Category Archives: Nachos

Sunday Flash. Night by Brett Lott

I wrote a Sunday flash for Green Mountains Review.

It begins:

But I did saw it, and that’s me. I’m seeing all kinds of things these days. You know, The Muffin Man, for example. Saw The Muffin Man yesterday, at the car wash.

*

NIGHT

He woke up. He thought he could hear their child’s breathing in the next room, the near-silent, smooth sound of air in and out.

He touched his wife. The room was too dark to let him see her, but he felt her movement, the shift of blanket and sheet.

“Listen,” he whispered.

“Yesterday,” she mumbled. “Why not yesterday,” and she moved back into sleep.

He listened harder, though he could hear his wife’s breath, thick and heavy next to him, there was beneath this the thin frost of his child’s breathing.

The hardwood floor was cold beneath his feet. He held out a hand in front of him, and when he touched the doorjamb, he paused, listened again, heard the life of his child.

His fingertips led him along the hall and to the next room. Then he was in the doorway of a room as dark, as hollow as his own. He cut on the light.

The room, of course, was empty. They had left the bed just as their child had made it, the spread merely thrown over bunched and wrinkled sheets, the pillow crooked at the head. The small blue desk was littered with colored pencils and scraps of construction paper, a bottle of white glue.

He turned off the light and listened. He heard nothing, then back out of the room and moved down the hall, back to his room, his hands at his sides, his fingertips helpless.

This happened each night, like a dream, but not.

beiber nachos

(“Night” can be located with 71 excellent flash fictions in this anthology.)

Why is Ricos nacho cheese inside lava lamps? Why do horror film take place in thunder and lightning? Why do couples trade lipstick in the rain? A catch in your voice. A coyote on a highway. A conveyor. The ocean invoked in a carpet of sardines. Sunlight on corn. A hand grenade nestled into a snow bank. Fog machines. A tumbleweed the size of your college debt. Whistling birds, that one bird they put into every movie. Foam. The smell of crushed jasmine and gasoline. The time you rode the subway and a woman handed you a squirrel. Disco balls. The smell of your eyes that day.  Black and white photos of abandoned laboratories. The sound of Mexico. An entire wall of your apartment covered in the Nixon and Elvis photo. A shoebox of weed. The moon.

What is of I speak?

MOOD.

The excellent thing about flash fiction is the sheer variety of technique. Some write very narrative flash, some go with lyrical–all of this is naturally on a spectrum. Here, we have “the unopened envelope” as plot. What’s behind the door? Mystery. But that’s the only narrative interest in advancing. The flash is more than happy to NOT advance. To ponder, freeze, flail.

TO TREAD, in darkness.

Z Nachos

Some flash writers see ambiance as the central medium, the tone and mood as the essence of the thing. Emotion transferred through craft. Flash always borrows from the poet. The poet has known brevity for eons. And setting. The flash writer always borrows from the poet. The poet knows sound. The flash writer always borrows from the poet. The poet knows objects. The poet knows. Word choice.

Gary Snyder goes:

The shack and a few trees

float in the blowing fog

I pull out your blouse,

warm my cold hands

on your breasts.

you laugh and shudder

peeling garlic by the

hot iron stove.

bring in the axe, the rake,

the wood

we’ll lean on the wall

against each other

stew simmering on the fire

as it grows dark

drinking wine.

right

Indeed. Here we have intimacy, though we don’t need the word, do we? But I digress…Let me clarify:

The flash writer waits in Nashville and the poet is an International air route.

The flash writer is an Iowa based firm (such as Maytag). The poet is broomcorn.

The flash writer is all, “legal name change.” The poet is a public, wooded park.

So the flash writer needs the poet.

Let’s talk craft. Or HOW DOES BRETT LOTT DO IT?

Good question.

“Night” says shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

“Night” says wobbly, disoriented, waking from a troubled sleep.

“Night” says “Is this my life?”

nacho bar mm

EUPHONY is a funny word. It sounds like a musical instrument or a Willy Wonka character or a waterway crowded with wandering water balloons, etc. Actually, it’s the glow of sound, providing a pleasing effect to the ear, the synapse, the tingle of the armpits. It is achieved not only by the selection of individual word-sounds, but also by their relationship in the repetition, proximity, and flow of sound patterns.

They are melodious. Or, if placed exactly, they move us, maybe to tremble.

See “Night.”

Read it aloud. Like poetry. Make your individual letters, the actual words, assist in your larger function. Make the dancer the dance.

ALLITERATION you know all about. …near-silent, smooth sound…

Read it aloud.

CONSONANCE

A combination of sounds; sounds in agreement with tone.

Read it aloud.

ONOMATOPOEIA

eva nachos

Whisper….

On and on. A flash is elegant, is contained, is maybe an egg, a jeweled thing…with a life beating inside. “Night” is so quiet, yet there dwells its power: the sliding of a snake across a hardwood floor, the gentle whir of a falling thing, breathing, the dark.

Other methods?

Cold, frost, night…

Other methods.

Objects. Always objects…that bottle of glue. Waiting.

Other methods.

Sparse dialogue. A few words. But saying a lot.

Doesn’t it all join–the hallway, the torqued sheets, the child’s desk–to let you read right off the page? Let you consider all the glorious (and terrifying) white space?

Emptiness.

Fullness.

Terror.

Well, now you have a formula for flash. What we must admire here is Brett Lott’s economy and control. The text folds into itself. It then folds out, to resonate, like grief.

woody

FOG of postcards and sublime slivers of glass

Holy fuck this is glow! Watch it. Drink Canadian whiskey and eat 114 oysters raw and wack-off (or don’t wack-off, whatever) and watch it. What a human. A golden humpbacked whale. A walking lighthouse of thorn-bushes and vodka bras and poetry. I love the man.

*

A bird just flew into my window, but enough about me. Wearing ballet slippers to a funeral? I enjoy the feel of a half pint bottle in the back pocket of jeans, that smooth pressing. Wrist-bone, phone, sky. A boy carrying either a human head or a head of lettuce under his arm. Overpasses. Revision is more creative than the actual first draft. Is that true? Hot swatches on sun on the grass. Water the lawn only occasionally, but for long, long periods. Work habits. Dug out a tree, but have not replaced the tree. Big, empty spaces. Fuck. No, fuck you. No, fuck me. The treadmill is repaired! I keep running through my days. What are you running from, sir? That seems an empty and obvious question. The past is growing! Oh shit, that means the future is shrinking. It’s all, unfortunately, math. Staggering on spindly legs. Something like that.

[follow my command!]

The Fog is rolling in…

Review here:

The comparison to Stein is perhaps the highest praise I can offer for Fog Gorgeous Stag. The more I spend time with this new genre of Fog, the better I like it.

Review here:

Fog Gorgeous Stag is brilliant collage, unsentimental divergence, uncorked spilling and a lack of containment.

Review here:

At first read, one might mistake Sean Lovelace’s hybrid-prose poem collection Fog Gorgeous Stag to be a magical manual, a book which reads back the conscious of whatever the reader is looking for, through glowing light pages.

Two comparisons to Gertrude Stein. I’ll take that, though it is a bit like comparing a golden crow to a chalky lump of bird splatter (myself as the bird shit, obviously). So, anyway. If you like Stein, maybe purchase my book. Eh, eh?

[boom!]

