Better late than never.

As my 44th year on this giant rock winds down, it seems a fitting time to finally publish some of my real, literary-ish poems between two covers with my name on the front. (The “poems” in DUCK! don’t count.)

Well, good news. Ravenna Press just added a selection of my poems to its lovely Artefakta Pamphlet Series.



Earliest Bird Calls includes earlier drafts of poems that found their way into my full-lengh debut manuscript, Coyotes I Couldn’t See, as well as poems available nowhere else.

The entire series is worth checking out, if you ask me — important literary stylists doing interesting work. You don’t find that in the pages of many magazines these days. And who doesn’t want to support small presses?

What else can I tell you? My pamphlet is also a bargain at just $2.50 (or $4.00, including shipping). If you’re a Brian Beatty completist, get yours today.

Better late than never.

Looking down the barrel of 44.

Turned out I wasn’t cut out to be an arts columnist — and that two years was all I had in me as a podcaster. The prospect of turning 44 in January has me taking inventory of my creative pursuits. I’m looking forward to doing more storytelling, playing more music and keeping my hand in comedy.


There will be more poems, too, whether anybody wants them or not. In fact, here’s one:


A jar of fireflies
on a shelf abandoned
years ago to dust
gives this place
(a barn) a glow a guy
could read by
if he’d brought a book.

But no one would believe me.
So what
does my story become
instead? That I was
lit inside (warmed, too)
by a little something shared
from a different jar.

No wonder I can’t
remember how I got here.


Maybe that’s why I’m alway so blurry.

Looking down the barrel of 44.

Home is where the heart attacks.

I’m a simple, small-town Indiana boy born and bred. But I still lit out for brighter horizons as soon as humanly possible, which meant after college, because the state paid for that shit. I moved over to Ohio for grad school. Then back to Indiana for a couple of months, while I looked for a job after school. Then I spent a few years in Chicago, which I later learned was in Illinois. From there I headed down to Missouri. And now I live in Minnesota, which feels like home half the time. That’s not bad after a dozen years, right? It doesn’t matter. Sometimes nothing looks familiar for miles in any direction and I remember that when I was a kid, Indiana’s state motto was “Wander Indiana.” Which I thought meant that Hoosiers were free to travel wherever they wished within state lines, but we weren’t allowed to leave.

Home is where the heart attacks.

Some Q’s that I’ve A’d.

I’m aware the headline of this post is all manner of wrong in the apostrophe department, Officer Grammar. I’m taking creative liberty, just like I do sometimes when folks ask me questions that I choose to answer.

Back in 2006, when I was just beginning my missionary joke-writing for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,
I talked to Matthew Simmons. At least he’s gone on to great things.

Poet, photographer and artist Peter Schwartz talked to me in 2009 for the online literary/arts mag Prate.

French teacher, writer, performer and blogger extraordinaire Michele Campbell kicked off her Life of Art series with this Q&A.

My most recent online interview was for the wonderful people at and The Walker Art Center. They tricked my favorite bookstore out of me, among other juicy tidbits.

Four interviews in about five years. That borders on media harassment, if you ask me.

Some Q’s that I’ve A’d.

What’s new, what’s next and what’s not.

Rehearsals for “Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs” begin soon. The Ferrari McSpeedy production for this year’s Minnesota Fringe, this hilarious play will be my first “acting” gig. I’ve said many things on many stages, but never anything written by other people in the U of M Rarig Center Thrust Theater.

Fortunately, Joe Bozic and Mike Fotis are funny dudes. Smart dudes, too. They’ve (type)cast me as a cranky coot. That I can handle. I’ll also be playing original banjo ditties in the show. Because I’m incapable of playing other people’s banjo ditties. Anywhere, anytime.

Between now and August, I’ll be recording audio versions of my two stories about squirrels for a project I’ll post more about later, after it’s been officially announced to the world. Or at least the Twin Cities arts and parks communities.

I’ve got a couple of new stories in the works, which means I’ll be distracted by new poem ideas any minute.

Finally, the gf and I are preparing for our Scotland visit in late August, which means developing a taste for haggis and/or heroin.

What’s new, what’s next and what’s not.

My thoughts exactly.

“The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery.” — Ken Kesey

“If you can’t write clearly, you probably don’t think nearly as well as you think you do.” — Kurt Vonnegut

‎”When you write from your gut and let the stuff stay flawed and don’t let anybody tell you to make it better, it can end up looking like nothing else.” — Louis CK

“Making people laugh is the lowest form of humor.” — Michael O’Donoghue

“I’m not a comedian. I’m Lenny Bruce.” — Lenny Bruce

“The important thing in writing is the capacity to astonish.” — Terry Southern

‎”It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.” — Brendan Behan

“If you’re really a truth-teller, you better be funny. Because, otherwise, they will kill you.” — Fran Lebowitz

My thoughts exactly.