I am from hoarded photos,
shoved in a drawer,
wrinkled young faces
folded against time.
“Where I’m From.” Bluestone Review (Spring 2007).
I'm pleased to announce that BELLE RÊVE LITERARY JOURNAL will publish my poem "Summer Son" in May. I'll post a link when it appears.
“It wasn’t the coyote in the back of the Ranchero. The cop saw me tossing carpet tacks onto the road. He didn’t see the coyote until he pulled us over.”
I shook my head, but my thoughts didn’t get any clearer. I massaged one temple as I asked my brother, “Did you say coyote?”
“Yeah. Jed and me were up on one of those old strip jobs, just driving around. It ran out in front of us. He nicked it with the front bumper. We thought it was dead at first, but when we saw it breathing, I tied it up in the back of the truck with some baling twine and duct tape.”
I didn’t know what to question first. Why was Sawyer throwing carpet tacks in the road? Why kidnap a coyote? What were they doing at an abandoned surface mine? Actually, I was pretty sure the answer to that last one was drinking.
From “Spooky Action at a Distance.” Jimson Weed, vol. XXXV, new series vol. 19, no. 1 (Spring 2016).
I offer a New Year's blessing to all my readers and fellow writers. I wish for you good health, peace of mind, and great reading! Love always - Neva.
I've been invited to speak to a group of writers at the Russell County Public Library in celebration of National Novel Writing Month. Happy #NaNoWriMo everybody!
November 1, 2016...6:00 PM...Lebanon, VA
“You are a beautiful tragedy. My grievous angel. Here, hold my eye.”
That's the first line of THICKER THAN WATER, my short story that appears on the Fried Chicken and Coffee blogazine.
You can read the entire story by clicking here.
I'm pleased to announce the publication of an untitled micro-poem in the print and online editions of Three Line Poetry Issue #39.
Three Line Poetry is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating three-line poems and poets.
The journal's tagline is keep it simple, zen will follow.
I'm pleased to announce that my short story "Bobby Boyd's Bad Eyes" is published online and in print at Inwood Indiana Press.
The print version is still at press, but the online version is live: http://inwoodindiana.com/bobby-boyds-bad-eyes-neva-bryan/
I'm writing a new book and it's unlike anything I've ever created. I'm excited about it but also scared. This one may be the most challenging project I've ever faced.
In the meantime, I'm pleased to announce that one of my short stories has been accepted for publication. I'll announce details when I know more.
"The sun woke me up slashing the walls with its bright yellow blades. I studied on the dust motes floating in the air for a while, then I got up and went to the bedroom. I saw right away it was a done deal. That’s when I called the police and told them to come on up to Pawpaw Ridge."
From "The Devil's Better Half." Floyd County Moonshine, (February 2009).
"Now I seek comfort in the liturgy
of late night laundry.
I roll towels into neat bundles,
pick lint from the dryer trap,
retrieve ragged t-shirts,
discover the one you got at Lollapalooza.
I bury my face in cotton,
inhale the clean smell of Clorox,
and fall out."
From "Night Laundry." Sawmill Boys, Brighid Editions (2010).
full of stardust
who abandons his wrench,
picks up his pen."
From "Wanted." Explorations (2009).
"I am coal dust and spun sugar,
honeysuckle and vinegar,
hollow and deadly as a cat’s paw."
From "Appalachian Goddess." Explorations (2009).
Find hard-faced boys
with anthracite eyes,
who were too wise too soon,
schooled in hell’s shafts,
seams and slack.
From “Appalachia, Man: Can You Dig It?” A! Magazine for the Arts, vol. 15, no. 4. (April 2008), print.
Climbing onto the porch of the old house,
we hide from piggy eyes, wiry hair, cursive tails,
sacks of lard with cloven hooves.
Stiff-legged, they stalk back and forth,
eyeing our fingers and toes.
From "Revenge." Sawmill Boys, Brighid Editions (2010).
When he cocked his head at me and grinned, I saw a slight gap between his two front teeth. As he smiled, his eyes darkened from coffee-and-cream to pure black liquid. His hair was the color of my Granny’s apple butter; I thought how sweet it would be to free it from its tight ponytail and watch it tumble down around me. Just looking at him made me hungry.
from "Sawmill Boys.” Appalachian Heritage, vol. 34, no. 4 (Fall 2006).
The season’s sacrament
begins with thimbles
-- tiny communion cups --
and needles to pierce
soft cotton batting.
Below the quilt’s altar,
cupped in supplication,
receive red thread
to stitch blessings of warmth.
From “Snow Day.” The Distillery, vol. XV, no. 2 (January 2009).
Wren stretched out her arms and legs to form an X with her body. She moved them back and forth, then turned on her side and curled up inside the angel she had made in the sand. She would have slept there, breathing winter’s poison wind, if a police officer hadn’t roused her and escorted her off the beach.
If you like this excerpt, please read the book. Click here for more information.
Would you mourn,
my lizard king,
for this hollow mountain?
Cry for high walls,
a crownless queen?
From “Scream of the Butterfly.” We All Live Downstream: writings about mountaintop removal, ed. Jason Howard, Louisville: Motes Books, 2009.
Wash away the black fuzz
of diesel and dust,
and we’ll fumble in this dimwitted light
’til our tarnished love sparkles in the dark.
Twine yourself around me:
we are tight as the laces of a steel-toed boot.
From “Wise County Man.” Bluestone Review (Spring 2007).
Serenade me with the
stutter of Jake brakes on coal trucks
traveling down mountains.
Anoint me with the
pickled tang that hangs heavy
around the red bubby bush.
Lay me down in horsemint
and hemlock shadows,
shallow valleys, hallowed hills.
From “Anoint Me.” Poetry. 2009 Explorations Contest, Mountain Empire Community College.
I wasn’t wild about winter on Pawpaw Ridge. If ever there’s been a godforsaken place, it’s that mountain in the middle of February. The trees was slick and black and they pinched the empty air like they was mad. The snow was not white up there, but blue. It seemed unnatural to look out on that blue snow with the sun grinning down on it not doing a bit of good. And the wind was all the time blowing. That was what got to me the most.
I was always running to the door or the window to see who was tapping. Like to drove me crazy. Royce was used to the air creeping around the house, poking every corner with its invisible fingers.
From “The Devil’s Better Half.” Floyd County Moonshine, (February 2009).
A sawmill boy can take a 4X4 between the eyes that’ll lay him out flat on his ass and then get back up to finish his workday. They all wear a strange cologne of diesel fuel, hydraulic fluid, and cigarette smoke. Sawdust trails them like breadcrumbs for the lost. They’re lean, with knotty arms and hard faces, but their eyes are dreamy.
from "Sawmill Boys.” Appalachian Heritage, vol. 34, no. 4 (Fall 2006).
Sometimes he woke me up in the middle of the night. "Dance with me."
Ignoring my protests, he whirled me around the room, singing along to the music. Most of the time he played Billie Holiday, Patsy Cline, or Janis Joplin. "The Three Graces," he called them. He sang "God Bless the Child" to the mound in my belly. I loved him most in those moments.
Other times I hated him.
From "Hard Lesson." Jimson Weed, vol. XXXIV, new series vol. 18, no. 1 (Spring 2015).
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