Jackdaw’s Flight

Coming March 2021

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Jackdaw and the Doll

Coming March 2021: The Jackdaw and the Doll (written by John Biscello, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama.

THE JACKDAW AND THE DOLL: K. leads a double life. Timid office clerk by day, storyteller by night. But not just any storyteller. Transforming into a jackdaw, K. takes secret night-flights around the city, collecting moments of inspiration. Confronted by sickness, and “The Shroud” which has haunted him since childhood, K., joined by his new love, Dora, moves away from home to The City of Birds. It is there that he will meet a young girl, heartbroken over her lost doll, and be given a golden chance to share the healing magic of storytelling.

A fable about love, compassion and creativity, inspired by a story about the writer, Franz Kafka.

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Rio Grande Serenade

Got to contribute, as a writer, to this wonderful, New Mexico-based film project, honoring and celebrating the Rio Grande River. Rio Grande Serenade is being released as a docu-series, with the first episode focused on “River Guides.” Produced by Taos-UNM Digital Media Arts, and directed by Peter Walker.

View Episode #1 here.

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New York to New Mexico

My interview on the podcast, What’s Up ABQ, is now streaming (2/10). I had a blast talking with Chris and Ryan, not only about my new poetry book, Moonglow on Mercy Street, but also the world of comics, Choose Your Own Adventures, a Brooklyn childhood, influences and inspirations, and living for the past two decades in the alternative worldscape that is New Mexico.

Tune in here.

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Moonglow Now Available

The hardcover edition of Moonglow on Mercy Street, my second book of poetry, is now available.

For anyone interested in purchasing a copy, you can do so here.

Cheers & blessings!

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Hard Candy

Childhood. Sometimes it feels like a piece of hard candy I swallowed long ago, and that hard candy remains stuck in my throat. Most of the time I am unaware of its presence, but then something will shift and I will feel it in my chest, something stuck there like a rock or calcified lozenge, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Fixating on it. I want to cough it up and see that undigested bit of hard candy resting in my palm, right in the center of my palm, tangible evidence that it is finally out of me, or I want to reach down into my throat, way down in there, past all my words and defenses, and pull out the saliva-soaked hard candy, pinch it between my fingers, saying—There you are, you little bastard.

Childhood. Consolidated into a single edible metaphor, a harmless piece of candy you’d find in a glass dish at your grandmother’s.

When I close my eyes, I can see everything. And there is nowhere to go.

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   I am waiting. There I am, see me, waiting on the train station platform. I am waiting for my train. It is a specific train that I am waiting for. When a train begins pulling into the station, I get excited, I think—This is it, this is going to be my train, finally I can get on board. Then I see that it is not my train. I am disappointed. Oh, well. I’ll keep on waiting. It has to come eventually.

   I want you to understand that it is important that I get on the right train. It is essential that I catch the right train. The wrong train won’t do me any good. It would just be riding for riding’s sake. Motion for motion’s sake. No, I must exercise deep patience and wait. Because when my train comes, and I get on board … what then? I will somehow be transfigured. Changed. I will be transported to the new and altogether marvelous. I will become known to myself in a new and different way. Yet there is only one train that can get me there, only one train that can do that, and so I wait. Sometimes I doubt. Why hasn’t my train come? It’s been so long. But has it? Perhaps it just feels really long. Relativity and all that jazz. Yet there have been so many other trains, trains that have cycled and recycled through this station, and my train … never, not once.   

   What if I am waiting on the wrong platform? What if this is the wrong station? The wrong state? Or country? What if I need to switch realities altogether? These ponderances weigh on my mind and cause me anxiety and consternation. Because they all point to the same menacing conclusion: What if I never get on my train? A train that never arrives is impossible to board, right? No matter the answer, I continue to wait. Am I full of faith? Am I deluded? Will my waiting be rewarded? Are my views short-sighted or big-picture-visioned? An I too stubborn and set in my ways that I am missing the opportunities that these other trains present to me? These trains pull in and out of the station, collecting passengers who, seemingly without reluctance or hesitation, board the trains and are whisked away. Yet, despite the continued demonstrations of ease with which these passengers board trains, I cannot do it. Those trains are not my train. But what is my train? Does it even exist? Did I invent it? Do I somehow feel noble and imperiously proud because I refuse to get on any train that isn’t the right train? What do I mean by right? How will I know? Will the train be marked? Will it bear a name that will register and confirm a deep inner knowingness? Ah, yes, this is the train I’ve been waiting for.

   I continue to wait. Patiently and impatiently all at once. That is me, there, in the overcoat and fedora, holding a suitcase, tempted to smoke but not smoking, there I am, somewhat recognizable to myself as a shadowy figure, an apparition, a totem, someone who bears great psychic resemblance to me, someone who is waiting for a train that is running behind, or perhaps, perhaps I am ahead, too far ahead, and the train schedule does not accommodate the prophetic gist of dreamers on platforms.

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In these parts,

we mainline moonglow.

It’s what we do.

It’s our thing.

We shoot moonglow

directly into our veins

and our blood becomes gospel

as we start to sing hallelujah

and glory-be—

We dream daytime dreams

of phoenixes burning colors

into cakes of riot and ash.

All it takes is a lunatic and a match,

as they say.

We hear galaxies crashing in our veins,

and glittering cosmos becomes us

in relation to the dark matter,

and zeitgeist,

we duly absorb and digest.

We are not right in the head,

we can’t be, but we are heart-ready,

growing gardens to seize our own wilds,

and we longer seek indirect or oblique guidance—

We mainline moonglow

until it is coming out of our ears

and asses,

snaking blonde rivulets

down our cheekbones,

until our eyes

have been burned clean through

in becoming lighthouses

emitting white-hot particles of mercy

into a world

that wonders

where on earth

all that wattage

coming from.   

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Raging Bull: A Prayer for my Father

Do not go gently into that good night, father.

Fight, fight, tooth and nail, like the iron-willed boxer

you always were—

dancing around the ring, pumping jabs and ducking, bobbing and weaving—

Sure, you took your lumps and bruises,

and absorbed so many punishing blows,

but always, always, your heart held on, and you rose—

You never stayed down—

You found a way to rise and keep the fight moving forward—

Do not go gently into that good night, father.

It is not yet your time, the bell hasn’t rung,

the ring is your thing

and you have many rounds left to go—

Rage, rage against the shrinking of the light,

as any proud bull would do,

stubbornly plowing ahead to let life know

you were not through with her yet,

no one has thrown in the towel—

Fight, father, fight,

above and beyond the ring,

where your spirit

was always rising to meet challenges,

full of fury and sound

to announce itself

as a force to be reckoned with—

You haven’t heard the bell yet, father,

so do not concede the light to the dark,

fight, fight,

like the steel-willed warrior

you always were.

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Moonglow in New Mexico

Grateful for the installment that aired on KRQE news (Channel 13) in Albuquerque, regarding Moonglow on Mercy Street: https://www.krqe.com/entertainment-news/taos-poet-releases-book-about-2020/

In this day and age, for poetry to be represented and shown a little love in the news, is heartwarming and gratifying.

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