Jennifer Spiegel is the guest. In 2012, she published two books: The Freak Chronicles, a story collection, now available from Dzanc Books; and Love Slave, a novel out from Unbridled Books.


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Who are you? I’ve never heard of you before.

I’m scared to quote song lyrics because I’m afraid I’ll be sued, but I defer to my first favorite song: Sometimes When We Touch by Dan Hill: “I’m just another writer, still trapped within my truth.”

Don’t sue. I have no money. Tell me this doesn’t make you weep on hands and knees, or long for some cosmic connection with another human being who happens to be a cross between an Italian mobster and a French painter, or a British rock star and a wild animal trainer. Just tell me. Don’t lie.

Prologue: Going Home with the Poets

New York City on Sunday, December 11, 1994

Madeline and I are walking home from the Nuyorican Poets Café, where these people with lousy day jobs, like waitressing or temping or sometimes dealing, read their poems, which are always about having really good sex or being a black woman.

We go there on Friday nights, always Friday nights, and we fold our legs beneath us on wooden floors, sipping cheap drinks and sweating under bare bulbs that make the place look ghoulish.

Next to us, the poets. Ahh, the poets! People of mystery, of magic, of words. We know they write quatrains and couplets on paper napkins at cafés on Sunday afternoons, stirring lattes, buttering croissants, consuming raspberry tarts—oh, we envy them their free verse!