Born-Again Death Wish: spiritual obstacles

•March 15, 2015 • Leave a Comment

As I see it, the overall theme of Born-Again Death Wish, my forthcoming collection of poetry, is spiritual separation.

A few years ago, I wrote a series of poems while I was studying the book of Matthew. Matthew is a somewhat journalistic account of the life of Jesus, a just-the-facts telling of the story that lets people know how Jesus fulfilled ancient prophecies to show that he was who he said he was.

During my study of Matthew, I wrote one poem for each of the 28 chapters of the book. I would read and re-read until something from the text inspired a poem. Many of the poems required the biblical context of Matthew to be fully understood, but some did not, and they are the ones I have included in Born-Again Death Wish.

IMG_3884I think/hope these poems express an awareness of how we seek ways over, around and through spiritual obstacles — the things that get between man and God — religion, materialism, grief, broken relationships, and careerism in particular.

For poetic purposes, I define God broadly as the elusive fulfillment we pursue both consciously and instinctively, our innate constant yearning for deep, lasting happiness. Joy.

Born-Again Death Wish is available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press through April 17. The number of early sales I generate will determine the overall press run and the level of promotion the publisher will provide. To order, click through to Finishing Line Press.


So, Eric, what is a born-again death wish?

•March 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

That’s a fair question, and several people have asked me once they heard the title of my forthcoming poetry chapbook. Some of them seemed curious; others were more suspicious.

But that’s OK. I admit it is provocative. The poem Born-Again Death Wish, with its dueling connotations of religious conversion and suicide, speaks to the idea of dying to your old life in search of a better new one, of saving yourself from the meaningless drudgery of whatever has brought you to a dead end. I’ve included the poem below. I think it elucidates on the impulse to throw away the soul-deadening lives so many people find themselves living.

Born-Again Death WishIMG_3884

Some men sit lit by the flicker

of the screen, all day building

the shifty empires of great corporations.

When the heart begins its ill-timed flutter,

each has the same secret wish –

to rip the thing from his chest

before the blue screen sucks him in,

so he might discover at the end truly

what was kicking inside all those years.

Some reach in to grab a fistful of ashes.

Some poke past spider webs, where

their fingers float in the pulsing dark.

The lucky ones lay hold of wet clay

they remold into something like

the life they only dreamed.

Born-Again Death Wish, the book, is available now for pre-order at Finishing Line Press. Orders placed before April 17 get discounted shipping.

Title is Everything: Born-Again Death Wish

•February 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Well, title might not be EVERYTHING, but a good one certainly hooks readers. My friend Jim Reese, a poet who teaches at Mount Marty College in South Dakota (and who I interviewed here), emphasized that to me when I was assembling the manuscript that eventually became my second IMG_3884chapbook, Real Boy Blues, in 2013. Jim told me that the title of my poem “Pinocchio in Reverse” was poetry gold. Since then, I’ve given the titles of my poems and poetry collections much more thought.

My new chapbook, Born-Again Death Wish, started out with a wishy-washy title that initially sounded poet-y enough to me. I had printed the manuscript and even had it in an envelope, ready to send to Finishing Line Press, when I impulsively decided to change the title. My thinking was that I needed something that would grab the editors’ attention.

I put the newly named collection in the mail — and then promptly second-guessed myself. Was the new title too provocative? Would it turn potential readers off?

Or would it pique people’s curiosity?

The feedback I’ve gotten so far suggests that people are curious about what Born-Again Death Wish is going to be about. To further pique your interest, the Table of Contents follows:


At Dawn I Stare Down a Raccoon from My Back Porch              

Jesus Eats with Matthew, a Tax Collector                                        

Kingdom Come                                                                                  

Unfed Hunger                                                                                    

A Question of Fire                                                                                  

Father Turning Blue                                                                           

The Barista’s Tale                                                                             

Seventy Times Seven, Plus One                                                         

Concerning What is Good                                                                   

Born-Again Death Wish                                                                     

Some Kind of Karma                                                                          

Deep Spot in the Creek                                                                      


Dream Catcher                                                                                    

Deer Poem                                                                                          

Remote Control                                                                                  

Dry Cleaners’ Blues                                                                           

Bayview Cemetery                                                                             


Epitaph, Early Spring                                                                         


Eve’s Beatitude                                                                                   

The Branch Will Not Break                                                                

The Pastor Parable                                                                             


Born-Again Death Wish is available for order now at Finishing Line Press. Order before April 17 for discounted shipping.

Born-Again Death Wish cover art

•February 18, 2015 • Leave a Comment


I seriously have to thank Finishing Line Press for the cover design of my forthcoming chapbook, Born-Again Death Wish. As you can see, it is quite striking. I’m very pleased with it. Early sales began yesterday, with discounted shipping for orders before April 17. Release date is June 12.

Born-Again Death Wish

•February 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Great news. My new book of poetry just went up on the Finishing Line Press site. “Born-Again Death Wish” is available here, with discounted shipping if you order now during the presale period. Cover art coming soon!

I’m back

•February 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Alright, it’s been nearly three years since my last post, so an explanation/summary of what happened is a reasonable request.

I started After Long Busyness in 2007 primarily as a way to promote the poetry of South Dakota, culminating in the ebook After Long Busyness: Interviews with Eight Heartland Poets. That’s when things got interesting.

In 2012, I left my hometown of Rapid City, South Dakota, and moved to Bellingham, Washington. New home. New job. New life. I hadn’t decided if I would bring the blog, or poetry, into my new world.

That changed in 2013 when Finishing Line Press accepted my chapbook Real Boy Blues. I kept writing. And now things have settled down enough that I want to revive After Long Busyness.

Of course, now that I live in western Washington, the focus will have to shift away from South Dakota. Bellingham has a thriving literary scene, so I don’t think it will be difficult to find topics to write about, and I’ll have some good news to share next week.

‘After Long Busyness’ ebook gains premium status

•April 13, 2012 • 1 Comment

“After Long Busyness: Interviews with Eight Heartland Poets,” my ebook comprising a series of interviews that originating on this blog has been accepted to the Smashwords Premium catalog.

The ebook is now available on the Smashwords site, and it will soon also be available through online retailers such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Sony and Diesel.

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