Kamby Bolongo Mean River named one of 25 Important Books of the 2000s by HTML Giant

KBMR was named one of 25 Important Books of the decade by HTML Giant. And was a Page One selection of New & Noteworthy Books by Poets & Writers Magazine.

Monday, November 28, 2011

No news today - Guest Post - Matthew Simmons

I’ve been thinking a little about politics. Politics are, it seems, all around us these days. (These days sitting over here near us as opposed to those days sitting over there next to other people.) Here are some things that I’ve been thinking about politics:

/ Rick Perry looks like a baseball glove sitting on a kid’s desk with rubber bands around it and an old baseball in the pocket. And the kid will never play with that ball or that glove.

/ Michelle Bachmann looks like an iced tea pitcher on blond wood sideboard filled with that light green flavor of Crystal Light and a couple of lemon slices.

/ Tim Pawlenty looks like a really far away comet seen through some sort of high-powered space telescope, it’s tail really small because it’s not all that close to our sun or any sun.

/ Herman Cain looks like a man made entirely by hyper-intelligent, blind frogs who have had men described to them but have never touched the face or body of a man with their webbed hands.

/ Newt Gingrich looks like the sun exploded and we all went underground, and we all learned to live without sun, and we all learned to live together, and we all found out living together wasn’t terribly fulfilling, so we all stopped eating.

/ John Huntsman looks like Mitt Romney looks like.

/ Mitt Romney looks like John Huntsman looks like.

/ Ron Paul looks like a tree falling in the woods and everybody hears it because everybody lives in the woods together in a house made of gingerbread. And we’re all witches waiting for kids. And the tree falls outside, and we stop stirring the pot. We wonder about that tree that fell. Wonder, also, when the kids are going to show.

/ Rick Santorum, for all the world, actually really does look like the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is the byproduct of anal sex. That poor man. That poor, poor man. Looking that way. For all the rest of his life.

Matthew Simmons is the author of the novella A JELLO HORSE (Publishing Genius Press, 2009) and the short collection THE MOON TONIGHT FEELS MY REVENGE (Keyhole Press, 2010). He lives in Seattle with his cat, Emmett.

Monday, November 21, 2011

No news today - Guest Post - Tanya Whiton

Weird Animals

No longer a subscriber to my local paper, an ever-thinner tabloid of familial violence and budget cuts (we are too poor here to do anything but murder our mothers and fathers), I recently turned to Google News. It is the first time I’ve had to publicly declare my interests, news-wise; my local rag features fishing accidents and disappeared girls, and national concerns are relegated to a few front page items. The rest is AP wire service (Tajikistan? Where is Tajikistan?) and columns by writers who trend toward the heartwarming —perhaps to counter the alarming number of matricides.

But I am uncertain about which stories to follow, and worse, concerned about what the threads I do pursue might reveal about my intellectual acuity, good citizenship, and taste. What will people try to sell me, based on my preferences? Am I an ugly American, more concerned with U.S. news than World news? No, I determine. I slide the preference bar to “always” next to World news and “often” next to U.S. I will learn Spanish. I will get a better grasp on geography. I will work magic with just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Next decision: Do I really care about Business news? How about Technology? Do I ever want to retire? I should know more about Business. In the subcategory of finance, I learn that the average American is over $4,000 in debt, and being ranked among average Americans, when I have just signaled my concern about global issues, irks me. I move the fader back and forth between often and sometimes. But wait. Is Business more important than technology? I like robots, and if I set my interest in Business higher than technology, will stories about robots be buried at the bottom of my personal news feed? I settle for Business sometimes, and Technology sometimes, and leave off any fine-tuning in the personal finance department.

I haven’t even read the day’s headlines, and already I’m exhausted. Once again, I see that the clamoring masses, the jersey-wearing, ball-catching, cheer-shouting horde are insisting that I must consider Sports. I move the Sports preference bar to “rarely” and then click on the little trashcan. I can throw Sports into the trash, all of those humiliations, my complete lack of spatial coordination, my only child’s perplexity over team dynamics, right into the rubbish with one click.

Then a story catches my eye: Kobe Bryant is failing. I’m interested in failure. For Kobe, I add Sports back to my list, and in an unabashed display of my true enthusiasms, I bump Entertainment up to “always” and fall into a forty-five minute long Google-a-thon that gets me stuck like shoe goo on Rolling Stone Magazine’s web site looking at photos of Juggalos, so joyful and hideous, indulging in their annual tribal ritual.