I’m sort of into the work of Laurel Nakadate (two pics above)

*

Went to a reading. Met cool people. Words all Gem bottles of Gin. Night a blur. Wish I could have talked to more of them, longer. Words all black-marketed moons. I mean to say, went/bent/went to a reading all Vouched-like, all hot glass tire service center, all sweet walking odor of tire, all sun off the windows like Ljosvallagata, all electronic sun, all Jesus Angel Garcia (dude’s on a huge-ass reading tour) rocking the Mr. Microphone, all words like fat slaps of friction,

[me and Jesus]

all religious comment on religion and shit, all barbaric sexual yawp, all Roxane Gay (she read a major glow story about anorexia bulimic fucking, etc.), words all oil barrels of light, all flickering halos, all FREE BEER, all free fucking IPA (thanks, Flat 12, I will be down there for some growlers soon), all Barry Graham (Monica Lewinsky crush), all Dogzplot in the house, all French fries and shards of hope, all trash fires of the pelvis, all words in ravines, words flying in the air like typhoids of sunlight, all grinding sunlight, all Matt Mullins (wicked poem here), all shadows and saw-blades, all

[Matt Mullins dropping words]

corned beef lickings of words, all Steve Himmer (we discussed garden gnomes and also I bought his book--I can tell it’s going to kick serious ass), all serpents and hermits, all  Micah Ling (She is not Asian or a man. She is a runner!–see you at a race maybe?), all word filets of crunchy telescopes, all FREE Lit Pub T-shirt, all Laura Adamczyk (interview here), all Jim Walker (Cool guy. I met him at the last Vouched reading.), all John Clark, all Jessica Dyer (uterus as muse?)

Let me tell you about the rat I keep in my uterus. He stores cotton balls, faux feathers, and little pink beads in me to make the perfect nest. I use these in my crafts. My uterus is squishy, and he has a fun time in there bouncing around and sometimes I have to bang on my belly to make him stop. It tickles but is awkward in public. He is quickened by cinnamon, and plays tricks on all my sphincters. I call him my pocket protector. In the mornings there are little rat marks on my thighs; somehow he gets out, but I always let him come home to my beaded plush cave. I would let you pet him, but he has claws and a tail like a real baby, even little milk teeth!

all Kevin McKelvey (I got this in-touch-with-the-earth feel. I guess I’m saying I’d like to fish and/or canoe with the guy.), all words as parachutes of mud, as echoes of golden barbed wire, all Layne Ransom (hell yes CHICKLITZ!),

[Layne all literary]

all Bryan Furuness (Bryan read an amazing piece about tubes, life as, etc.), all that’s a shit-load of readers at one reading but it did glow. I then went to a bar and ate fried green beans.

*

Meg Pokrass with glow interview of Dan Choan.

How do you stay creative? What are your tricks to get “unstuck?”

Here’s one trick:  get really drunk or stoned and fall asleep weeping on your keyboard.  When you wake up,  magical elves will have come in the night and turned your bitter tears into words and paragraphs,  just like they made shoes for that shoemaker.

Actually, that doesn’t work most of the time, but I keep trying it.

Another trick,  this one somewhat less self-destructive,  was suggested to me by a teacher,  and has worked on occasion:  Make a list of 40-50 things that could potentially happen next in your story.  Don’t worry if they are boring,  or improbable,  or stupid.  Just make a list as quickly as possible.  Then take 5-10 of them,  and write one or two paragraphs for each one.   Somewhere in this process,  you are going to get unstuck.

Otherwise, I need to put the piece aside and start something new. I’ve never been at a loss for new material,  for whatever reason.  It’s never a problem to start something — finishing is always an issue.

*

Speaking of Meg Pokrass, her flash fiction continues to blend my bones silver. To make me actually glow. This, from elimae, the opening of “Albino.”

I deserved an ample scolding. I watched the sunset with an albino. We went to a thrift store, and joked about trying on hats and getting lice. “Miami Lice,” he said. Was he safe? I hoped not. Was it scummy and frivolous to hang out? My birthstone was emerald, I told him, and his chlorinated eyes said, “Well, that makes you not-simpleminded.” We both laughed. An albino laugh. Watery veins stood out and his forehead looked like a stolen woodpile.

*

Cathy Day blogs about Midnight in Paris. I am not going to read her post entirely because I am going to see the movie this week. Then I will read her post. Also I will tell you what I think. My thoughts now? Woody Allen used to make amazing, thoughtful, layered films. Then for a long, long time he made mediocre films. They depressed me with their earnest mediocrity. It made me sad. It made me feel like I was watching an aging Muhammad Ali get his ass kicked at the end of his career. I can’t watch that type of film, not from a genius like Allen. So. I am hoping. Hoping this film glows.

*

I am thinking about running the Big Sur (a haven for writers) marathon. California. Ander Monson already signed up! I must join him! Shit. Well. OK. Thanks, Ander.

*

Amie Barrodale story at The Paris Review. It has sex AND drugs. I mean what do you want?

*

Joyelle McSweeney on Herzog and the Sublime. Wow. I think McSweeney is one of our most perceptive, intelligent writers. I pretty much will read anything she writes, as should you. I’d also like to add that Montevidayo is one ugly-ass blog site. I mean the design is clunky as hell. They might also want to hire a copy-editor. I’ve never seen such consistent misspelling errors. But I like the site. Trying to be constructive. Anyway, all that is their own business. The content is consistently good.

But this solipsistic notion—that man is the measure of man- is itself a loop, a folding, a self-saturation that begins to gesture at the hyperbolic over-saturation and collapse of humanist project or portrait in Herzog’s films, yielding something so irrational, beautiful, terrible, and certainly out of control that it is less like a portrait of a man and more like an inundation with the Sublime.

*

*

I went to New York City and took many,many subway stops and walked, walked, walked, and found some nachos. These are grilled zuchinni and black bean and three cheeses. A solid 7.23 on THE LOVELACE SCALE OF GLOW NACHOS.They came from El Camion. Nacho review here.

*

Peter Tieryas Liu brings it over at decomP. What I like here is the language, how he knows us flash writers must–must!!–understand the way of the poet, the Word.

I experience four cyclical deaths every day; lavatory, office politics, televised Internet, and dreamless sleep.

*

[I swear to gods my book is cheesy. Order it here. ]

*

A letter from Mary Hamilton.

Dear Wigleaf,

I noticed today that one leg is longer than the other. That’s a lie. It’s more like I am unevenly distributed. One knee is placed higher than the other. One calf is slightly bigger. One shoulder is lower. One boob is larger. My right ear is smaller and set farther back than my left ear. One eyebrow is shorter and thicker. My left eye is basically sitting on my temple. My belly button is not centrally placed. Don’t even get me started on my elbows.

The walls of my apartment are crooked, making measurements for an aspired-to new couch difficult.

I think you should know that I’ve grown three inches since high school and all of it is in my left forearm making pancake flipping a difficult balance.

Stay cool,
Mary

5 great texts (that could have been greater with a tiny edit) and 9 thunks I glow.


1. The Dead By James Joyce.

Poor Gabriel. Dude’s all up in his party galoshes and doesn’t even realize he’s not the Master of Ceremonies–he’s the clown. Poor little corn syrup of a man. And holy fucking rising action! Longest rising action in the megaverse. Dude’s heart goes to the guillotine in SLOOOWWWWWW motion. It rises, rises…then chop! But there’s a missed opportunity. Here we have the mondo holiday feast:

A fat brown goose lay at one end of the table and at the other end, on a bed of creased paper strewn with sprigs of parsley, lay a great ham, stripped of its outer skin and peppered over with crust crumbs, a neat paper frill round its shin and beside this was a round of spiced beef. Between these rival ends ran parallel lines of side-dishes: two little minsters of jelly, red and yellow; a shallow dish full of blocks of blancmange and red jam, a large green leaf-shaped dish with a stalk-shaped handle, on which lay bunches of purple raisins and peeled almonds, a companion dish on which lay a solid rectangle of Smyrna figs…

Blah, blah, blah. When the piece should have read:

A fat brown goose lay at one end of the table and at the other end, on a bed of creased paper strewn with sprigs of parsley, lay a big-ass pile of nachos, striped with a Wisconsin pepper jack/sharp cheddar blend, and garnished with refried black beans, Renfroe’s Salsa, and slivers of pickled Yatsafusa pepper, a neat paper frill round its shin and beside this was a round of spiced beef. Between these rival ends ran parallel lines of side-dishes…

Waaa, waaa, but nachos were invented in 1943, as we all know. So WTF? Joyce can go from forced realist epiphany to stream-of consciousness flow to Finnegans Wake, a book that is either full of shit or multi-level madness/brilliant punnage and word lollygag. Hello. A man who can write Ulysses can easily introduce nachos 25 years before they are invented. It’s called creative writing.

