ancient 2020 history

 

You should give the alternative

at least half as long as you

give reforming capital from within

and give and keep giving —

 

don’t see the devil in silencing

your details. We’ve been through

this for centuries, and now it’s

time to kill your precious

 

darlings. I’m the author of un-

finished novels who fills up un-

presentable notebooks on the side.

Welcome to the future

 

of publishing. The bible knows

that all we have is the word

future

future

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Chelsea Bieker. Her debut novel, Godshot, is available from Catapult Press.

Bieker’s forthcoming story collection, Cowboys and Angels, is due out in 2022Her writing has been published by The Paris Review, Granta, McSweeney’s, Lit Hub, and Electric Literature. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award and a MacDowell Colony fellowship. Originally from California’s Central Valley, she now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children, where she teaches writing.

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Ireland

By Sunny Rey

Poem

Cobblestone
Bell tower
Me in plaid, two fingered peace sign in a photograph dangling over the cliffs of Moer

Child’s voice singing in unknown tongue

Proposal to the girl in lace

Old man eating stroganoff alone under a raining window sill

I was right where you found me
Broken and all wrong

Leaving small poems inside tree stumps in grassy driveways up to abandoned castles

Too tough hearted to admit the loneliness

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Chris Dennis. His new story collection, Here is What You Do, is available from Soho Press.

 

Dennis’ work has appeared in The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, Granta, Lit Hub, and Guernica. He holds a master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis, where he also received a postgraduate fellowship. He lives in Southern Illinois.

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Below is an excerpt from Mark Gluth’s new book, Come Down To Us, available now from Kiddiepunk. Order your copy here.


 

 

I.

The night sky hung above the sea with arrant darkness that the water’s surface reflected so that the sky may well have just  been some other sea, with a packed in pitch enveloping the both of them like what inkiness would be found in a closed off cave sunk under a forest that was buried beneath an avalanche  and hidden within some other night, one whose sky was  so thick with unlitness  that it just came off as loaded with the stuff which  it pressed on the planet that splayed beneath it so that  the landscape was some long thing which ran featureless and so fucking black that it seemed to be  some still sea upon which this night sky that’d been emptied of its moon and stars swaged it’s absent form.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Mary South. Her debut story collection, You Will Never Be Forgotten, is available from FSG Originals.

 

South is a graduate of Northwestern University and the MFA program in fiction at Columbia University. For many years, she has worked with Diane Williams as an editor at the literary journal NOON. She is also the recipient of a Bread Loaf work-study fellowship and residences at VCCA and Jentel. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, The Baffler, The Believer, BOMB, The Collagist, Conjunctions, Electric LiteratureGuernicaLARB Quarterly, The New YorkerNOONThe Offing, The White Review,and Words Without Borders. She lives in New York.

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my tastes have changed; i’m not as into
sweetness, anymore. i still go wild — still lose my
mind for
certain scents, the ones reminiscent
of old haunted wood ships and blue raspberry hookah smoke.
remember when there was nothing
but daytime cocaine and the one
song (about the breeze) and
where do chapters end? when do things pass?
how do you separate an over from a start
how do you delineate, anything, ever?
so yes, if you have something nice to say, please say it;
clearly, i am a slut for
any and some and no and all things.
and i will wake up again
from a dream where i am
hosting a dinner party in a paint shop under a ferris wheel on the pier,
and everyone who’s made a life out of living for vivid color
is cheering for me and raising my chair and saying i should run for president,
and i am flattered and vain and humble and laughing, yes,
“yes,” i laugh.

On May 8, 2020, Juliet Escoria, Scott McClanahan, and Joseph Grantham decided to liveblog in solidarity with Megan Boyle. You may read the results below:

 

Scott McClanahan

 

