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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Friday, March 2, 2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018

There Once Was a Prophet from Judah... Has Arrived

The book you all have been waiting for - There Once Was a Prophet from Judah: Biblical Limericks for Fun and Prophet - has arrived, at least at my house. And you can see just how excited my wife is about it.

Order your copy (or your seven or eight copies) now:

You can order it from the Wipf and Stock Customer Service line at 541-344-1528. 

or from the Wipf and Stock web site: There Once Was a Prophet from Judah

And if you are one of those who reads books on a Kindle, it will be available in 3 – 4 months.

My mother is proud of me for having published this, my second book. But she’s not going to like it as much as my first – Muted Hosannas - which is still available from Frontier Press.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Dream of Hannibal

A Dream of Hannibal by Jeff Carter on

There Once Was a Prophet from Judah Is Available Now

Hurray and Huzzah! It is time to shout. My book – There Once Was a Prophet from Judah: Biblical Limericks for Fun and Prophet – is now ready for you to purchase. Yes. Yes. After what seems like months and months of waiting (seems like months and months because it has been months and months) the book is really, and truly in print.

And you can order your very own copy. Or you can order your very own seven or eight copies. I won’t stop you. Retail price is $23.00. For that price you are getting a collection of limericks spanning both the Old and New Testaments, as well as that mostly unread stuff in the Apocrypha, and a number of slightly not-so-biblical limericks. That’s several hundred limericks. But Wait! There’s more! You’ll also get the preface, written by my good friend, Joel Watts – who also has a couple of books available from Wipf and Stock. (And his book, Praying in God’s Theater, has an afterword written by me. Just sayin’…)

I should warn you, though, the limericks in There Once Was a Prophet from Judah are limericks and that means they tend to be … somewhat uncouth. Rough around the edges. They deal with unmentionable things. And in this, they are very much like the Bible, from which they have been drawn. Prepare to be stung, provoked, and irritated. Fair warning.

If, after all that, you’re still eager to purchase a copy (or seven or eight) the following will be helpful:

Immediately, starting today (02/20/2018), you can order it from the Wipf and Stock Customer Service line at 541-344-1528. 

It will be available from the Wipf and stock website in 2 weeks. 
It will be available from Amazon in 2 – 4 weeks. (Though, I think you can already pre-order it from Amazon…)
It will be available from Ingram in 4 weeks.

And if you are one of those who reads books on a Kindle, it will be available in 3 – 4 months.
My mother is proud of me for having published this, my second book. But she’s not going to like it as much as my first – Muted Hosannas - which is still available from Frontier Press.

ISBN 13: 978-1-5326-3818-3

Monday, February 19, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Alien Shores Revisited

Alien shores revisited

Alien Shores by Jeff Carter on

Pontius Pilate Waits

Pontius Pilate, prefect and governor of Judaea, dressed in his full equestrian regalia, found himself alone in a room of pale stone. And though the room had no windows or visible sources of illumination, the room was radiant with light, as if the pale, sand-colored stones were themselves glowing.  He stood, silently, patiently waiting, but for what he did not know. How long had he waited? Hours? Days? He couldn’t say. He waited with stern nobility. He would not allow himself to be irritated. He would not allow his reputed furious disposition to flare up. He would wait.  And those responsible for his prolonged detention would have to answer to the sovereign authority of Caesar and the power of Rome.

As he waited, he could hear a murmuring crowd, a chanting mass of voices from somewhere nearby, but not visible to him. He could not make out what they were saying, but it seemed to him that they said his name at regular intervals in their repeated litany.

After an indeterminate time a thin man came into the room carrying a small sheaf of cream-colored note cards. “Mr. Pilate,” he said, extending his right hand, palm turned flat sideways.

Pilate stared at him, at his hand with disdain. He crossed his arms against his chest and said. “What am I doing here? Where is here? Who is responsible for this?”

