Dr. Hurley’s Digest, Vol. II, Issue 52

The first of three guest-edited weeks gave us some great fiction and poetry, courtesy of guest editor Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke. Check out what you missed below.


Monday – Introduction

Wednesday – Fiction

Friday – Poetry

More from MFC this week and next, plus, today marks the beginning of Dr. H’s third year! Huzzah!

From the Guest Editor

Michael Fitzgerald-ClarkeToday is my birthday.  Among the gifts I’ve received is a party invitation from Seamus, and you all are invited.  This bash will go on for the next three weeks, and there are nine very creative people who will be featured on the bill of entertainment.

Believe me; I know these folks have that special something to – to use the saying people cooler than me use – rock your socks off.  Three short story writers; and six poets, one of whom is also going to share her photography.  Beginning today, it’ll be a short story to kick off each week, and then two poems to put the icing on the scrummy cakes.

And the good news for dear Seamus – and your good selves – is that only one of the nine artists has previously graced his e-rooms.  Today, Dawn DeAnna Wilson, who has featured here before will open the festivities, but from then on, following Dawn’s superb opening gambit, all the kings and queens of words are new.

A few years ago here in Australia (from whence I write) there was a TV spruiker named Big Kev.  He sold vacuum cleaners, weight loss plans, saucepans, tickets to Somali moon festivals: you name it.  His catch cry was always “I’m excited!”

Big Kev is no longer with us. One of his vacuum cleaners ate him, and he’s now spruiking his wares to the Big Spruiker in the Sky.  I’m still here, though, and, as I put on my party hat and ladle myself a glass of this delicious smelling punch, yes, you got it, “I’m excited!”

Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

Cures for a Crush


he first one doesn’t count, because you’re only four or five, and you don’t even realize it’s a crush. You just think it’s funny when he eats glue or makes fart sounds or imitates the teacher when her back is turned. You’re too young to know any better, so we’ll let this one slide.

Cure: Don’t need one. Eventually he’ll do something ridiculous and mess everything up—like pull your skirt over your head in front of the class, steal your Barbie doll, break your crayons, or tattle on you. You’ll lose interest. Either way, it takes care of itself.

The first one you actually realize is a crush is a different matter. You’re old enough to realize there’s competition, and girls who have better boobs, better butts, better blonde highlights, better everything, are the ones who are going to get his attention. What could he possibly see in you? He doesn’t know you exist.

Cure: Fortunately, adolescent hormones make you so ragingly stupid that you’d probably ruin it if given half a chance, so it’s probably best that he doesn’t know you exist. Need comfort? Picture him at the 20-year class reunion bald and fat. Tell yourself that better fish are out there.

You decide to go to a college near a large city—maybe getting out of your hometown will make you forget your stupid crushes. But then you’re in Psychology 101 and your professor has a wild mane of curly blonde hair and hypnotically green eyes. You sit in front—you tell yourself—to see better because there’s a horrible glare from the afternoon sun that comes through the windows and dances on the chalkboard. He talks of Freud and sex and Pavlov’s damn dog experiments and what it must be like to go absolutely, completely crazy. You Google him. Read every paper he has published, including “The Transcendental State of the Ego as Opposed to Degeneration of the Id in South American Men During 1976 to 1978.” You’ve never been more turned on.

The biggest weakness is not for their kind eyes or salt and pepper hair. It is always the curve of their hands—the gentle tender area between the thumb and forefinger, cleft there, so vulnerable, yet so hidden, it makes you think the whole world would allow you this one indiscretion if you could just get a little closer.

Cure: Do the math. If you’re 20 and he’s 50, by the time you’re 30, he’ll be dragging—everything will be dragging—and he’ll be popping little blue pills while your other friends are married to young bucks who are still in their 30s.

If that doesn’t work, just remember that it could get him fired.

If that doesn’t work, eat raw eggs until you throw up. Repeat if necessary.

You’re so messed up over the professor that you head to a shrink. He talks about how you never felt unconditionally loved by your Daddy and this has caused a fixation on authority figures. All that transference (a term you ironically learned from the professor) causes you transfer your crush to the shrink. At first you tell yourself that any man that good-looking and still single just has to be gay. It gets you off the hook for a few sessions, then one week he shows up with a Caribbean tan and a wedding ring. Now when you think of him, it’s almost like adultery. But maybe he’s miserable, you tell yourself. Maybe he got her pregnant.

Maybe he found the woman of his dreams.

