Shattered Wig #28

Shattered Wig #28
Coming In November!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

WORMS November 23

I would have to reach far back into my life, into my childhood really, when my friend's Uncle Johnny would have us over at his shore house that was literally feet away from a pier and the bay and had a fridge always stocked with Coke and Yoo-hoos, to think of a host as generous and kind as Sir Robert M. O'Brien. In just a year and a half or so he has truly built up a great reading series that draws an attentive crowd and mixes up some good diverse intellects.

And just in case you are new to the series and not sure you have found your way to the right spot in the catacombs of the Bell Foundry building (Isn't this the basement parking garage where Marvin Mandell would eat the still beating dismembered hearts of Baltimore orphans?), Robert wears a pleasingly bright lime hoodie to draw your eye and help the pickpockets in the crowd get some work done.

Also, at each WORMS reading, Bob starts off with a nice twist on the ordinary. This time he read the synopsis of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, which took on a new life in this format. The first WORMS of the season Bob talked about the recent phenomenon of "celebrity poetry" and he read verbatim from an inane website advising you on how to get rich quick on Britney quatrains. In honor of that moment I read my poem at this November WORMs that I wrote in homage to the actor who never sleeps and whose doctorates could wallpaper a mansion - James Franco. I dedicated my last poem to publisher genius Adam Robinson not even realizing that he was sitting front row to my left with brainy and wild Stephanie Barber who was shape shifting and burning off so many calories just sitting and squirming in her chair that there were more rainbow colors being given off her aura than a sea of glow sticks at a Phish concert.

After the crowd was done with me, next up was Jeremy Hoevenaar, who moved here fairly recently from Brooklyn.

Third was the Sphinx-like Joseph Young who calmly read micro-stories from Easter Rabbit. His soothing reading voice and gentle flipping of pages reminded me of my favorite newscaster from the 9/11 mess. I never knew his name and he always seemed to come on after midnight. He catalogued updates and events in a low deep tone that wasn't meant to sedate or trick but merely to give each word equal weight and chance and the sound of his words was a promise that life would go on, that this too would be lived through and we would come through the other end of it, only to be bent over a park bench and jackknifed by Karl Rove and his boys over and over while car horns blatted out some football team's fight song.

I have to say that some of my attention was diverted from Joe's reading by the fact that he was only wearing a t-shirt in a warehouse basement on a late November night. I was having sympathetic chilblain freeze, but that might have been also from the miniature Coke I was sipping.

This gent is Matthew Smith, a Johns Hopkins graduate and he also is endowed with one of those voices from beyond. Many of his poems were classically themed and he told great tales of ancient mythology setting a few pieces up, so he made a nice lead-in to the fuzzily shimmering star of the night, Chris Mason.

Chris is one of the rare poets who I can't get enough of in a reading. This one in particular seemed cruelly short. He has a new book coming out on Narrowhouse Press called Hum Who Hiccup and he read a few pieces from there, plus one of his old "click" poems. When I hear Chris read I always feel a renewed belief in humanity, that kindness and thought can still exist and grow. And I also feel slightly ashamed of myself, that I'm not doing enough, not pushing my boundaries enough. But then I go home, slip into some oversized Austin Powers teeth, put on an episode of "The Honeymooners" and wash some Cheetohs down with Robotussin.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Shattered Wig 28 Sneak Preview #13 - A Poem by Shattered Wig Night Poet Ryan Walker

Ryan Walker, an inventive, laconic and slippery poet living in D.C. will be one of the featured poets at the December 10th Publication Party at the 14 Karat Cabaret. Here is a look at one of his poems that will be in the issue to get a taste of his writng.


less than the subtraction of its parts
a place went missing.
I’ve climbed a tree with your plans
I surrounded the animal spirits with my wispy money
and with that I stuff my farm on you
I’m trying to climb on your face
walk down the carpet
then the swart mouse brigade militant with unnamed mouse wishes
manipulated as examples and independent
these hoops of ice behave
and the whistles
my antenna is a bow
I make grapes
I only steal originals and seals.
only for the last ticket
I admit I spray a token person with windex
I slept on a cake it was faddish
I had cake shoes and my little dog was made of cake
otherwise I used a light cucumber green to destroy the lander
then a blank caper. I used it for a pointed western.
it wasn’t as meaningful as it sounded
it just took a long time and while I’m not beat up it’s nice to meet you
and of course lease a helicopter
but there is the small matter of the marriage of our crowns
we are willing to adopt protestantism
and the list of changes we submitted earlier
has been not so much rescinded as re-directed
to an oft-thwarted nation of overrated types
we plan to wear tee-shirts
we have huge record collections
we’re born on a pretty stream.
and things are observed a lot
it’s an opposite customer
grapes are bees in potholes


Ryan is wondering how Friday got here so fast. Semi-recently he self-published the hell out of his book, You Will Own It Permanently. Additionally he writes web apps and rehabs an old house in Washington, DC.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Baltimore String Felons and R.M. O'Brien to Foist Joy Upon The Shattered Wig 28 Publication Party

The lineup for what I hope will be the Shattered Wig Review #28 publication party (I would have gotten a hell of a lot done two Fridays ago if not for the damn BGE outage!) is almost nailed down. It looks to be a fine night of rapture.

Of course this being modern day Baltimore there will be tons of other cool things going on, including a Sea Couch and Forks of Ivy show (traitors), but we will have a shiny new issue sporting the menacing front cover you see smack dab in the middle of the top of this "page".

