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Archive for June, 2009

Zara Potts

Giving the Gifts

June 30th, 2009
by Zara Potts


I’ve always been good at presents, so consider this my parting gift to you.

You who have held my heart, not so carefully, but for so long. 

Consider it every letter I wrote to you, every telephone call, every birthday present. Each phrase, each whispered goodbye, each coloured ribbon. (more…)

Brin Friesen

A Thousand Words: Paint By Numbers

June 30th, 2009
by Brin Friesen


If love is blind, stalkers often have an eye for detail. Likewise writers. They have to––a telescope in one eye and a microscope in the other. From a distance, these are your tools for picking the lock of someone’s life and reality. But instead of trying to steal everything, you’re always in danger of wanting to move in. Before too long a girl becomes a note that becomes a melody that becomes a symphony.


Zoe Brock

Would You Like To Read The Introduction To My Memoir?

June 30th, 2009
by Zoe Brock


In 1988 I was fourteen years old, five-foot-nine, skinny, flat-chested and at least four more years away from any proper evidence of puberty. To compound all of this luminous adolescent joy I was also morbidly shy and horrifically self-conscious. In short, I was a child. A bloody tall child, but a child nonetheless.

My hair was long and brown, my eyebrows heavy, my cheeks full. I was so thin, and so tormented by my thinness, that I ate as much as I could to try and gain weight. I ate all sorts of crap. Nothing happened. I remained, despite all efforts, a wisp of skin and bones, stumbling when I ran, blown hither and thither by gusts of strong wind and glances from strangers. The sad truth is that I come from a family of stick insects, and the physique I would later be grateful for was a thing of shame and sadness in my formative years. Victimized and scorned, I was teased mercilessly about my stature by other children. My nicknames were, amongst others: Olive Oyl, Bean Pole, Stick, Twig, and, my personal favorite, Inverted, a name given to me by the boys in my neighborhood in honor of my invisible breasts. Humiliated by my non-existent chest, I covered my body as much as I could and engaged, whenever possible, in the bust-increasing exercises I read about in Judy Bloom books.

These were not my glory days.


Zsofia McMullin

There Are No Dessert Forks in America

June 30th, 2009
by Zsofia McMullin


A couple of years ago, when I was fresh out of college and living in my first apartment, my parents came to visit from Hungary. Opening a kitchen drawer, my Mom was surprised to find months’ or even years’ worth of Hungarian snacks, spice mixes, and other food stuff stashed away.

“Why do I keep sending you all this when you don’t use them,” she asked me. I didn’t really know the answer — or didn’t want to admit — that it just felt good to have all those familiar flavors right at hand, even if I didn’t want or need to use them. The shiny packages of meatloaf mix, the crinkle of the chocolate pudding powder package, all reminded me of home.


Rich Ferguson, “All the Times” Redux

June 29th, 2009

Please enjoy this music video presentation of Rich Ferguson’s “All the Times.”

TNB Photo of the Day

Rich Ferguson

June 29th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day

Rich Ferguson 
The TNB contributor and spoken word poet has an album out called Where I’m From, and you can buy it RIGHT HERE. Wanna watch more Rich videos? Check out the TNB YouTube Channel and behold. Photo by Roger Burns.

Ducky Wilson

I Spread for Mopar

June 29th, 2009
by Ducky Wilson


I decided I was mentally ill when I was seven years old. I had just seen Sally Field in Sybil, and I agreed:

It was all green. And the people!

[Later, when I performed this scene for my acting class at the performing arts high school I attended, much to the chagrin of the real actors there, my teacher, Heloise Jones, insisted I reached octaves only discernable by dogs.]

Everyone always said my dad was crazy, so I assumed that I was, too. Figured it was like inheriting his brown eyes and Cherokee skin.



John McNulty

What is That Word? A Guide To French English

June 29th, 2009
by John McNulty


A Guide to French English for the English 


How to understand what the hell the French are saying to us in our own language.

Note: there are many words in both the French and English language which have been incorporated and used correctly. Words such as “rendez vous” and “entrepeneur” on the English French side and “rock and roll” and “donut” on the French English side.

I am not interested in these words. 

I am however very interested in the misappropriate (sometimes bordering on psychedelic use of the English language in daily French life) Yes, I am talking about instances where a foreign word has been incorporated so incorrectly, so weirdly, it borders on dadaist art. 


Robin Slick


June 28th, 2009
by Robin Slick


A couple of years ago, I landed in an East German youth hostel where I was actually dumb enough to think that people all over the world spoke English as a second language.  Let me also add that in addition to not being a youth and someone more accustomed to hotels which offered fluffy robes and left imported chocolates on the pillow, I had never traveled outside of the United States before and had no idea what staying in a foreign hostel entailed.


David S. Wills

Sundays, Fucking Sundays

June 28th, 2009
by David S. Wills


I’m not a religious man by any means, and so you won’t find me at church or mosque, or worshipping anything anywhere. I’m also not really a terribly active man, and so whilst I enjoy a walk in the park or a game of football, you also will rarely find me there. I don’t watch TV, either, so my Sundays don’t revolve around that.

I’m a lazy fellow at heart, and so on my precious Sundays, I like to relax and stay at home. All around my house I have wireless internet access, and so I spend much of my time online.


TNB Photo of the Day

Flipper, “Way of the World”

June 27th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day

D.R. Haney’s novel Banned for Life was inspired by music like this song from Flipper called “Way of the World.”