Cure: You go to confession and unfold all your lusty desires before the priest. Then he points out that you haven’t really done anything, just thought about it. Then you realize how your confession pales in comparison to the tales of lust and wild abandon he must have heard all week. He gives you some half-hearted penance, but then you remind him that Jesus said if we look at someone with lust, we have committed adultery with them in our hearts. He adds a few more Hail Marys. You think—or maybe imagine—that he whispers “give it a rest, already” as you slink from the confessional booth.

If you’re Protestant, see the raw egg comments above.

You notice the guy in the cubicle across from you. He’s Asian, and all of a sudden you’re thinking of the sheer exoticness of it all, some ancient Chinese sexual wisdom—even though he was born in upstate New York. He’s an associate supervisor. It’s all so taboo and that makes you want him even more. You’re sure the shrink would have something to say about this one.

Cure: You’re lucky this one took care of itself. They found him downloading porn and instead of firing him, they quietly transferred him to Sacramento, where he is scheduled to undergo some kind of porn counseling session.

You wonder if your shrink offers porn counseling.

Lest you be tempted to go back to the shrink, take a look at your checkbook balance and remember how much you shelled out because you exceeded your insurance company’s allotted 20 visits per year.

You want to meet someone who shares your interests. So you take a lit class at the local college. You’re relieved that your professor is a woman. Until she’s out for maternity leave. Then you get this beatnik grad assistant working on his PhD on Nabokov. He has black hair in a ponytail and some kind of tattoo on his back. You can tell because you see edges of it creeping around his upper shoulder when he wears a loose-fitting shirt. You imagine going to his place for wine and cheese and finding that he has 100 copies of Lolita. Everywhere. Lo- li- ta.

Cure: This one’s probably okay because he’s just a substitute. At least that’s what you tell yourself. You wait until after the semester. Then you go to his place for wine and cheese and see that he really does have 100 copies of Lolita everywhere. Okay, maybe only seven—10 if you count the ones in French, Spanish and Italian. But it feels like 100. It feels like a million.

You’re feeling nauseated. He takes you home. Probably all those raw eggs.

Then one day, when you least expect it, there’s a crush who responds.

He may be the professor, the boss, the shrink, the substitute. You linger after class asking questions until he gets the message. You schedule appointments even though you’ve reached your insurance max. You know exactly how he takes his coffee. You know his favorite novel. Then one day, he asks you for some help on a project. You type, file, whatever, for hours. You take a walk for a study break, ergonomic break—just fill in the blank here. You walk down a
wooded trail. You feel perfectly safe with him. You halfway expect squirrels and birds to hop out of the bushes and sing to you like some kind of sappy Disney cartoon. He touches your shoulder. Then rubs it. He leans down for what you think is a peck on the cheek, and the next thing you know, he’s kissing you full on the lips, and suddenly you’re back in the middle of your tenth grade fantasy—the crush has noticed you.

Of course, as soon as he does, he ruins it. Because he’s your professor, boss, shrink or substitute.

That’s the ultimate cure. You realize you can’t ever win.

And he can’t, either.

* * * * *

Dawn DeAnna Wilson is an award-winning North Carolina writer and the author of three novels, the most recent of which is Ten Thousand New Year’s Eves. This short story is from her collection Welcome to Shangri-La, North Carolina. Information on her publications can be found on her website http://www.dawndeannawilson.com. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina and her master’s degree in English/Creative Writing from East Carolina University. She currently resides near Raleigh, North Carolina.


This week is being guest edited by Australian poet Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke.

January, Jack

— For Lorna

n your birthday I step out

before sunrise to view the lake, the same
as every morning since our final
Saturday. I succumb

to ritual as you did to pain, let it become
my keel, the core from which I measure
just what color life is now. In the bluing
air, reflected trees stand top sides down,

knobby trunks lined, bases-up, like brushes
hung to dry. On the quiet water surface,
its black plate flushed
with rose and lavender beneath

the sprawling dawn, they paint a picture limned
in memories and fog. I’ve passed
a summer of blown dandelions
and dead cicada shells; in autumn, leaves

fell to earth like broken hopes. Kindly-worded
watercolor cards stopped coming
about the time the dock’s ladder
began to gather rungs of snow. Today

I hear you through the grief: a veil
of gray geese rises toward the sky. Backlit
they scatter like ashes, their low,
recurring call persists

Get on, get on.

