Tag Archives: Nachos

Mary Ruefle vs. Abigail Zimmer in a Death Match

Today, we have two newcomers, Mary Ruefle, who is a former greens-keeper and primarily a flash fiction author, and Abigail Zimmer, who I met once in Chicago at that touristy pier thing with the boats and the shops and ball-peen hammer and the giant bell or anchor I forget. (Abigail was at the beer garden sort of glimmering on a table drunk and doing standup. She kept dropping Derek Jeter jokes that were like 6 out of 10 funny, though humor is admittedly subjective and I had a head cold weeks early sort of lingering like ceramics.)

Hey, guys, you know why Derek Jeter’s house is so damn big?!

Ehhh…something about girlfriends, batting average…


stein nachos 3

What good is memory? I know about ten dog stories, yet I have experienced countless dogs in my life.

Abigail Zimmer writes of mice and oranges, here.

Ruefle sometimes erases shit, which seems especially cool/lazy.

I never get head colds. That’s a dern lie. Anyway, I was hungover from so much running in the parks and dairylands of Chicago, the hills and wales of Chicago–sing it with me–the rolling hills, the nighttime thrills, the icy spills, the chills running down the wine, the line, the fishing line of memory, the rain, something, something…the…ah, never mind. Let’s do this!

What shall we try?

Let’s try, “A Penny For Your Thoughts” (Ruefle) versus “My best friend says that Horton Hears a Who is an allegory for the impending zombie takeover.” (Zimmer)

The rules are simple: Which author writes the better poetry in the two texts I have chosen? The categories are:

Best Opening Line

Best Image

Best Thing That Made Think

Best Reference to Nachos

Best Ending Line

A feeble attempt to keep the track dust from peppering her nachos grande.

Grab your Pop Tart and glass of red; and let’s begin!!



 How are we to find eight short English words

that actually stand for autumn?

It’s a good question. As use of the interrogation point, or the eroteme, as my sixth grade substitute teacher would insist, as she passed around various over-sized glossy photos of herself in a bikini atop a motorcycle (she was later dismissed). I always wanted the question mark to be a bolt of lightning, but I wasn’t consulted. So. Opening with a question bring me, the willing reader, into play. Sean, would you like to enter my poem, to sit with me at the table, to track with me a hurricane of ideas, to leave yourself, to threaten your own national insecurities, to dance, to twirl, to synapse, to spend billions of tax dollars on rainbows, to arrive, arrive like the cinnamon whirl from a ceiling fan mounted on the blood moon. these opening lines really remind me of sitting by a river with the author, drinking strong coffee from a blue, ceramic mug. Possibly we are naked. I liked it.


On the first day of the apocalypse the conductor stops calling out the names of where we are but I recognize Belmont because a drag queen is stealing your cell phone.

I Think we’ve had quite enough of apocalyptic literature at this point in time.


Best opening line goes to Mary Ruefle!

Best Image


Hmmm…well MR’s poem is full of images, because all really good poetry is full of images. It’s tough. It’s like I’m picking the best acorn from a really solid barrel of acorns someone picked from the ground and placed into the barrel for some unknown reason. They all taste good to deer and any of them could grow into an even larger oak tree and taller oak tree and be around way after me (like all quality images), my children’s children might attach a swing to even one limb of the image and swing and swing and swing! And rainbow, rainbow, rainbow! Ok, I’ll go with this one:

Now the clouds look burnt. But first they burned.

That’s what I’m talking about.


There are halogen trees and fields of people discussing the just announced Pantone color of the year.

I’m not discussing Halogen trees at this point. I’m a man of principles. I don’t know what Pantone means. But I do enjoy Abigail’s keen sense of word choice. As she once said in Chicago, “The American language has too many words and is basically a pain in the ass, but, for poets, it’s OK, right, it’s like what Derek Jeter says about base hits: ‘you can’t really have too many.’ Words are basically base knocks for poets.”

Well said, Abigail.

Abigail wins best image!


(Mylar balloons drift and whirl from the ceiling like those kids you see on the streets of Vancouver.)

Best Thing That Made Think


One peculiar way to die of loneliness
is to try.

I have oft wondered if the lonely are purposely lonely, or if it’s a condition of the others, or if it’s societal/anti-societal, or if it’s something else entirely. Loneliness, as we know, adds irreverence to life, I mean chemiluminescent, like when you see minnows spinning (dead minnows) in a pool of mountain water and their scales are spinning in a sort of vortex–I mean to say loneliness puts a special “butter” on the edges of a moonset and also of course makes night air smell like copper. Then again, let me write a poem: I call it, Pomegranate Series __9.

