My three latest books are now available to purchase through Etsy. So, if you felt buying a book through the blog was a little sketchy, now you can buy it through them!
My three latest books are now available to purchase through Etsy. So, if you felt buying a book through the blog was a little sketchy, now you can buy it through them!
Hey all, my first book of collected work from 2014 – 2016 was just printed for the second time. I wrote a short intro to the 2nd run, which I am presenting here.
See the “For Sale” to order a copy!
I compiled Drunk on the Threshing Floor during a pretty strange stretch of time. I had been off work, was not feeling my best, and everything good that was happening didn’t seem to change too much.
“Holy fuck Brady, lighten up. I already have to read your downer poetry, and now you’re making me read about how hard your privileged life is in the introduction?”
I was getting to that.
Working on this book during the three months I was off work was something to occupy my time, and occupy my mind, and through working on it, I got better. It gave me some greater purpose, some reason to get out of bed and head down to the local coffee shop to scour pages with a red pen. The book was by far the biggest self-publishing project I had yet undertaken, and the hours needed to be put in, and I had nothing but time on my hands.
Through that work, I was okay again. Therefore, this book will always hold a special place in me, as a physical reminder of working through problems in my life in an effort to make something good.
Sometimes, throwing yourself into a project is not the way to make your life better, but in this case, it was a way forward, and kept me from becoming stagnant.
The idea behind the book was to go through all of the work I had done in the last two years, and give it a concrete, physical home. I had been thinking that some of the better stuff that I had been written had been doomed to the fate of being archived on the blog, and lost too far back in time for anyone except the truly dedicated to seek it out. This book was a way to bring all of that work back to the forefront, so that somebody, anybody, could read it.
I made up a cover, published fifty copies of it, and went back to work.
Now, I’ve decided to do up a second printing, as all of those fifty copies have been sold, or given out, or left at airports, or sent in the mail to people in far off lands. My reasoning behind doing the book again, apart from having more books to give out, is to fix some things that I missed the first time around. The downside of self-publishing is that when you’re the only one looking at something, it’s easy for all the words to glaze over in you head, causing you to miss really easy typos and mistakes.
For example, in the first edition, in the short story called “Death of the American Dream,” I wrote that the two characters were, “sex feet apart from one another,” instead of six feet apart. So, the second edition lets me fix that, so people can stop messaging me about it, and I can stop feeling like a giant fucking idiot.
While that was the most glaring example, there were quit a few more mistakes that needed to be banished. If you have one of the books with typos, then you’re probably not reading this, because the book isn’t worth buying twice.
My apologies. If you track me down, I’ll buy you a coffee.
I toyed with the idea of putting some new poems in this new printing, but decided against it for two reasons:
1.) I felt that this was all the good work I had from the last few years, and putting work in that wasn’t completed at the time of the first publishing seemed like cheating the very idea of the whole thing.
2.) Because at the length it is now, I can still mail it as a letter, and save on postage.
This book sums up two years of written work. I’m pretty proud of most of it, and I thank you for reading it.
Dallas Beach, Victoria BC
June 11th, 2017
An excerpt from A Caustic Summer. A novella by Brady Tighe. Available now!
1st Circle of Sober Hell
The Unmade Bed of Sleepless Hot Nights
It’s too hot to sleep, and so you toss and turn among the sheets and find no comfort. Every position gnaws at you; every side of the pillow is the wrong side. Lying awake, you go through all of the mistakes you’ve made, and how they have all led to your current situation. When that train of thought derails, you think of all of the things that you could have done to grow as a person and get started on a better life. This works, until you come to the realization that you’ve done none of those things, and probably won’t because they are too much work. You follow this with a long lamenting stare at the ceiling, where with eyes open you dissect micro-moments of your life that you’ve given immense weight to. You feel disgusted with your body and all of the sweat pouring off of it. You think of things you could do if you got out of bed. You do none of those things and lie there and think more.
2nd Circle of Sober Hell
The Sad Fridge
This is a reminder that you still can’t fill the fridge. Despite all of your money, despite having a job, and despite being an adult most of the time, your fridge is still empty. You’re reminded of your own incompetence at keeping yourself healthy every time you open it. This hell continues until you actually fill the fucking fridge. Even then, be sure to beat yourself up for not having all kinds of healthy, fresh, and colorful items inside of it. There is no coconut or almond milk, no fruit, no expensive cheeses for expensive bagels, and no pro-biotic yogurt to help your guts. There are plenty of half eaten slices of pizza though.
