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For reasons having to do with great embarrassment and no small measure of sadness, two of the people in this accounting will be referred to only by their initials.  A lot of people find that annoying, but then some people find an ice cream truck going by their house on a summer evening annoying.

So.

It was at the age of thirty that C. first became aware of the weight of his head.

Sam’s co-worker Carla is talking about her three-year-old son Rico’s obsession with death. “He says to me, ‘Mama, I don’t want to die. I really, really don’t want to die.’”

Is Land

By Paige Taggart

Poem

a bridge with a car driving over it
the car driving onto a boat
the boat carries the car across the mainland onto the island
where the little houses live
the little houses you can drive to but only if your car goes
on a ferry across the water
the mainland has more people than the is÷≥land

AuthorPhoto_TomSpanbauerSo Tom, you have the EOB blues once again, yah? 

Some people call it a nervous breakdown. I call it EOB, End of Book. What else can you feel really, when you’ve created an entire world, created characters you loved, went to places you didn’t know existed, languished in these places. The fictional world is always more important, more dramatic, more real than ordinary life, your ordinary life.

R2Sunset1

When you communicate with your dead brother, you have to do it on the down-low. Communicate with him around other people, but be cool about it. Turn up “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band when it’s on the radio. Sing along loudly, hitting every note and brrrehr-breh-ehr!  The best people will sing along with you. Most people will just sit quietly and listen to you, looking out the window. Some people will try to talk to you while you sing. Don’t answer them. Just keep singing. Play air guitar at the right spot, even though you’ll have to take your hands off the wheel.

Cover_ILovedYouMoreThe Maroni

What I’d like to do now is take the opportunity. To say what I couldn’t even think that Wednesday evening in Jeske’s class, 1985. The scariest thing about myself. If I were to have spoken it out loud.

I was impotent.

By that time of my life, my thirty-seventh year – heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual, top or bottom, threesomes, orgies with men and women, with a whip in my hand or chained to the radiator, whatever way two or more people can get together sexually. Drunk or stoned or otherwise fucked up. Hell, even when it was just me alone stone cold sober.

I couldn’t get it up.

Lord of your wasteland.
Lord of what you dream
to subjugate—

this way to the mound
where you bury your dead.

Behind these canyons,
your bone yard sullies
the gloom of loam.

Stream

By Susan Dickman

Poem

There are, naturally, feelings that one cannot render.
Degas

And their hearts, through not clinging, were liberated from taints.
Typical ending for the early Buddha stories

 
Begun as mountains of ice and tundra gathering force
at the top of the range, Sierras move north
and south over eons, pulling glaciers, tarring
everything in their path.

The precious-jeweled twigs of trees
in the rain, forgotten lipstick tube
on the glittering tar and granite curb, moss-covered bark
of tree trunks leading to pools of water
collected at their bases
in the bare-trimmed winter grass, early spring.

les-plesko

On the morning of September 16, 2013, my writing mentor Les Plesko committed suicide. I heard he fell backwards off the roof of his apartment building. At first, I chose to assume he’d been drunk and walked too close to the edge. I wished I’d been there to catch him. But I learned that when other attempts were unsuccessful, he went to the roof.

JS BreukelaarI’ve heard two things about you: One, that you wear your grandmother’s necklace to readings of American Monster for luck, and two, that the book is about an alien penis-hunter. Is that true?

Yes, but—

 

No buts. Is this some kind of affirmative action female predator alien girl-power bs?

Why? Does that make you uncomfortable?

d with d

Poetry is a throwback to a time when music was only a rumor; isn’t even love different than it was 20 years ago?

It’s like music composed of memories, or like if memories were chords, or remembering chords in place of people, in place of places, names instead of corpses instead of faces. Nobody worries too much because it just sounds right.

 

Full-length albums are one of the few stable footholds for the past, so the act of piracy is literally saving the dead?

I mean, steal your grandparents, steal your whole culture. I used to be a student—perhaps we all were—but, after a time, there were no more students; everyone was too magnificent for sitting in classrooms pretending to learn things. Now, everyone reads books and no one has time for war. Everyone watches movies all day, sings along, makes murals that encompass whole city blocks.

 

american-monsterSometime in the night back in the Spill City trailer, Norma had woken up and eaten the last churro but in the morning had no memory of doing this, or of anything else. She tried to shrug the burn out of her shoulders, her night with Bunny slowly coming back to her. Calling Mommy down at the beach. Half-falling over some kid outside the pay phone.

We were both eighteen but Rebecca was hopelessly naïve. She talked about her crush, Brother Matthew, with an unbridled enthusiasm I hadn’t seen since middle school. The first time he flirted with her, she told me the story like her life was never going to be the same.

When he was “babysitting” Rebecca and her brother one night, Matthew opted to join her on the couch instead of sitting alone on the love seat. The babysitting thing was pretty ridiculous considering that Rebecca was old enough to menstruate, drive and even vote, though as a Jehovah’s Witness, she never would.

Money Poem

By Donald Dunbar

Poem

after James Gendron

        Money is an extrovert. Money is social, sociopathic. Money is important in many games, but less so in children’s games,
        and can be used in sex games, as when I paid my girlfriend for sex and she said, acting, “Money gets me wet.” Money gets wet;

        if money floats, it floats only for a minute. Money has been made into shelter, into clothing, cooked into food:
        it tastes like butter, fuzz, or blood. Money for beer? Money is power. Money is quiet. Money electronic.

Lesh_HotDishPoster

TNB, The Rumpus, and Hot Dish reading series proudly present…

Nerdy, Wordy, & Dirty

An off-site event to help kick off the LA Times Festival of Books weekend!  Live readings!  Comedy!  Music!  Beverages!  Friendly banter!

WHEN:

Thursday April 10, 2014
Starts at 8 p.m.

WHERE:

Bootleg Theatre
2220 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90057

WHO:

Readings by Gina Frangello, Dana Johnson, Jerry Stahl, and xTx!

Comedy by Ted Travelstead!

Music by DJ Mira Gonzalez!

Hosted by Brad Listi, J. Ryan Stradal, and Zoë Ruiz!

See you there!

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Original poster art by Lyndsey Lesh.