“Oh, Mr. Pilate…” said the thin man. “Yes, I can understand your confusion. This must seem odd. And, indeed, it is odd. There has been an unfortunate mix up in some of the necessary paperwork. But, do not worry too much; the man in the office at the end of the hall is working, even now, to clear up the confusion. He will have it all sorted out quickly, I assure you.”

Distracted for a moment by the chanting which again seemed to include his name, Pilate said, “What is that damned noise? Why are they mentioning me in their murmuring?”

“Yes, the Brothers and Sisters do speak of you, it’s true. And an honor. Yes. You, my lord, are one of only three individuals that they mention by name. Imagine that! Out of the whole of human history, out of all the billions of souls that have lived, out of all those that will ever exist, you are singled out in their declarations.”

“Tell them to stop,” Pilate demanded. “They must stop. I won’t have my name bandied about by strangers like that.”

The thin man quivered. “I’m sorry, my lord. I don’t think that’s possible. They are part of a divine convocatio. They have been summoned, called out for this. You understand, yes?”

Pilate glared at the thin man in inflexible silence. The thin man trembled. He fumbled the cards in his hand and they drifted to the floor. He knelt down to scoop them up. He stood again, shuffling the cards, trying to put them back into their proper order.

“What am I doing here?” Pilate demanded.

“My lord,” the thin man said nervously. “You must understand the need to reward the wicked and punish the good.” He hesitated and re-read the card in his hand. “You see.” He tore the card in half. “There has been a terrible mix up here. Things are out of sorts, as I said. But it will all be cleared up soon. We’re sorting it all out.”

And he held up two of the cards for Pilate to examine. One read: EXINANITIO. The other: EXALTATIO. 

“You understand, yes?”

Pilate snorted, and made a half turn away from the quivering little man. “I must be released. You cannot keep me here. Send me back to Rome, I insist.”

“My lord,” the little man answered. “You cannot return to Rome, not at this time. The Tiber is still reeling with a storm of demons. You are not welcome there.” He shuffled the cards again and then said, “You could go to Switzerland, I suppose. There is a mountain there for you.” He read from the card again. “Though, there may be a dragon there. I’m not sure how you’d feel abou…”

“Away with you!” Pilate said. “Leave and find someone who can speak as an equal to me, someone with rank. I will not quibble any longer with a lowborn slave such as you.”

The thin man nodded. “Yes, my lord.”  He nodded again and left the room.

After a moment alone, Pilate shouted after him, “I am pure from the blood of the Son of God!” There was no response. He shouted again, “I am pure from the blood of the Son of God, damn it!”

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

We Have a Cover - There Once Was a Prophet from Judah

The wait has been long, but it’s almost here- my new book: There Once Was a Prophet from Judah: Biblical Limericks for Fun and Prophet, has a cover- a great cover, and will be going to press by the end of the week.  Huzzah and whatnot!

I’m sure that you’ll want to buy a copy or seven. Buy one for your neighbor, your pastor, your librarian... Buy a copy for your family, your friends - buy one for your enemies, even.

Saturday, February 10, 2018


Sphere by Jeff Carter on

A Message from the Man in the Office at the End of the Hall

The man in the office at the end of the hall is a small quiet man, thin and bespectacled. He arrives at the office promptly and precisely at seven every morning. He is never late. The office at the end of the hall is as clean and uncluttered as its sole occupant. The walls are lined with deep, wooden filing cabinets like those formerly used in libraries around the world. On the desk is an Underwood typewriter and a stack of cream colored message cards.

There is a knock at the door. He stands, straightens his grey, felt suit, and steps to the door. He opens the red mahogany door to find a sheaf of documents in the wooden organizer. He retrieves them, gives them a cursory glance, and then closes the door. At his desk, he sets down the documents, uses his thumb to carefully align their edges. After reading the top paper in the stack, the man in the office at the end of the hall places one of the cream colored message cards into the Underwood typewriter, and begins a message:

Mr. Carter,

You have made the fundamental mistake
of confusing sputum and sputnik.
She did not kiss you.
There may be water on Mars,
but it is not for you.
You are sick, infectious even.