Its meaning seeps in by degrees
like the dawn, a solid promise kept
that day will come again. Finally it arrives,
a surprise—at once sudden and complete—

to bear its beating heart,
a golden hub of sun.

* * * * *

Christine Orchanian Adler is a writer and editor whose poetry has appeared in Coal: A Poetry Anthology, Penumbra, Tipton Poetry Journal, and online at Bird and Moon, Damselfly Press, The Furnace Review, LiteraryMama and elsewhere. She holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College, and is a former editor of the literary journal, Inkwell. Her articles, essays and book reviews have appeared in various publications throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada. She blogs at  www.feedalltheanimals.blogspot.com, and lives in New York with her husband and two sons.


This week is being guest edited by Australian poet Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke.

Four Poems

Editor’s Note: What follows is an ever-so-slightly edited and reformatted version of an e-mail exchange between the poets Laurie Coker and Thom Anon. The poems are of course intact. To properly read this exchange, scroll down to the bottom, and read upwards. So, in the order they were sent, the poems are:

A Word From the Wise by Laurie Coker
Elder Ring by Thom Anon
High Class by Laurie Coker
Open Mike by Thom Anon

As you can also read, the poetry community in Austin, Texas is very much vibrantly alive. Yes, something different from Dr. Hurley!

– Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke, guest editor

* * * * *

thom woodruff [Thom Anon] worldpoet@rocketmail.com 2 Jan 2012
to Laurie Coker


where every one is welcomed
and harmonies may be heard
with word and song and cadence
that illuminates our world

every one who enters
has a chance to be
center of attention
(at least,temporarily)

our footprints in the sand
our words within the wind
our fire hearts that warm
our spirit that sings

each a blade of grass or weed
enjoying simply-our right to be

January 2012

tuesday 3-ruta maya open mike 3601 south congress 5-9pm MELANIE ROSE HOSTS
th 5th-TEMPLE POETS MEET@BODEGA BEAN water st belton 6-8pm
fri 6-FAIR BEAN 5-7pm 2410 south first .Hosted by AMY ZAMARRIPA
sat 7-RUMI @EXPRESSIONS! 2215 EM Franklin 5129268880 6-10pm(Austin Bahai Center) Bring a dish for the pot luck/cans for poets pantry-6-10pm -ALL AGES READING! GARRISON MARTT presents a MYSTERY poet-round robin after features/pot luck!

CHECK THIS OUT!=http://thomworldpoet.blogspot.com/ and (www.worldpoetry.org)

From: Laurie Coker <lcoker1@austin.rr.com>
To: ‘thom woodruff’ <worldpoet@rocketmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, January 1, 2012 10:41 AM

High Class

By Laurie Coker

My classroom is a dichotomy of youth’s coloring.
Their anxious faces wanting to absorb any of life’s gleanings I may offer.
Their façade of maturity and street acumen is betrayed by innocence
Exuding from their pores.
I love their faces, their expressions unbeknownst to them.
Someday they will see themselves in others but not now.
Time will ripen them and hopefully they will become
Like fine vintage wines, each with his/her own delicious bouquet…
And someday smile at youth’s dichotomy.

From: thom woodruff [Thom Anon mailto:worldpoet@rocketmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, January 01, 2012 6:09 AM
To: Laurie Coker


As we advance in years,a presumption occurs
that we are wise because we have survived.This is random
and our tiny lives could be snatched from us like a child’s toy
by fates as anonymous as daily headlines.We are still here-
so folk of youth and fear ask HOW and WHY
We laugh,because of a certain rough spiritual equality
that means we all share breath,life,this planet
and will all leave here.Leaving ourselves here.
Consciousness is fleeting.Time is revealing.
For we have sat @elder’s knee and asked for wisdom.
It did not come.Just sharing
what it is we all have right now -in common

January 2012

sunday 1=HOT MAMAS 3-6pm then KICK BUTT 5775 west airport 7-10pm
tuesday 3-ruta maya open mike 3601 south congress 5-9pm MELANIE ROSE HOSTS wed 4-THRICE RETURNS 909 west mary 6-9pm HOSTED BY JULIAN ENOCH th 5th-TEMPLE POETS MEET@BODEGA BEAN water st belton 6-8pm
fri 6-FAIR BEAN 5-7pm 2410 south first .Hosted by AMY ZAMARRIPA
sat 7-RUMI @EXPRESSIONS! 2215 EM Franklin 5129268880 6-10pm
Bring a dish for the pot luck/cans for poets pantry-6-10pm -ALL AGES READING!

