Poet and copy of literary journal

Thanks to Editor Tony Huang and the staff of The Hong Kong Review, my poem “Tense tense” can be read all over the world. It’s an absolutely beautiful journal and I’m so happy to see my work ON THE PAGE right next to the wonderful poet Mary Morris (who we had the pleasure of publishing at The Citron Review). Other excellent fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry contributors are in this issue of HKR including: Christine Sneed, Avital Gad-Cykman, Vikram Kapur, Imogen Arate, Carmelinda Scian and the stunning photography of Wong Man Fai. What an honor to be included in this January 2021 issue (Vol II, No. 3).

Here’s my poem.

Tense tense

Yesterday, a watched pot.
That it will boil
yesterday was a strong belief.
Held by many, ‘twas.

We will believe, then
in bought blueberry preserves.
Today we would be atheists
when it comes to boiling pots.

Tense tense will be memories
of the berries we forgot to pick
when frost didn’t forget to
freeze sweetness solid.

Tense tense will not be backs
we will not bend yesterday.

Tense tense the muscle muscles
into our hearts full of blood
so much rich blood since
evicting love be our will.

Tense tense will use itself
repeatedly. The future will
use yesterday. It’ll be tense,
whether pots boil or not.

We will watch yesterday
boil tomorrow.
Belief should object like
a stuck seed in your tooth.


If you click, don’t click now, please don’t click my words away… but if you do you’ll find an interview with Jules Archer, author of Little Feasts over at the Zest section of The Citron Review, my editorial home. I won’t say too much about it here, it’s one of the best new books I read this year, ranking it among favorites like Laura Van Den Berg’s I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown, Tara Isabel Zambrano’s Death, Desire and other Destinations, and Jenny Slate’s Little Weirds. I’m thankful to Jules Archer for thinking deeply and sharing generously when answering my weird craft questions. Her book is brave, dirty, smart, and hilarious. I will buy anything she writes.

From the above list, you might notice that I love reading stories that are dark and funny. This year was dark and painful, for sure. But, funny? We had covfefe, right? Wait what! That was 2017? What the hell happened to the years? Oh right. Human rights abuses, systemic discrimination, and a global pandemic. Barry and Dear White People were consistently funny shows that I watched this year, one skewers racism and the other features a hired assassin. That was 2019? Crap. At least, Samantha Bee continued killing us satirically regardless of the year.

Is it funny that The Masked Singer was viewed by people who refuse to wear a mask to prevent airborne transmission of a deadly virus? Though this missive isn’t about 2020’s music and has become more about general confusion, Alanis Morissette was back with “Reasons I Drink” this year, and I wonder if she could tell me whether there’s irony in the abundance of mask shows and their popularity (even with anti-maskers). I believe that she could! In this house, we stan with “Ironic” and Alanis, or at least I do. Did I use that right? Did anyone else awkwardly start using stan as a verb in 2020? How many years late am I for that? Anyhoo, let’s raise a glass of non-alcoholic mimosa to 2020, the year that made the phrase “dumpster fire” a cliché.


Canva - Shallow Focus Photography of White Sheep on Green Grass
By Kat Jayne from Pexels

In these recent wooly months, I’ve been lucky to not self-isolate. Many published materials have woven their way into the world. Great editors and readers made this possible. I’m thankful to words beyond words.

You’ll find a review of Cathy Ulrich’s Ghosts of You over at the Zest section of The Citron Review. It’s a wonderful read, re-read, and re-re-read. You will likely be transported out of your own body. The book kills. Seriously, it’s about murder.

A fresh batch of microfiction visited some lovely places like Litro, Blink-Ink and 50-Word Stories. These can be found on my home pasture, along with a wonderful chat with NUNUM. Seriously, it’s better than talking to me today, when I’m trying to figure out if planned obsolescence is looming over me. It wasn’t my plan! Nor were the puns, but I couldn’t shear them.