Hothead

My head bursts into flames and I’ll beat the shit outta anyone who comes near me. I didn’t do it and don’t fucking say I did. I told you this would happen and you didn’t do a thing. Not a goddamned thing. Now my face is up in flames and what am I supposed to do? Don’t fucking tell me to calm down. That’s my lawn you’re standing on, or what is left of it. You people fucked up my life, then my lawn, then my head, and if you think I’m just going to fucking stand here and take it, you’ve got another thing coming. Tell you what – how about I set your fucking bed on fire? How about I wait till you’re fucking that sweet thing of yours then burn you both the fuck up? That’s right. How do you like them burning apples? How do you like that pair of burning eyes?

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UPCOMING EVENTS  ::  After a busy November, I’m laying low for a while, but planning my two series for next year. Have big plans for #we, which will happen six times next year, on the last Wednesday of each odd-numbered month (lol). I’m expanding beyond writers to focus half the events on queer musicians and performers. Writers’ events (which I think will be called “#we words“) will take place at Wolfman Books in downtown Oakland in March, July, and November, and “#we performers” (or something like that) will take place at ProArts Gallery (off Ogawa Square in downtown Oakland) in January, May, and September. How cool is that? I guess we’ll find out.  ::  As for the Babar in Exile series, it looks like it’ll be coming to a conclusion with two last readings in February and May (at its fifth birthday), unless someone wants to take it on. My co-curator Paul Corman-Roberts was considering it, but has his hands full with other events including, I hear, the return of Beast Crawl (!!). So it’s open season on Babar! (I’m sure that’s un-PC somewhere…) No deets yet on the Events page, but there will be by the end of December.

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Of course we knew. How could we not? Even that idiot savage in the White House knew – at least I think he did, was hard to tell how much he understood at any given time. All moot now, he’s gone with all the rest. How smart we felt, at first, playing at denial, or most of us, for the better good blah blah blah, at least until the panic set in. But that’s the thing about denial, isn’t it – even playing at it makes it easier to do for real, like shame, like blame, like torture. Though I wonder sometimes whether I was being smart or just needed to feel smart in the face of a giant shit show, was being made to feel smart, was being played. And that’s the thing about hubris, isn’t it – the smarter it makes us feel, the more likely we are to be abominably, murderously stupid.

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TWO GOOD BOOKS  ::  Just in time for the presses to roll, more precisely for me to hit the Enter key for this post, I happened to a terrific reading last night that featured two new collections of work by gay SF writers who died of AIDS in the 90’s. I was joyed to hear and see their work honored and distributed now and in such good editions. The two editors met by chance as the books were about to be released, so they’ve been touring them around the area for a few weeks. And what a pair.  ::  I was drawn to the event by the collection Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader, edited by Jamie Townsend (Nightboat Books), because I knew Steve back in the day and was familiar with his work, though I hadn’t seen any in quite a while. Jamie did a kickass job compiling over 300 pages of Steve’s work in multiple genres, including poetry, new narrative fiction, various acts of prose, and illustrated poems and comics. It’s a gorgeous collection brimming with Steve Abbott’s wit and insight, highlighting an intelligence lost too soon, as so many were. Grab it now (linked by the book title), and while you’re at it, see if you can find a copy of his raucous punk and pomo novel The Lizard Club, published by Autonomedia just after his death.  ::  The other book is the far too long in coming full length collection Have You Seen This Man: The Castro Poems of Karl Tierney, edited by Jim Cory (Sibling Rivalry Press). Karl asked Jim to be his literary executor shortly before his death in 1995, whereupon Jim compiled a manuscript, then spent decades having it rejected by presses who didn’t think a first title by a dead poet could be profitable. It’s a tribute to our age that it has finally come to light. And what a collection it is. Karl wrote for only six years, as a resident of the blooming (then withering) gay community of San Francisco’s Castro District. Despite his neophyte status, he conveyed his truth with focus and eloquence, painting meticulous portraits and scenes of gay life at that moment, that amount to the clear and detailed tapestry, full of observation and emotion and questioning, that is this book. I cannot recommend it enough as an addition to any poetry library, as it provides an astute and conversational perspective of days and lives lost.

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Brain on fire jumps a generation. Brain on fire instigates a fall. Brain on fire risks a subjugation. Brain on fire risks all. Brain on fire wanders through the city streets. Brain on fire wanders through the town. Brain on fire looks at the sky and sees something no one else can see. Brain on fire lives an unexpected life. Brain on fire makes an unexpected song. Brain on fire gives a child a chance to live who goes on to save us all. Brain on fire breaks another plate. Brain on fire has trouble getting on. Brain on fire says things that no one wants to hear that give us each a moment in the clear.

Sincerely,
Richard

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