Thank you, thank you, thank you very little…

I still don’t know what Pantone means and, no, I’m not going to Just Google it. That would be death. Akin to death. Then again, from my rotting body, flowers shall grow and some little kid will probably pick the flowers, you know, and the kid will try to give the flowers to his stinking drunk mom, who’s just drinking, you know, spending all day drinking and night, too, drinking with two or three men and sometimes three or four other men and usually another woman or two, sometimes from Memphis, a waitress or idle man from out of town, whatever, and she’d end up in dances in the country (B52 Love Shack, anyone?), those wonderful hot nights in the country, and really what could some sickly, little kid with a loofah gourd for a head (the shape), how could that kid compete, even if he has a fistful of flowers picked from the soil that was once my rotting body? So, anyway, not sure why I’m scared of death, is my point, I’ll live forever in the sweaty, rejected fist of a kid. I’m writing this from a swimming pool, BTW. In Kentucky. Anyway, I’m not Googling Pantone, I said I wouldn’t, damn it!, is my key point of emphasis here.

Best Thing That Made Think is won by Abigail!!! We might have us a dern upset here, folks! There’s a long drive, deep center field, it might be, it could be, it is! A home run! Holy Cow! This whippersnapper from Chicago with her Derek Jeter jokes, all sashaying, walking tall, legs flailing out like a plastic bag of sporks on the table, kids dropping Monopoly boards as they run wild down the sidewalks of holidays and life!

Moving on…

Best Reference to Nachos


Talk for half an hour about the little churchyard
full of the graves of people who have died
eating nachos.


First, I enjoy the humor. Obviously, no one has ever died from eating nachos, since nachos–as research has proven–is the single healthiest serving of food in the world, whether you eat them for breakfast or just because you are at local bar, lonely on a Sunday afternoon, sitting gaunt, grizzled, austere, wishing you were eating nachos as you eat nachos.

anniston egg book copy

When I read this verse, my head chopped off like a blade of ice melting across a frozen sea of a skittle, a real skittle, not the fucking candy. It’s like the love I feel for plagiarism and deadlines, as both go whoossssshing by.

I read these lines and stood up from the Kentucky swimming pool and I let out these words (loudly, echoing among the sickly, loud kids of Kentucky):


I don’t even know what that means. I felt like a galloping bat, like I just galloped past the house and kept on galloping, my little sonar pinging, pinging, and isn’t that what the lonely do, send out little pings?

I felt like I had done treed a deputy of the law.

There’s a dude in this swimming pool I swear his knees look like Norm McDonald’s knees. Odd.


Abigail Zimmer, she doesn’t mention nachos.

Best Ending Line


To you I must tell all or lie.

I prefer the lie.


I give it to you because I am asking for Bieber’s beautiful wave of adult hair and an elephantine ass like Billie Holiday must have had, had anyone thought to take a picture of her walking away.

Get Billie Holiday’s name out your mouth! But I do like writing about asses…Hmm.

The winner, in a close one, is…

MARY RUEFLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here’s a photo of her eating nachos.


Hang in there, Abigail. It was a close one. Here’s a photo of Abigail for you kind folks:

judy 3

Until the next tempest,


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.


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.


drop your miter into a first historical Saltine of sadness

KGM sent me a letter today. Wait, a letter arrived today from KGM. Wait, the return address is Amy Berkowitz, from Mondo Bummer Books.

[I need to cut my yard but there is a certain luxury to looking out at an unruly yard and not cutting said yard. For a moment I forgot determinism and poured four cups of coffee. For a moment I thought about the sky nothing but the sky.]

Letter as chapbook? I might have been drunk and ordered this online, not sure. I have been laying off the Drinking & Ebaying habit, so maybe have leaked a bit into Drinking & Buying Literature. Anything is possible at this point.

Sometimes my brain feels like an aquarium.

Look, I’ll tell you this: KGM wrote a letter. It begins:

Laura had a dream about being a potato. She sat on a table, being a potato. She could feel her fibers, and skin. She was surprised to find that the eyes of the potato didn’t see anything at all, not even something surreal and magical, as she would have guessed. Laura woke up slowly that morning, remembering her dream, and feeling a little upset that she could never dream anything more exciting.

The remainder of the letter is a ceiling light or blinds you peek through, waiting for someone at the drive, the way sun on walls will become an itinerary, I mean the ways words are like days as they move you. I mean to say beautiful. Often KGM writes in beauty.


[You can actually mix Merlot and Guinness. Free tip right there, kids.]

I liked Other Electricities. It was an elegy. I don’t think this was written about enough. It was a prayer to some lost thing. Sometimes I will see the word snowmobile and think of a tombstone. Or I might be trapped in a stairwell and start thinking about snow. So, that’s how that machine works.

