Friday, May 23, 2014

Tourist Information for the Suburbs by Dan Hannon

We momentarily break our silence to bring you this travel guide for that most mysterious of destinations, the suburbs. Written by Dan Hannon, a writing teacher who describes himself as "a 67 year old man, not too eccentric (no house full of cats, no wind-driven lawn art that makes a bird's wings go up and down). But I am an Oregonian, a Portlander, in fact. That denotes a certain style of living that includes bicycles, guerrilla vegetable gardens in vacant lots, and a lot more."

Tourist Information for the Suburbs

We cannot offer you a tourist map
because there is no exact beginning
or end to our particular area.
In fact, we are surprised you are here,
since the area has no real name
to place on a map.
It is good you arrived by car.
There is no bus, no rail line,
no taxi, and of course, it’s too far to walk
from anywhere.
We do not recommend you walk,
even in our general area.
The traffic can be dangerous,
the crosswalks, few.
As you can see from our brochure,
cultural programming is sporadic,
and you have missed the pancake breakfast.
We do not offer many activities or events,
although the area has a vitality
even a visitor can feel.
There is new growth in the industrial sector,
especially in electronics, artificial intelligence,
storage units, and the processing of data.
We are now almost as big as the city itself,
and we are growing all the time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ILOANBooks and Spolia

I haven't been around much lately. Sorry about that. I've been spending most of my time at my other job:

Spolia is a new literary magazine from the lady who created Bookslut, which has been one of the best literary review websites for over a decade. I joined the team a few months ago to help out with copy editing, print design, writing articles, and pestering writers.

You should read it. It's fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction from around the world. Many great international authors, (some dead, some living) translated into English for the first time, and a great many still-living authors who are not famous at all. The name Spolia refers directly to the spoils of war and indirectly to the changing landscape of publishing, which is to say you can reach a lot more people for a lot less money when you do it digitally.

Along with the digital magazine we're also printing outrageously uneconomical limited edition paperback books featuring some of our favorite stories coupled with original illustrations. Just like ILOANBooks!

So yea, I even closed down submissions to ILOANBooks. I didn't realize how much I'd miss the weird stuff people send me. You all don't see the half of it, but I love all of it. The greatest thing about ILOANBooks is the random, dreaming, beautiful people who send me their work to share with the world. I hope to see them, and the rest of you who read their work, again sometime soon.

Until then,


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Penny Bouncing The Ball by BJ Garcia

I very randomly received this poem via text message last night from one of my best and oldest friends. BJ and I have always shared a deep admiration for Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway. He was one of the most exciting NBA basketball players of the mid-90's and if his career hadn't been complicated by so many injuries he would have surely become one of the greatest players in the history of the game. BJ wrote this very simple, very perfect tribute to Penny's point guard skills. He gave me permission to share it with you all, so here it is. Penny Bouncing The Ball by BJ Garcia.

Penny Bouncing The Ball

Penny bouncing the ball
He analyzes the defense
Looking around to see who's open
Looking for the open man

He analyzes the defense
He makes eye contact with a defender
Looking for the open man
He does a shuffle step to confuse the defender

He makes eye contact with a defender
Crosses half court
He does a shuffle step to confuse the defender
He sets up a play

Crosses half court
Looking around to see who's open
He sets up a play
Penny bouncing the ball

Monday, December 24, 2012

Oh, Some Things by Chris Le'John

Oh little one thing above my clock
What does time mean when made insignificant?
So small as an insect of dual colors
intertwined in this cosmic web.

Some little thing weighs me down.
Halting my past while muting the future.
Holding me when no one is around,
dragging me off and underground.

Things keep me up at night
to see my thoughts crawl on plain walls.
Closing in on me until all I can do
is think about everything.

Image: Insomnia by Martin Maddox

More from Chris Le'John:  joyTalk

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pocket Dial by Sean Gillman

I had intended to dial my dentist, Dr. Valentine, but in all the excitement I called Rodolpho Villafuerte by mistake. I should have hung up but I froze. Hanging up seemed rude, it seemed confusing. Rodolpho Villafuerte. How strange. We had been bunkmates at Camp Armstrong, estranged by decades but in constant proximity via modern technology. His number synced to my mobile via Facebook. Maybe it would be nice to check in? The phone rang on his end, summoning Rodolpho Villafuerte out of almost 20 years of unobjectionable silence.

Rodolpho was the kid who first introduced me to hand sanitizer. He carried a small bottle of the stuff on a string around his neck. He was constantly washing his hands. I remembered seeing him perched between two branches in a tree, sanitizing his hands before climbing back down, where he would re-sanitize them again. He squirted some onto my hands once before dinner in the mess hall. I remember the wave of cool that came over my hands as the stuff evaporated and moisturized my skin. That was Rodolpho. After two rings he picked up. I hastily recounted these memories, trying to speed the reminiscence along in light of all the bleeding.