Think about how hungry you are, and then order pizza because you don’t want to do your dishes. Then feel bad about that choice. Think to yourself that green beer bottles would add some shade to the whole enterprise, and then realize that you again thought that beer was food, and that this is why you’re not drinking.
While thinking about what kind of food to buy, remind yourself that you don’t actually know how to cook anything, and that any food you buy that isn’t pickles isn’t going to magical turn itself into some orgasmic meal.
Remind yourself, as you stand in the soft, hospital like glow of the open fridge door, of all your previous failures at cooking, and picture a towering monolith of scorched pots.
The only mercy of the sad fridge, is that opening the door and staring into it, cools your down a little.
3rd Circle of Sober Hell
In the Fetal Position in the Shower
The refuge of a cold shower on a hot summer day is just another inconvenient nightmare as you rest your head against the acrylic wall you haven’t cleaned in who knows how long and think about how your life is over at 27. You shower longer than anyone should when taking a cold shower. You rinse, lather, and repeat more times than you could ever be dirty enough to need.
You slip to the floor of the shower, curl into the fetal position and close your eyes in an effort to see and think absolutely nothing, and just feel numb. Your thoughts are persistent though, and won’t wash off, and you end up thinking about all of the things you could accomplish in the future if you could only see past the futility of continuing on. All feelings of, “If I did this, I would maybe be able to work on my dreams and my goals,” are met with crippling, undeniable evidence that none of that effort is going to do any good.
As cold water sprays on you and runs down your skin, you feel as though you will be alone for the rest of your life, and that all attempts at dating will end in failure and sadness. You think about all the famous people who died at 27 and realize that you’re not famous enough to die. You realize that all actions when you leave the shower will be meaningless and that you will always end up back here, in the fetal position.
4th Circle of Sober Hell
Standing Outside The Liquor Store Waiting for it to Close
You are standing outside of a liquor store waiting for it to close. You’ve left your apartment and told yourself you’re going to go and buy a big bottle of something, and that all of this sobriety bullshit is finally going to be over and done with. Temptation grips every bit of you, and churns around your insides.
This hell burns like the fire in your lungs from the 15 cigarettes that you’ve smoked back to back. It burns like the part of your lip you opened up when you pull one burned down to the filter out of your mouth with shaking hands. Your resolve crumbles like the ashes off the end of each of them. You’re waiting for the open sign to turn off, so that you will be free of this temptation, and able to return home for another sleepless night.
15 steps forward.
15 steps towards the door.
15 steps back.
The answers are not forthcoming, you think to yourself as your fingers tighten on the filter of a Marlboro red, while your other hand clenches and unclenches in your jacket pocket.
You check your watch: it’s 15 minutes to closing time. Inside the liquor store, a whiskey symphony cues itself up with a few taps to the front label of a bottle. A beer bottle choir clears it’s voice in preparation for the sweetest siren song you’ve ever heard.
5th Circle of Sober Hell
Sobriety in a Vicious Summer
A beer will cool you off, and calm your mind. That’s what your head says. A bigger lie you haven’t heard in some time, but the cooing voice that’s tapping on your skull sounds awful convincing.
To make matters worse, everyone but you is out enjoying themselves and celebrating life, drunk as skunks and making the streets scream with pleasure at night. You feel more alone than you ever have. Going out into the city becomes less and less of an option, because you will only be tempted more and more by hordes of young people just like you, who are having fun in a way that you no longer can. Every bit of you will slowly be eroded away: your willpower, your happiness, and your desire to maintain this façade of personal health that you call sobriety.
Good days will occur at random and give you some hope of going forward, but these are just the tricks of this particular circle; done to make things all the worse when the reality of the situation comes crashing back down on you. Hope is the curse they afflict upon you, showing you an island of salvation in a sea of whiskey thoughts, before crashing another wave down upon you.
Easy escape beckons, as easy as twist off tops, but that door opens off the edge of a cliff. Sometimes though, falling off isn’t such a bad thing, you think, because you’ll feel like you’re flying for a few seconds.
A new novella. 75 pages. Contact me at email@example.com and I’ll send you a copy. $15.