Health I leave at “sometimes” since I am a hypochondriac, and it’s better to not even consider the subject, and then I discover that Science news is dedicated largely to the Mars Rover (we love you, Mars Rover! Keep on trucking!) and to weird animals. I spend some time among the weird animals, lamenting their disappearances, and wondering at their interesting defense mechanisms. In my quest to adapt, I find myself motoring in a curiously oxygen free environment, my attempts to mask my true nature inadequate.

Tanya Whiton has published stories and poems in literary journals including Western Humanities Review, Northwest Review and Crazyhorse. Her short story “Giving Her Away” was included in the 2006 anthology The Way Life Should Be: A Collection of Stories by Contemporary Maine Writers. She was recipient of the 2009 Martin Dibner Memorial Fellowship for Poets, and the 2000 Martin Dibner Fellowship for Fiction Writers. A resident of Portland, Maine, she has taught for the Lesley Seminars, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, the Stonecoast Writers’ Conference, and the University of Southern Maine. She is currently the Assistant Director of the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

No news today - Guest Post - Amy Albracht

My middle term memory is the only one worth a damn.

God grant me the ability to remember some of The Serenity Prayer. I know wisdom needs to come into play and saying that combination of words used to make me feel lighter. Somehow I managed to not tell off the social worker that said, “Anyone who has been sick for X amount of years is going to have some depression.” Sister, you are not going to pin denial on me.

It’s coming back to me now. Finding out what I can change and what I can’t change has used me up and I have burned like a seven-dollar tip on a table of twelve just to still be here.

When you are living on the old homestead people advise you on what kind of birdseed to buy. They push the songbird mix. My aim is to feed the guttersnipes and catfish birds so I just grab whatever is cheapest. I have a long list of errands to run, to get by the post office box and buy some more birdseed.

I’m so dried out that I’ve mashed up all my ex’s in my mind and I act like we’re all on good terms. And I don't exist to even a single one.

I heard a joke you would like. If you invite a Baptist to go fishing with you, why do you have to invite at least one more? There’s no point bothering with the punch line because you understand it better than anyone. You also know that I don’t like people watching me cook. I always get cuts and burns, but they are more serious when I am being watched. Turns out, no matter how big the kitchen, I’m still a messy cook. And if I’m a cook, then I might be a tax expert too, because I file those forms from time to time.

When I go to a potluck, I want my casserole to be popular because I know that all eyes will never be on me when I enter the bar. But that doesn’t stop me from making the rounds, alternating tequila and OJs and whatever light beer is on tap. Sometimes I prefer to bar hop during the day. In one of my regular spots the light breaking into the dusty stained glass flatters me. Jimmy tipped me off to this and it keeps me coming back. He said, “Your eyes are so blue today.” So I looked at him and saw that his Irish stubble was blazing red and I told him so. That was it. He returned to his position near the register and propped up a foot on the speed rack as I finished my Grasshopper.

But the best thing in that bar happened at night. I was sitting with my back to the wall and I saw all of it. A young woman with a face better than money stepped down from her bar stool. She was dressed in the fashion of her day. No. Her clothes ventured out in front of that dateline. Her costume came to a close with yards of pearls that looped around her neck and swayed to her little waist. She broke into a perfect Charleston that cancelled out the garbage coming from the jukebox. She had made her point when one of her perfectly crisp yet devil may care hands caught on a strand of her necklace. The string gave and the pearls went separate ways, filling the air like electrons are said to stake out solid objects. They hit the checkerboard tile floor all at once and jumped back up, head-high with the single crack of a thousand billiard racks being broken. From there, each pearl followed its own path. The crashing and bouncing and dribbling took an hour to die out. Her friends scattered to gather up the beads but some only leaned close to the floor and laughed.

The other benefit to drinking early is that by the time you are heading to check on your mother-in-law it’s dark out. You don’t have to look at the Jesus paraphernalia filling up the birdbath in front of the house at the turn. I guess it’s true that birds neither sow nor reap and make out fine, but clogging up their bath with propaganda seems like overkill. Hang in there, pigeons. Let’s everyone hang in there.

Amy Albracht is the author of countless e-mails. You can find other work by her at www.amyalbracht.com.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No news today - Guest Post - Nelly Reifler

Five-Star Review.

I love this product!!! Ever since I first heard about it, I’ve been excited to try it! I ordered it ages ago, but as everybody knows, they ran out of it really fast, and then it was out of stock forever. I was soooo worried that I’d never get it! I was also worried that maybe the new version wasn’t going to be as good as the classic—and of course the classic was what everybody was raving about. But it finally arrived this morning, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed!!!
I waited until the UPS truck drove away (I’m always a little embarrassed to see the UPS guy—I get SO much stuff delivered, but if you’ve read my reviews before you know that’s because I leave the apartment pretty much NEVER, which he doesn’t know). I ran down, grabbed the package off the stoop, and high-tailed it back upstairs.

