What’s new?

My chapbook, THE DEAD KID POEMS, (KYSO Flash, 2019) published in May. The sequel to my first book of elegies: State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies,(KYSO Flash, 2015), The Dead Kid Poems takes up where State of Grace left off. It chronicles the all-too-familiar stories of youth mowed down by circumstances: School shootings, drive-bys, suicides, overdose, accidents, disease, all are relevant. All are claiming kids before their time.

I’ve hung on to what’s left over –
what you touched, what fed you,

taken stock of the refrigerator’s gelid interior,
sought evidence you were here.

Behind the yellow mustard,
and a half-squeezed tube of disappointment,

that Tiger Sauce you loved.
Best Before: Sept. 2007.

Some things I needed to keep.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Erin Hosier. Her new memoir, Don’t Let Me Down, is available from Atria Books.

Hosier is also the coauthor of Hit So Hard by Patty Schemel (Da Capo, 2017). She has been a literary agent since 2001 (currently with Dunow Carlson & Lerner), and was an original co-host of the Literary Death Match. As an agent, she primarily works with authors of nonfiction and has a special interest in popular culture, music biography, humor, women’s history (and untold stories of all kinds). She lives in Brooklyn.

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[The following is an excerpt from Shane Jones’ new novel, Vincent and Alice and Alice, now available from Tyrant Books. Get your copy today.]

 

§ § §

 

“You look like Bert, from Bert and Ernie,” says Alice when I walk into the apartment. It appears she hasn’t moved today, the apartment surrounding her looks untouched. She’s dressed in what she wore last night. 

“Thank you.”

“It’s the shape of your head,” continues Alice, who sits on the couch with her feet up on the table. The TV shows a man in a leather vest and American flag bandana with his outstretched arm aiming a gun at a crowd of forest-green ski-masks. In the background is a storefront framed in fire and people running in and out. Holding up one hand toward my jaw Alice pretends to turn my face in a deep study. “I don’t know if it’s because you’re getting older, but your head is longer and has a pinched quality to it now.”

“Like Bert’s.”

“Exactly,” she replies satisfied. 

I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

Friends

By Bud Smith

Essay

Good Luck: Episode Thirty-Four

 

My friend, the playwright, invited me to breakfast. So I climbed on the train and took it across the water. A perfect spring morning.

I knew for sure it was a perfect spring morning because out an open window on 11th Street, I heard someone singing an opera.

I stopped to listen.

Italian, or Greek, or German.

Whatever it was, bombastic. I didn’t know any other language besides English, which was a shame, it was limiting my ability to make friends.

If I spoke Mandarin, I could go to Taiwan and make Taiwanese friends, or if I learned Russian, I could go to Belarus and make Belarusian friends. Instead, I was stuck with the English. Still am.

I leaned against a wall. Flies buzzed around a garbage can. I looked at them and thought, It’s too bad I can’t speak Fly, because then I could be friends with the flies too.

A lot of my friends are books, some of them written in other languages I don’t understand. Sometimes a translator becomes my friend by translating a book so I can read it. Friends everywhere.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Bret Easton Ellis. His new essay collection, White, is available from Knopf.

 

Ellis is the author of six novels, including Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, and American Psycho, and a collection of stories, which have been translated into thirty-two languages. He lives in Los Angeles and is the host of The Bret Easton Ellis Podcast, available on Patreon.

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Available from Tyrant Books

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Vincent and Alice and Alice has everything I’ve always loved about Shane’s work—the vivid imaginative force field, the mordant humor—while also marking a commanding departure. This is a novel of great intimacy and heart, one that held me close and moved me deeply.” – Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel

From the visionary author of Light Boxes, a mind-bending office comedy, and a touching modern love story set against the backdrop of an ever-increasingly disorienting America.

Being home all the time is depressing, so I tell my boss “I’m ready for anything” in the strongest conference call voice in the world while driving my hand into a family-sized bag of tortilla chips. Without a future, no Alice, I’m ready for an adventure.

Meet Vincent. After his divorce from Alice he’s lost his way, and is mindlessly working for the State, counting down the days till retirement. When his boss tells him to participate in a program that promises not only to increase productivity, but show him his “ideal life” he thinks: what’s the harm? Others have seen new marked improvements in productivity and personal happiness. Willing to try anything to move away from the heartbreak of Alice, Vincent reluctantly complies. But what the program shows him, is that his ideal life is simply Alice. She’s back. Is she real? A clone? A hologram? Despite the lingering questions, Vincent eases back into love and begins to live his life again with Alice, that is, until the real Alice returns.

A novel about work, love, and how to live in the present moment, Vincent and Alice and Alice flings us through a shockingly funny and tender-hearted world just a few degrees different from our own, one that introduces us to a wild cast of characters, including the enigmatic CEO of PER, Dorian Blood, a mysterious under-cover cop, and the acid-tongued Elderly, a man living in his car who may be the only one who understands how to live in reality.