The Autumn issue of Thema Literary Journal features my poem, What Were You Wearing? I wrote this piece in response to the question inevitably asked by police, social workers, doctors, friends, and lovers when talking about sexual assault. You can purchase the issue here.
(CW: Trauma, anxiety, neurodiversity)
For the first time, I’ve dedicated most of my efforts not just to creating, but to trying to share what I create. That part has always been the wrench for me.
About two years ago, I left my job. When I say I left my job, what I mean is that I got onto a bus, rode it to the subway station, got out and stood on the platform
My body rebelled. I full-on froze. My mouth tasted like I was chewing tinfoil. My heart was a wind-up toy from the flea market let loose under my ribs. I called HR and told them I couldn’t do it. I quit.
You don’t need to know the details of what happened at my job to spin me out. It was an echo of a recurring trauma, played out like a house of mirrors and it triggered my flight or flight. (And I’ve never had fight. Not ever.)
I left. I got a part time job to help with the bills and started sending words out.
I live in a neurodiverse bubble that makes enjoying my own accomplishments complicated — even impossible. I’m sharing my nominations because I want them to stay in my brain. I want them to imprint as deeply as the bad stuff. I want to remember how I felt when I heard. How my body reacted. What my mouth tasted like. What my heart did.
A poem I wrote about a place that gave me something when I had nothing is out in the world. Thanks for that, TBQ. Thanks for giving my story a home. Thanks for giving me a reason to pay attention to what my heart does.
(CW: Mental illness, hospitalization)
I first wrote my poem, In Patient, while I was hospitalized because of debilitating symptoms that hit at my intersection of mental illnesses. The poem has lived on my computer for about 20 years, a small moment in a long relationship with my disability. Literary magazine Serotonin not only gave it a home, but they gave it a loving home. Now they’ve nominated it, along with 7 others, for the Best of the Net 2020. I’m heartened by the changing conversation around neurodiversity and mental illness and I’m grateful that my experiences are a part of it.
Three of my poems are in the December issue of Terse Journal. The journal seeks to publish poems that share nostalgia for lost futures.
Celestial Echo Press/Gemini Wordsmiths‘ first collection, The Twofer Compendium, is now available for purchase. It features 36 short stories on the theme of twins, including my tale, The Tyndarids.
Buy it for $2.99 on Smashwords!
What are folks saying about it? Nice stuff!
“The Twofer Compendium is a robust twin anthology, a creative montage of voice and style with no two stories the same. It’ll keep you page turning all night.” – Daniel Arthur Smith, USA Today Best-selling author
That IS nice! Well, I’m sold. I’ve clearly got no ulterior motive on this one.
In some-but-not-all seriousness, it’s a fun book and you can’t go wrong at a dime a story! I’ll post as soon as the physical book is available for those who still like to hold pages in hand.
If you enjoy the poem, please feel free to donate to Burke’s work here.
What’s that? What’s that? My short story, The Tyndarids, will soon be featured in Celestial Echo Press’ collection, The Twofer Compendium. This collection includes intriguing mysteries, thrillers, psychological essays and high fantasy using the theme of twins — all within the short-story format!
My tale is a very personal urban slipstream story about twins named Geri and Jerry. (Admittedly, their mother was not a stellar human.)
As soon as the collection is available, I will post a link to it, with info on how to purchase it.
My new creative non-fiction piece, Rest In Peace, Mr. Dionne, is live and free to read in the second issue of Stonecrop Review. It’s the true story of two deeply urban kids finding a way to interact with nature in order properly send off their beloved guinea pig, Mr. Dionne. The artwork, which is both charming and uncanny, is by Holly McKelvey.
The rest of the issue is also beautiful, featuring fiction, non-fiction, poetry, art and photography from around the world exploring the theme of Roots/Routes in urban nature.