The message completed, he rolls the card from the typewriter and stands. He takes the card to the appropriate filing drawer: Ca - Cl. He pulls the drawer out, thumbs through the cards, arranged alphabetically. He files the message and closes the drawer. The man in the office at the end of the hall returns to his desk to continue his work.

Monday, February 5, 2018

President Trump Labels Dissent Treason

The poor snowflake, president Donald Trump, has his feelings hurt by those who wouldn’t applaud his every utterance during the State of the Union address. He was put off by their “bad energy.” He called them “death,” and “unAmerican,” and even “treasonous.”  

The sad, little man doesn’t seem to understand what democracy means, how a democratic republic works, or the history of American political disagreement. 

It’s a sad state of affairs when our opponents cannot be said to be reasonable participants, and that they must hate our country because they have a different understanding of what it means to make America great. Instead we veer towards a fascist dictatorship, where opposition isn’t tolerated and dissent is labeled treason. He’s not just a sad, little snowflake; he’s a dangerous threat. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Perfect Stranger

I came home from a long day of work; I had been busy all day, moving materials, finding equipment, unloading, loading – but I felt as if I had accomplished very little. I left work with too many things unfinished. But it was good to be home. Home again, home again, fly away home. Once I stepped through that door I could relax in the comfortable and the familiar.

But as soon as I opened the door and stepped through into my apartment I was greeted by her voice. “Good. You’re home,” she said. “I’ve got something wonderful to show you.”

She led me back to the bedroom past the couch, which seemed longer than I remembered it being, and it was covered with several new throw pillows that I didn’t recognize. “Oh.” I said in the bedroom, “A new comforter. Nice.”

“No,” she pouted. “Not the comforter. The cat.”  And sure enough, my cat, Camus, was curled up in an orange furry ball in the center of the bed. She leaned over and whispered something to Camus and he woke up. He stretched a long cat-stretch, then flicked his tail twice before beginning to sing:

Standing tall, on the wings of my dream.
Rise and fall, on the wings of my dream.

The rain and thunder
The wind and haze
I'm bound for better days.

Once finished, Camus, flicked his tail again, curled back up into a ball and began purring as he drifted off to sleep.

“That’s amazing,” I said turning to the face the woman in my bedroom, “but who the hell are you, and how did you get into my apartment?”

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Distracting Myself for a Better Attitude

I had to work today - an extra overtime, Saturday shift.  It wasn't exactly how I wanted to spend my weekend, especially as it came after a long and exhausting week. But I suppose the overtime pay sorta' makes up for it. I suppose..

Anyway, as I was working - driving the forklift, emptying dumpsters, loading the factory assembly area with parts, and what not, I found myself absentmindedly going over a series of workplace grievances and irritations, nursing them, rehearsing them. And I was starting to get a little cranky.

Until my conscious, thinking self interrupted. "Stop," I said to myself. "Think about something else." This was the first thing that came to mind. It successfully distracted me for long enough to get a better attitude.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Shall We Gather at the River?

Shall we gather at the river? John the Baptizer is there, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Shall we gather at the river, the beautiful, beautiful river? Where crystal tides are forever flowing, where bright angels tread, along with the saints and all the population of Judea and Jerusalem?

Shall we gather at the river? And wear camel-hair and leather? Shall we confess our sins in the face of axes and fire? Shall we actually give away our possessions, and work for honest wages? Shall we give up the power of position? Shall we gather at the river, in the wilderness – underneath a sky that threatens to rip open at any moment and pour down on us the floodgates of heaven?

The river is beautiful, beautiful – but those banks are stormy.  Too idealistic. Not realistic. It’s dangerous out there, and that John is a radical. Shall we gather at the river? No. Perhaps not.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Drinking Absinthe of Malice

“Say, J., what is this we’re drinking?”

