Must This Be Masochistic?

Originally published at

You told me to buy presentable clothes and I did, a whole new outfit from Target. Neat slacks and spiffy shirt, even found shoes to match. And now here I am dressed like a fish trying to understand what it means to breathe air. We’re toddlers on a see-saw, you and I, for the first time trying to find stability. But this gala is full of coroners. My first big affair for a serious career, and my editor escorts me to a corner booth to meet the district managers who pay us both. I laughed at the right jokes but I kept my mouth shut, and they never once saw the tattoos ‘round my gums. The molars I had pulled from eating rocks as a drop-out. Clean-shaven clean-cut and dressed like the guest of a judge who doesn’t recognize my face from four years before, I could maybe fit in if my conscience didn’t heave. The walls are turning purple. Faces start to swirl with open jaws of twisting laughter, vortices of features. The chandeliers are bleeding light. The hotel porters are cackling rapists out in the foyer looking for a fix and I don’t know what I’m into but I’m out in the rain. I am the news man who screamed out the window and tossed himself to pursue his echoes. There is a limo parked in the curbside puddles, seven porters to open the limo door. Out steps the Big Man himself, CEO of Gannet. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir.” My editor masturbating through his pocket. I am pouring vodka into champagne so no one will notice the changes bringing back the alcoholic. Unemployment gets me paid about half as much but if I don’t need a car or to keep my appearance, well, that’s money well saved and spent at the bar. No – I should give you a call to keep my head grounded but our conversation cannot be heard by these howling de Sades. Their suits are worth more than the hearse they’ll wheel me out on. I am cackling at the bar. Am I the Marquis in the mirror? Behind me spins the eloquent calculations of Murdoch’s publications, wives and the mistresses of breaking war stories and the talking heads from GE that just won’t quit. I am performing Coyote Ugly on the bar, finally shouting all the things that should be said. I haven’t had a care in the world since Makers’ Mark let me forget the debts I owe and the kids we support and I may be the Marquis in the mirror but god damn these cruel fools, our see-saw will stay stable if we place a god damn trailer on it.

Come With Me to the Great Wide Sea

The sleepy neighborhood turns slowly with the dawning sun. Morning yellow, sky refreshed; the cool damp rising while bathrobed husbands collect papers and garbage cans. Older mothers out for a run; sleepy drivers dressed for the day creep their cars by, sometimes wave. Younger siblings prepare immense bowls of sugared cereal. Yawns and crotch scratches while family get themselves out of doors. And pretty soon the house is quiet. I turn on the news. I turn the news on loudly to let myself hear it from the back deck. I smoke pot and then a cigarette and then I sit and think about the news, all very vague to make much sense. The neighborhood is still. Brief shouts of kids down the street, maybe on bikes, maybe playing stick-ball. Warmth and certainty, July heat rising round houses that never change. In one hour we will be rolling naked through bedsheets you’ve had since 7th grade. My testicles will dangle freely over floorboards polished weekly by your mother for ten years now and counting. You will bend over the couch your friends slept on in sleepovers thoughout high school. We’ll run around your house naked and safe and laughing, checking the clock every so often, you’ll have me brush your plush stuffed dolls across your breasts and down your stomach, slowly. At 6pm I’ll find myself trapped into having dinner with your family. Or else I’ll leave, and wait for you to text me while I drive the quiet blocks smoking pot and cigarettes. More likely is option 3: to see myself fading quietly into palpable black, punctuated by yellow-light squares, kitchen windows and front-room windows looking in on silent TVs and chapped hands in old dish water. Familiar scenes that drift away. Dated shots of bicycle rides burning away the acetate, and all that’s left behind: Fat slobs molesting kids in basements, the physically deformed acting out the wishes of arrogant bosses and politicians: dormant lives in cupcakes on green lawns in maple shade. I can’t find a chair to sit on; this sensation of floating away. Flight of foot to mountains vast and cities sprawling, the sunlight wishes to crown your hair. Please — will you hold out your hand? Before our funeral leaves a trail of flower petals — please, will you hold out your hand?

Writing About Writing

As you can probably guess, blogging isn’t what I do for a living. Nor is it what I spend the bulk of my day doing. There’s a whole lot else going on that takes me away from the one place I feel comfortable, productive, happy that I’m doing something which feels authentic and worth everyone’s time. A quick breakdown of current distractions:

  1.   The scramble to find Job B before Job A’s contractual obligations conclude
  2.   The search for another rental home, this time in a different state
    1.   Moving the hell out of New Jersey
  3. Attempting a freelancing career (I’ll let you know how that goes)

Distractions be damned, most important to me still is that, one way or another, I graft together a writing career (again, I’ll let you know). Which places this blog at the top of things I need to do each day. It’s important I have something written and posted early each day because I want this site to have regularity, a sort of cadence so that you can turn to this blog on any given day with the expectation that you will find something original to read. That’s an important aspect of blogging, and I think that’s what you, faithful reader, would like to see here.

However, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to produce prose-poetry every morning. Wringing myself through the emotional pasta-maker of prose-poetry requires a certain creative vigor, and sometimes I’m worn too thin to make it work. Not writing in the morning ruins my day, and ruins what I just said about keeping Mick’s Neon Fog a regular repository.

I’ve been toying around with a few ideas for supplementary content, and I think what I’ll do is write about writing. Because clearly there aren’t enough writing tips, writing blogs, writing advice, writing retreats, writing-lesson snake’s oil salesmen (and saleswomen) dragging their nails across thousands of the internet’s biggest chalkboards.

But I think I can offer something different. If it turns out I’m wrong, please let me know, loudly, in the comments section or feel free to do so discretely (but still loudly) via email or a personal message.

When you write about writing, you can usually take the specific topic you’re writing about – for instance the use of adverbs, or free-form writing, or deus ex machina – and find in it something true to humankind. Writing about writing is writing about creating; and to create, even in the most mundane sense of the term, to be able to alter your environs, is a critical component to what it means to be human. And so it goes with creative writing: when you write about writing you should be able to find something to say about impalpable humanity. For instance, if you’re writing about why it’s so important to write everyday, you establish your concrete facts and propositions and then you strip away the desk, the pen, the writer himself and you get to the shadow on the wall — what does it mean to be able to write effortlessly, without ego?

This post is turning out to be a primer page. When I woke-up this morning I’d had the idea of getting into the debate about whether or not to outline before writing. I was going to talk about choices only existing in frameworks, say a few things about freewill, find a bunch of great links to share, but unfortunately I’m out of time.

Hopefully tonight I’m asleep Early As Fuck, and I get a great night’s sleep (writer’s rest), and tomorrow I can get back to prose-poetry.

Thanks for reading.

Heat of September

Hours of sleep vibrate away in the sticky heat of yellow street lights. Indian Summer, Fall semester, nocturnal emissions lost in hopes of dust, waking daydreams. Corners of the dormitories safely lit with yellow spotlights. Not a name, not a whisper, not a footstep to be heard in the alleys and the campus yards. His fourth floor dorm room has sweat on the walls, damp sheets, a computer screen. A TV flickers fractures of daytime sitcoms, primetime interviews. Cigarette smoke wafting out his open window. He is just trying to cope. He is in his boxers on the edge of his bed sweating and just trying to cope, night number 6 that he hasn’t slept till 6am, just before the alarm clock, the interminable hours of sunrise and schoolbooks. Long days half-asleep, hearing cheers and happy shouts outside at noon, while inside, cold, he hides under blankets for a sitcom and a desperate snooze. A pulsating awareness, clammy fear of letting go – long hours in formaldehyde textbooks, lingering conversations, inconsequential friendships, young women to whisper his dreams, mockingly. He finds himself on foot in the damp night, unable to shake the fear of fleeting time – three more long years, he’ll sure be fatter and slower and smaller in all the vital ways it counts – how can he persevere, when his head is somewhere else, his heart is everywhere else, the world is everywhere else, but here. He hates his mother, he curses his father in quiet eulogies out-front the dormitory. He pines for the freedoms of high school summers. His knuckles are sore, bits of skin left on brick walls of his dorm room; fitful nights excited for nothing with everything to do, nowhere to go but to sleep. He wants to know a girl who asks for deposits in her asshole. He wants to know the bloodshot eyes of sidewalk dawns. He wants to find himself lost in strange cities of minarets and Tibetan monks. He wants to see crescent moons over shimmering rivers with a girl he adores. He wants to crack his head open like an egg on the porcelain sink of the dormitory bathroom. He wants the world to leave him alone.

Anecdote of Fools

The campus looks greener in the dark. Long lawns of grass and the old ivy’d buildings at the top of the hill. The floodlights glowing up from the foot of the oaks and the towering maples and the smoke wreaths in your hair. This would be the third night in a row we’ve come here. In a depression wet with dew and darkness, a miniature mystical forest of oaks, and maples and dogwoods, spread in clusters through the park. It is Spring and the air is scented sweet with dew and dogwood flowers, fresh, vital, aromatic aphrodisiacs. You ask me to brush the pine needles from your back. Stillness in the humid air. This has become our bench. We come here when neither of us can easily find sleep, and you text me, and I meet you, I meet you because of the sweaters you wear, two sizes too large for your thin little frame. What could be hiding in there? In the darkness that encroaches like walls from between the trees, giving no depth and only immediacy. Erasure of past and future, disclaimer from the vast expanse of stars we cannot see above: what else is hiding there? Two supple truths would be my best guess. I haven’t known you long. From a distance like a novel with 98% of it pages half-erased, a nimble beauty moving with quiet confidence through the library and down the halls. Speaking to no one, smoking cigarettes by yourself. Why the long face? Why the hidden dilemmas and the aura of existential doubt? What is it you were hiding I found myself so anxious to find? Here in the wet depression, comforted by night’s big blanket, you tell me the anecdote of fools. You tell me what you study in the daytime, you tell me of friends and the music you adore, you describe for me your bedroom. You show me the scar on your arm from when as a little girl you took a fall. And it must be a trick of the moonlight how clearly I can see your face, pock-marks on your forehead and little wrinkles beginning to show round the corners of your mouth. A picture forms, and I don’t like it at all. Your dreams are full of clobbering machinery. I don’t like you at all. I can feel the warmth of your body through your clothes, the soft touch of skin, your lips on my neck. The way your limbs are wrapped around me, the two of us entwined in the grass. I really wish you hadn’t taken to talking. You’ve ruined the night sky. I am distressed at how this has turned out. Your belly-button, I can say with confidence, would’ve been plenty deep for me.

