Monday, December 30, 2013

Top Ten Viewed Posts of 2013 from this blog.

Other strange Top Ten Lists to prove that anyone can have a list..

Year end Top Ten lists are kind of silly, so without further adieu, here are the most viewed posts from  2013, in reverse order with a quick comment about why it made the list. This year's list is dominated by book releases, controversy and tragedy, and there was only one announcement of any singular story or poem being published cracked the Top Ten. Interesting, indeed.

10. my dear god, we are all so small

Reason: There's something about death which brings us back to the little things not being important

Reason: People like controversy. They like Kim Addonizio. They like me defending that a poem in first person narration does not make me a creep. 

Reason: It was my first book in three years rand it was put out by the imprint of Rusty Barnes, Redneck Press. Plus, despite the review by Denis Daley, people found the cover funny. 

Reason: People search for Dick Butkus and Teisha Twomey a lot! (plus there are nifty videos of each of them posted in the blog). 

Reason: The Shutting Door had a lot of buzz about it. It's either that or that people are stalkers.

Reason: There are a ton of poets listed within this post and people google themselves a lot. There is also a link to the number nine most popular blog posting of 2013...ah, yes, people like drama. 

Reason: People love the Wigleaf list of Top 50 Short Fictions. It's much more anticipated than my Top Ten Viewed Blog Posts of 2013/ 

Reason: I'd like to think that a lot of people were interested in ordering but truth be known, people like free shit.  

2. My wonderful acquaintance, Ned Vizzini, April 4, 1981 – December 19, 2013

Reason: People felt he was a great guy, a great writer and a good friend. This blog was written with great sadness.

And the number One most viewed blog post of 2013

1. A new kind of announcement: Old work unpublished by Squawk Back!

Reason: Writers other than myself were outraged by the possibility of being "unpublished". Did I wish this controversy to die? Sure and it did, well...until now. Sorry. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Modern Form of Disorderly Conduct, in Right Hand Pointing #71

Hipsters, Hockey and Homelessness come together in my flash piece published today in Right Hand Pointing #71. Somehow "new" music gets infused with my daughter's ice-hockey and the people that scrape the ice. Amusing how resources can be drained by hipsters that live at home!

This is NOT arena music...

Also great work by the following:


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Year in Review: My year in publishing, 2013

Thanks to all the readers and editors. It's been a blessed year.

Here's the complete list followed by the links

1    Full length poetry book
1    Poetry chapbook
18  Works of fiction and flash fiction
1    Co-written work of flash fiction
13   Poems
1     Non-fiction piece

(For the complete list since the beginning of time go HERE from this link)


The Shutting Door, September 2013, Ibbetson Street Press

Anti-Social Network, May 2013, Red Neck Press


"A Modern Form of Disorderly Conduct"
December 28, 2013 Right Hand Pointing

"How It Worked for Them"
December 1, 2013 In Between Altered States

"Tours of Duty"
October 15, 2013 Midway Journal

"How Penguins Break" 
October 13, 2013 Uno Kudo 

"NFL Preview, New England Patriots"
September 6, 2013 American Short Fiction

"Where (in the) House", July 22, 2013 Santa Fe Literary Review, Print

"Sissy Spacek", July 12, 2013 Bartleby and Snopes, Issue 10, Print

"Joe the Salamander"
June 24, 2013 Go Read Your Lunch

"Sissy Spacek"
April 9, 2013 Bartleby Snopes

"After Receiving a Picture of Dick Butkus via Text Message"
(written with Teisha Twomey), March 14, 2013 Metazen

"Twin Gets Just Desserts", March 4, 2013 In Between Altered States #33

"Leftovers at the Lays Factory", March 3, 2013 Wigleaf
"Dear Wigleaf"

"Where Do You Bury The Survivors", February 28, 2013 The Legendary
"Full Moon"
"About Shooting"

"Their Own Planet", January 30, 2013 Men in the Company of Women Anthology, Print
"The Transference of Todd and Lucy"