[Solemnly he came forward and mounted the Formica. He faced about and blessed gravely thrice the tower, the surrounding country and the awaking mountains. Then, catching sight of Stephen Velveeta, he bent towards him and made rapid crosses in the air, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Velveeta, displeased and sleepy, leaned his arms on the top of the staircase and looked coldly at the shaking gurgling face that blessed him, equine in its length, and at the light untonsured hair, grained and hued like corn tortilla. Oh, fuck, it’s snowing again outside! Are you kidding? Blar me.]

2. On “Patience” by Tyler Gobble (over at decomP)

An interesting meditation, this poem. We certainly all know patience. How many of us wish our ovens would pre-heat more quickly? That our lettuce would grow up through the snow? That a statue of a yellow beam of iron (modern art?) at the university would sink into the ground and then into dust (as it must eventually)? And that young lady over there, the one with cheekbones like a crop-duster, what day will she hand me a five dollar bill or at least ask me for two beers on the roof of her basement? But this line:

The dog sits waiting with the treat on its nose while its owner stuffs himself with Ding-Dongs and Cheetos.

There is really no reason to mention Cheetos here, Tyler. A cheese-flavored cornmeal snack, here, in this poem? No, no, no. And question: why does Cheetos suddenly replace the interpunct? For decades, it was Chee-tos. Then now Cheetos? Who does that? Imagine if we all went around replacing our interpuncts? It’s chaos.

What the fuck? Sara screamed. Where is your interpunct?

I threw it away, Tom said. Mother said she could smell it in my room, so I…I threw it away.

Sara gave him a look like maybe he was chicken broth. Well, she said. Then we’re done.


Etc, etc. Fuck Cheetos, uh, Cheet-os, uh Fake-os with milk. Dog biscuits with neon below deck orange stains. Blar me. Or:

The dog sits waiting with the treat on its nose while its owner stuffs himself with Ding-Dongs and Nachos.

Same syllabic glow. Better food.

[I just saw Tyler last week at a restaurant. Did he eat nachos? He did not. Did I eat nachos. Yes, I did.]

3. Mary Jones, “One of us Wanted it More.” (elimae)

Kids going all wild, all clutch and grippy. Then:

“What can I give you that would make you be good?”

“It would have to be big.”

I didn’t have money for big.

Might I suggest something BIG for not very big money? Like:

[Kids, this little gnome has been all around the world! And now he’s here! Can you kids name the capital of Djibouti? It’s Djibouti! Ha, ha, don’t you know the world is diabolical and we’re all headed down the same swirling drain? So eat nachos–they are true to you.]

or

[Kids, your dad’s friend and I are going to take a “nap.” Here’s a silver dollar. Here is a copy of printed instructions on how to make nachos. Follow each step, carefully. Now go down to the gas station and get some chips and cheese and a can of salsa and maybe a Fosters Oil Can for mom. ]

or

[Oh, you’re one of those kids? Need hand-crafted toys, huh? Your dad drives a Subaru, right? Here, here’s your damn hand-crafted nachos. No owls were killed for their blubber in the making of this shampoo, etc etc. Go play. Hurry up! The earth is catching on fire!!]

4. This next text could not be better. It’s what we call an outlier.

Would you like to be a best selling author? Huh? I mean what are you doing? Would you like to be Brett Easton Ellis? Make some paper? Do some blow off the ass of a parrot? Have your books protested? Wear those wool-collar coats that sort of look cool and affected and maybe then cool again, if the air is right, like if your breath is roiling. Drive a big house? Get all meta and use your name in your own books? (Now that is clever!) Meet Charlie Sheen in a bathroom? Hunt down any poet who uses the word corn silk? Get laid, though you are neither gay or straight? The answer is yes here, the answer is yes. So how do you do it? Really? You’re asking me this, really.

Me yawning me flipping slowly though a copy of Lunar Park [or any other Easton Ellis book] me slightly annoyed…I give you a look, I say, “Here, read this, page 41:”

The three of us, out in the hallway, were suddenly approached by a very tall and sexy cat holding a tray of nachos.

or later:

“Terby’s mad,” Sarah whined again.

“Well, calm him down,” I said, glancing around. “Bring him up some nachos.”

5. For many backyards I’ve read the poetry of Trey Jordan Harris. It calms me. Often my stomach will think of fullness or richness, or both. He has a poet’s touch for image, for float, he can make the world drift and often it does drift and so I feel OK.

Example here (elimae)

Trey writes poems about marriage. I pretty much dislike literature about marriage, but his poems are often an exception.

Three here:

But this Diagram piece is too much. He’s keeps his idyll, his reflection he glows so well, that captured moment. But might I make one small edit? I feel it will charge the poem and turn this very good aspirin of yole into a mighty, mighty cop a couple of sea-born cleavage blasters!

THINGS MARRIED PEOPLE DO

Plant the flowers eat
them for dinner. Cut
the lawn gather the clippings

eat them all for dinner.
Buy the house own
the house. Look at the
lilacs the hand-shaped

lilacs. Ask if they are supposed
to be shaped like hands
and eat them for dinner.

Turn the ceiling fan on
low slow your breathing
or metabolism. Later we will go
to the fair and everything will
be still

until we eat nachos.

9 THUNKS I GLOW

9. I glow this essay and I don’t care how old it is. So, if you comment, that is old, I’m going to say, I know. French kissing is old, as is water. The earth is old, the earth is really just bunch of dirt and dust, and it’s old, yet still we enjoy the earth at times except for those times we do not enjoy the earth.

9. I glow hats made of corn that you can actually fill with salsa.

9. I glow the words of Sarah Levine. Read this flash at Smokelong. It will take you as long to read this story as it will to smoke a cigarette–thus the term, and title of the magazine, Smokelong.

Did you read the flash? It is conceptual. An idea is presented and carried along–possibly here, it’s liberal guilt (admitting it while satirizing it) and it builds, see the structure there, and then turn. If you are going to write flash, please understand the turn. You don’t have to use it, but know it. It comes right after the climax, here:

I jumped onto the kitchen chair and said, “Have you lost your mind? Are you threatening me over a fucking cheese slicer?”

Turns can be wonderful. They can make the entire flash. Here look at this Eggers turn. Yes, yes, it is Eggers but relax. He’s not going to come slap you in the Converse. It’s just his words. Read the whole thing, please. Then check that last line:

THE BOUNTY
In her kitchen, she saw many things she would like to eat. On the counter, there was a bunch of new bananas, yellow as a Van Gogh chair, and two apples, pristine. The cabinet was open and she saw a box of crackers, a new box of cereal, a tube of curved chips. She felt overwhelmed, seeing all of the food there, that it was all hers. And there was more in the refrigerator! There were juices, half a melon, a dozen bagels, salmon, a steak, yogurt in a dozen colors. It would take her a week to eat all of this food. She does not deserve this, she thought. It really isn’t fair, she thought. You’re correct, God said, and then struck dead 65,000 Malaysians.