Neck Deep, I loved. It could be because I also enjoy baths. Or it could be the disc golf essay. It could be because Ander is a good friend but I doubt it. A lot of my good friends have books I like less. Also one time Ander hit me directly in the back with a disc golf drive. But I digress.

I Glow Vanishing Point. The other day I was crouched over a black beer and I told someone, I said, “I really think Vanishing Point is better than Neck Deep.” They said, “Really?!” I could tell they didn’t agree at all. So I disagree with their disagreeing or some kind of math thing. And I knew the buzz on that book would go Boat Flips and Grits. Since the pages bleeds into the Internets, the Googles. Yep.

The man is doing things, folks.

[This bar you can lift up framed photos and the walls are white behind the photo. The wall is yellow from nicotine. I thought it was a yellow wall. You should probably use that detail in a story. Details in stories will make the reader less aware of the teller of the story, maybe. I have no idea what picture will be in the frame. Look, it’s your story but God please don’t see your reflection in the glass frame and start describing your protagonist’s bangs and shit.]


This is Literally all the Info I have at the Moment.


A kick ass glossary over at Hobart. By B.C. Edwards.

Worried is how a dove coos when you hold it real tight.

That’s actually true. Also a dove’s breasts contain white and dark meat. Also it’s considered bad form to shoot a dove from a wire or off the ground. I see that from someone on like a Tuesday in Mississippi and I think, “Douchebag.”

I tried to get into the Hobart Outside issue. I mean to say I submitted. I thought, “An outdoor issue? That’s made for me.”

No it was not made for me. Fail. Aaron sent a really nice rejection.

{It was this story published soon after at Superstition Review. Beware the author photo. They ripped it from my BSU work site. I look sort of creepy or maybe like I tan [I do not]}

I saw Aaron at AWP and someone STOLE HIS LIQUOR!!

OK, they “confiscated” it. But, look, you can use the word “confiscate” all you want, but you still took a man’s whiskey and, yes, you will go to hell.

Speaking of my life, the Indiana Review kindly emailed me about sending them a story a while back. I was pleased as a pair of sweatpants to send them a story. Actually, I didn’t really have a story. So I wrote one called “The Thing.” (Sort of a dumb title, now that I reflect on it.) They emailed me yesterday with Fail. In the spirit of Jac Jemc’s excellent REJECTION BLOG I will include the letter for you. I thought it professional and kind:


Our apologies for the delayed response; we wanted to give your work its editorial due.

After much discussion we have ultimately decided not to utilize your submission, however, you have certainly made fans of our staff. Please feel free to submit in the future.

Thank You and All the Best,

The Editors

Indiana Review

Does any magazine out there want “The Thing?” Come on, I took the time to write an actual short story and you know I’m into micro-fiction and flash and all that hybrid thing like when you get a bird and fly it into a ramshackle. Or sit out in a storm, out in your shed. I was about to write about the rain sweeping the roof but God that sounds so like a writer. The rain should saw the shed or pith it. The rain pithed the shed. What the fuck is a pith helmet? I mean I see the thing.

But pith?

Here is a sample paragraph from “The Thing” to help you nap:

While asleep he sweats. While awake he occupies himself. Finds all the strands of hair—corners, bathtub O, eyelids of doors—and spins them into tangles and lines and decahedrons of light. The yellow teeth of the window. There coughs the Cat’s Cradle, frantic fingers, clacking nails, hands unhinged and flailing, gummed-out in the elbows of a clattering machine. Or he might walk room to room and identify objects. Green lotion, cigarette husk, open drawer. Fact: A kitchen knife is a computer. Fact: You program the thing. Or back to the dancing fingers. Effigy of music, with the hands and the splitting/shimmering hair, blurring some stringed instrument, the greasy hiss of bones.

A blue humming, veins.

Touching of the Starbursts? To alternate flavors, to maintain an equality of each, but he suspects they try to fuck people with the yellow (lemon). Today all is right with the Starbursts. He unwraps each candy, inhales, mashes them together into a little man (cuts four pieces in half for arms and legs), and props the Candy Man in the freezer, alongside the vodka and the burnt tots of tator.

He names the Candy Man. He says, You are empty like _______ I will call you Empty. You are the day I was drowning and realized the universe. I will name you Palms, Palms Up, Open Hand of the Universe.

He bathes and pees in the tub and keeps on bathing.

…staggers naked into the kitchen…stuffs the whole hard, cold, dumb Candy Man into his mouth. Jaws mashing, tongue pebbling up, maw swollen with sugary drool.


I need to revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise and revise.

Look there goes James Thurber and he’s running after the mail truck. “Come back here with my fucking essay!!”

As he drank gin dude would change out his glass eye and replace it with a series of increasingly bloodshot eyes.