CHECK THIS OUT!=http://thomworldpoet.blogspot.com/ and (www.worldpoetry.org)

From: Laurie Coker <lcoker1@austin.rr.com>
To: Laurie Coker <lcoker1@austin.rr.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2011 4:34 PM

A Word From the Wise

By Laurie Coker

She is my friend. And we know each other well.
We became friends when we were young mothers.
Our children grew through their toddler years together.
They shared saliva and colds and toys and food
Without realizing that’s what they were doing.
But we both knew and now we remember
As if it were yesterday.
Only now those children are bringing up their children
Well, hers anyway. She is Gramma.
I am still Laurie. If I have grandchildren
They are hidden away protectively and do not know
Of my existence.

And now after all these years she wants a favor of me.
She wants me to talk to her grown-up daughter
Who is mother to two young children
Even though their father is in absentia
(more or less). She wants me to talk to
The New Mother. She says to me,
“She will laugh at you, but she will listen to you
And your words will stick.”
A somewhat scary proposition.

Being older makes us wiser, but only
Within our own experience. If I could go back in time
I wouldn’t. Too much effort in learning my lessons
The first time. My heart would break all over again.
You would have to cart me off to The Home. Forever.
It would be my undoing. And giving Good Advice
Is Risky. So in my duplicitous wisdom I agree.
My sticky words are “Let me have them for the day.
You do something you haven’t in a while, something
Just for you. Give yourself some time away
To think, relax, be creative. Remember what a wonderful
Little child you were? Anyway, we all thought you were.
So do me a favor and give yourself a break.”

Friends will do just about anything for each other.

* * * * *

Thom Anon is an improvising troubleshooting troubadour who plays with words and Muse. He hosts EXPRESSIONS and FULL ENGLISH POETRY CAFE in Austin, Texas and has printed 250 books of poetry, released 31 CDs and too many tapes of improvisations. His websites are: http://WWW.worldpoetry.org and http:// thomworldpoet.blogspot.com/.

Laurie Coker is a native Texan and long time resident of Austin. She retired from the Texas Department of Health in 2003 and has been substitute teaching for Austin Independent School District since then – as well as acting in local theater, films and television. Laurie has been writing poetry most of her life – ever since she learned her letters – and enjoys sharing and exchanging her poetry via email. She has been published in The Signal, Stone Drum, and numerous college publications. In 1986 her collection of Christmas poems was published by AMS Press.


This week is being guest edited by Australian poet Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke.

Impression № 042: Boston

Kathleen Romana on her painting “lilacs in blue vase”:

The painting is acrylic on canvas. It is about things I loved as a child in Boston. I loved the pigeons, they were always on the fire escape (they’re everywhere in Boston), and in the spring walking home from school, there were lots of lilac bushes everywhere. (The smell is so amazing.) The apartment building that I lived in as a child looked out onto a little courtyard.


There’s a cool breeze blowing
through open apartment windows,
the smell of haddock and onions,
baked potatoes, cooking in the kitchen,
so I sit on the fire escape
and listen to city sounds,
people sounds, family sounds,
that travel up and down the block,
meander through alleyways,
and I think I’m obsessed with life.
All these people circling around the same questions
with so many different answers .. the same answers,
the answer … falls in light and shade
walks around and through,
laughing now and then.

Lately I wonder how life ever got so tangled,
war, after war, year after year,
no clear victory or defeat, no time,
to heal, or to read ancient writings, in the phases of the moon,
no patience, for slow revelation.
The importance of integrity of thought and action,
of mind and body is laid bare in this atmosphere,
where words seem to be set crosswise, or dangle
from webs of loosely formed fabrications,
and questionable motivation.

Washing dishes at the kitchen sink,
bubbles of soap float and pop under running water,
the dish rag glides over scraps of fish and potatoes,
clear water shimmers in sheets
over pale blue, green, and amber wild flowers
painted on the plate.
Wild flowers, have such a short season I think,

when you measure time and distance in minutes and inches
that never stretch long enough. I place the dish in the drainer,
and watch dish water run out of the sink, like fear runs from tears.

