Below are links to all sixty episodes of Bud Smith’s Good Luck serial.

 

 

 

 

 

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Nicolette Polek. Her new story collection, Imaginary Museums, is available from Soft Skull Press.

 

Polek is a writer from Cleveland, Ohio and is a recipient of the 2019 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award.

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Regarding my previous letters
I am truly sorry.
Understand as a child
I required a kind of harness
but chewed through my leash.
I flicked the heads off flowers
and sang a wicked song.
Alone in a brown fort
my weapons were perfected.

Two Poems

By Christopher Wood

Poetry

 

 

[Untitled]

 

Tonight I was born Chrix at Taco

Bell. Two shredded chicken soft tacos

and a bean burrito. Burritos are tacos.

I think about the young man on the

hookup app and how this is such a

specific early time after the orgy.

The orgy is technology. After the orgy,

predicates. I tried to upsell the hookup,

a movie. He sent me three more pictures

with vastly different haircuts. What will

I get? He says he’s interested, all week.

But he only has time to stop by when

I’m not around. I don’t tell him I’m in

full suspense, suspension of belief. I get

the last time he logged in by the app — 

a matter of hours. He gets mine. I’m

mostly only checking his movement cross

boroughs. I want more than naked late

afternoon lunch. Hoop Dreams, A Chorus

Line, Calendar Boy, Yo Yo Yo. What a

pastiche of montage. I want to cut

him in the screening room. I want

to communicate to him that I want

this. This is our medium, my line

while he worships me.

Now playing on Otherppla conversation with Amina Cain. Her new novel, Indelicacy, is available from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

 

This is Amina’s second time on the program. She first appeared in Episode 390 on November 25, 2015.

She is also the author of the short story collection Creature, out with Dorothy, a publishing project, and her writing has appeared in Grantan+1The Paris Review Daily, BOMBFull StopVice, the Believer Logger, and elsewhere.

She lives in Los Angeles and is a literature contributing editor at BOMB.

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One sentence from each book I read in 2019, in the order I finished them.

 

It must have been horrible for him to create me and then lose control of the narrative in this way. In these investigations of why and how, I am hoping to uncover an origin story. It had happened, but not the way I told it in the book. Let’s see here, let’s see. Now that I was looking at them full on, I could see something coming out of their chests, from their hearts, like glow-in-the-dark string. People should just wear glass with electric lights inside. I crack my knuckles and open up my emails. Call me when you’re tired of wasting this life. You guys are from an effed-up time. It was as though she volunteered to become an adult before she was ready, and something was sucked away from her, and suddenly she could be sad at any moment without ever knowing why. Comedy for me is watching someone perform open heart surgery on themselves because no one else will. Anyway, there’s some writing on sex addiction for you, darling sister. That’s not the right question. Peace, peace, peace, happiness, happiness, happiness. Cringe denotes embarrassment, fleeting shame. People like us are often herded together slowly by the invisible will of the damned, fake-happy. He went into seizures. He was Goth when he felt like it. He hates his job and what he really wants to do is make art and be happy. I guard my memories and love them, but I don’t get in them and lie down. I, wretched, was there, sitting in this office, and I was to tell my wretched story. The book goes on even if it’s closed. Life was the only thing.

Came on the birthday of a dozen Facebook friends.

Came like fast food at the drive-thru window.

Came like forwarded junk mail,
like a gift shirt someone thought might fit.

Came like the robocall about the cruise no one wants or wins,
a punchline that forgot its joke,
the calendar’s next blank day.

Came crawling like a cockroach from the shower drain.

Came while I was deciding: New Yorker or Netflix?

When poked, felt fake, like cheap cake gone stale on a styrofoam plate.

 

