Saturday, April 29, 2017
Subscribe to our RSS feed:
It’s going to be okay

Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category

D.R. Haney

Saved by Demon Song

October 11th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

I’m hungry. I have no money at all, none is expected soon, and there’s no one from whom I can borrow. I pace all night, wondering how to come by a few dollars to eat.

Finally, slowly, a plan unfolds: I can walk down the street to an ATM, fill out a deposit slip for a phantom check, feed the slip to the ATM, and request a cash advance. The bank, of course, will quickly discover that no check accompanied the deposit slip, but once I’m contacted, I’ll simply say that, being in a hurry, I forgot. By then I hope to have thought of someone who’s willing to cut me a bona fide check.

(more…)


Thomas Wood

Milk After Mugging

October 3rd, 2009
by Thomas Wood

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-

It certainly wasn’t THE mistake; there were probably a number of those, but the first thing I did wrong was have the cab driver drop me off three blocks from my apartment, instead of right at the front door, especially knowing that neighborhood’s reputation.  I must have felt like walking a bit.  It was five in the morning after a long Sunday night and I was drunk.  Most of the time drunk means you’re stumbling about, a bit stupider than when you began the night but, sometimes, when you’ve been drunk long enough, when you’ve started early in the night and kept it up, somehow teetering on the line between life-of-the-party and asshole-of-the-evening, you manage a kind of comfort with the drunk, a sort of calm-in-the-storm.  It’s hard to imagine but some part of your mind gets used to the world from inside the bottle, maybe the way veterans, having seen too much of the shit, can just nod their heads at the most atrocious things and whisper, ‘FUBAR,’ and just know they must go on.  I prefer to think of it like musical theater, all optimism, the way the drunk character in the play can magically stand up and exhibit textbook choreography, dancing down the pavement, toes tapping on benches, where even the stumbling has style.  So I was when I got out of the cab on the Avenue Gran Via, a notoriously seedy street in Madrid, clad in Tyler Durden’s three-quarter length, red-leather Jacket.  Some girl has kissed me that night, and I was grinning a silly grin.  I’m sure it wasn’t the grin the mugger saw.

(more…)


Adam Cushman

A Thousand Words: Grandmotherland

September 15th, 2009
by Adam Cushman

LOS ANGELES, CA-

Vaselina operates five port-a-potties next to Kazanskaya Cathedral off Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg. In Russian, she’s a Babushka, which means grandmother. Whether Vaselina really has grandchildren makes no difference. She’s one of an army of old post-Soviet women who pour down streets and sidewalks with pocketbooks clutched in one hand, plastic bags of raw meat in the other, linebackers who will, without question, run you the fuck down if you step in their path, especially if you’re inostranetz (foreigner).

(more…)


Gina Frangello

A Thousand Words: A Decent Proposal

August 31st, 2009
by Gina Frangello

CHICAGO, IL–

I’m in an elevator, with my 10 month old twin daughters in their obtrusively large twin stroller. We are headed to the pediatrician’s. Several other people are in the elevator with us, and most of them are staring at my daughters, which is a common response to babies in general, twin babies in particular, and Chinese twin babies with a Caucasian mother most of all. Though I have only had the girls for a few weeks at this point, I am already used to the stares. My husband says that going out with them is like going out with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (who are still married; it is 2001) because of all the attention. We make jokes like this; we think we are unflappable. We think people who adopt children from other countries and then freak out because people stare or ask questions are freaky and uptight.

A woman in the elevator turns to me and says, “Oh, they’re darling!” and I smile. I am still smiling when she says loudly, “How much did they cost?”

(more…)


Patrick Parr

A Thousand Words: Prelude to a Picture

August 17th, 2009
by Patrick Parr

ELLENSBURG, WA-

Can a man truly change his life using reason as his guide? Or is the only way to break yourself in two?

My situation came from this basic fact-filled sentence: I was twenty-four, a tennis teaching pro living in Buffalo with three other graduate students when I decided to move to Japan.

The thought made me smile. Japan…Japan…but it wasn’t the rational thought of moving to another country, learning another language, another culture, that made me smile. It was the sheer insanity of it.

I knew nothing about Japan. Absolutely nothing.

