of ravens and skulls

This past Tuesday we got back from a much-needed drift off the grid as we drove home to see family in Virginia. Other than time with fam, my agenda was simple. I wanted to take the kids to the Smithsonian, and I wanted to get my eyes on Edgar Allen Poe’s Baltimore home & grave.

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When we got to Poe’s home there was a smallish street-festival

commemorating the anniversary of the Legend’s passing. Here were vendors not unlike your faithful narrator. And an unknown orator reciting the Tell Tale Heart with all the passion of a madman. I’m reluctant to share that the home itself was a bit of a disappointment.

Or rather, it’s management. As the owners had closed its doors midday without notice and despite dozens of pilgrims, myself included, who had traveled across oceans of time to be there. As it was, we were only permitted to view the row-home’s exterior. But that in itself was an experience worth having.

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The crowds that swarmed Poe’s headstone

made it difficult to see. But peering through the locked iron gates of the small, urban cemetery; you could see the obelisk devoted to the genius of a man unappreciated in his time.


Each year, we try to make it home to HOWL-O-SCREAM.


Anheuser Busch treats veterans remarkably. Allowing my ginormous family to enjoy the haunted monstrosities that we adore without breaking the bank (too much).


And my favorite

part absolutely isn’t the nurses


(It’s absolutely the nurses.)


I rarely feel more at home than when

wandering the mist & the midnight to the melodies of Manson and Zombie.

I would be misleading if I didn’t admit to a heavy chest of anxiety once we boarded the car on our way back to Kentuckiana. It’s the usual voices of depression; Of all the worries I’d postponed. Of the PCS season and the many open questions of our family’s future. Will I still be in the Coast Guard this time next year? I love my service, but is it finally time to make the leap to full-time creative?

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Or am I destined to

fall like Poe,

into struggle &


And if that’s the case, will I attain even a fraction of his legacy?

These gravities crawled their way into my gut and my skull to dampen the wonders we’d had. So I did the only thing that I could…

I blasted Linkin Park & Metallica; singing my lungs out until the demons had gone.

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At home, and with renewed focus I created. Completing the beautifully morbid “We have crossed oceans of time” (above) & a variant of “The Forgotten” commission. I even rubbed out a quick crest design for a friend’s horror LARP.

Then, just a few hours ago, my art was placed in its first permanent gallery. Brother Raven’s Tattoo & Art Emporium.
Rikki & Erick are class acts & stellar artists. If you get the chance; head over to their shop (11509 Shelbyville Rd Ste F, Louisville, KY 40243) to gander the bad@$$ works from the artists featured on their walls and pick up a tatt from Inkslinger Erick!


- Z.