Tag Archives: decomP

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.]


[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. ]


[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!


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. 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:

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.



Lobster Video Game Sedaris Smallmouth Hobart decomP

Life is oddly. You dream about car accidents and dappled nachos. You rub the eyes from your sleep. Stumble into a clutter and hate yourself. For a moment. Bills and printer ink and some cartoon where blue frog-people scream green things. Hi son. It is Sunday and I need to trim the shrubbery–would you like to go bowling? Shoes have wheels now. You go bowling and go to get a bowling alley beer (little plastic cups) and tumble right into a Lobster Zone game. A game with live lobsters. A bowling alley game with live lobsters.

Really, What-the-fuck?

Here is what we know:

1. It costs two bucks to play. You can use your charge card.

2. You use a claw to snag the live lobster. Or: “Unlike any other crane machine, we use a pneumatic system that allows the claw to close beneath the water surface in the tank – not before the claw meets the water. Electrical systems in other machines run directly into the water, risking electrocution of the lobsters.”

3. Here is that damn DFW lobster essay.

4. You catch the lobster and they cook it right there, in this bowling alley type of place most likely known for fries and toasted cheeses and chicken fingers. Possibly they deep fat fry the lobster? I ponder. Little crinkly cups of beer. Four strikes, four spares. There is a lady in here looks like a pumpernickel. Hi lady, my back hurts a lot lately. Hi, she replies, I’m about to smoke a cigarette because I am a fan of The Smiths. On the TV a man pushes another man down. Ok, bye.

5. Here is a video of a successful catch in Las Vegas:

6. There’s something creepy and wrong about this idea and machine, but who am I to say? As a reward for teaching CTY all semester, The Johns Hopkins folks use to throw us all a big-ass seafood party in Rhode Island. Clam cakes, clam rolls, clam chowda (red and white), lobsters. I once ate six lobsters for dinner. Six. I’m not sure the appropriate amount of lobsters you should eat, but it is not six. Don’t do that. OK? Pain. Echoes of. I wouldn’t do it again. I’m actually not sure I would eat another lobster, but I might. I eat some seafood. No other meat, naturally, unless I myself kill the animal, but I digress.


New August decomP.

I glow The Mysteries by Alexandra Isacson:

She tried to keep herself from blurring into watercolors. Lucent, her blue-violet eyes fixed on a powdered Tarot.

“Yeah, I cut lines with that card,” he said.

Jennifer Moore with Vegas poem. Great title, momentum, flow. You caught a shard there, Jennifer, and you held it to the neon light and it became a prism. We thank you.

Ambivalence is a mumbling groom, focusing his gaze on the bridesmaids;

none of these women are fathomable. Leave the open bar, the pool
tables, the girls willing to do everything.


I ran 12 miles at an incline yesterday, but who gives a shit?

This dude ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) and drank a beer for every mile! Whoa. Why didn’t I think of this? Yes, he vomited, blacked-out, was nearly run down by traffic, but no pain, no malt liquor or whatever. He says:

Perhaps even more problematic are the goddamned do-gooders and paramedics onhand in case of medical emergencies. They will take your swerving, stumbling, and vomiting as signs of delirium or fatigue, and then get all interventionny and try to take away your beer. That can not happen.

This guy is no “goddamned do-gooder” and you got to like him.


Lopped a Sedaris book yesterday. Engulfed in Flames. That’s a yell/hell of a title (and skull on the cover) but the book doesn’t really come across as dark and desperate as its possible aim. Sedaris isn’t so glow at titles anyway. The New Yorker often changes the titles of his essays, from book to magazine (or the other way?). The excellent (and truly funny, as in awkward and angry) “Turbulence” appears as “Solution to Saturday’s Puzzle,” a limp and obvious title at best. “Turbulence” has more metaphorical punch, more Clear Winner, and doesn’t force itself on us like a Barbed Bird.

The book took a day to read. This while busy. There were dark and funny pieces, and there was fluff. As usual, the pieces read cleanly–Sedaris obviously edits hard (over-edits at times, some essays so intent on wrapping up in a neat little bow). Sedaris, at his current age, works best when he gets deeper into the bone, into the gristle–his reflections on a skeleton that continually says, “You are going to die.” A sort of Bartleby riff. The cigarette/addiction essay. Or even better when he addresses homosexual issues, and his obvious anger on the subject, a real, earned, valid anger. I wish we could see more of it. I actually wish he would go blue more; he does at readings. He really does. He is in the a-reading-is-different-than-a-book camp. He’s more a stand-up comedian at readings. More a careful writer in his books.