(more…)


Adam Cushman

10 Things You Say that Make Me Want to Do Bad

August 9th, 2009
by Adam Cushman

LOS ANGELES, CA-

10. Inappropriate

Here’s the email I got from Genevre.

“Ok, I first thought you were creepy in the bar when you tried to kiss my neck and told me I smelled like blue toilet water. But now I get it that someone told you about my being attracted mainly to Jewish men. Facebooking me and asking if I’m a Hitler sympathizer confirms the creepy part I mentioned earlier. I understand your ploy. I do not find you attractive. In fact, your even writing me when you have a very lovely wife is wildly inappropriate. Please leave me alone?”

(more…)


Dawn Corrigan

A Thousand Words: My Incestuous Family

July 4th, 2009
by Dawn Corrigan

GULF BREEZE, FL -

The setting is Greenwood Lake, New York, during the summer of 1951. A small resort located 50 miles northwest of New York City, Greenwood Lake first gained national attention in 1936, when it was the site of the first successful U.S. rocket mail demonstration. In the ensuing years, celebrities including Babe Ruth and Greta Garbo visited the resort. However, it was also the vacation spot of considerably less chichi visitors, the four figures in this photograph among them.

(more…)


D.R. Haney

The Uninvited

June 22nd, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

One night maybe five years ago, as I was revising, yet again, Banned for Life, I heard a sound: a slight thump, as if a matchbox had fallen to the floor. I stopped typing and, now hearing nothing, decided it must have been my imagination.

Then, the following night, I heard another sound, this one louder. It seemed to come from my bathroom, and when I investigated and found nothing there, I wondered for a moment if my apartment was haunted.

(more…)


D.R. Haney

And a New Chapter Begins

June 16th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

I spent nine years writing Banned for Life, my recently published novel. I consider that a long time to work on a book; James Joyce, whose name I’m unfit to mention by way of comparison, worked on Ulysses for eight years, and that book is longer than mine by over three hundred pages. (I post this on Bloomsday.)

Was it worth it? I don’t really know, yet. It will depend, I suppose, on how it’s received. At the moment, a number of friends are reading Banned, or maybe some of them have finished reading, only they haven’t told me, either because they haven’t had time to write me or call, or they didn’t like it and they’re afraid to tell me, or they did like it and they aren’t quite sure how to express it. I’m an Author now. It’s not a big deal at all to me, the title of Author, but maybe it strikes some of my friends as a big deal, because so many people have vague plans to write a book someday but they deep down suspect they’ll never get around to it. I’ve had two friends announce their jealousy, or as one of them, a comely Scot, put it: “I’d like to slap your face!”
(more…)


D.R. Haney

The Double Meaning of ‘D.R.’

June 11th, 2009
by D.R. Haney

LOS ANGELES—

I’d just woken up when the phone rang. It was my friend Sophia, or so I’ll refer to her.

“Duke,” she said, immediately after saying hello, “I have to warn you: I’ve had a couple of vodkas.”

“This early in the day? What’s the problem?”

I’ve gotten fairly good at this kind of thing, because I’ve slowly transformed from Duke, oft-depressed and occasionally-suicidal writer, to Dr. Duke, the go-to guy if you’re as oft-depressed and occasionally suicidal as the doctor himself.
(more…)


Irene Zion

Life in Zimbabwe Today

May 1st, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

We just got back from a trip to Zimbabwe.  When the country was called Rhodesia, it was referred to as the breadbasket of all of southern Africa.  Think about it.  They were so prosperous that they not only could feed everyone in their own country, but all the countries in Southern Africa.  Obviously, Rhodesia had enormous social problems, but everyone could eat.

(more…)


Paul A. Toth

Lunch with Janeane Garofalo

April 23rd, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Janeane Garofalo is almost 45 years old and wants you to know, “I don’t give a shit. I’ve mellowed.” We’re seated in one of L.A.’s most popular vegetarian restaurants, but I can’t give its location lest it becomes less popular. Nevertheless, Garofalo seems at ease with the diners trying to figure out just who she is, but she has an answer for that. “The Truth About Cats and Dogs,” she says. Why? “Because I don’t believe in having pets, but beyond that, it was a slam at me, a typical role. I was the dog. And the only reason the guy fell in love with me was my personality. Yeah, right. That’s a bunch of fucking bullshit. Never happens. You see me with Brad Pitt? No, I’m eating with an unknown writer and watching people trying to remember having watched The Truth About Cats and Dogs. And to tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit.” (more…)


Irene Zion

Our Short Stay in Dubai

April 13th, 2009
by Irene Zion

MIAMI BEACH, FL-

I was really looking forward to seeing Dubai because I had heard so much about it. I had heard it was ultra-modern, the gigantic buildings, the man-made islands out in the ocean.   Let me tell you a little about it since I’ve been there to see it and you can decide what you think about it yourself.