"Happy Holidays", January 11, 2013 Exquisite Quartet, 2012 Print Anthology
(written with Meg Tuite, Dena Rash Guzman and Robin Stratton)


"Manomet Point"
November 22, 2013,Oddball Magazine

"The Shutting Door"
September 18, 2013,The Somerville Times

"While I'm Driving Home"
August 19, 2013,Ampersand Review

"What The Boy Prays For"
August 12, 2013,Ampersand Review

"The Photo Album"
June 1, 2013, Ibbetson 33

"Definition of You"
May, 2013, The Brownstone Poets 2013 Anthology

"The Last Time in the Woods"
May 1, 2013,Poetica

"Meeting With Father Vincent"
April 9, 2013,Extract(s)

"Fresh Water"
April 1, 2013, Stone Soup Presents, Fresh Broth

"Scientific Purposes"
March 16, 2013,Boston Literary Magazine

"Losing My Best Friend to Heroin"
"I Have Mostly Nightmares"
January 30, 2013 Men in the Company of Women Anthology, Print


September 18, 2013, The Somerville Times: Lyrical Somerville
"A Seven Year Old Takes a Drink"


Sunday, December 22, 2013

RIP my friend Ned Vizzini, April 4, 1981 – December 19, 2013

On October 28, 2010 I had a reading with Ned Vizzini at The Wellesley Booksmith. The bookstore’s website listed it asJoin Ned Vizzini, best-selling author of It's Kind of a Funny Story, and his friend, author/poet Timothy Gager for a dynamic, dual presentation!  and the event announcement on Ned’s blog notes his reading with "friend, Timothy Gager." Ned Vizzini wasn’t a day-to-day friend but as someone who would pop in on me occaisionally he made more of a mark on me than most people I've met. The reason for this is that Ned openly battled depression and did so in a way that helped others. He wrote about, lectured on it and deeply supported young people who were having difficulties with this disease.

Let me flash back to February 2005 when I first met Ned. He was asked to feature at my Dire Literary Series and I was excited to hear him read from his book, “Be More Chill” Instead, he said he was reading new unpublished material. He flipped the pages onto the floor after he completed dark page after dark page. It was Chapter One of what would become “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”.  

After the reading he stayed at my house, commented on my “old school” REM album "Monster" and told me he had been hospitalized three months earlier. The “kind of funny part” was that his breakdown was related to the pressure of trying and not finishing what he called a “bad” novel and then banging out “It’s kind of a Funny Story” in about a  month after his release from Brooklyn’s Methodist Hospital. He also said, “Don’t worry, I’m doing better…it’s all behind me.” He was a gracious, intelligent and funny guest and we talked until 3 in the morning, mostly about music and of course writing of which he was very supportive.

Between then and October 2010 he called about every six months, mostly to just keep in touch. Throughout many of these conversations Ned was fighting a war with his career. Ned drove himself on the pressure to succeed more than anyone I’d ever met and ironically in the cold world of publishing he was very successful, yet it never seemed to be enough. After the Wellesley reading he was to give a lecture the next day at Lexington High School and needed some supplies; glue sticks and foam core for his presentation. He asked where the nearest Staples was but since it was after 9 it was closed. There was a CVS a mile away which I said we could go, but he lashed out and shouted, “It has to be a Staples.” Immediately in the next breath he apologized for his need to have things comfortable and we headed to the CVS and found everything he needed. Later at The Brickhouse Restaurant in Dedham, he told me he was married and was looking forward to having a family but a bit scared of the thought. It surprised me because it was the first he mentioned he had a wife. He said it happened quickly but he was never happier--and also, he said,  "check out her writing, it's wonderful." Throughout the meal he was very busy setting up by text, meetings to pitch the television screenplays he had been working on.

The last time we talked, it was all about Teen Wolf. He was energized that he was branching out into this world, succeeding but the pressure to do so was very hard. We never spoke again.

 I was saddened and shocked when I heard that he lost his battle with depression. He seemed so equipped to deal with it but I’ve learned for myself that there often is no defense.