Sometimes Sedaris loses that sympathetic narrator he has always controlled. In earlier books, Sedaris makes fun of everyone, but always includes himself. That’s his trick. Sometimes, in Flames, he comes across as too wealthy, too cosmopolitan, too, well, what he probably is: successful. It’s a tough line to walk. People laugh at fat comedians, etc. People like a narrator who is a bit down, especially in mini-essays. But Sedaris knows this. This genre is Sedaris, so he adds health problems and ineptitude and pratfalls and social errors and whatever mix to make himself a sympathetic buffoon. A smart buffoon. Yes. And I’ll read the words of a smart buffoon.

Sometimes the pieces have a whiff of bullshit, and Sedaris now claims in interviews, “They are 9o something percent true.” If you read enough Sedaris, you’ll respect him for how much is NOT bullshit, but you’ll also see how transparent he is when trying to fake something, an inconceivable coincidence (probably while he’s trying to tie aforementioned bow) or a forced stretchy of lengthy, perfect dialogue.

In the end, you respect the man. He do glow. He’s a bit of a magpie genius. He lives everyday taking little notes, writing them up, editing, then we get these little essays. And he does it again and again. Mostly they are worth reading. Sometimes even truly funny, as in humor laced with roiling clouds, anger, frustration–the real stuff of life, and literature. Sometimes you go: how did he do that? None of this is easy. As we know.


New Hobart bringing it all tongue of cigarette, hacking cough.

I glow Kristine Ong Muslim.

We figure the leaves will find a way back into the house, where they take more than their share of furniture. The smell of ruin and the lack of rain outside has not permeated the house yet. That must be what draws them to us, draws them indoors where we multiply when faced by extinction.

You take a thing, it expands. You freeze a thing, inspect closely, it expands. One purpose of writing. To see what falls.

I glow Matt Mullins.

Mutiny is the last I remember.  being pitched over.  only to awaken here.   drowning in an Aeron chair.  typing my own ransom memo for the corporate pirates who pay me in somnambulistic days.  unsure how I was fished out and tanked.

The man shreds some sentences here in a fascinating way. As I told him over D golf, “You let the sentences heighten the claustrophobia of the situation. Good job.”


I went cross-training. What does that mean? I took my brother fishing. We drank weak beer and caught strong fish. My brother kept catching sucker fish. Nasty. Suckers fight like submerged Cheetos. You just drag them in…

I reeled in the giant sporting fish, the smallmouth bass. It fought like a parking lot. A screeching tire. RAINBOW, RAINBOW, RAINBOW!!!

Then I let the fish go.



10k All Eating the Singing Corn Dogs

I caterwhomped at 5:30. The air was blue. Like the blue of juxtaposition. Outside no crickets did _______. I might have sensed a bird but is this a Murakami story? No. What if I threw in a talking monkey? No. Juxtaposition. What is that? Clive, tell us.

Clive: “You throe one thing than another you end up with a third lose thing that is different that the first two things once the right time passes. Like when I make beer at the house.”

Thank you, Clive.

Mark picked me up to go try the 10k. We drove to Indy.

I said, “Mark, you used to always get lost but now you have GPS and never get lost.”

(Mark’s GPS voice is this sexy Australian. It made me want to meet her and play Scrabble in some cafe in Guam.)

I said, “We are going to run this motherfucking 10k.” Or something like that. Something from the throat and heart and left foot.

The day dawned sunny/cold, little wind. I would say the day was like a bleeding fish.

Why did the Indiana State Museum charge us for parking? You don’t charge runners for parking. I felt bad since I didn’t have any money and so Mark had to pay $4. That breaks a driving etiquette rule, folks. The person NOT DRIVING pays for parking. That’s obvious. So I felt badly about that one.


I tucked into some fast ones, dropped hammer at 3-5, reeled in some folks. Finished arms pumping like a goat.

After I finished I cheered Mark home. I yelled, “Come on, Mark!” He finished strong. I like to see a runner finish strong, that attitude, like, “Not only I am going to finish this race, but I OWN this race!”

You can look up results here if you are just bored.

Mark ran his first 10k. He finished 235 out of 1700. I am/was proud of Mark. He ran the race in 50:40.