(more…)


Matthew Gavin Frank

On Creativity, the Economic Crisis, and the Amazon Gavel

March 13th, 2009
by Matthew Gavin Frank

GRAND RAPIDS, MI- 

This past February, at this year’s AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference in Chicago, many of the overheard conversations did not involve the usual topics—Where’s the best place in the city to score a discount bottle of Booker’s bourbon?  Do you know anyone who brought a bag of weed?  

(more…)


Suzanne Burns

Farewell Bend, Welcome Back

February 10th, 2009
by Suzanne Burns

BEND, OR.-

Big towns are all alike; every small town is small in its own way.

In 1980, Bend, Oregon, was a town large enough for two Albertson’s grocery stores but small enough to host the annual cow chip bingo at Vince Genna stadium. Big enough for two high schools but small enough for one fine-dining restaurant, the Beef and Brew, locally famous for the individual loaves of bread delivered to each table on polished cutting boards.

(more…)


Paul A. Toth

If Anger Is an Energy, I’ve Been Electrocuted

February 9th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

I’ve gone beyond anger. The land beyond anger is barren, arid. I’m in the Arizona of mental states.

Wait: We are going somewhere new. But first…

I miss George W. Bush. I miss him like oxygen because I once exhaled expletives, and now I choke on them. He was a gift box in which I wrapped my human nature. My nature, like all of nature, is violent. My anger is general. When I consider my anger specific, I lie to myself.

My anger doesn’t stop to smell the roses; it paints the town red with the petals. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

ABC: Always Be Corrupting…Stop Bank “Fees” Now

November 13th, 2008
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

Call this Piss Americana.  Not only were we duped into believing a bank bailout was necessary, and not only must we pay the very institutions that caused this economic crisis (”Granny, can I call it a ‘depression’ now?”), but the banks have already unleashed plans to blatantly misuse the appropriated funds. I suggest we should have let them have their free market and take us all down with them, so that real change might occur…and you know what that will take: the burning, the looting, and the exposure of the police state ready to react (but perhaps not so ready as it thinks).  Yet beyond all of this, Bank of America, in particular, and major banks in general, continue engaging in an unconscionable tactic that generates billions of dollar in stolen profits every year: “Fees.” (more…)


Paul A. Toth

From What I Remember: A Memoir of Alcoholism

October 9th, 2008
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA. FL-

Page 1

The End


N.L. Belardes

A Man With Underwear Over His Head Attacked By Mosquitoes, Eating Oatmeal Pie, And Sleeping On A Yellow School Bus In A New Mexico Desert

September 22nd, 2008
by N.L. Belardes

BAKERSFIELD, CA-

We met a traveler wearing a hat with the words BUBBA GUMP FISH CO. on it. He was young, in his early twenties, had a narrow head and stood tall and thin with short dark hair and wire-rimmed glasses. Autumn, Jordan and I were standing by a bar with dollar bills taped to its ceiling when this guy appeared out of the darkness carrying a dark blue backpack. We had gone there so that Autumn could use a pay phone and finally call her dad in Ohio about our mishap. (more…)


Paul A. Toth

Of Sporks and Human Bondage

September 17th, 2008
by Paul A. Toth

SARASOTA, FL-

A planet in the microwave. A holocaust of animals. Plants have feelings, too. So many students and workers, so few jobs. Office ne’erdowells camaflauged by multiprocrastinating. In every case, the problem is clear. It’s people. And we should eat us.

I’m not suggesting cannabalism, per se. We should be processed, like meat, as humanely slaughtered as the average cow.

In any case, too many people exist, and the most productive, think-outside-the-box solution is to feed ourselves to ourselves. (more…)