Able to burn or corrode organic tissue by chemical action. “a caustic cleaner”
synonyms: corrosive, corroding, abrasive, mordant, acid
“a caustic cleaner”
Sarcastic in a scathing and bitter way.
synonyms: sarcastic, cutting, biting, mordant, sharp, bitter, scathing, derisive, sardonic, ironic, scornful, trenchant, acerbic, abrasive, vitriolic, acidulous “a caustic comment”
A Cuastic Summer
A novella by Brady Tighe about heat, sobriety, summer, break-ups, vinyl records, depression, addiction, and that slow clean victory that can only be achieved through suffering beautifully for a few swelteting months.
When the only word you’ve written is “fuck”/16 times in a row/then you know you’re in it/a mental dead zone/not writer’s block/but all of your thoughts bottlenecked/fighting to get through/gouging eyes/clawing limbs/a deafening cacophony of thoughts/misery biting the ankles of happiness/lust punching insomnia in the teeth/10,000 thoughts with metaphors held up like limo pick-up signs at the airport/who to pick among the riot/this tide of yins and yangs?
The most profound?
The one that leads to the best poems?
Close you eyes and point/hear a scream of victory out of the mouth of a youth in the back of the room.
Read the name tag:
“Adolescent/Middle school sports failures”
Then write “fuck” another 16 times in a row.
What follows is an excerpt from the other new book I have coming out tomorrow, A Caustic Summer.
“Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”
These gods of mine have brought forth a season that brings madness with every sunrise. They have brought forth a season that will ruin my mind, before tossing me aside to a place where my own mind is an enemy, where my own thoughts are a disease that courses through my veins and cannot be plucked out on a whim. These gods of mine have used all the sickening colours of their palettes to craft a season of insanity and drought, a season that burns away all refuge, makes the prayers of the scorched useless, and leaves the strongest questioning. I am not at my strongest, and I am not ready for the season of madness.
Summer is a motherfucker.
The resident of apartment 208 is sober.
The inhabitant of apartment 208 passes through the circles of hell, or swims through the slippery images of dreams as if he were part Dante part Virgil
Frames of one man multiplied by thousands of images from one vast photo album, a flipping stack of live drawings that plays through a hazy, hallucinogenic repeat. The inhabitant of these images is the constant. The only change is his different placement in the cycle. In this dream, this vision, he is in every state, in every frame of light. We see inside his soul at all moments, we are his thoughts, we are his miseries and we know how sick he gets when morning rolls around and he feels no better. A viciously enhanced and gargantuan scale triple exposure, a thousand films layered over one another.
We see him flip records, we see him drink glass after glass of water, we see him with different women, going through the same positions and the same tired lines, we see him eat the same breakfast every morning. He smokes. He reads. His routines are the same every single day. Sometimes, in fits of violence, he punches a filing cabinet; sometimes opting for a haymaker leveled at the top drawer, and sometimes a gut punch to the middle drawer that holds his old tax forms and all of the important business forms they can’t be bothered to go through and deal with.
So cue up. Tap the stick against the bandstand and wait
A musician picks up his instrument and begins to noodle around in a minor key. Mournful long notes drift through the air. If you stop and listen, you can hear the background soundtrack to a special kind of hell; Loneliness as a sound, not just a word.
There’s been no rain for months. There’s a drought in California that’s plastered all over the newspaper headlines, and a drought here in Victoria that’s advertised on every water rationing pamphlet that’s shoved under apartment doors and stapled to telephone poles. For me, it has been a season of drought in more ways than one; There has been a drought on liquor (self-inflicted),A drought on love (self-inflicted),a drought on decent sex despite all my efforts pursuing it. I sit around waiting for the smallest scraps of each of these things I lack to trickle through the breakers and through smog and heat down to me. I read about the fires in the hills of the interior, and look out the window to watch ash drift down onto the street from an orange sky that blots out the sun. I walk past smoking garbage cans that line the avenues of this city, set alight by a flicked cigarette ash or spent butt that I hope wasn’t one of mine.
There is heartache and heat, no drought on either, and both are so bad that you can’t sleep, and stand in front of your freezer running ice cubes over your forehead for relief. Everywhere I look are indicators of a special kind of hot Hell dreamt up by cruel gods drunk on causing madness. Everywhere I look are signposts that let me know where I am, but offering no direction out.