I ran my many-teenth 10k. I finished 11th out of 1700. I am/was proud of me. I ran the race in 38: 07.

After the race we played Disc Golf.

Then I went with some friends and ate a metric ton of Japanese food and drank a metric ton of sake. Here the debris. I like photos of debris. Wait, the debris photos were lame like dog collars. Ok, what about during the glutton?

I look at this and think:

1.) I need a haircut. I look scruffy and/or freakish.

2.) My two year old is on an iphone. At two years old!!!


(Hi, I’m two and cannot interact with humans, la-de-la….)

Cute kid though…


Today’s mail!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my. Disc nerd alert.

(Holy shit check out this Crystal Z Buzz!!!!!)

Crystal Z Buzz

Crystal Z Buzz

Crystal Z Buzz

I’ll throw one like Tim Donaghy. I mean throw it FAR.

[My favorite sushi was the yellow tuna. I can’t explain that color of yellow. Uh, Clive…

Clive: “Mee maws hands. They shake like that the sky this man painted. I remember the highway said they would buy so much of maws land for the big Dysberg out there to the airport and needed dirt would make her a pretty pond but she said go strait to hell. Then they just come back anyway. Grandpa said they had domane. They never built that pond neither.”

Thank you, Clive.]


I need to go run 20 miles today.


Ever year I try to win this flash fiction contest where you get a case of beer. For two years I have been a finalist. This year? Finalist again, but no suds.

Cellstories featured my Elvis/cocaine story. Thanks.

The Red Room is out. I am in there. It be sweet like Book Fairs and muddy shoes.

Red Room full of Bill Kushner, Jayne Pupek, Maurice Oliver, Lewis Warsh, Changming Yuan, Ruth Altmann, Stephanie Gray, Nicole Cartwright Denison, Leonard Gontarek, Andrew Mossin, Lydia Cortes, Lynn Levin, Meg Pokrass, Elizabeth Thorpe, Miriam Kotzin, John Grey, John Vick, others.


Odd little story by S.H. Gall over at decomp. Good work with tone, with wistful thought, with brick lodged in the head. Also S.H. Gall is a cool name.

Memphis story! Alex Pollack at Hobart. Sweetness. Ah, Libertyland, the memories…

The man references the Zippin Pippin! Well done, sir. (Alex blog here)

“You’ll buy a funnel cake,” Jessica says, “take two bites, say it’s too sweet like you always say, and throw it away like you always do.” She’s mad about last night, when I microwaved a hot dog wrapped in tinfoil; it left a blur of electric blue and a trail of flames.


I have these business ideas. Like today, I was thinking, “Singing corn dog.” A singing corn dog. People like corn dogs and they certainly like music. It would be like a corn dog ipod or something. You would carry it proudly like a torch, all the while your favorite song drifting on the air like corn dog essence, like fried oil or fried pig or fried corn flour tunes of glow. I think it’s a winner idea.


Late at night I watched Amy Winehouse London 2008 in HD. Never do that. She was drinking beer and slurring songs and picking her nose and wrecked out her wonderful mind. I couldn’t imagine being in that audience. Most interesting were the looks of all the professionals dancing and playing instruments behind her. It was like the loud kid in class who sits on the front row and shouts out all these crazy answers and the kid never gets that EVERYONE BEHIND YOU IS STARING AT YOUR HEAD IN A WEIRD WAY.

The musicians has this look like, “Play your instrument, smile, don’t notice the slurring, stumbling singer. Don’t notice. I need this paycheck.”

You want some of me?


Clive, what do you think of farming?

Clive: “He says a farmer gets it bad both ways. A farmer sells the beans and corn for what people say . The farmer buy the seed for what the people say. Thats how he means both ways. Aint  no reply my grandpa says. A man can’t punch a big system. Grab it down to normal size.”

OK, Clive, getting all political!

Love you, man.


New decomP Bolt Action Breasts Issue

New October decomP hits the net like a caregiver out back feeding the nuns leftover Cheetos.

I was in my tree stand, deep in the forest. I was reading the new decomP. I thought, “Is this issue about breasts? If it is, OK, I mean we all have breasts. Whoa, three deer just glided by. (That’s what they do–they glide, this ghost-like drifting through the underbrush and your mind goes, “How do they walk without a sound?” How? They glide.)

