Shattered Wig #28

Shattered Wig #28
Coming In November!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shattered Wig News

My publisher, young Adam Robinson, the Howard Hughes of Baltimore, has informed me that the second printing of The Origin of Paranoia As a Heated Mole Suit has gone out of print. Such sweet mixed emotions. He has tossed enough copies into the garbage (no, recycling, he is a good man) to make me feel good about myself. But, on the other hand, my baby is gone! If for some odd reason, someone happens to hear about it and wants to check it out it will be no more, like tennis shoes that are not like space stations but do have support.

He has given me the option of the book going into a third printing or doing up a whole new book altogether. I am a writer, which is after all, just about all I wanted from life, other than a quick feel of Bobbie Gentry, since I was 12 and tried writing my mother's biography but instead penned the novel Gang Fight. Which I'm proud to say got passed around school so much that pieces of it disappeared forever. I don't think there were xerox machines back then, just mimeographs that only teachers with upswept neo-beehives had access to.

Other good news is I got in the anthology City Sages: Baltimore with the likes of Mencken. F. Scott, Poe, Gerty Stein, Laura Lippman and Mad Bell.

This Saturday is the annual huge fundraiser for AWP. It's taking place at the G-Spot. Shattered Wig Press got asked to participate so I asked Chris Mason and Shelley Puhak to go to bat for us. Here is the lowdown on the event:

Start Time:
Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 7:00pm
End Time:
Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 12:00am
G-Spot, the Audio-Visual Playground, 2980 Falls Road


Join Baltimore writers, musicians, and artists at Baltimore's Literary Cabaret -- Saturday, May, 8, one night only -- for a fun-filled fundraising evening in celebration of creative writing!

Flash readings of poetry and fiction
Meet area publishers and authors
Music headliners Victoria Vox and Greg Holden
Fantastic music by other Baltimore favorites, including novelist Madison Smartt Bell singing the blues and Flannery O'Connor award-winner Geoff Becker and his blistering band
Buy books and music signed by the artists and authors
Great food & drink (cash bar)
Rafael Alvarez auction!
Tickets: $15 general, $12 students

All proceeds go to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs

And the Horse You Came In On, It Too Shall Be Ridden By Naked Julie Fisher

As sure as you can
find a clenched fist in
a barroom of sailors
I'm reasonably certain
Baltimore poet Julie Fisher
is somewhere having
sex right now.

Having crawled from
the coffin of Allen Ginsberg,
the most naked human
of the 20th Century,
after hunching on his
blissed out dormant form,
the gas jets of her
glandular expression
hit high and something broke
the off switch - leaving her
bare in musty warehouse
spaces, tiny tinkly cabarets,
even sun-dappled orchards.

Even as I speak
a masked man is
pulling some harness or
strap or stirrup tighter
and she is saying
"There had been over a
hundred cats there.
When we crossed the
hallway our legs
blackened with fleas."

The masked man grunts,
young skinny David Byrne
shrieks on wax
about courteousness
and Julie's heavy boot
kicks out at the
rec room ping pong table,
missing and hitting
Babs in the shin
right where she'd had
a kids' flower-decorated
Band-Aid just for
fun, but now there's
really blood gushing
around it.

"Shit, no shit, that
really hurt, Julie, no shit."

"What are you, gnuh, gnuh
doing down here anyway?" Julie asks.

"Why are any of us here, baby,"
Sammy Davis, Jr. says,
but it's unclear if he's
being philosophical
or if he means right
there in the basement.

"Geez, those are sure
some big boots she's wearing
aren't they Barbara?" Cliff asks,
rising above a
discarded dune of
Grandma afghans.

"Cliff, I'm beginning
to get creeped out," says Barbara.
"You keep popping up behind
me everywhere."

"Hey, quarter past midnight
on a Tuesday, I'm here. Julie's
basement rec room. You should be
more worried about Sammy Davis.
Last I heard the whole
Rat Pack was dead."

"Even that loser one,
the one with the
Martian putting green
sideburns - Peter Lawford?
Was he their coke
dealer or what?"

"Oh Barbara, you're so
silly, at least when you're
dressed. How about we
go to the Taco Bell
near here. There's a
low iq dishwasher
who works there and
at closing they always
mess him up bad."

"I'm game," Barbara says,
"but where'd Julie go?"

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Community of Poets, Open Mic Comedy Psychodrama and Babs the Roman Having a Serious Talk With a Table of Dongs

It had been a long time since I'd seen Mark Sanders. One of those deals where we lived two blocks away but never came out for the ice cream man on the same day. We used to each host a show at the old Astro Chimp Impact Crater on Charles St. where the Charles Theater expanded into and where Blaster Al and I got mugged together getting more beer for the Wig Night during intermission back in the badass old days of the early '90s. A gent merely shoved us into a dark alley, a concerned citizen across the street yelled wondering if the entrepreneur needed any help robbing us and the robber assured the good Samaritan he could handle us. Next we knew Blaster took a blackjack to the face and my wallet was pressing some stranger's ass.