Dude had one glass eye that was an American Flag. You wanna get laid? Put a fucking glass eye with an American flag into your skull. Like excuse yourself from the conversation, go to the bathroom, return with American flag eye.

Hell, I’d sleep with you. I’d sleep with before you could sneeze.


Oh look, Cubby tells all of us how to tape our fingers for disc golf! Thanks, Cubby! Cubby! Cubby! Cubby! Cubby! Cubby!


Wait. Who in the hell is B.C. Edwards (this my mind thinking out loud now)? Sometimes I will read a writer and the hooks in and I’ll float away into the ribs of a washboard stomach and I’ll go get on The Google and hunt that writer down. I suppose it is a good thing when your words make my synapses move my fingers move my time on this planet move my earth my blood so here we go:

Found this over at pax americana. Check this opening line:

As I was walking down the street that cold afternoon I crossed paths with a man with blood pouring down his face.

Tension, immediacy. The story has started. This B.C. Edwards has a sort of cool name and apparently chops.

This at pax again.

When Milo opened his eyes he was still nineteen.

“Milo” is the type of name you find in short stories. But another great line. An opening. Nineteen indeed and then we dissolve into Mad Dog.

He reviews a Sam Lipsyte novel here.

I think he’s involved in Literary Death Matches, a term that always bothered me when I would show up and not one person would die. Or they never died when I was in attendance. I did see a poet punch a teacher-of-forms once. I guess all in attendance will eventually die, now that I reflect. So I guess it is–in a way removed–a death match. Wait, life is a Death Match. Are we really going to go down the We-Are-Born-to-Die route? Sometimes my brain reminds me of a teenager and I just feel sad about that.

[So I cook this huge pasta recipe {this one} and buy all these ingredients and cook it all and when I’m done I put it all into Tupperware and in the fridge and I make nachos and eat the nachos.]

Well, now I know B.C. Edwards. And I’ll keep a look out for B.C. Edwards.


What we need is more stories that begin with one word: Gorgonzola.

Interesting flash by Jane Hammons at deComp


kill author blue nachos blar

I got Snakes at kill author.

I got Methods at kill author.

Go bleed.


The new thing is where I add poetry to the Google but I also crowbar my own line to like, like maybe add even more zest-birds to the Internets. So I will begin with Adam Robinson. I met him at AWP. We met for four minutes. I thought he would have bigger, chunkier eyeglasses because everyone talks about his eyeglasses. He might have been wearing a back-up pair or a pair especially made for indoor book fairs, etc. Here is a poem from his book:


I’m looking for a balance

between not God and God

like fruit

or feet

or nachos

or all the little birds

on Jaybird Street


I will write a big-ass AWP post soon. Hang in there, my little shrieks.


AWP. see you there?

Yo, let’s go. Ah, Denver. Rocky. Mountain. High.

Copper Nickel with great visitor advice. Drinking, weather, clothing, altitude, all dat.

I will glow town Tuesday to Saturday morning. I will glow NACHOS every day.




And elsewhere. If you wanna meet me for nachos, give me an email. Like I said, I’ll be eating them every single day.

What else?

Mostly bizness, BSU bizness, though I do have a Rose Metal signing at the book fair for EGGS. One pm on Friday.

What else?

Well, I will drop by readings and gatherings and signings all I can! See you there. I will buy your books!


17 Miles of Blar and Kurt Cobain

I ran 17 miles today. (Up above is my nutrition coach and my masseuse.) The 17 were OK, the last 2 a bit shouty in the legwarmer. I have had some really solid workouts this week. I can tell I am shaping in, my body tightening like an English poet. I watched two documentary films while I ran.

* Kurt and Courtney.

I came away thinking:

1.) Looks like Kurt did kill himself.

2.) Do not do hard drugs. The most fascinating thing in this film were the interviews with Kurt’s pals, other bands, sycophants who did/did not do drugs with Kurt and Courtney. Seeing them damn near put me off my feed. Pale, ghostly, waxy looking people. One had abscesses on his head and was clearly blitzed as he argued there was no need to quit heroin. One was 35 years old and I swear to gods he looked 50-60. (He was killed by a train soon after his interview).

3.) Yes, Courtney came across as bitchy, Machiavellian, fake at times, etc., but you know what? Who gives a damn? I think this film was a bit of a hatchet job. If it was a guy in Hollywood or the music biz, no one would say a thing. She’s always been Courtney. Does not make her a murderer.

I then watched a short science film about tectonic plates. Then one about downhill skiing.


This is one of my brothers and he once shot me. I did not press charges but now he clearly owes me one, which is nice.

His name is Stan.