I ripped open the box and tried it out right away! It stung a little at first, but I was prepared because all the reviews mentioned the stinging. Also, I have to say, if you’re very sensitive, like M. P. in SC, you might want to do a patch test first. *I* didn’t *bleed* per se, but there were these little beads (I mean really just dots!) of blood. They went away pretty fast. I wouldn’t call it “bleeding.” Same with the “cramping.” I did what everybody said to do in the reviews: take deep breaths while it’s absorbing and DON’T stand up too quickly! The only place where I had numbness was in my thumbs and big toes (I know—weird, right?). Make sure you’re in the bathroom the first time you use it, because like a bunch of people say, it might make you need to “go”. General note: I’d recommend being at home when you try it out.

It took a little while to work, and I have to admit, there were a few moments when I thought nothing was going to happen. I thought I might be in that small percentage of people (like, on this site, J.T. in NV and A.L. in MN) who see no effects from it. I was sitting there on the toilet lid for what seemed like forever. Some of you will remember from other reviews of mine the unusual setup of my bathroom, with the big window across from the toilet...? At night I always put the blinds down, but during the day, when nobody can see in (and, I mean, who would *want* to, anyway--haha) I keep them up. So, I was nervously/excitedly waiting for something to happen and watching the neighbors go about their business, when one of the nuns came out into the convent garden. I love the nuns, but I *hate* it when they look at me. I’m always like, can they see my sins? I leaned back a little, even though (duh) I knew she didn’t even know *I* was looking at *her*. She put a foam pad thing down on the stone patio. Then she kneeled on it—really flexible for an elderly lady!— and took some gloves and shears out of a little basket, and she started to trim what were I guess dead branches off the lower part of a shrub. Nuns prune! She wasn’t wearing an official *habit*, just a gray smock, and her head was bare and she had short gray hair like a lot of them. I kept glancing in my hand mirror it to see if anything had changed. It hadn’t. (Sigh). And then I’d go back to the nun. I wondered if nuns care about *this* kind of thing. Do they want to *feel better* about themselves? Or is that not part of the experience of being a nun? It’s not about them, but about serving God? Or Jesus? What IS the Trinity, anyway? But really—and I don’t know if any nuns visit this site, and if you do, maybe you can answer my questions—it seems like nuns wouldn’t *need* a product like this! They might be some of the only people who don’t. The nun was gathering up her twigs into a paper bag when I started to feel it. It was HAPPENING!!!

I was so, so, SO happy! I immediately got up and went to the sink and looked in the vanity mirror, so I could see three views at once. That was this morning. I CAN’T STOP looking in the mirror!!! I haven’t felt this gorgeous in years. Actually, I haven’t ever felt this gorgeous! In high school, nobody noticed me. I was so drab and blah, and I was always wrapped in this shell of shyness and insecurity. And there were other factors like my mother, the hurricane, stepfather (and his whiskey), half-brother, the belt, sleeping in the station wagon, tilt-a-whirl accident, etc. etc. In college, I *did* get noticed, but—like so many people—it was just because I learned to give blowjobs (I know, tell me about it, I was a late bloomer!) and I turned out to be good at them. So, anyway, suddenly, here I am, years later, parading around my apartment naked, ADMIRING myself!

For the first time, I feel like ME! I keep touching my own skin and kissing myself! I keep thinking about my bones and the way they’re put together with joints! I keep thinking about my lips and how they stay wet, how I lick them without even consciously noticing they need lubrication! There’s an electric charge between my eyes and everything I see! I can’t stop moving—even now, typing this review, I’m dancing inside my brain! I always thought I was less than a person! I always thought that because of EVERYTHING that happened I could never fall in love! I always felt like I was about to die of loneliness! I always felt like my flesh was going to turn into cinders and drift away on the air currents! But I can fall in love! I know this because I AM in love with my new me!!!

I highly recommend this product.

-L.G. in PA

Nelly Reifler is the author of See Through, a collection of stories. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and Pratt Institute.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No news today - Guest Post - Catherine Foulkrod

He becomes public. Our man breaks world record, becomes a statistic for hope. Trapped between aging and dying, he is made a Newsprint Baby, deemed a sage, captioned as the oldest man living, given a Goddamn plaque. We draw near with quiet desires for longevity, and listen.

“I sleep like a dog,” he says.

Catherine Foulkrod lives/writes in Brooklyn.