.

...Is the sun shining there?  I bet it is.

…Yes, I’m talking to you.