I just re-edited, expanded a micro-fiction collection. This is stupid. I already sent the short MSS out to one place. But I can’t stop. And I like the expanded works better anyway. It’s a mess but a mess I like playing in. It is intellectually fun to nudge, grow, flex the works. It is like I am growing a plant. Or raising gerbils I then dress in tiny costumes and take on the road to perform various forms of mathematical feats and leaps and loops of skill on unicycles. Etc.

I hate February. I am officially depressed. I feel like a roof, the underside. This month is 4 months old.


Speed Diagram Nachos Danica Nurse

Did speed. Burns X 20. All one minute bursts with .40 seconds jogging between. Good flow, cadence, feel quiet and fast, and no problems during, but hurt today. My L heel a bit Unreliable Narrator and my knees two cans of spaghetti. They will be fine. They just need a day. I should have taken a cold bath after the workout but instead drank 4 cold beers.

Speed was 5:27 X 4 reps, 5: 24 X 4 reps, 5:21 X 4 reps, 5:15 X 4 reps, then finished with 5:07 pace X 4 reps.

The last few were Nails, but you must recreate that feeling of 6. I mean the last six miles of a marathon. The first 20 and the last 6 are the same race, but different zip codes. The last 6 are a zip code in outer space. Or possibly located in the center of your chest. You fold into yourself. Things blur or become crisper. Things float or cement themselves to the ground. There is no one answer. You must put yourself in the crucible during training, that is a form of answer. If you see/feel enough of this you might not be so concerned. There is a philosophy of making training tougher than the race. It depends.


I have a 10k coming up and I’m not in 10k shape (I am in marathon training mode), but I do want to keep my leg turnover. I mean you have to rev the engine once in a while. Or as one coach told me way back when: They key to running faster is running faster.


The new Diagram Ten Years Anthology is a fucking deck of cards. It has new diagrams and many, many authors. These: Stephanie Anderson, Sarah Blackman, Jenny Boully, Jason Bredle, Lucy Corin, John D’Agata, Brian Evenson, Tom Fleischmann, Albert Goldbarth, Heidi Gotz, Caitlin Horrocks, Melanie Jordan, Paul La Farge, Dolly Laninga, Sean Lovelace, Barbara Maloutas, Ben Marcus, Michael Martone, Philip Metres, Ander Monson, Manuel Muñoz, Lia Purpura, Emma Ramey, Aurelie Sheehan, Michael Sheehan, Katie Jean Shinkle, Lauren Goodwin Slaughter, Bruce Smith, Nicole Walker, Kellie Wells, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Mark Yakich, Jake Adam York, and Charles Yu.

I am one of the Jokers, as you may guess.

I would suggest all AWP poker games use this deck of cards.


How great is my Advanced Fiction class at BSU? Recently they presented Kim Chinquee’s work to the class. Today they present Richard Brautigan. They are studying the Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction.

I am brainwashing flash fiction, as is my way.

Chinquee points out in her flash essay (pp. 109 in the Field Guide) that plot is NOT the events, it is the context around the events. So I wrote DOG BITES CHILD on the blackboard. The students spent time filling in the context: what child? what dog? who owned the dog? what the did the child’s parents say? Etc. This went on for some time and many interesting stories bloomed. They could just spin them out in class, aloud. I felt good about this.

I then read THIS aloud.

That worked.

They then went home and wrote a plot Flash.


I got chips two time and had this radical idea of baking the chips two kinds and habanero love goodness all dark blue freckles all grainy strong hands and the salsa and the beans and I don’t know where this idea came from, my synapses shuffle my OK let’s eat my everything united cheese as one (enter song) and I broke grain broke mind broke tastebuds broke giant erasers of glow and redraw glow and munch my skin. Does this name have a dish?

Level 6.


I watched the NASCAR race until Danica crashed out. I liked how Danica’s mechanic radio dude or whatever you call them got on the radio and kept telling her to race closer to the other cars. I bet she was like, “Fuck you. Why don’t you get in this car?” That is the most car racing I have watched in my life. The old record was 34 seconds. I watched the very end of the race where Dale Earnhardt died. I was working at a psychiatric treatment center for children in Alabama. I do not like working with children. They are vastly more unpredictable than adults. This has been my experience. One time in Tennessee two kids busted out and jumped in a huge-ass river (It was the TN river). They swam out into the current. I was in charge at that time. We did get the kids back, alive. It is a long story. It was a long, wet day.

I miss being a nurse and I do not miss being a nurse.


Happy New Year and All of That Crap.

Today a red fox loped across my backyard. It paused and ate some brown thing. The brown thing looked like a sock, I mean kidney. I took a photo because in 2009 if you don’t record a thing it did not actually happen. The fox looked up at me, at my back window, looking at it, and it gave me this You Wish look, like a Ted Hughes grin, and coolly loped off. My head did a Tyra Banks falling off a cliff.