I found an article from Neal Zupancic, wh0 put it best:

If there's one thing we can learn from Ned's life and work, it's that depression isn't a matter of being sad, and suicide isn't a matter of selfishly shirking your duties one last time.  Depression is a disease - a physiological problem, a chronic condition that you often cannot control.  Depression is more like asthma, but of the brain, and sometimes medications help, and sometimes you can get to a hospital in time, and sometimes they don't and you can't and sometimes people die of it.

I’d post a picture of Ned and I with our bro arms around each other our two readings but there are no pictures, only echoes, but there is this. Ned, like myself liked to record fake commercials. This one was filmed before his reading at The Dire Literary Series, February 2005 at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery, Cambridge, Ma.

This one of me from the Spring Street Cafe for "Timmy Tippy Cup" which, of course, was a fail and tipped over.

I am profoundly saddened by this loss. Marty Beckerman posted on Facebook, “All the hope he gave readers with "It's Kind Of A Funny Story", all the lives he saved, nothing changes that. The page still says, "Live. Live. Live. Live. Live."


UPDATE: One year later, Marty Beckerman writes about his wonderful best friend,.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Like me and win a free book.

I'm at 938 on my Facebook public page and would love 1,000 likes before 2014. 

Be one of the next 62 people to "like" this page and I'll put you in a random drawing for a free copy of "The Shutting Door"

So, have at it!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"How It Worked for Them" is published in the final In Between Altered States.

I hate to see them go. They've published eight of my flash stories since 2010. Here's the roll call.

1. You Have to Splice It Together
2 Closure
3 The Things We Have
4 I Don't Know Who You Are
5 Chiller
6 No Sex Since Last Spring
7 Twin Gets Just Desserts
8 How It Worked for Them

I love you, Aleathia Drehmer

 I must admit that they take some of my most twisted work. Let's see: Ruptured testicles, sliced off celebrity breasts, deadly car accidents, a sealed up vagina, The Who in Cincinnati, a pencil in the eyeball....check, check, check, check, check and check.

They also published one of my favorites, "No Sex Since Last Spring" in 2012 which wasn't as twisted. Today in their farewell issue my story, "How It Worked For Them" about two former addicts that work in at a home testing company appears.

It also asks the poignant question if there is there a difference between this

and this?

Makes you want to quit the corporate world, doesn't it?

Also appearing in their final issue are Robert VaughanEd Go, Carly BergJosh Olsen, John Vicary, Jesse Myner, and Len Kuntz

Friday, November 22, 2013

Oddball Magazine in partnership with Stone Soup publishes Manomet Point

Jason Wright (Oddball Magazine) has combined forces with the longest running weekly poetry series in the country, Stone Soup, which is hosted by Chad Parenteau.

My poem, Manomet Point. a poem about a perfect day,  is up at Oddball to promote my November 25th feature at Cambridge's Stone Soup.

Sounds like a love fest to me.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review for The Shutting Door and it's spectacular!

Dennis Daley who reviewed Anti-Social Network (but hated the cover) is back with a wonderful REVIEW OF "The Shutting Door" ON THE BOSTON SMALL PRESS AND POETRY SCENE PAGE.

How did it do?

I invite you to read the review a read and if you want to buy the book go HERE for all the options. Take it all in and take everything into account because as you know, poets are just lying in the dough.

UPDATE:  The review was reprinted in The Somerville Times on 11/28

Thursday, October 31, 2013

"The Shutting Door" nominated for Massachusetts Book Award

The Massachusetts Book Awards highlight the work of the contemporary writing community and encourage readers to do some "close reading" of those imaginative works created by the authors among us.

Throughout the award year, they develop a list of "Must Reads" in each of four award categories -- fiction, nonfiction, poetry & children's/young adult literature -- that have been written by Massachusetts writers or about Massachusetts themes. They also publish an annual MassBook Census of Massachusetts books. In addition, they name and promote an award winner in each of the categories.

For past winners, please check out this link. 

