Thursday, March 30, 2006

The guys in the upstairs apartment announce themselves with every step. They are often barefoot or in sneakers, but it doesn’t soften the sound much. A girl up there in hard shoes sounds like construction work. I picture her on her hands and knees with a patent leather pump in one hand, using the tapered heel to hammer nails or maybe smash roaches.

I never say anything about it. I guess other people would. A guy who’d met me not an hour before at the Red Light and hadn’t been in the door ten minutes took a broom handle to the ceiling.

“Shut the fuck up!” he screamed, and he smashed the ceiling with one, two, three, four perfectly symmetrical indentations. “I’ll come up there and slit your mother fucking throats!” The heedless footsteps went on, crossing and re-crossing the room. “You think I’m kidding? You think this is a joke, motherfuckers?”

BamBamBamBamBamBamBam—he brutalized the ceiling. When he paused for breath, I handed him an opened can of beer, and he took a couple long swallows. More footsteps. “Goddamnit!” He hurled the can shot-put-style into the ceiling, and it fell back hissing and foaming onto the tawny fur of the sofa, about where the cat would have been curled up if I didn’t have company.

“They’re just walking,” I said softly, in awe. I rescued the can and wiped its edge with my jacket, handed it back to him. Another quick swipe at the sofa wicked up the spill, like beer off a duck. Worse things, I promise, have tried to stain that gorgeous beast.


Monday, March 13, 2006


It may disappoint many readers—even fans of this site—to learn that worldwide, the ratio of bad couches to good writing is skewed dramatically toward the former. A recent study published by The Office of Public Information indicates that for every cracking good poem written in the United States, some 35,906 unbearably tacky home furnishings are manufactured! Over 40% of these are things one can sit on (including hope chests, wicker baskets, and those outdoor chairs that give you waffle-butt), and a whopping 25% of those are "couches." The study does not even include creative non-fiction or prose poems, so you can imagine how many more nasty settees see the light of day than, say, excellent short stories that do not involve cancer. As a response to these devastating statistics, I encourage readers to turn the tide by responding to these photographs of truly disgusting furniture. Let's send a message to our country that we'd rather stand up for original voices than sit down on stuff we can't bear to look at!


Send your responses to the pictures below to Please indicate to which photograph your piece corresponds. Some responses may be subject to future publication.






Monday, March 06, 2006

Naah, Kid, let me tell you something. I wouldn’t take her back now if she begged me. Came back and dropped her suitcase and cried and begged.

Came back as she was then, I mean. It’s been a few years.

She left me the house—can you believe it? I came home one day, it was empty. I wanted to send her boyfriend a goddamn gravy boat. The house is twice as big and half as loud. Twice as quiet. Not so loud, I mean. Quiet.

You ever mix a goddamn drink before? The ice goes in first, kid. You bruise the bourbon, it’s like kicking in the teeth of a bulldog.

That’s better.

Can you even see me? There’s room on this thing for two, you know. I don’t have goddamn rabies.


I was the best damn thing that ever happened to her. And that’s like being the scariest duck at the cockfight, buddy.