And although I truly have grown to hate the ubiquitous "Boh" man, I can stand him with a top hat and a banjo.........

Here is the lineup for the December 10th Shattered Wig party at the glorious, glamorous, forbidden, luxurious, decadent, legendary 14 Karat Cabaret:

R.M. O'Brien - poet, emcee/curator of the fantastic WORMS reading series
Emily Crespo - - poet, traveler, alchemist.
Ryan Walker - D.C. poet extraordinaire, friend to all.

The Baltimore String Felons. Fantastic timelessly weird old American folk music with a punk edge. It will Mikey the lead singer's birthday so don't be a weenie - buy him a beer!
Tests. Music featuring two members of the dearly missed group Madagascar.

Here is what the City Paper had to show about a String Felons show they did a while back with Balti Mare.

Earlier in the night, the Baltimore String Felons offered their own unique twist on folk traditions, theirs being more distinctly American. And what’s so refreshing about the weirdo folk acts in Maryland, as opposed to say New York or California, is that we’re not so far from Appalachia that the musicians seem more connected to those influences, and more likely to have actual family roots. The String Felons, with their fiddle and banjo twang, have a definite mountain sound in their so-called “inner city doomgrass,” even with its oddball twists, including songs that detail the assassination of JFK or choruses that howl “please don’t kill me.” And like Balti Mare, the combination of tradition and playful irreverence is what makes the String Felons work.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mud Luscious "Stamp Stories" Anthology Available For Pre-order

Mud Luscious Press just announced that their anthology of "Stamp Stories", which I have a piece in, is now available for pre-order. Get up off your swollen wallets and show some love!

"Stamp Stories are texts of 50 words or less, printed on 1x1 cardstock, & shipped free from participating presses. We wanted to tie together the indie press community in a vibrant yet viable way, & so this venture was born. Through 2010, we have solicited stamp-sized texts from 100 authors & distributed the physical Stamp Stories through more than 40 participating presses. [ C. ] collects all of these texts into one perfect-bound edition, releasing fall 2011. Until then, see the current listing of participating authors & presses here, or read a few Stamp Stories samples below."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shattered Wig 28 Sneak Preview #12 - "Suburban Legends" by Shelley Puhak

Suburban Legends

The Girl Detective
would not wear these pants: missing button, gaping waistband and cuffs
creased wrong. She can see if you are wearing a slip, if you have shaved
your legs. She can figure out why your parents keep bursting into tears.

The International Spy
puts your paranoia to work. Teaches you the art of the extra pocket, the way to roll your “r”s. Teaches you to never trust your memory.

The Wicked Stepmother
is stuck in this hut, in this forest, with this kid clinging to her skirts. Pinches, pricks, presses, frowns. Plots to swallow you whole.

She is enamel, jagged and acid-etched, hanging on by a thread. You edge up behind her, thin and stiff with longing.

The Tall, Dark Handsome Stranger
has fists like kitchen strainers: the soapy kitchen mess, the tears, run right through. Has the intuition of a terrier, best at arms-length.

He won’t whisk you off. And if he leaned in for a kiss, you’d see he’s overbitten his bottom lip, trying to balance his checkbook.

The Football Captain
knows a bridge. An old bridge. A steel truss bridge on a road with a sharp crook. An old reform school. A wailing ghost. One moonless night, he drives you down that road, to his old make-out spot. Past the evidence of other campfires, new beer cans crushed. Listen. Wait— for his crow’s feet, emerging scalp, first creaking joint.

Listen. You’ll make out crying, pitched high and light.


Shelley Puhak lives in Catonsville, Maryland. Shelley's work first appeared in SWR ten years ago, while she was still in college. Now Shelley is Writer-in-Residence at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Her first collection, Stalin in Aruba (Black Lawrence Press, 2009) won the 2010 Towson University Prize for Literature.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shattered Wig 28 Sneak Preview #14, The Last, I Swear - "Ted In White" by David Beaudouin

This, I swear to you valued reader, will be the last sneak peak of the new Shattered Wig issue coming out in paper form on December 10th. From here on out you will have to obtain a solid copy to sample all the treasures that will unlock your deepest imagination and free you from earthly pain. Copies will be available for a mere $5 at the door at Shattered Wig Night, Friday December 10th.

After that they'll be available for $6 through this site, Normal's Books & Records and Atomic Books. Plus they will be available for free perusal at four forward thinking University Libraries who have had longstanding subscriptions with us. Are any of the cool, smart libraries that order Shattered Wig in Maryland you ask? No, of course not, but perhaps if you a student at one you could picket the administrative offices Old School style until they cough up the big green.


David Beaudouin is a man of eternal mystery. He moves like Isadora Duncan shagging flies on a field of clouds and jello, he alone knows where Ed Dorn lives in secret seclusion and he now insists on being addressed only as "Ukom Memory Song". Long has he labored with love among lines.


For my sins I live in the city of Baltimore
Immutable as it staggers into the sea its crooked shore
Uncertain of any harbor, impure and beautiful
Like a cigarette butt in last night's drink.
So must I also think like Poe with an aching head
Of dark and transcendent things that slip out those alleys
Follow us back to our little blue home. Let these poems
Be our fiery word in these haunted streets, turning all shades
But our own to things as real as stone where we can read
Our death has not been written yet. Even with monsters
At the edges, it is a map where we can live, this city they
Keep building as it falls, the water's current carries everything
Away but what we feel, who we loved, where we went that
Night for crabs and beer. It will never be more real than here.

9/13/08 - David Beaudouin