Special Halloween re-illustration of "Every Day There is So Much About Elephants"

Justin K.H Chen,  an artist in New York,  is working with  Smokelong Quarterly's Senor Editor, Tara Laskowski on an interesting illustration project. 

Here's what he wrote to Tara

 My goal was to create a print edition of a specially curated collection of fiction, from the 10 years archives of Smokelong Quarterly. This print edition still retains the components of a typical publication, but will not contain the actual writing. Instead each story will be expressed through a sequences of abstract images.

Here's what Justin created for my story, Every Day There is So Much About Elephants. The original illustration for the story was by Sue Miller, which appeared in March 2011, when the story originally did.

Some of Justin's work and the original Smokelong Stories appear today in their special Halloween Edition but can be viewed here.

The Collector” by Bess Winter
Remembering Elizabeth” by Bob Arter
Five Fat Men in a Hot Tub” by Jeff Landon
Dairy Queen” by Jennifer Pashley
Sleepless #7” by Joe Kapitan
Finally” by John Minichillo
Partners” by Simon Jacobs
Home Smells Like Mold” by Mary Hamilton
Rehearsal for Dinner Party Theater” by Pamela Painter

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Poet to Poet, Writer to Writer SCATV show hosted by Doug Holder, 28 minute interview/ plus a few poems

The video can be seen above.

My critique of my appearance:

When the show starts I do my typical nervous stuff: fake smiles, talking too quickly, cutting off Doug but then five minutes in I'm more relaxed...more myself. This gets shot to hell when I have to handle patching in phone calls from Susan Tepper, Ariel Mignon King and Chad Parenteau, while simultaneously not losing my train of thought. At least the Q and A was much better than when I was interviewed by Doug ten years ago when someone posed the question, "Would you blow the bald guy?"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Midway Journal publishes "Tours Of Duty"

Heroes come back from wars. They get introduced at sporting events, get put in parades and receive the attention they deserve. Behind the scenes it's not always that amazing. it's what I tried to capture in "Tours Of Duty" published last week in Midway Journal. 

Other fine work are included from  ,  , , and .

Check them out:

Midway Journal

Mixed Genre Editor
Prema Bangera
Non-fiction Editor
Priscilla Kinter
Poetry Editor
Molly Sutton Kiefer
Fiction Editor
Ralph Pennel
Assistant Fiction Editor
Prema Bangera
Fiction Reader
Ashley Shroeder
Contributing Editors
Justin Maxwell
Rebecca Weaver

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Uno Kudo, Vol. 3 includes "How Penguins Break"

Uno Kudo, Vol 3, is out today with some amazing work of both writing and art. You can purchase it by clicking the link RIGHT HERE. The cover (shown below) was banned by Facebook because of their nudity policy, which, of course in the arts, being naked is accepted and should not be debatable.

The journal features new work from the usual suspects:
Mike Corum Heather Dorn Mik Everett Jonathan Greenhause Kyle Hemmings Karlee Johnson B.J. Jones Jen Knox Heather Kroupa Susan Lewis Frankie Metro Kristine Ong Muslim Kenneth Pobo J.J. Steinfeld Ryan Swofford Meg Tuite Robert Vaughan Marvin Waldman

Art from Ramona Zordini, Victor Castillo, Deedee Cheriel, and Jeremy Geddes.  

Bud Smith, Aaron Dietz and  Erin McParland do their thing by putting it all together.

My story, "How Penguins Break" has to do with two wind-up penguin toys and how they symbolically represent a current relationship. Please be careful to not over-wind them because that would cause them to break and no longer clomp around with one another.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What Do Women Want? What Do Men Want?

My poem in "The Shutting Door", "What Do Men Want, for Kim A" is causing a lot of confusion, both on the page or when read live. What it is, is a hardcore sex poem...not erotica, but sex. Why would that be misunderstood, even after I explained it in 2010? Let me count some of the ways.