Not sure what this is a sign of? What do I know about foxes? I know they like to dance. They will ruin a roe deer population. I know they are cousin to the bear. They like dark suits. They have heart problems. They fear the Subaru. Hmm. Well, I don’t know what it means on New Years Eve to receive a visitation from a fox. We’ll see.


Been reading a lot. This has made me a little crazy, with a thin skim of depression. Sometimes my mind does that with reading. It’s why I don’t play much chess anymore. I used to enter into a chess cave for hours and I would emerge all cloudy in the head and coughing in the skull and then the world would feel unreal and I would feel alone or maybe floating. Harvested or something. Sometimes reading does the same, but I am working my way forward, book to book, and things are good while bad, which is the best way with reading. I will read my way home.

Last week or so:

Fifth Inning by E. Ethelbert Miller. (OK, could have went deeper)

We Did Porn by Zak Smith (Holy smart. And tons of fucking. And tons of insight on American hypocrisy about fucking and other issues, but mostly fucking)

Stoner by John Williams. (Wow. Best university-related novel I have read. An affirmation. If you teach or want to, read this, seriously.)

New issue of Gulf Coast Magazine. New issue of Hayden’s Ferry Review. (strong, per usual, for these two–will post more later on GCM)

Some of the mud luscious chaps. (I have many, all unique, bouncing off one another)

Here is a photo I took for my HTML post on Jac Jemc. I’m pretty much into 99% never having content here and HTML, but this time fuck it. I like the photo.


Speaking of, been posting and reading a lot of HTML Giant lately. It’s been fun and interesting, especially the other posts and the comments. I’m learning a lot. I used to read HTML and Big Other and some other sites about once every 3 days. Now I do HTML daily, and it’s been a head-spin, and also costly. How can you not buy some of these books and magazines? It’s been a great kindling (re?) about really fresh writing, and welcome during the mid-semester lull. I’ve even thought about film a bit, and I don’t care much for film. I am thinking of buying some Herzog. My own posting about publishing, submitting, writing has been something, too, to think about issues, ideas. I’ve been posting pretty regular. This will fall off some once the semester cranks up, especially this semester, with classes, committees, The Broken Plate, and so on. But I don’t think my reading will. HTML (and other sites) started me reading more, and I feel good momentum, then a possible crackup.

My next book will be the new Sherman Alexie poetry book, Face. Really looking forward to.

Then a ton of flash. I am teaching a way-heavy flash class this year in advanced fiction. God, will we do flash fiction.


Happy New year to all. My routine is to walk into my backyard at midnight and empty my Browning Buckmark .22 into the ground. This should work well here at my house, though apartment living always caused a little friction.

[Tuscaloosa, AL, typical grad apt, size of a sigh. Walk out into front yard, people milling about…)

Person: “Is that a gun?”

Me: “No, it’s fireworks.”

(empty gun into ground)


(Walk back into apt. Close door)


I ate the “good luck” meal you are supposed to eat for good luck on new years. I am traditional that way.

fire away, 2010


Fail Nacho Coffee Clear My Throat Now

Well, my MSS “Twentieth Century Visits” has been rejected again. It got kicked like a cupcake made of school nurses, or ash. It is a collection of persona pieces. It has been finalist for a few book contests and several editors have given it the glance and no-glance. Blah blah. I just fell into a fish-like slumber. I just fell into the doorstep of America.

Example John McEnroe.

Example Andy Warhol.

These two pieces are strong (that’s why they appear in strong mags), but it’s past time for this writer to face the honest edge of the mirror. Misunderstanding, while often endless, doesn’t have to be. Yes? (Has anyone ever seen a deer with a red bandanna tied around its neck? A bunch of local hunters in my county have seen this exact deer, and it makes you wonder. Why do people make pets of the wild things in life and give the winking night a destiny?)  The editor gave a close read and perceptive comments on my MSS and it boils down to this: This album has several hits, but then several fuzzy, washy, well weak (these are all my take, not his words) songs. I totally agree. But that leads to my 2nd problem:

Do I want to revise, tighten, re-work these weaker stories? Not really…


Because this MSS was written a few years ago and I don’t write that way, in that style, that tone, that whatever. People change. Projects pass and move on. How can you become a past you?


Is a frozen lake a clone? Or our all frozen lakes specific and special. I’ve just been wondering.

I like the word shrewd, I have decided.

Thing for me to do is work on the multiple projects I am writing now. The ones I am engaged and excited about. And I think that is OK.

(Blake Butler, on HTML Giant, once called it “Today is National Delete That Old Ass Shitty Manuscript Off Your Hard Drive and Live Again Day”)

Blake be smart (often, not always–I will destroy him in any nacho-related milieu).