Levine drives the turn like the sea drives a salt-plank. Glow. And wonder what they’re going to use that cheese for? Huh, huh? Don’t make me knock your ass out.

9. “The Serious Writer and Her Pussy” by Meg Pokrass.

As a serious writer, in mid-life, she must master speaking the word “pussy” with confidence and authority. She practices doing so out loud for her next book store reading. The serious writer is starting a book tour to promote her new novel which is bursting with ‘pussy’.

Indeed. And I’ve been reading Damn Sure Right. And you should, too. Meg Pokrass brings the flash. She eats away my shins, my underwear, and my taxidermy. She’ll eat yours too. Buy the book, freak-os!

I am beginning to notice my favorite flash writers are female. Elizabeth Ellen, Kim Chinquee, Amelia Gray, Nicolle Elizabeth, Kathy Fish, Lydia Davis, Diane Williams, Lindsay Hunter….I could go on. And on. Might be just me. Might be women are better at writing flash? Don’t know, but I’ll keep thinking on it.

[BTW, every time I type the words Amelia Gray I misspell some aspect of her name. I bet she has dealt with this her entire life.]

9. I like to write about Velveeta:

Velveeta Thuds on the Roof

In the dark. It shimmers in its wobble. Nothing between them but the cooling itch of shingle. It likes any angle or gravity suck. To embrace sway. It wants to push against itself—much like we. (Yesterday, sober, I dropped a wine glass of Cheetos and laughed at my own sudden blood. Under sink/in trunk of car/beneath futon—I have no hand towels.) On the back of its neck, thoughts gleam. It boasts its mind is a butterfly ashtray. As for doubt or nocturnal chills of the head, it claims to know very little. Yet it corrects me: shooting stars are not stars, you ask for shotgun slugs never bullets, to fall over is indeed a form of exercise. Oh, the type to wear an orange shirt. To perch above my Sunday sweating back and say cryptic, unhelpful words like, “If you are really going to dig that hole, dig two.” Or maybe: “Look at you, whipjack! Gargling coins again.” Packages arrive. Days of rain like fingernail taps. It sees me on my knees, vomiting in the tall, wet grass and says, “You are an empty tomato shack.” I think its mind is an ashtray full of butterflies. (Ah, so drunk now. Just to carry my head like a damn fiddler. A marble spinning round the rim of shattered glass, waxy hot pepper bits, charred People magazine—I mean to say the kitchen sink. What is a tomato shack?) A meteor claws the fleshy sky. In the dark. Velveeta thuds off the roof.

9. Funny words at PANK. Thank you, Jospeh Cassarra.You made me spill my coffee. I spilt my coffee. Spilt is not a word. You made me spill my coffee. You made me move.

9. Jason Ockert won the Dzanc Books Short Story collection contest.

Woot, woot. Here is an interview with the man.

Here is a story so you can bite his knuckles.

Good glow, Jason. Looking forward to the read.

9. Justin Bieber eating nachos.

Whoa, whoa. Hold up. OK. Did you see that? I could care less if this kid’s career is chomped by a murder of dead crows, but he does one thing correctly: HE MAKES HIS OWN SERVING of nachos.

9. My publisher and I have been working hard this week on the cover of my upcoming book, Fog Gorgeous Stag. The process has been glow. I enjoy the process. It’s a give/take/idea thing. It is indeed creative energy. I hope you will like the cover. I do. I will not give you hints about the cover. OK, I will give you one hint about the cover: yellow.

S


 

The Big-Ass Suck-Ass Slaw-Cheek Dutch Oven Lid Over the Sky we Call Winter

Wow check out the nachos. Over there by her bed. In the blood red bowl. I wonder if she has hot sauce. The thing with hot sauce is sometimes they just rely on being HOT, with little sensitivity to flavor. And then sometimes they are FLAVORFUL but not very hot. This causes vexation and melancholic feelings.

As a rule, when eating Thai food or Indian or even when just at some wing place (I don’t eat chicken, period, but do dip fries) I always try to order the HOTTEST or SPICIEST the place has, the NUKE or BLEED-ASS or DEVIL’S GONADS or whatever crazy name they give the sauce. Usually, it’s not that hot. I mean it’s hot, but it doesn’t make my head unhinge or make me want to sing a ghost song or get religion or anything. So then I feel melancholy.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve left hot sauce experiences and just walked around the parking lot feeling sad and basically dead. I remember once I found a five dollar bill in a parking lot so that was better. But I mean I want my hot sauce to make me feel alive. In my mouth/brain/stomach. So it’s depressing. I mean it gets metaphorical after a point. These series of dropped expectations. They become our very days.

But we still have disc golf, I guess. Once this goddamn snow thaws.

Flash Fiction Chronicle announces an upcoming flash contest, the String-of-Ten flash fiction contest.

I like FFC but I hate writing prompts. I think they are absolute bullshit. Weak. Victorian even. Hey, here’s a writing prompt: Get your fucking ass out of bed and write.

I do like that there is no entry fee.

Here’s a prompt: Imagine you are a crop-duster shack.

Here’s a prompt: Stop watching your neighbors.

Also, at FFC, Aubrey Hirsch argues for plot in flash fiction. She feels this is what separates the prose poem from the flash fiction. I don’t know. I wish she had defined what she means by plot.

She does say, “I need to see something important shift in the course of the story.”

Ok, well a lot of prose poems shift. I wonder if Aubrey is saying she just needs something to happen. Like a conflict. Or possibly a stirring of a theme? Is she arguing for intent? Prose poems often have all of the above.

What if we don’t separate the prose poem and the flash fiction? What will happen?

Her ponderings reminds me a little bit of Lorrie Moore’s “How to Become a Writer.” Moore’s story is NOT about how to become a writer, but it is about plot. The protagonist takes a CW workshop and everyone–including her instructor–comments that she has no sense of plot. That’s her problem–she doesn’t do plots. And this is a bad thing. Pretty much a deal-ender, as far as the workshop is concerned.

BUT, read a bit more closely, or view the protagonist a bit closer, I mean to say. Her father is cheating on her mother. Her brother has returned from the Vietnam war without his leg. Her own personal relationships are a dismal series of nothings. Her life has no PLOT. There is no tidy narrative, linear or otherwise. And now Moore’s story has left character and situation and has become a conversation on the short story form. What story structure represents our daily lives? Is it plot?

Our need for plot possibly because we want to feel we have a narrative, our lives? Some arch? Or, even better, some theme. Would suck if we had no theme, right? Well, I’m going to have language in my life. I’m not sure on the structure part. I push against structure sometimes. And I sure don’t know about theme…

Speaking of this PANK by Hirsch is rather glow here:

“Your dream may not be that far off,” he tells me. “Studies have shown that the human brain makes no interesting distinctions between the past and the present.  If someone looks at a hot dog, or remembers looking at the hot dog, the same parts of their brain light up.”

*

Stymie Magazine Pushcarted me nod-ways and then they interviewed me. I say:

They are sort of embarrassing, an award for writing. But then again I am a professor of creative writing, and, in a practical sense, in a very real sense, my university adores rankings and awards. They like to see these things, and I’d like to be tenured. So.

As an artist, what does it mean? I hope nothing. I hope I smile and say “that’s cool” and can contain a moment of thanks and then get right back to writing. Woody Allen has never seen a film he’s made—that’s the correct idea, yes?

These bastards made Greek nachos. I feel angry today, just at myself naturally. It’s very, very hard to escape your own mediocrity. This is what I’ve found. So I guess you’re not a bastard just because you want to get all cute with nachos. Maybe.

*

JMWW Best of 2010 anthology! Yipee 4 me. When I appear in anything with Ken Sparling, I am happy.

*

At PANK Hannah Miet does a good job wishing it would be.