TNB Photo of the Day

Banned for Life, by D.R. Haney

June 27th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day

D.R. Haney: Banned for Life 
The TNB contributor’s novel took nine years to write. It’s about punk rock and is now available from And/Or Press. Buy it RIGHT HERE. Like, right now. Please.

Lenore Zion

Mass Hysteria is Still a Big Old Question Mark

June 26th, 2009
by Lenore Zion


A lot of strange things have gone down, from a psychological perspective.  Strange, inexplicable things.

Knowledge of psychological principles comes in handy daily, but there are some things that simply can’t be adequately explained, and all the studies in the world couldn’t come close to offering elucidations of bizarre happenings.

By a significant margin, obstetricians drop male babies more frequently than they drop female babies.

This is clearly noted in the statistics, yet possible rationalizations for why this may occur are weak.  Is it because males are seen as stronger physically, and thus they are handled with less grace?  Do male babies struggle more straight out of mommy’s womb?  No one really knows. (more…)

Brad Listi

Tweet It

June 26th, 2009
by Brad Listi


When I heard the news about Michael Jackson yesterday, I immediately got up from my desk chair, grabbed my French bulldog, Walter, and dangled him over the balcony of my second-story apartment. The skies over Hollywood were filled with helicopters, and in the distance I could hear “Human Nature” blaring from someone’s car stereo. I let out an involuntary, guttural wail, and my whole body shook.

“Oh my god!” my wife said. “What are you doing?”

I turned around and put Walter down and felt a wave of nausea sweep over me.

“Didn’t you hear?” I said. “He’s dead. Michael Jackson…he died.”


Paul A. Toth

Michael Jackson: The Final Interview

June 26th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth


I wasn’t expecting my invitation to be accepted, but Michael Jackson said he  preferred being interviewed by an unknown writer whose mark on the world so far consisted of White-Out fluid from years before. I was happy to oblige and got straight to the point.

“How are you feeling about your upcoming tour?”

“What tour?”

“Your big comeback tour. You must know that a lot, even everything, is riding on this series of concerts.”

Michael’s gaze lazily trailed across the floor. “Don’t let the sun go down on me.” (more…)

D.R. Haney

“Farrah! You’re beautiful! I love you!”

June 26th, 2009
by D.R. Haney


I was a teenager living in New York. George was my brilliant roommate, and sometimes, if we weren’t doing anything, one of us would say, “Do you want to walk aimlessly around?” That was our standard joke. But we did indeed spend much time walking aimlessly all over Manhattan, and one early-winter night on the Upper East Side, far from the one-room hovel we shared near the Williamsburg Bridge, we saw flashbulbs popping a little ahead of us on the sidewalk. A celebrity must be near—a celebrity being hounded by the paparazzi. We kept walking, and I saw that the celebrity was Farrah Fawcett.

Savannah Schroll Guz

Reprising an Old Story about the King of Pop

June 26th, 2009
by Savannah Schroll Guz


This morning, I was amazed to see an entire edition of The Today Show devoted entirely to Michael Jackson. It was a veritable love-fest for the same man, whom,  just five years before, they happily vilified in response to the repeated molestation charges and Berlin baby-dangling scene. So, this about-face following his death reveals a great deal about our culture. Was it Heath Ledger who told an aspiring actor to approach fame with caution because ’they build you up in order to break you down’?

In 2004, after watching the subject-relevant news stories and attendant parade of less-than-laudatory Jackson images in the media, I wrote the following story, which was posted at Hobart. If I were to write the story now, it would be entirely different because the stories that inform my perceptions have a decidedly upward swing. Anyway, here it is, a literary version of the Michael Jackson we were served on a silver platter by the media in 2004.


Greg Olear

One Glove

June 25th, 2009
by Greg Olear


The Gloved One is dead.

No big surprise, given his mental and physical health, but tragic nevertheless.

I liked Michael Jackson, but I was never a rabid fan. My little brother was the one with the red jacket. But there is one moment that, in my view, represented the zenith of his career.  A moment when I jumped on the Jacko bandwagon, white glove and all.


Greg Boose

A Chance to Use my Mediocre Martial Arts Skills Has Come & Gone, But I’ll Leave the Door Ajar Just in Case

June 25th, 2009
by Greg Boose


A man walked through my back door yesterday afternoon.


Had a shaved head.

Dilated pupils.

Wearing a gray T-shirt and jeans in 92-degree temperature.

He was thin and short and meek and, after thinking about it hours later, only really threatening because he was an unapologetic stranger advancing into my kitchen.


When I heard the door creak open and shut from our nursery I believed it was my rogue cat, Lincoln, finally coming in from under the back deck.


Stefan Kiesbye

Panties in the Woods - Something of a Memoir

June 25th, 2009
by Stefan Kiesbye


When my sister and I were still young, our dad would sometimes take us on a long walk through the woods that started right behind our house in a small industrial suburb in Northern Germany and seemed to stretch forever, even though forever ended at the road to Frankenbostel, a village that was important only to its farmers. I can’t recall how long these walks really lasted, but they seemed dominated by silence and small whispers, so as not to disturb the animals and the overall atmosphere of making our way through brush and over small, secret meadows, where small prints on the ground told stories we were unable to read. We knew they were stories, we’d read all the Wild West novels by Karl May, and were familiar with noble and not so noble Indians reading the ground in front of them, but we could only guess. Still, we didn’t realize how little we knew, and felt just like our heroes Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, the Chief of the Apaches.