This guy married a video game character. Really.


WordPress keeps making snow fall across my screen and they didn’t even ask me. That’s real fucking clever. You should ask before you precipitate across my computer. You are intruding, WordPress. What if snow makes me remember cold and cold makes me remember the day I couldn’t find the niceness inside of me and then I go and get dysentery from eating Comfort Food (yesterday’s cabbage or meat soup in a slop pail)? Who am I going to blame? You, WordPress.



One time at Bama I made love in a tobacco field. Very funky. One time at Bama the poet Kevin Young visited and the first ten students who signed up were offered the ability to talk with him about a few of our poems. It is weird I signed up, since I rarely wrote poetry at the time (and always very badly). Anyway, I gave him some poems and we met and he said, “All you young people write about coffee. Why is that?”

I didn’t have an answer.

One time the poet Bruce Smith looked at my poetry and said, “I like the gas station beer.” He was referring to a line from the poem.  That was his feedback, and I feel fair.

Translation: Dude, your poetry sucks.


I still write bad poetry, BTW. People love to write them some bad poetry. I mean LOVE to. I sometimes wonder why. I think writing bad poetry is ingrained in certain DNA. I”m going to wake up today and write some bad poetry, how about you?

My point is coffee. A long way of saying here is WHY I NEVER SAY NO TO COFFEE at Pank.

Here is something about eggs at Hayden’s Ferry review, if you like eggs. I do not like eggs. This is the title story of my collection. People like it at readings. Flash is excellent at readings. I tell people, “If you don’t like this piece, wait. In a few minutes I will read a different one.”

I just had a reading and another professor here at BSU gave his class extra credit to attend my reading and the students had to write up responses and the professor gave me a copy of their responses. They seemed to enjoy flash fiction. They liked my yellow shoes. They liked my ponytail, and that was good since I am way too old to be trying to pull off a ponytail, I am thinking, and here these people say, “No, no, it’s fine.” I try to be flaky but not too flaky, so. I would think at least two of them are going to write and/or read further flash fiction, so that makes me glow all Stinking Potato. I was going to quote from their actual work here, but that seemed petty and presumptuous of me and I am glad my internal editor said, “No, Sean, do not quote from their feedback, that is stupid.”

I can’t say enough about the “new” Hayden’s Ferry (I feel it is new). I mean they had a reputation for being SLOW and a few other things. Now, they are awesome, period. I mean I’ve never seen such care, feedback, work with authors, all of it. Beth Staples (and, naturally, others) have decided to do things the right way, no doubt. In a word, impressive.


I think I need a third nacho bowl.

I have been eating so many nachos lately I have exhausted my two bowl system. So I am looking for a new bowl. Tonight I actually had to go to a reserve bowl, some Pyrex dish, since both bowls were in the washing machine, and it caused me great discomfort during the Nacho Experience. I wasn’t happy. I need a large bowl, in green or blue (the only colors I admire). Some folks have been helping me with this search, so hope to have a 3rd bowl to work into my rotation soon. Of course, any hints or leads you have, please do.


Matt Bell is kicking Dinosaur ass. I get my Hayden’s Ferry and he is in there. I get my new Gulf Coast and he is in there. The man can flat write a story. And his stuff keeps evolving, getting tighter and weirder. I like weird. I think he is stretching things, flux and pop. Pick up the two mags and read him!


I did a 28 minute tempo yesterday, about 5:54 mile speed. People, do your tempo run! It is the bedrock of your training. I know runners read this blog some, because I know you, so DO NOT NEGLECT THE TEMPO RUN! I’m serious.


The new DecomP is out and I like this flash by Mark Neely. I think his work is getting weirder, too, and didn’t I just say I like weird?

OK then.


Won’t You Join Me for November 6 Nacho Day?

Nov 6 it premieres…

Night of the Nacho Pic2

“I have to praise Divegirl…it’s like watching Tom Hanks in Big.”   Kelly Clarkson

“I laughed and cried and cried and laughed and dropped something racial and sexist and cried. I was drunk. Loved the explosions of cheese!” Mel Gibson

“The ultimate chick-flick for chicks who dig nachos.” Jay Z

“Growing your mind.” Yves St Laurent.


nacho controversy! Luckily that guy with the black leather jacket solved this one. They could have asked me…



offering to the gods…

November 6 is National Nacho Day! (It is also Saxophone Day, but who cares?)

Please go shopping. Please prepare your ingredients.

Other acceptable terms:

“I Love Nachos Day!”

“Twenty Miles North of Nachos Day!”

“Big-Ass Nachos Day!”

“I First Met Nachos Day!”

“YUM YUM Triangle Day!”


Send me a nacho pic on November 6!


