Fine stuff to share today, a performance from my Philly reading a couple weeks back, touring with the All Hands On book, with Ryan Eckes, Pete Richter and Mickey Hess — all fine and dandy humans with ever capable pens, typing fingers and brains, it’s certain.
Joining Hess and Richter for a Nerves of Steel-worthy performance of Hess’ classic short “The Novelist & the Rapper” (I know it’s been years since I first read it, and Hess reminds me that I made some suggestions on an early draft related to an appearance of headdresses) was a gent who performs under the name Traum Diggs, otherwise known as Dave, doing something behind Richter and Hess’ Q&A he hadn’t done since 1987 — namely, beatboxing, a full marathon-quantity of it too (the story’s a solid 10+ min. affair). Enjoy the vid below, and thanks to all who participated in and came out to the Brickbat reading. Great times, all around. (Oh a-and download Diggs’ new “Black Champion” EP here.)
And speaking of Nerves of Steel, our Chicago performance series resumes Tuesday at Hungry Brain. Details via this link.
It’s All Hands On touring time yet again, this one to join contributors in Philadelphia, NYC, and Northampton, Mass., for three consecutive nights of readings by contributors to All Hands On: THE2NDHAND After 10, our 10th anniversary anthology, among others. Here are the details:
Philadelphia, Thursday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m. (click flyer image at right for a pdf)
@BrickBat Books, 709 South 4th Street
w/ THE2NDHAND editor Todd Dills, longtime contributors Peter Richter and (our FAQ editor and Rider University prof) Mickey Hess, as well as Ryan Eckes.
Brooklyn, Friday, Nov. 18, 7 p.m.
@Book Thug Nation, 100 North 3rd Street
w/ T2H editor Todd Dills, longtime contributors Tobias Carroll, Philip Brunetti and Mickey Hess as well as Gabe Durham and Matt Cahan.
Northampton, Mass., Saturday, Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m.
@MEF Community Room, 60 Masonic St., lower level (next to Woodstar Cafe)
w/ T2H editor Todd Dills, All Hands On contributors Matt Cahan and Ben Stein, Gabe Durham and Ted Powers. Music by Gale Thompson.
PHILIP BRUNETTI lives and writes in Brooklyn.
Nashville-based MATT CAHAN’s novel “Straight Commission” is excerpted in All Hands On: THE2NDHAND After 10.
TODD DILLS is editor of THE2NDHAND and author of the novel Sons of the Rapture (Featherproof, 2006).
GABE DURHAM lives in Northampton, MA. He writes fiction and nonfiction, teaches literature, makes up test questions, and edits Dark Sky Magazine. His first book, a novel called Fun Camp, is forthcoming in 2013 from Mud Luscious Press.
MICKEY HESS is an Associate Professor of English at Rider University, where he teaches arc welding, mig welding, and creative nonfiction. Recent from Hess in T2H. The Novelist and the Rapper forthcoming in 2012. Find him here.
Poet TED POWERS’ recent work has appeared in Strange Machine, Noo Journal, and GlitterPony, among others. He’s also an editor with Dark Sky Magazine.
New Jersey-based writer PETER RICHTER’s poetry and prose have been featured in Monkey Bicycle, THE2NDHAND, decomP and others. He likes wearing flannel, a recent development. He’s a cofounder of the Broadset crew.
BEN STEIN teaches English Language Arts at the Springfield Renaissance School. He lives in Amherst with his wife Julie and their cat. His “Important Things to Remember” short is featured in All Hands On.
Richter’s poetry has been featured in THE2NDHAND, decomP, IndieFeed Performance Poetry and The Ucity Review.
Thomas Friedman was right when he said, “Much of this biodiversity in Indonesia is now under threat.”
It had been this way since gasoline became currency; I remember bartering with The Governance for the newest edition of The Guinness Book of World Records, which featured a scratch-and-sniff page of the world’s worst smelling people. It starred Clint Eastwood. This explained the snarl of his face, as even he agreed at his disagreeable odor.
He is a hard-ass and I respect him for it. Being a hard-ass is what drew me to The Governance. She owns the police, a few million dollars in gasoline, and a jester. She is on her 15th jester.
This is all hearsay, but I believe the death of the first 14 jesters to be related to the illegal logging agreement The Governance made with westerners. I also believe the jesters now live in the most northern region of heaven. Like I said — it’s all hearsay.
Thomas Friedman was right when he said, “Indonesia exports raw labor, not brains.”
The people had bad teeth and brown jeans. Things like lettermen jackets, cosmetics and votives didn’t exist there.
I went to the Governance with luxury items and laid them at her feet. Kneeling, I said, “I made a mental note of how well traveled you could be and filed it away. I realize that the amount of gasoline you process does not weigh on your happiness. But Governance, have you ever smiled?”
She didn’t answer but motioned for me to continue. I adjusted the volume on the iPod and played a clip from ER. I knew George Clooney could sell my argument all salt-and-pepper and glaring into the part of the body that makes women love strangers.
She said, “I must have this.”
“But wait!” I said.
I dimmed the lights, lit the votives and stripped her naked. I walked around her and bound her to a mink coat. She rubbed her cheek against her lush shoulder and purred.
“Governance. Have you ever felt so beautiful?”
Thomas Friedman was right when he said, “Of course, a lot of people offer quick-fix plans for how to stem the tide of material degradation, but in countries like Indonesia, plans are rarely implemented as intended.”
It didn’t take a week for the people of Indonesia to trade in their gasoline for portable DVD players, Lebron James jerseys and subwoofers.