“Something Malice.”


“It’s imported.  Swiss. Or Persian… Greek. Or Egyptian.  I dunno...”

“But what is it?”

“Absinthe of Malice.”

“Seems about right, given the times as they are…”

Reports from the Off-White House of Homeland Insecurities. An impractical and unnecessary autopsy – performed three months or twenty years early. Petty officials with nothing but the ridiculous virtue of indignity. John Locke was right: Wormwood and sugarplums are not the same thing.

The hallucinogenic properties of la fée verte, absinthe, are largely and greatly exaggerated, but I did not hallucinate the events that occurred this afternoon.

The public library, downtown a block north of the courthouse, a block west of the Congregational Church, was guarded by a dragoon of black armored militarized police, each wearing an obscuring balaclava and carrying a semi-automatic riot cannon. The blue-red-blue-red flashing lights of their armored cars reflected in the glass doors of the People’s athenaeum as I approached carrying an armload of books.

“Your ID,” demanded one of the police officers as I stepped to the door.

“Excuse me?”

“Your ID,” he demanded again. His eyes narrowed beneath his face mask.

“Since when do we have to present ID to use the public library?” I asked. And before he could answer, I asked another: “How do I know you’re a law enforcement officer, anyway? With those masks you guys could be any number of lunatics with guns and a uniform fetish…”

One of the masked guards spoke into his shoulder mounted radio. “Commander Hoover. We’ve got another one here at the door.”

Commander Hoover, wasn’t long in responding to the call. “Let’s see those books you’re carrying.” He snatched them from me. “Karl Marx: Prophet of Revolution. Trotsky in New York 1917: A Radical on the Eve of Revolution. The War Resisters League Organizer’s Manual.” He snorted. “Looks like we’ve got a leftist traitor. Or a spy.”

He shoved the books back into my hands. “First among the disloyal are always the Socialist,” Commander Hoover said. Then, “Sergeant Jones, send this terrorist on his way.”

Officer Jones sprung upon me; belting me in the face, dumping my books, and kicking me. “Go home.” He shouted. “You are the enemy.  Go home! Devil worshipper! Filth! Backstabbing your own country. Go home, scum!”

Jones struck me vigorously and repeatedly. His curses devolved into snorting and grunting noises which I drowned out by singing the Internationale.

Pour me another glass of that Absinthe of Malice, if you please. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Good News from My Publisher

Maybe you’d forgotten. Or perhaps you’d begun to think that I might have been fibbing when, way back in July of last year I announced that the good folks at Wipf and Stock had agreed to publish my collection of Biblical Limericks.

Well, I didn’t forget. And I wasn’t fibbing. Not even a little. Though it has taken a few months, I am pleased to say that I received an email informing me that my book is with the typesetter, and that I should have a pdf copy sometime next week to review. Once any corrections have been made (and, honestly, how many could there be…?) the work will be forwarded to Production. Then, providing that the cover is also completed, the book will be ready to print.    

So, please (please, please, please) be ready to order seven or eight copies of There Once Was a Prophet from Judah… Biblical Limericks for Fun and Prophet in the very near future. And encourage your friends, and family, and neighbors, and your enemies even, to order a copy.  Thanks.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I Took Myself to the Bodyshop

Since yesterday was the beginning of a new year, a time for taking stock and making repairs, and since it had been some time since I had made a deep and probing examination of myself, I took myself to the bodyshop and asked the technicians to give me a full inspection.