Mark was known as The Gorbonzo Lad at the time and his act involved handstands across tables while clenching a Spanish dueling knife in his teeth. I was hellbent on bending hell into my childhood memories of it taught to me by ironfisted nuns. Now over a decade has passed and Mark has set his controls on the heart of the sun and bleeds whiskey while I feel my dead father move inside me pulling at my facial expressions as I mow the yard of my own new house for the first time and I call on the spirit of Wally Cox to steer my damaged nervous system through.

Mark has a new night going downtown and I got to be the Big Cheese almost a week ago. It was like homecoming night. A lot of my favorite poets who I share a lot of history with were there, as well as just old friends outside the writing game and a few local legends like Teddy Getzel who ran the sacredly profane Cultured Pearl burrito joint that was the place to be when I first moved to Baltimore. It was home to some of the best poetry readings back in the '80s. If only Senor Martick of the much loved underground French restaurant would have also been there I truly would have felt like it was a completion of this long twenty year hallucination in this dreamtime city. Then at the end of the reading, before the open mic comedy began, Mark "Pappy" Hossfeld could come limping in on crutches like Jimmy Stewart at the end of "Shenandoah", playing bird songs through a bamboo pipe like Ling Lun. It was Pappy after all who really breathed life into most of us, coaxed what little spirit we had to dance with our bloomers raised over our wounds.

There were also great "newbies", at least new compared to the grandfather clock readers surrounding them - "The Crespo Twins", notable for how they are not identical or fraternal. One is an Egyptian knife thrower whose poems all end with the same line: "And then they all bled out like pigs" and the other is a pre-Raphaelite dandy who constantly rolls a giant lint roller over his lustrous jodhpurs. "I can already sense where you're going with this," he shouted out in the middle of each poet's piece, shoveling snuff into his frondesce nostril.

Chortling above all else, though, was a longhair on the run from New Orleans. He had been part of history by holing up in a punk house, riding out Katrina. Then draping around John McCain's neck throughout his entire presidential run against Barack Obama, simulating the lynx fur that McCain was never without during his college days in the Great Depression. This high strung young man goes by the name of Reverend Prenza or Brenza and read a wild free association poem about Castro's balls.

Struck nearly dumb by the goodwill of the night, very happy with how my homage to local poet organizer Julie Fisher's insatiable erotic drive went over and my old chestnut "doorknob", my beloved and I not so much as decided to stick around for the open mic comedy that followed, but more like became embedded in our seats like cracked seashells on a wet shore.

The electricity of live comedy performed by amateurs is a stressful thing. Perhaps more so when the room is mostly empty and breath can be heard and everyone is far too aware of each other's nuanced glances and facial movements. But other than a few of the wags that fell painfully flat and a half drunk talentless heckler who eventually was psychically and flat-out verbally assaulted by one of the last quipsters there were actually some true laughs. Especially the lone woman comic Kath Carson and one of the last guys whose name I forget, but who the mc kept calling "the most dangerous man in comedy" or something along those lines. Nothing like the sorely missed comedy troupe of yore led by Kevin Takacs, Benjie Loveless and Doug Johnson, the name of which other than the "Los" part is eluding my old man brain right now, but still, they said all the wrong things in all the right ways.

The night was ended wonderfully with poet and bon vivant Barbara DeCesare placing upon the podium that Mark Sanders provided on stage that had once graced the old Astro Chimp Impact Crater and most likely was still caked in Pappy's sweat and tears many rubber and plastic dongs of various sizes and veinages. She then quietly addressed them like old friends who were tiny children frozen in time. She did this through an old script of "Diff'rent Strokes", voicing all the characters. The poets still left seated in the audience were enchanted and I'm sure Pappy, living now in Chengdou, felt his greatness stir at this time and wondered what was up, somehow knowing that his legacy was being carried on in his old adopted town. The comedians on the other hand were wary at best, not sure if this intruder was bringing bad magic.
Soon enough we were outside hugging each other and praising language while Everly held out Babs' bag of dongs, beaming like a little kid handed Willie Mays' glove after a winning World Series game.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Anything Pointed, Edged, Angled or Blunted

Passionately debated
second guessing
has caught a fire
poker to the forehead.

Discourses of the unsaid
fashioned from undressed
pine logs
washed in various
threat streams
smear low grade security screens

As a man wearing a
suicide vest calls
for more ice in his drink
and a gang in the remote
Peruvian jungle
kills people for their fat
- keeping the liquid
in little vials hanging
from their belts.

There was a time in
my neighborhood when
gangs were beating people
down for cellphones.
Debate ensued as to
whether it was safest
to always have a
cellphone to hand over
or not have one
at all,
but there's no way
to walk the
night streets
without your fat.

A chicken may cross
to the other side
for many reasons
but almost never
will its logic get
airtime on a
basic cable network.