Somebody’s playing Jazz upstairs, so I take my front row seat
on the radiator, feet on the window sill, and listen,
to the music, to night time sounds. Street lights blink on,
outlining the silhouette of a man and woman
on the stairs across the street. Jazz fills the small sliver of
air between their bodies, she runs her finger around the
rim of her glass, and I’m reminded of the Zen archer who is
one with the bow, the arrow, and the target..
There are other people moving in the background,
all with their own dangerous secrets, each with unique, singular meaning,
but this couple, seems to almost be a product of the sound,
it’s not what it looks like nothing ever is.
I’ve seen that man standing at the harbor at dusk,
looking out to sea. His church is out there,
where he worships watery ocean gods
gods of tide and storm.

She is my strength and my song,
this city where I grew up
cradled in her centered, balanced quietness,
aware of her harnessed fierceness, her engaged alignment,
It’s hard to describe sensation with words.
Words tend to remove the sting from pain, and the climax from pleasure,
and the mind only reveals itself, to itself, in visions.
I do know though, there were never, any boundaries,
not then, or now, that I did not allow.

* * * * *

Kathleen Romana grew up in Boston; she uses her hometown as a point of inspiration for some of her poetry and artwork. Kathleen is a poet, performer and visual artist, living in Austin Texas.


This week is being guest edited by Australian poet Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke.

the room is not the same room

the room is not the same room
it is rot & ruin & open
wounds where
doors once
hung to
& crows curtain
windows closed to
wider warmer worlds
she kneels with a camera
the black & the rust copper &
tarnished silver the whiteness of
fungus lace & delicate lapping waves
how did we find the ocean in this room
the shadow of a woman leaning into wind
click click click the mechanics of separation
her mother saying: it all goes in the same place
(                                           ) the light polishing the day
to bone to marrow to gone—where do we keep this

* * * * *

Richard Lance Williams has been the “Litera” editor for The Austin Chronicle since 1988. He is the senior editor for Dalton Publishing, where he has edited the poetry of Michael Gilmore, Lyman Grant, W. Joe Hoppe, and Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas. His the secret book of god was named in 2007 by Robert Bonazzi of the San Antonio Express-News as “The Best Book of Poetry by a Poet Living in Texas.” His work has appeared in Aileron, The Texas Poetry Review, The Hudson River Review, Right Hand Pointing, Affirming Flame: Writings By Progressive Texas Poets in the Aftermath of September 11th, and others. He has a master’s degree in mythological studies/depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute.


This week is being guest edited by Australian poet Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke.

Astral Heeds

he moon gazed down upon
All the seas and lands,
Began to weep, but ceased
And only smirked:

“Let the seven billion vermin
Perish by the sewer
They have unleashed”

“And the animals will go”
So the stars rejoined, “also”,

“Too bad. Sacrifices sometimes
Must be made,
For the greater good
Of the universe and all”
Was the moon’s pert reply.

“Yes,” the stars enthused,
“We can say (with Ezra)
That the terrorists are the antenna
Of what remains,
Of what once was deemed
Human kind;
They’ve smelt the future
And their reactions
Are keen, and quite fine,
Spots of exploding honesty
Amidst the suckling plasma
Of lies, and cowardice, and other pus.”

“But then,” the moon returned,
“Or rather, maybe not the entire
Seven billion should be wasted,
Just that scurf
That floats upon the top,
Say, a good quarter billion or so,
Those chattering
In their cups,
Every one of ’em
A squatting atheistic sigh
Of empathy
And gloating knowledge
Of themselves,

To have been born
Just now, and here,
The zenith of emboweled enraptured
And truth
And development,
Excepting what’s to come –
Whole administrations of voracious
Like distended arseholes, unending
Rows, stacks, networks of ’em,
Quivering, expectant, suffocating
Miasmas of More, stuffed
Full and wandering round
Shopping malls of integration
And adaptation
And targeted
Insatiable, instantaneous, universal, plunged
In expert certainty
That the world is educating
Into rightness, at the end, at long last.”

Then the moon and stars
Dropped their colloquy
And wandered back
To their pending orbits
And forgot
The blue sphere floating
In its own emptiness,
Still evolving
Amidst a history
That has stopped.