Sitting on the corner of a dirt road was a child, homeless with an iPod. He tried to hunt with it, but he scared away the animals as distorted music played from the dangling earbuds. He tried to keep himself warm with it, but the tiny LCD screen only generated enough heat for one earlobe. Before it died he tried to cover himself from the rain with it. There were millions like him. And as the forests were purged, the true population of the tech-savvy-homeless left the naked woods and took to the streets.
I remember being a runaway in Paterson, New Jersey. I remember my home made of tarps. The floor made of more tarps. In comparison I had it good. I remember smelling like Clint Eastwood. I remember finding a pocketknife and being amazed at its uses.
After a lunch rush, a restaurant dumped a bag full of clams out back. I sat on the pebble and broken road and used the knife to pry open the clams.
That was the best lunch I ever had.
Thomas Friedman once said, “Imagine a world without coral.”
I visited the Governance. Her 15th jester had died from drinking the plasma leaking from the wall of TVs. The Governance was ill with worry and malnourished. She was pink and white. I came to her bedside. “Governance, the comprehensive strategy of technology is not just a one-off plan. We need to help them.”
She replied. “We need a million Noahs and a million arks.”
She passed away at that moment. I thought about how I had been drawn to her. I thought about the living energy inside of us, our unexplained machinery churning all the stuff that has sustained us all.
I looked up to the easternmost region of heaven and asked Thomas Friedman to allow me to redefine my relationship with the natural world.
He said, “Have you read Hot, Flat and Crowded? That is the whole point.”
Maybe the governance had passed away asphyxiated by her obsession with gasoline. Maybe it was the forests and farms being purged by westerners. Maybe it was the pacifying media.
Nevertheless, inside me, it was all of these things swirling that led to my decision to burn her palace down.
As the Governance rose to the most medium region of purgatory, her palace fell. Most of society had ascended to various levels of heaven.
Thirty-four percent remained. I looked down on them and listened to their cheers as ascending melodies. Flat and crowded meet hot and make it hotter, and that was the start of a whole new set of problems.
Anybody heard of these folks? I think they might well be among the more nervy of the young-ish writerly set in action today, perhaps even with nerves of steel or, if not, aluminum, at least. I’ve corresponded with several members in recent history via THE2NDHAND submissions and zine trades and, if I can’t say much else, I’d advise to keep an eye out for their work, mostly originating in N.J. (oh a-and in the credits to their 4th edition of the Lo-Fidelity zine, they put a shout-out to “role model” Dr. Mickey Hess, THE2NDHAND’s FAQ editor, longtime compatroit and lately a prof at Rider University in Lawrenceville). Among them are onetime (and soon-to-be-two-time) THE2NDHAND contributor Peter Richter and, likewise, Glen Binger. Their Lo-Fidelity zine brings together the work of many, with a single writer featured more widely in each edition. Prose writer and poet Lauren Cerand made up the bulk of the No. 4, out this year. Here’s a taste from Cerand’s work:
NOTES FROM THE FIELD (3/20/2008)
(Alternate title: God I fucking hate this war.) My father called me last night to say he hadn’t heard from me in a while and to remind me of the staggering expectations that pass for small talk in my family. Afterward, as I walked the rest of my way home in a blue mood, I wondered if I would be destined to always have difficult relationships with people I care deeply for. And then just now as I was sitting in the backseat of a car on the FDR, en route to an event for work, I saw a helicopter hovering over the East River and thought of my dad flying reconnaissance missions in Vietnam, younger than I am now, trying not to die.
Exquisite brevity, we say, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own more maximal approach to the same date five years previous, as bombs began to fall on Baghdad and on our television screens in vulgar display, to paraphrase one of the last great thrash metal giants of the 1980s. Its beginning is pasted in below. Follow the subsequent link for the full gore:
20 MARCH 2003
When I was a kid in SC I never tired of poking fun at the outrageous piety of the born-again, peppered here and there over the town’s landscape and, by the time myself and my brother were teens, beginning to show up in numbers within our own family in the form of among others an overweight uncle who now led every prayer before every Christmas (etc.) meal at excruciating length, my brother and I struggling to keep down laughs at the whole thing.
Down the town at the plaza, Chicago, this is what I talked about to begin with. “The men believe in the capital-R ‘Rapture,’” I said. “Bush is an Uncle I’d make fun of over dinner, essentially, a buffoon, a tired old fool who hasn’t the mind to really comprehend his own country’s needs, thus acts on a personal feeling he deems the very baby Jesus talking to him, essentially.” I talked among the crowd, among the skyscrapers (the buzz-saw cacophony falling from the helicopter above our heads) today to a man I tend to run into throughout my travels, the last time being outside of the bookstore in my neighborhood, where he works. He has his bike there with him, which I admire briefly.
“The violence of Rapture being undeniable, if you know anything about the book of Revelations, I think that Bush and his cohorts simply have it in mind that they’ll push the thing along. Though it’s also a fact that the pious son of a bitch — Bush, mind you — no doubt has the gall to believe that he’ll be carried upward at the moment of return of the Lord. More likely of course that it’ll just be some old lady in a trailer in the Ozarks, before all, the rest of us left burning down here in our filth.”
My cohort here is not into this conversation, and we move on to lighter subjects, funnier talks: the folly of violence and violence itself as seen through the eyes of four gun-enthusiasts going by the name of Metallica, 1987′s Master of Puppets, insanity.
Then the speeches. Click here for the remainder, in which kids are beaten on bridges, horses are used as barricades, and high-fives are exchanged between narrator and former death row inmates…
UPDATE: Richter piece “The Crow’s Nest is live at THE2NDHAND.com as of 11/23/09.