A small black bird flew directly toward my window and settled on the ledge. Which, I suppose, is a testament to how quickly things can change. I still haven’t caught my breath. On the bus, I was so captivated by an article on “How To Make Your Relationship Better” that I missed the stop right by my girlfriend’s apartment and the stop after that and the stop after that. In my bedroom, I have a bed and a fainting couch. I was worried that a good night’s sleep would skew the data of my neuropsych evaluation. I’m my truest self while waiting for someone to show up. Each time I log into my email, I unsubscribe from a different mailing list. When my depression had more of a hold, I would sometimes find myself jolted into awareness in the middle of a street by the headlights and brake screeches of a car I subconsciously wanted to hit me. I’ve conditioned myself to always smile with my mouth shut because my teeth are yellow. Sometimes, Pola and I will use the third person to talk about each other to each other instead of the second person to simulate an element of jealousy in our relationship. I insisted that nothing was wrong and tried to keep washing dishes through the nausea. When I bit off the crescent of a fingernail, I felt a rush of synchronicity. If you happened to see me on the bus this morning, please keep it to yourself. The last thing I want to become is one of those people who will hold a door open, not out of the goodness of their heart, but a sick thirst for a “thank you.” Pola and I stood by her stoop in the cold and kept hugging and our shivers didn’t matter because the abstract kind of warmth was that potent. Before leaving my apartment, I fill my backpack with all the things I may consider maybe using while I’m out. When I google a thing to make sure I use the correct term in a short story, the internet becomes convinced that I am interested in purchasing one and inundates me with images and prices. I wonder who Leslie Walton is and if she knows about the roses addressed to her that have been wilting on someone else’s welcome mat for over a week. The smoke detector went off at the precise moment the timer to flip the chicken went off as if both alarms were conspiring to force me into a crisis and see how I would handle it. In high school, I had this nasty habit of passing off art made by others as my own. As I awoke this morning from uneasy dreams, I found myself transformed in my bed into a gigantic insect. A man said “Hey! How you doing man?” while I was selecting an onion but my recognition of him was vague to none so I said I was okay and didn’t engage further. At the feedback appointment for my evaluation, I learned that there wasn’t an easy fix. After paying a lot to look at awful art, we stepped outside and the heavy rain had stopped. I swapped backpacks with Pola to give her a break from the weight but it wasn’t long before the straps cut off the circulation to both my arms. I’m sick but not sick enough to shirk responsibilities. The misdelivered bouquet has finally been disposed of. My jaywalking made a car get stuck at a red light. My headache feels like it could explode into a star. My sense of humor entails resuscitating a horse so I can make it dead again.

 

 

 

Joseph Grantham talks with Big Bruiser Dope Boy (author of Foghorn Leghorn and editor/founder of Gay Death Trance) about architecture, Wisconsin, pseudonyms, despicable words and phrases, homophobia, football, the meaning of life, shock jocks, and matzo ball soup.

 

 

 

Joseph Grantham talks to Brad Listi (host of the Otherppl Podcast and founder of The Nervous Breakdown) about podcasting, Céline, Vonnegut, anxiety, hypochondria, pornography, politics, Bob Marley, and lots more.

 

 

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Elaine Kahn. She is a writer and artist currently based in Los Angeles. Her new poetry collection, Romance or The End, is available from Soft Skull.

 

Kahn’s other book is called Women in Public (City Lights, 2015). She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a BFA from California College of the Arts. And she teaches at the Poetry Field School.

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Would you consider yourself an immigrant poet?

Yes, I would. But who isn’t an immigrant? And I don’t just mean that tired old explanation of we all come from someplace else if weren’t not true native americans. I mean more that we all came from that before-time, before the alpha, when it was…what? Womb-darkness, star-fizz, spiritual-shampoo. We’re all immigrants having arrived at this particular existence. We don’t know what we really all are, so why the hell do we insist on labeling other human beings anything other than human beings?

I can’t stop thinking of the blind young man’s tapping,
and that dandy cuckolded Bloom, the sickening sirens,
and the whole work laying over my commute, the highway,
like an exploded Church, my tires crackling over each brick,
every day like another ballad to the sun, exposed like Dedalus
buying a little milk in the morning—Comey, Yates, McCabe—
the tarpaulin, pulling, the top, the teepee, top parade, the babe
being strolled by his good mother. I listen to the seashore,
the heave and ho of the country’s nostrils, its punctured eye,
the people asking: “Who did this to you?”—America responding,
“Nobody. Nobody did this to me.” His falsehoods are music,
nearly innocent and childlike. His Hamlet-breath, still speaking
to his father atop a real estate project. “I am thy father’s spirit.”
Swelling at the throat, the aria that may cast a darkened light.
Marking the long tale, I feel as if my insides were cold dust,
the heart reduced to a monologue. Where to go for lunch?
Somewhere where I won’t run into him, the world-whisperer,
the eternal flatterer, the black helicopter filled with steaks
and the stone wife, playing at odds as if we needed to believe
in her statuary. Dignam is dug and gone; his life is spoken for,
the attributions, the lectures in the library, the greasy man
has passed, the barmaids giggled, the world is the world.

 

His name was Bob

He lived in an apartment diagonally across the street from the bar

He started coming in when I worked, seemed harmless enough

Mentioned he had a husband of forty years

He was a semi-retired consultant in his late 60s

He made a lot of money and traveled for work

He would usually come in within an hour after I opened the bar, when there were very few or no other customers

He would pay for two scotch and sodas at once, $7, and tip $3

Sometimes he would tip $5

 

Bob became interested in my life