Tom Mahoney writes a flash fiction about cleavage and tipping. There have been a lot of sociological studies about how waitresses can increase their tips. Research has shown the best way is to PRETEND you like the customer. Also, establish an inside joke!

(Sir, I hope those onions on your plate don’t make the potatoes start crying!! HA HA….)

I think if you touch the customer you get 10% more or some shit. If you sign your name on the receipt. Oh, sorry. Men lower their tips if they doodle or sign the receipt; only women increase their tips.Whenever the waiter/waitress squats at knee level to look at me directly in the eye, to be Down Here, with me sitting, I want to punch them in the forehead.


A few days ago I was buying a six of beer and a bag of corn tortillas and some shredded cheese and some salsa and the line was empty and I walked up and the cashier said really loud, “Sorry about your wait, sir!” And I said no problem. See, there was NO WAIT. I was immediately there in line, and so was he. So what gives? Later in the car I thought maybe it was a brilliant way to deal with the public–to just open with an apology, to open with a fictional wronged-act, with a Lower Level. His line was obviously automatic. And I have been a cashier–the public thinks you are actually a cashier, the machine in front of the cashier. Etc.

I thought Tom’s story did a good job with conflict and concept, but could have been more. I have written flashes like this myself. They need more. Maybe punch up the language a bit. Maybe introduce a sister or a spleen or Aztec Queen.

Halli Melnitsky writes a flash about a girl wrapped in drug coronas and Christmas lights: “She brought her hands to a point above her head. “Look,” she said. “I’m a Christmas tree.” A red bulb pressed on her nipple and lit her entire breast. “I’m your happy childhood.”

What a flash (pun). I think it would be perfect for a reading. I like readings to be:

1.) Short.

2.) Sexy or funny.

3.) Human.

I believe the above hits all three.

Pandoras box

(Andrew Junge)

“…from his artistic anarchy, or agony,” Jesse Tangen-Mills writes.

Now we have language, flow. Cool name, too, Jesse. There is no breast connection here, except for the phrase “God-thunder.”

This Comorbidity by Frank Hinton is full of the type of thing I like to teach young fiction writers: Fill your stories with STUFF. All objects are metaphorical. Give us a chance to let them breathe. Give us (reader) an opportunity to see, engage, supply the remaining gaps, embrace. It isn’t that we analyze objects like a classroom, etc. Not my point. My point is all objects are ALREADY metaphorical. They echo. We are like fish in the water–we don’t see we live within a metaphorical universe, unless you take us out. Or something. The other day I read a poem about a guy throwing a penny into a wishing well, and his wish was to get rid of that damn penny. So.

Oh, the best poem in the issue is from From Jeanann Verlee

that night I cut a small incision under
my left breast, stuffed two fingers inside

pushed aside tissue, sternum, found a rock
the size of a plum, scooped it out

rinsed it,


(Kelly Mark)

Or it could be John Sands. Ok, it could be. He doesn’t come out and says breasts, but you know…and don’t you think it very Frank O’Hara? That’s a compliment, Mr. Sands.

A Working List of Things I Will Never Tell You
By Jon Sands, Aug 28, 2009

When I said I wasn’t with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
it’s because it wasn’t actual sex.

In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.

Not only do they make you look too young,
but then your torso is a giraffe’s neck attached to tiny legs.
I screamed at myself in the subway

for writing poems about you still.
I made a scene. I think about you almost
each morning, and roughly every five days, I still

believe you’re there.
I still masturbate to you.
When we got really bad,

I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar
to make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.
You are the only person to whom I’ve lied, knowing

I was telling the truth. I miss the way your neck
wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.
I remember when you said being with me

is like being alone with company.
My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.
I’m scared you’re my pink pony.

Hers is dead. It is really sad. You’re not dead.
You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever.
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.

I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I don’t know where to put them.
I mourn like you’re dead. If you had asked me to stay,

I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.


OK, ok, I’ll join. Yesterday I was on the roof writing my Drink and Ebay Flash series and I was writing about this guy whose one goal in life was to date a gawky girl. The story goes on for a while and there is a small house fire (in the story) and there is a mention of soda jerks and file clerks and other rhyming occupations and then the story moves over into “I’m going to call a cop!” type drama then has this letdown section I’ll cut later and settles into sun, sea, sand and finally, finally I write this line: “She had pepper grinder bones and breasts like Socrates.”

So there, I joined the breast theme.