Last night at KGB ... Scott Wolven’s new collection (100 Proof) sounds every bit as good as his last award winner (Controlled Burn) ... Scott is truly one of the best voices out there these days (literary and/or genre) and by the end of 100 Proof (one of the short stories he read last night), we were all left yearning for the collection.
Shanna McNair read from her novel in progress and it was intriguing to say the least. I spent some time in my youth in one of those “institutions” (South Oaks) and what goes through the minds of people trapped in those places is always interesting. A Mom pimping her daughters to truckers is about as Noir as it gets. Big Ups to Shanna and we can’t wait to read this baby when it’s finished. Michael Kimball rocked the house as well with his thriller about a guy looking to collect on his own death by faking his death with just his wife and the gravedigger knowing he’s alive in the coffin. You think maybe the wife and gravedigger decide a 50-50 split is better than 33 1/3? It’s a thriller alright ...
Dedicated Fans ... Okay, so it wasn’t like in the picture above, but, hey, what can any writer say, we’re lucky S.O.B.’s (and we know it) ... especially when people go out of their way to show up to these readings. And talk about going out of their way ... last night the Godmother and her family (husband Tommy & son Nolan) were in town visiting the big apple (seeing shows, etc.) and they stopped in for the reading at KGB ... now, it’s not like they’re driving in from Brooklyn or Jersey. They came from Houston, Texas. How cool is that?
Above a picture of Michelle, Tommy, Nolan, Ann Marie & the ugly one in Little Italy when they took us to dinner about a year or so ago. We consider the Islers famiglia--fact.
And we were further surprised when two of my younger son (Dustin)’s roommates were there (Dustin was working); Brion and Frank ... as was Sir Patrick of Lambe (hell of an artist and writer--came all the way from Lambertsville, NJ), Todd (Thug Lit) Robinson (also a terrific writer), Mr. Ronnie (a dear friend from way back in the day -- Ronnie reminded me that his 24th anniversary is coming up next week--I was his best man in Las Vegas 24 years ago and wound up writing a play that was produced off-off Broadway called Mr. Ronnie’s Confession) ... and how about my older son (Charles, not Charlie) and his wife Leslie and one of the Leslie’s bridesmaids and her husband showing up)? How cool is that.
We gave my poor daughter and her husband Anthony a pass because Nicole travels to New York from Jersey every day to work and doing that to her on a Sunday night is kind of an extra dose of torture nobody should experience.
But Nicole provided us with a quote from Momma Stella speaking to Nicole: Nani: "You know your two brothers, those little bastards, all they do is sit on their phones and twixt."
The Poets Corner ...
Okay, on to other terrific (published) writers ... from our SNHU MFA program, the poets gave permission to let post their work. From Measuring Twine, Edited by James Massao Mitsui, Word Write (publisher), Stephanie (Irish) Milligan & Tyler M. Fish.
Buy it here:
Stephanie Milligan, Quietude
It feels so good in that room where we love,
the suggestion of snow in the sky out our window.
Nudging blankets and sheets to the bottom of the bed,
waves from the act of love keep us warm.
We don’t complain but slowly we unwind
finally admitting our pretzel is not comfortable.
I get up and turn on the outside light, looking
for pre-dawn signs of a snow-day.
Contracting from a chill you slide into my territory,
blindly feel for life and rope your arm around me.
No seatbelt, the guillotine, half the man
he was. Days now spent erect, propped
up with only her devotion for a crutch, unable
to race from the haunting shape
of his past. Born a new intimacy, interrupted
when pride flickered and confidence wavered. The phantom
limb she could no longer take, grieved for by both. Mourning
of manhood would cease for one day. Down on her
knees, mimicking the act, inducing a shudder,
sending his head back. At times a glimmer
of illusion emerged. He swore he could feel
what his mind had discharged. The ghost
of what was for that day let him be. When finished
his gaze affixed to her face, that moment
a reminder of what he had gained.
Tyler Fish, Pocket Full of Razorblades
I came to this place in my youth,
one of many days where boredom
lent itself to near disaster, when a moment later,
or sooner would have seen blood and tears
from unknowing eyes.
Those dozen cool metal blades tucked slyly away
slipped through unprotected openings,
grazing delicate ridges and nail
without the slightest of slices.
Innocent bliss until the moment discovered,
when my hand was forced
from my pocket,
I stood exposed
as my secret
rattled to the floor.
the snow fell
black like tar.
The wind wound its way
into the shallows
cutting through clothing,
its bitter fury
clawing into skin.
Tree tops exploded
in orange bursts
burning the clouds,
felling branches and needles
and limbs from men
who cried out
or died silently.
Though they ran
through the unsettled
snow and smoke,
the medics carried
that could repair
the war left behind.
Whistle While You Work ... well, maybe you shouldn’t ... or I shouldn’t; that was the word last week when I was “into it” (Beethoven’s 9th) while inputting some data ... although it could just as easily have been Cream’s Stormy Monday ... I get carried away while working sometimes and become a whistling fool. A complaint was issued (a just one at that; whistling can be very annoying) and my boss called me in to solve the problem). This guy is the best boss I’ve ever worked for (and I don’t go easy on management--no commie ever does). He said he liked that I was happy while working and wanted me to stay happy. He gave me a choice: move to the back and keep whistling or stay up front and stop whistling. It doesn’t get more fair than that ... Domani I’ll be whistling in the back.
And on that note, it’s another whistling fool’s turn (the devil, a.k.a. Lucipher and/or Mefistofele). Arrigo Boito (composer), Samuel Ramey (Mefistofele), singing Son lo spirito ...
Son lo spirito
I am the Spirit that always denies everything;
The star, the flower.
My ghingno and my bega
Disturb their leisure time to the Creator.
I want nothing and Created
The universal ruin,
And 'my atmosphere,
And 'my atmostera vital,
What is called,
What is called sin,
Death and Pain.
I laugh and coming this syllable:
Fret, try, hissing:
Fret, try, hissing:
Whistle! Whistle! Whistle!
I am part of a latebra
Much of everything: Darkness.
I am the Son of Darkness
What Darkness will return.
usurps the light and grabs
My scepter rebellion,
Soon will his tension:
There is the Soul,
There is the Sun and Earth
I laugh and coming this syllable:
"No!" "No!" etc. etc..