But the earth itself
Had heard their despise
And through the ether
Began its own plaintive hiss:

“The future
Is just more
Human rights
And complacency
And dignity
For these lice

That continually
But never die,
Keep twisting and gnawing
Crawling and burning
Their orgies of triviality
And worthless
As they move towards
Their singularity
Of democratic
While their weight
(Since I bear ’em)
Has definitely declined
With less women
And few men
Although their numbers
Are a total disorder;
It seems the whole race
Is absolving
From anything
That once drove it
To be something
And easeful Nothing
Is baying
Ushering in
A celebration
Of self-congratulation; –
For, these animals
(With their “dignity” and “rights”)
Are having an ascension
And are becoming
Billions of celebrities
Circulating round
The circumference of machines
Which entertain
And drip-feed
And determine
What they may be,
The final dissolution
Into that contusion
Of contempt
Which always threatened

To devour;
But now, or soon
Is made manifest
By the universal resolution
And acclamation
Of all their developed

And here, the earth paused,
But its caw had been heard
And as it resumed
The entire heavenly host
Joined in chorus; the sun
The moon, the stars
And every other planet
All festering, barked:

“Let’s return
To the spectacle
Of relentless
Of beings vying
To display
Their infinite respect
For each others
A comedy,
Since, from their very own
Latest philosophy
None of ’em possess
Any reality,
All being just a flux
Of amorphous death,
A shrug, or kink
In the infinite
Spuming waves
Of atomic nothingness.

And yet they insist
And squawk and cry
On their very own
Infinite worth,
And that their rights
Are also infinite;
Infinite to consume
(As far as banality may)

All that they can
Within their ever expanding
Precious life spans.

It’s enough to make
A rabid dog
Vomit up
Enough ludicrousness
And disgust
To feed a thousand
For a thousand suns.”

And then they ended,
And those sounds trailed off
Into the spaces
Of the unending silences
By any radiation
Or sensory speculations.

* * * * *

Steven Jacks is a Brisbane-based writer now lost to the Chinese economy.


This week is being guest edited by Australian poet Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke.

From Dark to Light: Notes from Guest Editor, Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

or the next six days, a creation, of a special sort.

On the first day, the dark, bleak vision of Steven Jacks that challenges us to look at ourselves both collectively and as individuals.

On the second day, Richard Lance Williams’ poem offers us, both in its structure and its imagery, measured hope.

On the third day, Kathleen Romana evokes the city of her birth.

On the fourth day, Laurie Coker and Thom Anon show how this age of instant communication can offer a cornucopia of creativity.

On the fifth day, Christine Orchanian Adler, a resident of The Big Apple, takes us sublimely away, through watercolour hues of emotion.

And on the sixth day, laughter. Dawn DeAnna Wilson’s immaculate conception.


hen, on the last day of a busy week for your guest editor, I slip my tongue from my cheek and in all sincerity acknowledge and thank a wonderful group of friends for being part of this, my second, guest stint.

I wish to briefly celebrate friendships longstanding and new: Thom I’ve known since 1983 and it was through the kindness of his great heart that I got my start as a poet; and Steven and Dawn have been pillars of support for me during some of my darkest, most troubled hours.

Thanks to Ric, especially for being so generous of spirit in supporting the writing community of Austin for several decades; to Christine for inspiring me with her friendship and work; to Kathleen for her love and light; and to Laurie, a new friend.

And everything was very, very, very good, to the point of being spiffingly good.

* * * * *

Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke is an Australian poet who lives in Townsville, Queensland. One of his present projects is a MS titled Five Faves, Five Least Faves. When it is finished, it will comprise one hundred dedicated poems, for one hundred people, who will each have given Michael their five favourite, and five least favourite, words. He weaves all ten of them into that person’s poem. Feel invited to take part. E-mail him your words to michael(dot)fitzgeraldclarke(at)gmail(dot)com. He blogs here.  If Michael could have just one wish, he would give the wish away. 

This is Michael’s second guest editor stint at Snake-Oil Cure. To see his previous week of goodies, and his own contributions, click here.

Presenting this week’s Guest Editor

Dear Followers of the Snake-Oil Cure,

During these days leading up to Christmas, Dr. Hurley is wont to take a mental trip back to his homeland and hum hymns, hang holly branches about the house, and become thoroughly engrossed in the steaming of his traditional Christmas Pudding. As such, it has been deemed necessary to find some assistance in prescribing this week’s course of treatment.

Emily Markussen Sorsher (long-time, dedicated Snake-Oiler) hails from the warm and sunny land of California, but brings us a selection of rather chilling tales, very suited to telling around the fireplace while sipping a Dr. Hurley-approved cup of Glögg (rumor has it he picked up the recipe from a German patient at his spa).  Do read on and enjoy these thrilling, chilling tales.

The very best and warmest wishes from

Your Editors

(on behalf of the Doctor, who is currently to be found lighting candles and whistling “Deck the Halls” and isn’t to be disturbed)