After about an hour the lead mechanic came back to me and said that it looks like I am going to need: 

- a new ancient serpent belt,
-a flitter filter
-a tensioner
-a biting fly-wheel
-2 new shock distributors
-a new manifesto manifold
-a new grudge pin
-a new alienator

“All told,” he said, “it’s going to cost you about $3,500 for the job.  But I can’t do the work here…”

Monday, January 1, 2018

Let’s Dig Up the Skull of Geronimo

We was sittin’ in a booth at Denny’s on account of David George getting us kicked out of Lindsey’s Tavern. Lindsey didn’t think that David George was funny anymore; he’d covered the toilets (in both the men’s and the ladies’ restrooms) with clear plastic-wrap and waited for the splashing and the screaming.

“It was a joke!” David George pleaded.

“How old are you? 13?” Lindsey asked before he kicked us out. We used to go to Lindsey’s after our shift at Alvin’s Speedy Lube and Parts, but we didn’t work there anymore either.

“You know what we should do?” David George asked me.

“What?” I asked around a mouthful of hash-browns and scrambled eggs.

“Somethin’ big. Somethin’….” He trailed off, his eyes far away, looking at something a hundred miles away at the back of his imagination. I knew that look. He got that look whenever he had an idea. And he always had an idea.

“I dunno’, David George. Maybe we should go back to the Lube and Parts. Maybe we could get our jobs back.”

But David George had an idea. A big one. “We should find Geronimo’s head,” he declared abruptly. Loudly. I spit coffee across the table. Other folks in the restaurant turned to stare at us.

“No, David George. You remember what happened when we tried to dig up the body of President Lincoln…” That was an adventure I wished David George hadn’t gotten us into. “No. We can’t be doin’ these kind of things. Grave-robbing’s nasty work. Let’s go back to the Lube and Parts. Or to Lindsey’s. Maybe he’ll let us in if you…”

“No. This is different,” he said. “I recognize that our attempt to disinter the body of the 16th president of the United States was misguided, but this isn’t grave robbing. It’s… it’s… it’s historical preservation is what it is. It’s cultural restoration. It’s important. And besides, Geronimo’s skull has already been dug up and stolen. We’d just be finding it and returning it. And if it should bring us some cash in the process, well, that’s good too.”

David George told me how he heard the story when he was a boy at summer camp in Enid, Oklahoma, how the famed Indian warrior had died at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and was buried there in an unmarked grave. Then during World War I, as the rest of the world was being buried in blood and bullets and mud and muck, six members of the Yale secret society – the Skull and Bones were at Fort Sill as U.S. Army volunteers. These Bonesmen - including Prescott Bush, future father of President George H. W. Bush, and grandfather of President George W. Bush – dug up the corpse of the famous Apache and stole the skull, along with some of his other bones.

“The Skull and bones took it, right! The freakin’ Skull and Bones, dude. Prescott and his pals found the unmarked grave and dug it up in the middle of the night.”

“Then what?”

“Well, presumably Prescott Bush held the relics for the group and passed them, along with their totemic power, to his son and grandson.”

“You’re serious?” I asked as I stabbed what remained of my eggs. I’d lost my appetite.

“How else would you explain the election of W. in 2,000?”

I put down my fork and picked up the ceramic coffee mug that held the cold remains of my coffee; it’d had been a long time since our waitress had come by. “This sounds dangerous, David George. Won’t you wake up a poltergeist or some other trope?”

“No. no.” he laughed. “In fact this is the reverse of the movie. The Skull and Bones left the cemetery and took the headstone… Well… the head, anyway.

I put the coffee cup down; it was empty anyway. “I still say it’s a bad idea, David George.  I mean it’s not like you could fence the skull. What are we going to do with it afterwards?  We’d be stuck with it. It’d be like stealing the Mona Lisa.”

“That’s not a bad idea, Holt. But it’s already been done.”

I yawned. Like Geronimo, I yawned. The famed Apache hero could, it was said, anticipate future events. He went to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, sold picture postcards and rode the Ferris wheel and repented that he’d ever surrendered. He should have fought until he was the last man alive. I yawned, but I couldn’t feel my teeth. Whether the future would be better or worse, I don’t know. David George is not able tell me. And I wouldn’t trust him if he did.


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