"Yes." Rodolpho replied dryly, "I remember you." And he sighed heavily into the phone so that it sounded like an airplane landing in the earpiece, "But we both know that's not why you called." Then there was silence on the line. Maybe he expected my reply, but I was hypnotized by the molar in my blood-soaked hand.

"Because," he sighed again, "I've started getting calls from parasites like you on a daily basis. You people once ridiculed my sanitation preoccupation, but now that I've created the first moon powered cleansing magnet, you've come crawling from your caves to see if maybe I can send you a couple bars for free. You think that even though Pocket Dial retails for twelve hundred dollars a bar, Uncle Rodolpho probably has an entire pool house full of promos just waiting to be scattered among his flock of converted naysayers and name callers! Isn't that the idea? So go ahead, tell me what good pals we used to be!"

I'd never heard of Pocket Dial. I was getting dizzy. A crash and shattering glass could be heard in the living room. Sheila was still destroying things again. My mind was working at a panicked clip.

"Well, go on..." he continued, "you there old pal?" I tried to sort my words while he continued to prod me, "...You drunk or something?"

"I've just been clobbered with what I think was the handle of a plunger. It washed up in the Gowanus Canal and she knocked out a few of my teeth with it. I'm concerned there could be some horrible bacteria running around in my mouth. If I don't get it all cleaned up soon I could lose more teeth. My whole mouth might fall out. I'm reaching out to you as a friend, Rod, as an Armstrong Armadillo."

After arrangements had been made with Rodolpho I placed my molar in the toothbrush cup, removed my bloodstained clothes, and laid in the tub. I must have fallen asleep because when I opened my eyes Sheila was standing over me. Her eyes hollow and black, her hair wiry with tears in it. Her rage had subsided.

"What did Dr. Valentine say?"

"Dr. Valentine... Yea." It was hard to move my jaw. "Well... it's good news. He's sending me, um, magnets. It. Moon power. Kills bacteria."

Sheila tilted her head. It was so quiet in the bathroom. I glanced at the window. It was night time now. "You mean Pocket Dial? That breakthrough in sanitation technology from Johnson&Johnson? That's amazing stuff. You just keep it in your pocket and it kills unwelcome bacteria without needing water or anything."

I nodded. And she nodded.

"That's good news for your mouth." She spoke quietly, pushing my hair behind my ear with her pinky, "Too bad no amount of moon power can wash the blackness from your tired, feculent soul."

And she cried. And I cried. To this day I don't know why she was crying. But I know why I cried, I cried because the bitch was right.

Image: A Victim of Society by George Grosz

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Good Dog Walker / Bad Dog Walker by Karyn and Joan


*** 8/13 ***

The boys were VERY happy to see me.

*** 8/15 ***

The boys told me they miss ya but hope you are having fun.

*** 8/18 ***

Enjoy the weekend. Creed did his usual double.


*** 8/14 ***

There was no note from Joan today.

Highlights from me are that Vida and Creed slept with me last night. I was sandwiched between them. It was funny and novel.

Vida pooped in the morning and the evening.

Creed has mastered the sit-down combo. Vida still doesn't really seem to get the point.

Vida tried to convince Creed to get matching tattoos, but after bickering over shark vs Japanese symbol for peace, they both decided to take a nap instead.

Creed was grooming Vida before dinner and it melted my heart.

Have fun in the sun!



*** 8/15 ***

We had a challenge this morning on our way back from our walk a grey chihuahua leaving the building was snarling at us. We were fine, a little startled but okay. But when coming up the walk, a man was leaving the building and Vida nipped at his tote. It was tough because he was already reigned in and at heel position due to the chihuahua. The neighbor forgave us.

I had a talk with Vida about using his words to express his feelings and he expressed to me that he is a dog.

He was still a little aggressive at breakfast.

Our evening walk was short, due to the rainstorm I assume. They made a triangulated bee-line for the basement entrance by the garbage cans in the back (go figure). They peed the barest of minimums and then ran back home. Dinner was pleasant, no snarling or sharking. They both tolerated all of my ukulele practicing today, which makes me think i'm getting better.

Now we're all ready to pass out. I (finally) got a Queens Public Library card, so I'll be curling up with some Willa Cather tonight courtesy of the Court Square branch. I will read aloud to the fellas if they aren't already asleep. (Creed just closed his eyes). This is a step-up for them because I usually subject them to an episode of Dawson's Creek before bed. No, that is not officially abuse.

There were no notes from Joan today. I'm not sure if I am supposed to write to her. I looked through the old notes and realized that you guys had conversations. So, I said "hi!"

I am having an extra long conversation with you myself.

Go! Be young and in love. We're all fine.



Image: Dog Day Afternoon by Kay Crain

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dead-End Job by Marisa

Marisa asked me not to include her last name on this post because she is currently looking for work and doesn't want prospective employers to google her and have this comic turn up.