*

I am reading Thomas Bernhard, the Austrian author. Specifically Wittgenstein’s Nephew, a sort of novel and memoir. This is, of course, HTML Giant‘s fault. I read all the posts over there and end up buying books when I already have too many damn books to read.

It’s like when students try to give me graphic novels. Why do they try to give me graphic novels? I don’t know. But I can’t read them, OK? I’m sorry.

Bernhard impresses me with his absolute confidence. The voice is immediately one you follow and believe. It reminds me a bit of Sebald. The book begins and you are off on the tale, told plainly and clearly and confidently, with declarations all over:

Like all other doctors, those who treated Paul continually entrenched themselves behind Latin terms, which in due course they built up into an insuperable and impenetrable fortification between themselves and the patient, as their predecessors had done for centuries, solely in order to conceal their incompetence and cloak their charlatanry.

Paul never saw beneath the surface; he never saw the whole picture as I did.

A healthy person, if he is honest, wants nothing to do with the sick.

Opinions clearly stated, as if fact. It interests me. So much writing is mushy, or meanders, or rarely states things simply and in such a declarative fashion. It made me admire Thomas Bernhard. And it made me frightened of him. Especially when he says things like:

Most of the minds we associate with are housed in heads that have little more to offer than overgrown potatoes, stuck on top of whining and tastelessly clad bodies eking out a pathetic existence that does not even merit our pity.

Here Bernhard seems to view most of us humans as insects, trifling insects, and I could certainly see him being all for crushing us. There is an undercurrent here that unsettles. I also find great humor, black humor, in this writing, even in this description. But, for me, it is a frightening laugh.

Vouched interviews me. I say:

Connected? Let me tell you something. I have several mistresses and with all of them I have to enter the house through a dog door, a dirty, swinging, hair-sticking, rubber door. On my knees. Every single one of these pitiful women looks as if they came out of the depths of Russia, with their kerchiefs and wide skirts and round faces, with their pale, flabby breasts and foul breaths of paskha and kulich. But I don’t get to stay for dinner. I mean The Man doesn’t even know my address. I am about as connected as a dandelion seed.

*

If we didn’t sin, we’d kill ourselves.

William H. Gass

Last weekend I was deep, deep in a swamp with my uncle. We were deer hunting. And I had this oddest, most pure, most comfortable feeling being in this swamp, and a sort of love for my uncle. The odd thing was we were in this giant swamp of trees and standing water and ice-rimmed black pools and mossy things and owl sounds and dead logs and just this very real place so far removed from a lot of stressors in my life and we were together, my uncle and I, though not really together at all–several hundred yards from each other and totally hid away from one another–but somehow together, like in this vast swamp, and like in this endeavor of hunting, and like breathing this cold air and feeling the cold upon us and just being away from most everything out there. There was a mist and very windy, the trees swaying, and spitting sleet a bit and this was so deep in a swamp you didn’t even see litter or anything stupidly human. It was wonderful, really. And so hard to capture. A giant red-headed woodpecker pounded on this hollow bare-limbed tree. Something shrieked out there! Who knows what? (though my Uncle had seen three bobcats recently). Scuttling low clouds. The wind, the wind. I think if you spent enough time in a deep swamp, especially the way I did, about 35 feet up a tree and swaying in the wind, well I think you would go crazy. But I also think you would go crazy if you never went into the swamp at all.

I am sick of the weary folds of my face.

*

Holy shit. Sometimes I am late in getting things. Like Nicolle Elizabeth (her blog). How have I been missing her writing? Well, once I found it, I found it. And you should find it.

She has four stories at wigleaf. They show her range, I feel. Here is the opening flash:

Telegram
Nicolle Elizabeth

::sorry I missed your call:: was sprayed by a skunk:: crawling around the backyard, looking for something I’d lost::

This anderbo story if pretty damn glow.

She does elimae. I really like the structural pop here, the junk and shard.

She also does a lot of reviewing and etc. but I don’t really give a damn about that. I like her fiction. It’s all over the WEB, too. Just use THE GOOGLE. It will be worth your surf, folks.

When Sarah Carson was born she was freaking awesome.

*

Yo. Every image in this post is Robin Jonsson

S

kardashian opossum strung and handy nachos, oh my

I recently ran a long race on my fucked up heel. I won the race. Leave me alone.

*

The Broken Plate really needs you to submit!! Go now. You have until Oct 31.

*

Juked! Another incredible Arlene Ang poem.

[she is my sister, as you know]

*

Blink, shuffle, touch a mark on your left temple, go Teutonic, and pay attention to Rose Metal Press, flashers!

Our Fifth Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest submission period begins October 15 and ends December 1, 2010. Our 2010 judge will be Kim Chinquee. The winner will have his/her chapbook published in summer 2011, with an introduction by the contest judge. During the submission period, please email your 25–40 page double-spaced manuscript of short short stories under 1000 words to us here with a $10 reading fee via Paypal or check.

I can personally say (hint, hint–see that little EGGS book to the right side banner?) that Rose Metal will make you a booky-wooky that will glow like cotton undershirts of  Sunday butter on a chainsaw.

You can’t slay a dragon if you don’t shod-on your purple boots. String that bow! Don’t go falling slant in the town lights of Forgetville, USA. Huh? It means ENTER!

[i saw a hawk harass an owl yesterday. that’s rude. blur-jays and brows harass owls, i can see that, but a hawk? i though they were sort of bros…]

*

(photo from a major green light nacho blog)

We shall be cheering for the Texas Rangers in the World Series. Why? NACHOS.

No kidding, people actually went to Texas Rangers games to eat nachos. When nachos and a beverage or two were consumed, they usually left the game because what was on the field wasn’t usually worth watching by then.

Often, the lines to the concession stands to get the nachos were long.

“Doesn’t matter,” one friend, living in the Dallas area at the time, once told me during a night at Turnpike Stadium. “Thinking about those nachos is better than thinking about the game.”

Why are they so surprised people would go to a ballgame only for the nachos? I’d kiss little rainworm stones for hours just for one nacho chip, cheese, a sketchy jalapeno…

*

It is Mean Week over at HTML GIANT. People are wriitng obituaries.

1. Dead: Publishing Genius and Anderbo.

2. Deceased: Elimae, WWATD, online lit mags in general.

3. Deader than disco: AWP.

*

Who doesn’t love Charlie Sheen? You go, man. Jesus H. The candle has been burnt but he made a new candle out of dirty bras, beer bottle foil, and the time-release coatings he just split from his Oxycontin…my Lordie.

“It’s been a very eventful trip,” his ex-wife says. And me, I love understatement, yet another lost and human form of humor.

*

I write a story about John McEnroe eating some cat-head biscuits and throwing Moon Pies over at BLIP. What is BLIP? Well, it used to be RICK MAGAZINE. Then it used to be the Mississippi Review or something.  I can’t follow all the barbed wire, hinder axletrees, or should I say threads….

[get them damned goats off the lawn!!]

What do I know?

Here is some about the controversy (?). This is summer 2010 link, so basically the Epipaleolithic period in blog world speak. You probably know all this already. So why don’t I shut the fuck up?

[snap that racket’s neck, johnny-mac!!]

I read all the BLIP stories for this week. I was coffeed up and all sort of blur skin glow, all wavy rain synapse, all fifteen dollar refrigerators of glow (shard of me already planning lunch nachos), and I thought, I’ll read all the BLIP stories before I go run (hobble, fucking heel) and go to work and read some fiction drafts.

21% of the BLIP stories were blar rawlooking uniforms.

21% were OK feet (mine included)

42% were glow, at least ribbon in hair, at least rope-veined claw, maybe pink ribbon in blond hair glow.

16% were damn fine glow.