I am going against my gods. I am changing myself, and to change oneself is to go against one’s own personal gods. Zeus didn’t make the list, but Jameson Irish Whiskey did. You’ll find no Christ or Mohammad on my list, but you will find Johnny Walker Black and Lord Heineken. These were my gods for years, and I was a devout follower, who prowled temples with carpet flooring and neon signs, and who gave communion every morning and worshipped until sick every night. Now I have run screaming from those sticky temples where the bad country music gospel plays like a siren song, I have run away from the followers with hands full of damp change looking to buy one more round for the road, I have left a discipline I have peeked behind the curtain of to see only death, disease, and cirrhosis.
Yet, I miss it.
I want whiskey
I want gin
I want screwdrivers
and a good screw
I want mini liquor bottles
I want bottles of beer
growlers of high proof rum
rum and cokes
heavy on the liquor
cans of cheap beer
cans of good beer
towers of empties to litter my desk
mickeys for my jacket pockets
two ice cubes in a glass of good scotch
one ice cube in a large glass of Irish
bottles of wine
straight from the bottle
here comes a regular
an old skilled pro at this kind of thing
martinis ordered and consumed
the rule is to chug the first two and savor the third
I want a Heineken
and champagne if it’s New Years Eve.
That was the night I quit.
June 1st/ 28 degrees / Cloudy
June starts with a cloudy day this year. I don’t remember what the weather was like on this day last year, not that I usually have a glorious memory for such things. I am sober today, going on six months, and I know undisputedly that I wasn’t sober on this day last year. It’s not difficult to have a good memory about the days I was drunk, as I was drunk every goddamn day.
A fan turns in the corner of the room. It is the only thing moving in this heat, and it pushes about the room a mix of hot air and a stick of mint incense I lit earlier to drown out the smells of sweat, a one-night stand that still clings to the sheets somehow, and illicit bathtub cigarettes.
On top of my filing cabinet is a vinyl record with all of the corners curled up from being left out in the sun too long. The heat outside is more powerful than rock and roll.
I examine my warped copy of Who’s Next and consider using it as an ashtray, except there’s a hole in the middle, and I feel that the Pete Townsend would be mad at me for dropping ash into all of his carefully manicured record grooves. We’ve never met, but on the off chance it happens, I play it safe and return the useless record to the top of the filing cabinet.
I make a mental note that when I go out I have to remember to close the blinds, otherwise whatever record I left on the turntable will be a ruined by the time I return home.
I empathize with my copy of Who’s Next, for I know what it’s like to be molded into a distorted version of my previous self: to not play like I used to, to send the needle skipping back to the cradle. My sobriety is now six-months-old, and I don’t know yet if it is something to celebrate, or something I have forced myself to endure like a march of attrition. To celebrate the day, I go outside and light a cigarette.
I’ve been smoking too much and I know it; there’s that constant feeling in my mouth of my tongue being turned into steel wool and my fingers stained a sickening yellow. Yet, none of those wonderful beautifications of my oral health and digits stops me from plugging a filter between my lips before breakfast and lighting one up to greet the day. I have my reasons, I tell myself. I have an excuse, and I pardon myself, as I take a long drag and exhale.
I smoke because it’s the only thing that keeps my mind off drinking in the mornings; a quick trick played on the vice offices of my brain, to make the staff feel like I’m giving it what they want.
Never mind that I’ve now switched out the fear of liver failure for the much healthier inevitability of lung cancer. Whatever, I say as I glance into the orange forest fire sky of late afternoon, the whole province is smoking and alight, so I fit in just fine.
It has been summer for a month and I’ve been hiding indoors trying to write poems and not drink.
The poems are about the same cyclic misery that I’ve written of before, and it seems that it’s still impossible to escape from a certain way of personal thinking when writing, even in the aftermath of the quitting drinking and coming to terms with the frayed and scorched ends of most of my major relationships. Strangely enough, the sober poems have seemed to be more of a downer than the drunk ones, as if the cold light of a reality free of substance and boozy haze was harder to describe and endure than one drowning in screwdrivers.
I drink glass after glass of water out of a glass milk bottle. I eat nothing but fruit and stay up for 24 hours as sanity slips, then reason, and after that a decent night’s sleep.
I miss drinking. It’s like they tell you about people who have had a limb cut off; they still feel the twitch.
If you struggle from depression, http://www.betterhelp.com contains thousands of articles on depression, anxiety, and mental health.