 

everybody always thinks i’m lying about this dream but i’m not: the dream is me standing next to a long pole that looks like those things on the boardwalk with the bell on top and the weight on the bottom and you have to bring the hammer down on the bottom part and depending on where you get the weight to go, you’ll know how strong you are. that’s what it looked like but instead of the words very weak, weak, strong, or very strong appearing up the pole, there were the words comedy, romance, adventure, drama. i knew i could choose which genre of dream i’d have and i’d get whatever i wanted. i couldn’t choose and i woke up. anyway. i’m not always lying. it’s just that…you know that phrase “he lies like he breathes”? it’s what people say about someone who lies a lot. you could maybe say i lie like i sneeze; there are just certain situations i’m allergic to. mom is one of those situations. out of the goodness of her heart she overwhelmed me. as a boy i was her buddy for every unnervingly tedious thing—i remember sitting with her at the dmv with a grocery bag in my lap while she haggled with our health insurance on her cell phone—these “activities” were the shape the love between us took, as vases, dog bowls, and beakers are to water. to this day the most romantic thing i can imagine is helping a woman move, taking apart her bed frame, waiting together for some maintenance guy to show up and do something. these things are related—in some way it doesn’t make any sense to say out loud. what i mostly remember isn’t anger that i was stuck with her or boredom at the objectively boring things we did. i remember being jealous. glowering at the valet when we went to the hospital for my physical therapy, the ache to strangle him when mom handed off her keys and fingered his palm; hating the fact we were “regulars” at the town diner, the smiley way the waiters already knew what to bring her (onion rings and russian dressing); and of course the boys at school. being aware of how people saw her was an entirely slimy thing. so i talked. to distract mom (and to distinguish myself) from the persistent idiots who wanted to take my place. and if you only talk to get what you want, sooner or later you’ll end up lying. you can only say so much as a kid before you see an adult escape into the sweet daydream of shooting themselves. even if the adult denies it (they will), it’s true. so, lying. for me it started small—feigned interest in her job, which turned out to be maddening, jealousy-wise, because she taught special ed and a lot of times she’d tell me as if it were a funny story that so-and-so “accidentally called me mom today” and i’d imitate some sort of kind son’s smile that i’d probably seen on tv while crushing a complementary cracker over my cup of diner soup. that agonized smile is the other bigger kind of lie. i don’t have to describe it because you’re probably doing it right now to someone you love, or someone you love is doing it to you. unlike the small lies which basically say i’m interested in the real you, the bigger ones do something darker which is say what a coincidence it just so happens that the real me is exactly who you want me to be. in those ways and for those reasons i lied to mom a lot. but to actually understand what happened with me and jasmine, it’s only important to tell you about the worst lie.

Who are you?

Hi, my name’s Kate. I’m a writer from the midwest living in Brooklyn. My loves are my dog Banjo, herbalism, motorcycles, Bob Seger, the color blue, tequila, collaborative art, and jackalopes in non-specific order.

We won’t necessarily be better off

and I’ve made my peace with that.

But the oceans will be semi-gorgeous

and compromising, a laissez-faire approach

and we have to be hands-off now, don’t we?

Take the stem through your teeth from one end and

keep the distances long, but briefly hold

eyes in contact. Our irises something like

swimming pools, innumerable pools,

pools of liquid memory — how effortless

I dip myself in.

I suppose it began when
I opened doors to morning
and my head burst into leaves

there are stranger waters

out there and I can see them.

Sitting five stories tall above this stacked city

I now know that I am a strange bird.

My mother used to split grapefruit in the morning

with fingers delicate and precise, I am not

my mother but I am

breaking the pulp for the better, I believe

in jazz and the accent of an off-beat

feather that splits the wind above distant street.

I am counting the price tags in my medicine cabinet

taking inventory of trauma and truth requires

a steady hand.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Danielle Trussoni. Her new novel, The Ancestor, is available from William Morrow.

 
Trussoni is the bestselling author of Angelology and Angelopolis. She currently writes the Horror column for the New York Times Book Review and has recently served as a jurist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Trussoni holds an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she won the Michener-Copernicus Society of America award. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages. She lives in the Hudson River Valley with her family and her pug Fly.

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The sleek downtown building shakes
upon my arrival. The woman who
interviews me has flat silver hair, like a fish,
a head of flashing scales. She fingers
her Montblanc pen, I think of marbles.
As in, I lost mine a long time ago.

As she talks, I fall into a reverie in which
we become BFFs. We go to the doctor,
and there I see her heart looks like a chicken
claw. I come to and learn that you can scratch
a surface and only find more self-critique. I mean,
I didn’t get the job.