The best was “And One Blue Pussy” by Jennifer Pashley. Here is an excerpt:

He has a pony­tail that hangs halfway down his back. Blond and mostly straight. I don’t notice it until he walks away – because of the cap, because of his face. Like a mannequin’s face, carved out of wood or plas­ter, seam­less and smooth and all the same color, even the lips. Like you could pose his stiff arms in a polo, that his fin­gers would hold the shape of dainty point­ing, you could hang your keys on them, place them at his waist, or his col­lar, fanned out like the fin­gers on the baby Jesus in an old paint­ing. He walks away and I see the pony­tail, longer than mine, and way longer than Wendy’s. She cut her hair in her first trimester and now couldn’t make a pony­tail if she wanted to.

Not many of us go out. The bars in the hos­pi­tal neigh­bor­hood are col­lege bars, and it’s June. The one guy who goes with us won’t fully sit on the seat, and his wife texts him through his entire beer. He never puts the phone down and it keeps ping­ing, he keeps look­ing, he fum­bles through short mes­sages with his fat thumbs. Right after, he says he has to go. It leaves us in an empty place on a Mon­day night, with some piped in Grate­ful Dead, a lone bar­tender with a mess of dreads, a big belly and a salmon pink t-shirt.

I wait for him to make his own expla­na­tion. He says, Who wouldn’t want to date a red­head named Bridget?

I’ve dated a red­head named Brid­get, I say.

He says his friends set them up, and only told him that she was unpre­dictable, that he would love her, but that she would sur­prise him.

I also dated a red­head named Sam, I say.

Sam, he repeats, fishing.

Samuel, I say.

You’ve had boyfriends, he says, not a question.

Sure. I’ve had boyfriends. I’ve had twenty-five boyfriends, all named Sam, I say. Smirk. He orders another round.

What’s that from? he asks, like it’s a line from a movie. Behind him, the bar­tender wipes in a circle.

Andy Warhol, I say.

Andy Warhol had twenty-five boyfriends named Sam? he says.

They were cats, I say. Sugar Mag­no­lia comes on. It’s a book: Twenty-five cats named Sam. I cross my legs then under the table, and fin­ish the title for him, clos­ing my eyes when I say it. And one blue pussy.

He appears to work some­thing out of the side of his cheek with his tongue, which is pierced through with a round steel ball that clicks against his teeth. It goes pretty quick from there, talk­ing and not talk­ing, my foot on his foot under the table. His arm against mine above the table. Drink­ing, pay­ing, walk­ing to the car, the quick nego­ti­a­tion of who will drive and where, and when I ask him later, how many girl­friends he’s had, to at least try and even up the score of ques­tion ask­ing, he only says not enough.

Jesus, Sean, that excerpt was too long. This is a blog not a lit mag, Freak-O. OK, sorry. I got carried away. I like stories of random sex and Andy Warhol and tattered conversations, OK. And bars. And also there are nurses (remember, I am an RN) and what type of title is AND ONE BLUE PUSSY?

A glow title my friends.

*

I’m not the only one who uses celebrities in their fiction. Just finished Celebrity Chekhov by Ben Greenman. Author takes Chekhov stories and brings them up to date, replacing the characters with celebrities: David Letterman, Paris Hilton, Michael Douglas, oh my.

[this opossum walked below me. it snuffled the air. it itched the air. i pulled out my iphone and took a photo and then i wrote a little flash fiction about a opossum, or notes of, so i guess the iphone has some practical use for writers…]

Some of the C Chekhov stories are trivial. Some are perfect mimics. Some are actually odd and fresh, the concept working, the pre-formed (in our minds) persona working in this new place. An example would be “The Darling,” starring Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt and Keith Urban. Also effective were “A Trilogy” (The Jon Lovitz section is a comedic masterpiece) and “Terror.” The latter is about Michael Douglas, and possibly his current illness gives this story even more pathos, but I would point out and compliment a method Greenman ripped from Chekhov (obviously on purpose–the book is homage) and uses to startling effect: the juxtaposition of the natural world with our human concerns…

Douglas (who has quit acting to run coffee shops) gnashes and gnaws existential on life:

And do you understand life? Tell me: do you understand life better than the world beyond the grave?

I recognize that education and the conditions of life have imprisoned me in a narrow circle of falsity, that my whole life is nothing else than a daily effort to deceive myself and other people, and to avoid noticing it; and I am frightened at the thought that to the day of death I shall not escape from this falsity.

True dat, but then we get all of this delivered on a park bench, and this scene:

On the river, and here and there on the meadows, a mist was rising. High narrow coils of mist, thick and white as milk, were trailing over the river, hiding the reflection of the stars. Every minute they changed their form, and it seemed as some were embracing, others were bowing, others lifting their heads as though they were praying.

* Here is a long interview with Ben Greenman.

* Review of book here.

*

Here is a photo of a deer walking past my deer stand a few days ago. I took its photo not its deer-burger.

*

Here is a story about Kim Kardashian. Who the fuck is Kim Kardashian?

[EXCUSE ME–her sister eats nachos! Her sister eats nachos!!

]

“Joy”

It was twelve o’clock at night.

Kim Kardashian, with excited face and ruffled hair, flew into her family’s house and hurriedly ran through all the rooms. Her parents had already gone to bed. Her sisters were awake, trying on lingerie. Her stepbrother was looking at himself in the mirror.

“Where have you come from?” her sister Khloe cried in amazement. “What is the matter with you?”

“Oh, don’t ask! I never expected it; no, I never expected it! It’s positively incredible!”

Kim laughed and sank into an armchair, so overcome by happiness that she could not stand on her legs.

“It’s incredible! You can’t imagine! Look!”

Her other sister, Kourtney, threw a quilt round her and went in to fetch their stepbrother Brody. He came into the room, holding a hand mirror. Within a moment Kim’s parents were in the room as well.

“What’s the matter?” her mother said. “You don’t look like yourself!”

“It’s because I am so happy. The whole world knows me! The whole world! Until now only you knew that there was a girl called Kim Kardashian, and now the whole world knows it! Mama! Thank heavens!”

Kim jumped up, ran up and down all the rooms, and then sat down again.

“What has happened? Tell us sensibly!”

“You live like wild beasts, you don’t watch very much television and take no notice of what’s online, and there’s so much that is interesting there. If anything happens it’s all known at once, nothing is hidden! How happy I am! Oh, Lord! You know it’s only celebrated people whose names are published online, and now they have gone and published mine!”

“What do you mean? Where?”

Kim’s stepfather, Bruce Jenner, turned pale. Her mother crossed herself. Brody looked at her and then looked back into the hand mirror.

“Yes! My name has been published! Now all the world knows of me! Bookmark that page and print it out in memory! We will read it sometimes! Look!”

Kim went to the computer, tapped a series of keys, and then pointed to a paragraph on the screen.

“Read it!” she said to Bruce Jenner.

He put on his glasses.

“Read it!”

Kim’s mother crossed herself again. Bruce Jenner cleared his throat and began to read: “ ‘We will all be hearing more of Kim Kardashian soon . . .’ ”

“You see, you see! Go on!”

“ ‘. . . since an intimate video starring Kardashian and her ex-boyfriend has been confirmed . . .’ ”

“That’s me and Ray J . . . it’s all described exactly! Go on! Listen!”

“ ‘. . . and will be released later this month. The tape, which Vivid reportedly acquired for one million dollars, includes more than thirty minutes of explicit sexual activity . . .’ ”

“Go on! Read the rest!”

“ ‘It was filmed a few years ago, when Kardashian and her boyfriend, an R&B singer named Ray J . . .’ ”

“I told you. Ray J! But keep reading. There’s more about me.”