Thanks for Reading


Thanks for checking out Mick’s Neon Fog. I’m Mick. I dropped out of college years ago to start writing a novel, then instead wrote short-stories, then instead got a real job and now I’m writing prose poetry in the mornings before earning a wage.

If you aren’t familiar with the prose poetry form, most people aren’t. So here’s the gist of a prose poem – it’s short. It’s in paragraph form, or it blends forms, or it has no form. It’s usually lyrical, pleasing to read, like a quick vignette that rhymes. provides a great primer on the prose poem, as well as some samples. Though of course I’ll suggest you browse these prose poems first.

Here’s a great critique of the prose poetry cottage industry from David Foster Wallace.

A few notes on what you can find here

Prose poems are quick to produce, spur-of-the-moment and with a good kick to the chest. They’re quick to read. In about the time it takes you to listen to your favorite song, you can read a prose poem that hopefully elicits just as strong a reaction.

Prose poetry is great for the internet, browsing on your phone on the train, or on your laptop in the library when you don’t feel like studying. It’s the medium deciding the form.

So there’s an emphasis here on readability. You can read the original Neon Fog prose poems here, or by clicking on the Prose Poetry category on the right.

Prose poems are the main attraction, but you’ll also find those typical personal blog-type posts that read like journal entries. Those are fodder to make sure the site stays towards the top of search engines. I still enjoy writing them, and I hope you get a kick out of reading them. And as always, it’s great when you leave thoughts at the bottom of the posts.

How you can support

You can support original, unparalleled literature by becoming a Patreon at Every contribution makes a difference. I freelance for a living — with every contribution I can dedicate that much more time to creating something you enjoy, something that matters, the kind of writing that – I hope – moves you and stays with you long after you’ve read it.

Patreon supporters are able to receive prose-poetry before it’s posted, and can even have a custom prose poem written anything of their choosing — a bad relationship, a desultory year, a relentless sense of dread. That’s right: CUSTOM PROSE POETRY, from yours truly. You provide the details, and I will publish an original prose-poetry piece dedicated to the event or topic.

Support from my patrons is what makes it possible for me to write creatively. It’s my dream, it’s my love, it’s my life. I can’t say thank you enough. In fact, it’s going to take me a lifetime to explain how much gratitude I have.

You can also show your support by following me on Twitter, @MickHugh_ ( that’s Mick Hugh underscore), to help you stay up-to-date on recent posts and to chat about books. I’m also on DeviantArt, at BMickHugh.

If you wish to contact me, any questions and all conversations are always welcome, please feel free to send an email to

Thank you again for reading,

– Mick Hugh



Originally published at

The rain had beaten holes in our backs and it was my idea to come here. 2,000 miles from home. You owned a Mazda and I owned a dream, and together we had $40 and no place to sleep. So we did what we always did best. We scrounged, rags and happiness up and down the sidewalk. New friends, old acquaintances, same familiar taste for bum wine. No mattress but a pile of blankets on an old neighbor’s floor but the walls were hard and hid our dirty fucking well. Drunk on rooftops, drunk in alleys, drunk in bars, drrrrrrunk in the library ‘cus it opened at 7 just after the sun and had couches in the stacks to hide our bum lovin’ selves. Towers shined downtown. Neons shined crosstown near the arena. Eyes shined tits shined cocks shined. Dreams hid behind clouds. Nose bled. Knuckles bled in drywall. Hunger struck well. Fever came to days flush red with sun baking without a drop on the promenade. Dry-out, please just dry-out. Uptown sprints to catch delivery trucks, clandestine missions lifting cases of cans. Rowdy downtown. Rowdy uptown. Rowdy ‘cross the college campus getting sex out of wild freshmen. You were talking ‘bout New Jersey and the hills you grew up in. You moved our blankets to the far side of the floor. Leave me stranded, will you, just lock the god damn door? Sail off in your pretty cloud ship, leave the wasteland far behind. You had the keys and the gas and the paycheck I couldn’t steal, a heart I couldn’t hear. I’ll guide you to the alley and watch you beg for bread. Hike up those legs and shut the god damn door. Shut the door and let me wander and close your eyes till I get back. Let me see it from a distance.

I’ll come back sane.


%d bloggers like this: