Sleepmaps preview

After a few delays and setbacks, Sleepmaps is scheduled for release tomorrow in a limited run of 100 print copies.

To get the fires going, I thought I’d post two of my personal favorites here as a preview. Please, let’s help spread the word and see how fast we can make these 100 copies disappear.

To learn more about the book, check out Needfire Poetry’s Sleepmaps page.


“A Brief Afterlife” (originally published in Prick of the Spindle)sleepmaps1_ver2 copy

You tried explaining to your ghost

that it had come too soon, as evidenced

by the breaths you used to speak to it.

Even when you showed it how you

could press your hand into it and have it

pass right through, it did not believe.

Even after you took it to work and

stripped it of its ethereal frame to show

that it was nothing, it remained intact.

You explained to it how you sometimes forgot

to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom or

kiss your wife goodbye in the morning

or to wash the knives after splitting apples

or to linger and stare at the window whenever

déjà vu etched its way across your being.

In turn it told you that after your life,

there is a large field where the sun forever rises

and the word “once” is carried in echoes forever.

You took your ghost home and folded it like clothes,

broke it down, organized it into boxes and bins,

knowing that one day, it would replace you.


(originally published in Duotrope)

I am not strapped to the bed.

This is only sleep paralysis and there is no ogre on my chest,

no spaceship hovering above my house

or shadowmen languishing by the foot of my bed,

but on the nights when I wake from the dream

where I am standing in a meadow as wide as all oceans ever dreamed

and begin coughing

and keep coughing until coins spill from my mouth;

I can only listen to them jingle as they hit the ground

and notice that they are not adorned with presidential heads

but with expressionless sleepy ghosts of myself

and when I see that the only thing that remains constant is

In God We Trust, I wake up screaming

and there is a weight like thunderclouds in my stomach

and when it begins to rain in the 3 a.m. void,

I feel that I am connected to everything

and I never want to wake.


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