“ ‘Initially, Kardashian tried to block the release of the tape, but at length came to an agreement with the distribution company.’ ”

“That’s right. I’m being distributed. You have read it now? Good! So you see. It’s all over the Internet, which means it’s all over the world! Give it here!”

Kim closed the window and turned away from the computer.

“I have to go around the neighborhood and show this to a bunch of other people . . . the Gastineaus . . .the Hiltons . . . .Must run! Good-bye!”

Kim put on her hat and, joyful and triumphant, ran into the street.

*

Smokelong Q is named Smokelong because you can read a flash fiction in the amount of time it would take to smoke a cigarette. Now you know something. Want to know something else?

They have a 30 word flash contest in November. Sweet.

Gum those words, folks. Chew and spit.

*

I vouch for VOUCHED.

*

I am grading/eating nachos/drinking a beer/watching football. We call this a Sunday.

*

Damn, M Sarki over at elimae. Pretty dern glow, sir. You made me wash out my slackwater for a moment there. I just about J-boned my flatness. I thought there was no way M Sarki would be publishing online.

I was wrong.

In my nude art work the model is most definitely my collaborator and there must be space and tolerance for absolute failure.

Amen, dude!

Oh I just used The Google and here he is at failbetter.

*

Gritty Tony O’Neill interview at 3 am.

Watching people shoot up, smoke crack, all of that stuff – I find it hypnotic.

*

This blog has too many long excerpts today. Well, arrest me! Seriously arrest me–I’m lonely. My days are a wrecked car hidden behind a cabin made of cheese.

[climb the steps! push open the door!]

*

…and we are always doing depressing things together. Drinking champagne or going to visit the polar bears. Things not to do, but to have done.

Why yes, Liana Imam has one golden dust flash over at decomP. Thanks for the words, Liana.

*

We actually didn’t arrest Susan Tepper. Susan Tepper was doing some Pop-Tart flattening stuff. They just had Susan Tepper leave the grocery store. Susan Tepper was throwing her body down on the produce. Susan Tepper was basically bruising all the produce and so that’s why they asked her, you know, to quit throwing herself around or leave the store. People don’t want produce all touched by somebody’s body.


I don’t know.

** blog update to Susan Tepper photo (please note scissors used in cutting pizza):


the paris review interviews god and mud rock lobster nachos!

check out Lady Gaga eating nachos!

*

I blow shit up at Huffington Post.

*

Whoa. Slap me an orange bear-like sandwich and call me Sally. Mud Luscious has a wicked 2011 sale. You pay $35 and get like four, five books, nine or more chapbooks, an anthology, a test tube of sweat, a company of mutes, a sack of yogurt, and an impressive and enormous spinal cord of chicken wire and flashing lights.

[Subway should make a sandwich of deep-fried coffee and sell it for $2.95 in the mornings. I guess you’d have to freeze the coffee, batter it, then fry. I mean it could happen.]

I did it. I spent $35 on books. You should, too. Now.

[Look over there! A fucking bowl of slaw!]

*

I find it amazing all the Paris Review interviews are online. I mean, honestly, you’d sort of be a pickle-flipper not to read them all.

*

Willow Springs is one of my favorite lit mags. Their fiction contest is open. $2000 prize. Hello. You could buy some beer and some baloney with that kind of cabbage.

“You miss one hundred percent of the shots you never take,” my pal THE GREAT ONE told me one day over nachos on the Roof of Cincinnati (a now closed brothel).

*

Oh I’m up in a tree. Sound of leaves making out. Dirt contemplating dirt. Reading this book where the author takes Chekhov’s stories and replaces all the characters with present-day celebrities. So far I’ve read about David Letterman and Steve Martin, maybe Oprah. From one review:

The best stories take time to unfold: “Terror,” in which Michael Douglas confides to a nameless narrator his fear of death and unrequited love for his wife, while a dissipated Gary Busey keeps interrupting to wheedle a job out of them; or “The Darling,” in which Nicole Kidman is the quiet frontier widow of obsessed theater impresario Tom Cruise, then lumberman Keith Urban, and is barely sustained by the platonic friendship of Brad Pitt, whose son she agrees to care for.

Looking forward to those, as I sway, sway above the earth reading and looking–there goes a mink, a opossum, two raccoons, a cat, three squirrels (2 fox, one gray), a hawk, a small 4 point buck–and thinking about the one warm beer in my camouflage backpack and the trees is rocking/waving me and the wind all humming and the earth smells like earth which it always takes me a awhile to realize, the soil/air/green smells all about me…I wonder if I could eat an entire tree?

[Most any large forest will delay depression.]

[…ice cream rebellion!!]

*

Flash at deComp:

Here’s some more advice: Stop listening to Nick Drake.

*

Lobster nacho recipe.

I’d probably go Rhode Island for the actual lobster.It is tough to get a beer at a bar in Rhode Island. Everyone is really loud. They scream, “Ay, bartinn-da, gimme a fucking be-er!!”

And I’m sort of standing there surrounded by these huge men (most are bald headed with really sunburnt domes!) and waving my little $20 in the air like a sprig of parsley–wee, wee, excuse me, might a get a little bottle of beer over here, uh, please?? I dance a little jig.

RAAAAAOARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!

says the bartender.

[Rhode Island folks call a water fountain a bubbler. They love America. They like boats. They like quail dipped in milk and giant-ass clams. They will gnaw, but not bite.]

Go to the ocean. It’s everywhere! Just turn and walk, there it is–the ocean. Like just wade out there, into the bay, yes, into the bay, your feet all knobby and sliding on the shells, glass, batteries, oil filters, bones, clams, starfish coating the ocean floor. Stop! About shoulder level. Make out with your friend. Now swim to the nearest lobster pot (you see that orange float? It leads down to a lobster pot)! Dive! Steal a lobster. Go ahead, reach in there. Leave something behind, maybe a Frisbee or a glass snowman. That will blow some minds. Now swim back to shore. Can your feet touch? Make out again. Take the lobster home. Now make lobster nachos.

*

A story has Prospero. A story has Caliban. All of this from The Tempest.

I think I heard this idea from Bruce Smith, but I was taking his poetry class. I remember he would stamp our poems with Victorian stamps, lithographs of devils and angels and gargoyles. Then he would hand the poems back to us, but I am getting off track.

[One time he said, “I like the can of beer in your poem.”]

Ariel is flight, imagination, language. Ariel is a writer invested in the sentence, the word, the love/pop/verve/flow of words making out in the dishwasher in the cave on the purple moon.

Example: Within Blake Butler Bath or Mud or Reclamation or Way In/Way Out, an electronic book you can find for free right here. Ariel, the workings of language:

Other shit began to happen. Behind the sky, I saw _____. The clips of drips of dropping muddle, scratching the face of everything in long bolts as flat as the back of my hand. And zapped in groggy columns things were melting out of nowhere, big rungs of hung gob spurting from sections overhead. And the skewed lobs of architecture and landscape bowled in rhythms clogged with problems, no repetition. I could hardly stick a foot straight; I was, like, wobbly hobbling through the dead grass. There was everywhere to walk now. Everywhere and none at all. I could feel my fiber peeling—my blood spread thin—my pupils slurred.

The word play, the internal rhymes, the syntax, the consonance, assonance, attention to sounds, the poetic qualities, Ariel, and what I want to see from a writer–a devotion to the word.

But what about Prospero? The what, who, where, the ground, the parameters, the wheels of the narrative drive, the chassis, at least a hint into out direction?