Khloe Kardashian Enjoys Pre-Wedding Nachos!

khlo 2

“Uh, I want more nachos. I am about to get married. I will probably drive a car into a garage door, like three times. Then He will say I never turn off the lights, especially that little one in the bathroom and that really bothers Him. He thinks it is disgusting to leave a light on when you could have turned the light off but instead you left it on didn’t you can I have some more nachos?”


Story about Nachos as medicine.



Chicago public schools serve nachos. Every single day.

Damn, I wish I had gone to school in Chicago.


nachos break

If you must eat breakfast…


Oromin Explorations Ltd has reported that the exploration rights for its Santa Rosa nacho and nacho toppings project in the Province of Mendoza, Argentina have now been formally authorized. The Government of Mendoza has issued Decree 1106/2009. This decree grants Oromins Argentina subsidiary the Permit to Explore and eventually a Concession to Exploit nachos in the CC y B-9 (Cuenca Cuyana & Bolsones 9) Santa Rosa Block.



Start them early, all existential. Nacho merchandise here.



Sushi nachos for all you fancy folks. People say they don’t like sushi but then one day they like sushi. It’s like meeting a guy from Texas and almost everyone hates people from Texas, as we know, but this guy ends up being legit and later he’s at your wedding, a true friend, and so then you actually decide to go ahead and like people from Texas. Like that nachos. Nachos. Nachos.


Nacho poem by Ander Monson.

And men in Craftmatic adjustable nachos recline,
their hearts on momentary pause—my nachos
one of them; all our nachos one of them, those
nachos who made us turn the show on to light
up evenings otherwise irreducibly devoted
to the one long nacho, shoveling the nachos back
from the driveway six inches accumulation
each nacho, and the plows steady on the roads,
plowmen grinning, filled with Citgo “Nachos”
and old mail-order mints. Pine-smelling nachos
in from the woods and that nacho day of work
felling Christmas trees with manual nachos back
and forth and axe-arcs generated by shoulders,
let loose into nachos. That man in the great suit
and those twin conducting nachos long enough
for two trombones is dead. And liquor is still
being sold to minors trolling in on nachomobiles—
machines that serve as proof of nachos—and men
are losing limbs. The old high school is down;
all that architecture dusted, and the nacho is on
skis cross-countrying towards this house tonight.
That nacho has a thirty-ought strapped to its back,
bolt-action digging in below the scapula and xyphoid
nacho. Kids in school are still afraid to perform
mouth-to-mouth on that nasty nacho, in spite
of all the antiseptic sprays and what-if-it-was-your-
dying-sisters? Who among us will be the one to press
our nachos to it, to breathe that cord of wood
back to life, to take up the old and greased
garage sale nacho, lead the band, stun
a life right out of Branson and the Lennon
Sisters and listen to that Jo Ann Nachos play.



Speaking of Mel Gibson, rudeness nacho shirt!


na·cho / ˈnächō/ • n. (pl. -chos) a small crisp piece of a tortilla, typically topped with melted cheese and spices.


New York nacho blog guy.



Those darn kids.



Wish I’d been there…These people seem sort of fun. I guess.


Volcano Nacho eating contest.

Volcano nacho review.


Marshmallow nachos recipe.



Well now that depends.


“I attended less than two years of Conservatory in Mexico City. I loved the nachos, not the music classes, so I left.” Placido Domingo

“Don’t double dip the chips.” George.


Mall Cop was really, uh, good…  “Although Paul is the butt of standard-issue fat jokes, Leon is degraded for amusement, the grossest instance being a totally pointless nacho-eating contest between him and Paul.”

There is no such thing as pointless nachos, dude.


Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively calls out “nachos and hot dogs” as her favorite indulgences.


Nachos 2

Honey, it’s nacho casserole! I am on a major tranquilizer and I wanted to paint with my feet maybe in Spain for a living but no I am a housewife but at least we have nachos.



Whoa. Bring it.


Jenny McCarthy Addicted To Nachos, Hates Exercise.

Hot people eat nachos, as we have seen.


The lack of nachos, in a daily way, in this culinary system, is that which tears apart, shuts out the other person, raises barriers, sets people against each other.


Eat nachos or kill zombies? Tough call.

“What really makes this a hard thing to do isn’t the fact that nachos are one of the Chosen Foods…”


Whale Nachos


1 (105 ton) Whale
1896 lbs Onions
7326 lbs Jalapeños
1908 gallons melted cheese
2276 lbs black beans
927 lbs pico
104 lbs cumin
76 lbs cayenne flakes
52 gallons hot sauce


Place whale on tortillas. Broil at 300 degrees for 14 minutes. Add onions, jalapeños, cheese, cumin, beans, pico, and hot sauce. Flake with cayenne. Serves 347,161 people.