1) You have to know the poem, "What Do Women Want" by Kim Addonizio but since I only cited "for Kim A", instead of  "after Kim Addonizio's poem What Do Women Want" there is not enough frame of reference.

Her poem begins

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me. 


I want a woman in a red dress.
flimsy and cheap, too tight.
I want her to wear it
until I can tear it off her.  

2) I read this poem in Cambridge and some chump cited it to make me look bad to a female friend of mine, which is a douchy guy move. He tried to make me feel like this:

I want a red dress. I want it flimsy and cheap, I want it too tight, I want to wear it until someone tears it off me. - See more at:
I want a red dress. I want it flimsy and cheap, I want it too tight, I want to wear it until someone tears it off me. - See more at:
I want a red dress. I want it flimsy and cheap, I want it too tight, I want to wear it until someone tears it off me. - See more at:
Again, not enough frame of reference. Ironically, she happened to be the one that picked that poem for me to read aloud that day. He ended up the chumped one, so roll out, dude. 

Fact: I don't own a van. 

3) People don't like the first person. People want "I" to be always be the poet or writer. Even if they know better, they still get tricked.  

Repeat after me: 
The narrator may be very different from the author. 
The narrator may be very different from the author. 
The narrator may be very different from the author.  

4) "What Do Men Want" is not "Fifty Shades of Grey", poetry version. Very graphic work makes people uncomfortable. Today my co-worker told me his wife blushed when reading it.  Enough said. 

5) Lay people expect poetry to be nice. They want it simple, about nature or flowers...even thematic. When writing about breasts, lay people expect them to be referred to as bosoms. Oh, and they may expect all of the above to rhythm.

6) The rest of the poems in "The Shutting Door" are tame in comparison so when you read that one near the end, it makes you go, "Gah."

7) Where credit is due: Kim Addonizio is a tremendous poet and is obviously pretty amazing. Her poem is very well know, except by those I am confusing by not giving enough frame of reference.  

8) People might think it's about them because a) they want it to be or b) they don't.  There may be a c) all of the above, which just adds to theory that people are very confused. 

I hope I've cleared things up. Here is Kim Addonizio's poem in it's entirety. 

What Do Women Want

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

Should you be scared by her poem? No. Should you be scared of my answer? I think not. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Gessy Alvarez's Community---Re-posting links of published work

Gessy Alvarez  is doing something very cool. It's an idea I always thought would be great for a Literary Magazine, since the combination of  having "more writers than readers" and their work having "all rights reverting back to the author".

What Gessy is calling community was a call for submission for writers to re-post links from their work. What I gave her were pieces from Metazen, Right Hand Pointing and In Between Altered States. Also included:
 Alex Pruteanu,Bill YarrowDavid S. AtkinsonFred ArroyoGloria Garfunkel, Kelly Clayton,MaryAnne KoltonStephen V Ramey, and Teisha Twomey.

Here's the complete list of links from Gessy's Community

Timothy Gager and Teisha Twomey


Timothy Gager

No Sex Since Last Spring (In Between Altered States, September 1, 2012)
A Circus Story (Right Hand Pointing)

Kelly Clayton


Gloria Garfunkel

Great Expectations (Camroc Press Review, July 3, 2013)

Fred Arroyo

Pulsar Watches (Watershed Review)
Literacy (The New Poet, Issue 5, May 2013)

MaryAnne Kolton

Sabeen (Thrice Fiction, Issue No. 7, March 2013, pp. 39-41)

Alex M. Pruteanu

Everything Rhymes with Orange (The Prague Revue: A Literary Journal of Cultural Review, August 26, 2013)

David S. Atkinson

Monkey! Monkey! Monkey! Monkey! Monkey! (Wilderness House Literary Review, Vol. 8, No. 2)
Happy Trails (Martian Lit, June 10, 2013)

Stephen V. Ramey

Tomorrow I Will Skydive (Every Day Fiction)
The Sea as a Sickness (Apocrypha and Abstractions, September 12, 2013)

Bill Yarrow

The Transportation of Hens (Jewish Journal, July 17, 2013)