The Velvet Note

Reading from Of Sand and Sugar and Abstract Visions of Light at The Velvet Note jazz club in Alpharetta, Georgia. Thank you to Dr. Tarece Johnson for organizing and hosting the Velvet Voices event, and to Tai Davis for recording my performance after having given her own. The atmosphere at the venue is relaxed and chill. It was a fun night.

Of Highways and Hiding Spots

I’ve heard tell that enlightenment comes as a crack in the foundation. I certainly wouldn’t know. Consciousness has a story of its own, but it told me that its lips are sealed. And I always believed every word of it, no matter the iffy look in those eyes. But I also knew that everyone was playing the same game with different rules. And I heard them say that when you awaken, you’ll be sorely vexed at the disturbance of dreams, but then must make a choice whether to remain lucid or beg the light to go away. Hint, hint: it never does. It’s a mad, mad highway, and there is not a single space designed to serve as a hiding spot.

I have met seven each from all thirteen sides of the war. Some of them were sweeter than others by degree, but down to the last they all had their reasons to curse and shake sticks. Righteous with their stones and sabers. But I, too, have run my mouth afoul at times, missed the mark, and perhaps even wallowed in the undertow of my own woeful wrongs. But so what? It’s sort of part of the process of making peace with your conscience. We grow up, dust off, move on, correct course, and make right. Signed, stamped, and delivered to the doorstep of karma. There are two scales that measure the balance between order and chaos in this world, but there is only one power great enough to judge the truth of your heart.

The Velvet Note: September 18

I’m excited about reading tomorrow evening at The Velvet Note jazz club in Alpharetta, Georgia. Huge thank you to Dr. Tarece Johnson for setting up the Velvet Voices event. Looking forward to taking in performances by Mila Konomos, Tai Davis, and Dr. Yusef Abdus Salaam as well. Tickets are available at the link below if there is anyone in the greater Atlanta area who’d like to make it out…

The show kicks off at 7 PM EST on Wednesday, September 18th. It’s going to be a fun night (and will also be streaming live on The Velvet Note’s FB page). Hope to see you there. Cheers, my friends!

The Velvet Note Promo

Songs of Selah with Guest, Mela Blust

Songs of Selah
September 11, 2019
9-11 PM EST

Mela Blust joins the program tonight to talk about and read selections from her new book, Skeleton Parade. The second hour will include an open mic segment so please feel free to call in with questions for Mela and/or to read a few pieces of your own at 646-668-8757.

Tune in live at the link below (or listen to the archived episode later at the same spot)…

Skeleton Parade


Mela Blust is a poet, a trauma survivor, and a mother. Since seeking publication just over a year ago, Mela’s work has been nominated twice for Best Of The Net, and has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Rust+Moth, The Nassau Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Collective Unrest, and many, many more.

Her debut poetry collection, Skeleton Parade, is available now from Apep Publications.

She is Head Publicist and Social Media Manager for Animal Heart Press, a contributing editor for Barren Magazine, and a poetry reader for The Rise Up Review.

She can be followed at

Mela Blust


Songs of Selah with Guest, Luke Johnson

Songs of Selah
Saturday, August 31
4-6 PM EST

Luke Johnson will be joining the program in the first hour to talk about his new book, and the second hour will include an open mic segment. Call in with questions for the guest and/or to read work of your own at 646-668-8757.

Listen live at the link below on 17Numa Radio…


Luke Johnson lives with wife and three kids on the California Coast. His poems can be found in Kenyon Review, Florida Review, Narrative, Nimrod, Tinderbox, Greensboro Review, Connotation Press, and others. He was a Finalist for both the Pablo Neruda Prize and Brett Elizabeth Jenkins Award. His chapbook, :boys, 2019, was published by Blue Horse Press. 

Find out more about his work at


Songs of Selah with Guest, Catherine Garbinsky

Songs of Selah
Monday, August 26, 2019
9-11 PM EST

Catherine Garbinsky joins the program tonight in the first hour to talk about her new book, and the second hour will include an open mic segment. Call in with questions and/or to read work of your own at 646-668-8757.

Tune in live at this link (or listen to the archived episode later at your own leisure)…


Please do subscribe to the 17Numa Radio channel as well, and thank you for helping to spread the word!

Trembling Toward the Sun by Scott Thomas Outlar

My poem “Trembling Toward the Sun” from the Essential Existentialism anthology available through CTU Publishing…

Creative Talents Unleashed

How much distance and difference is there

between a mountain and a molehill?

And how far are you determined to climb

to insure your problems amount to blessings in the end?

How tenacious is your will to peace?

How deep is your reservoir of faith?

When you weep with me

do so not out of sorrow

but exultation

and know that even in our suffering

there shines a light of salvation.

How many skeletons are there living in your closet

that rattle bones when you can’t sleep at night?

And how tired are the dragons that guard the secrets

hiding in the shadows that haunt your soul?

How dedicated is your tongue to truth?

How strong is your resolve in the fire?

When you dance with me

do so not in half steps

but full measure

and know that every movement

guides us closer to the stars.

How many millstones…

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