Same book, Blake begins with:

When the final crudded current first burst somewhere off the new coast of Oklahoma, I was seventeen and cross-eyed. The storm spread in a curtain. It came and cracked the crust that’d formed over the fields, the junk that’d moored up in our harbors. It washed away most everything not tied down and most everything that was. All those reams of ugly water. All that riddled from the sky. My family huddled hidden under one another in the house our Dad had built alone. The house where we’d spent these years together. The old roof groaned under the pouring. The leaking basement filled with goo.

LOST: my gun collection.

LOST: every board game you can think of.

LOST: mother’s bowling trophies (30+).

LOST: our hope for some new day.

The author still wrangles words, but not solely–here his intent is to inform:

Who: 17 year old me.

Where: Oklahoma

What: The storm.

Naming, listing, grounding. This is Prospero.

I like fiction with both. I want to be moved by words and I want to be moved, along, page to page.

*

Lots of people are into God. So here. I wrote about God at NANO fiction.

*

I will give that Facebook movie a 7.0034. That is a high rating. But:

The casting was blar. Timberlake cannot play some sleazy guy with any real verisimilitude, any sewer-gusto. He looked like the same Timberlake on the TV commercials, the same half-dancing while dangling from strings. Not a menace. More a punk.

Then they cast some some woman from Disney or some kid’s show world to play a psychotic, possessive girlfriend. She did not come across as crazy. She did not come across as dangerous. She came across as absolutely limp. She’s over her skis in this film. She sets a garbage can on fire with all the passion of a wet newspaper. Where are the spinning the eyes, the circus behind those eyes? Have you ever actually seen a crazy girlfriend, lady? They don’t daintily ask about text messages and set little garbage cans on fire. No, they break your arm and put dog shit in your pillow case and slash your tires, open the hood, rip everything possible out from under the hood, toss your cell phone into the toilet, and shatter every mirror in your house. Then they mail porno to your boss. Then they put your hot tub on Ebay. Then they set the garbage on fire, all the garbage, and also every shirt you own. On the way out, they let your dog run free.

Film? The pacing, the direction, the cinematography, the internal workings of Ivy League socializing–all of this I truly enjoyed. It’s not a bad film. It just missed its chance to be a great film, mostly due to casting.

*

Here is my foot, in a sock. The sock is inside-out. I am going to wear it to work that way, because why does it really matter? Inside the sock is my left foot. It blars. The Achilles continues to blar. I run twice a week and have not yet seen a doctor. Depressing. Yesterday, I went:

3 min 6:00 pace     3 min 6:00 pace     5:52 mile

3 min 5:49 pace     3 min 5:49 pace     3 min 5:39 pace

3 min 5:39 pace     3 min 5:18 pace

Once the heel was warmed I flowed fine. But now it is stiff like a boulder, only a boulder so shaped by the river to be long and narrow and screaming from the time some kid hit it in the head with a Teflon bat of lava. My heel is the next generation of weapons. We will fight terrorism by chipping off bits of my left heel and carpet-bombing whomever we need to carpet bomb next. Wasn’t it Jimmy Buffet who said we should carpet-bomb our enemies in lingerie? Not the worst idea…

So. Is this any way to live a running life? Probably not. I need to see a sawbones. Soon. I’m so hesitant, but why? You can’t train through an Achilles, I don’t think.

*

This flash by Joe Kapitan is rather glow.

When the sun was above the treeline, and the hunter returned to the cabin, they were ready for him.

Good work with opening line, tension, and this surprising and apt turn from realism to something more, something opening. Lovely, really, in the way the internal organs of a fish are lovely–glossy, visceral, true.

Good work, sir! I thank you for the read.

Jennifer Lopez Foot Lasagna Greg

I wrote a story about an old man who likes to kick things. I then swept out my tool shed and I ate lasagna and fed my leftover lasagna to the creek today. I tossed it into one of the deeper pools. The creek runs through my property, along the woods, runs and gurgles and brains the air. The creek goes shattered jar in the sun, a beautiful thing. I love the creek. Water makes me glow. I have a chair next to the creek and I like to sit in the chair and read and drink beer and listen to the creek guffawing at how it was here before me and will laugh eons on after I am dead.

But how did the creek respond to my lasagna?

* Crawdads went after the large noodles. One of my favorite crawdads, a large blue one I have named Diane, bullied many of the younger ones, often approaching and ripping a lasagna noodle from their claws. I have noticed small crawdads will pursue a larger one to (I guess?) try to get the food back, but once they get close they never really try. They are just like, “I’m going to get my food back! I’m not scared.” Then they approach the reality of the situation and freeze.

* The smallmouth bass preferred the cheese (a mix of ricotta, mozzarella, sprinkling of Parmesan). They darted in on silver shadows and plucked the cheese away, then whisked back into mossy under-hangs.

* The small sunfish mostly went after the tofu sausage.

* All animals ignored the fennel seeds.

* I saw one small yellow crawdad pick at a leaf of basil, but it then moved on to a large noodle.

* An unknown minnow picked at both the onion and slivers of garlic. It was having trouble holding itself in the current. A smallmouth bass then darted out and swallowed the minnow. Bam. Knife flash. So I basically baited a minnow into deeper water with my Italian seasonings. There it died.

* Only the river rocks took the parsley.

* Ditto the crushed tomatoes.

* The salt returned to the earth.

****

This is how I drive a disc:

This is how Ander Monson drives a disc. He has a new book/site (he always has a new book/site!). Go read it and explode.

Damn. Pretty awesome follow-through, like he’s about to fly away. I would tell you more about my weekend playing disc golf in Wisconsin, but you would be bored liked corn and squash.

So.

This is how Mark Neely drives a disc!! You can find a new wicked Neely poem at Juked.

*

If you know much about my writing, you know I have a “Drug Series.”

Example, Cocaine.

So. Here is Psilocybin over at Metazen.

*

Rose Metal Press has an interview here, and they mention Eggs won a design award.

Holy shit. Very cool. If you want to buy Eggs, go click that link up top right and read some flash fiction or something, yo. Yo.

[I feel like a paper bag right now.]

*

New Word Riot, motherfuckers!! I myself enjoyed:

1. Desire Cafe Sutra by John Kuligowski because it was Beat as hell, and John says he is a boring guy.

2. The Beige Futon by Greg Gerke.

This flash fiction fucking rocks. Check out this little smidgen:

Sitting in the subway, he laughed aloud and a man with a picture of a taco on his shirt didn’t seem too happy and he thought, Why can’t I laugh on the fucking subway? The one time I do a massive soft shell of guilt envelops me? So he closed his eyes and went back to the first moments, but the moments had changed. He was alone with their futon and it was dark and rainy.

That’s how you’re supposed to do it. Scene to action to physical now to trigger to thought to flashback. Pay attention all you psychos who say you want to write. Here’s a technique for you. Read it ten times or stop trying/whining.

her saying she’d still love him forever though she was leaving him for someone less neurotic.

Oh man, situation and characterization. I’ll be teaching this one to the kiddies in the fall, and that means I like/like/like it, and it’s also lame for me to say so, because I am so academia, no? No. I liked it first because it moved me. I liked it 8 more times for the same reason. I liked it the 9th and 10th time because this flash fiction is technical as a green Cadillac and I will drive it all over my students’ desks and times and haircuts and lollygags of structural play/room/lives.

3. Peter Schwartz interview.

This collection took me a few years to write. During that time I spent most of my time in my room. I had no real (meaning not just online or voice) relationships and sunk into the loneliness that comes from being that alone. There’s also the fact that I’m a bit haunted (see: ‘ABCs of loss’) but the truth is that my astronaut training program is simply not complete. You were right, sometimes I am beaten, but I think ultimately I will overcome this shit.

*

I like to mow the yard. I like to see the grass fall in lines. To see a thing done. Sometime I feel black horses at my back, like alongside or gaining, but I have never heard their hooves while mowing the yard. So that’s something.

S