Friday, August 14, 2020

Scott Seckel's "Despoblado"

Meet Val, one of Scott Seckel’s characters in his short story “Despoblado” from Deep Wild 2020, as he meets some fellow backcountry animals:

"It was an August night on the far east side of the Mazatzal Mountains. He was twenty-three. A pair of diamondbacks hit in a spontaneous one-two. One punctured his right calf. The other struck the outside of his left shin. The bites felt no worse than thorn pricks.

"The right snake’s head was broad as a hoe. Val saw its jaws flex as it pumped in venom. Its body was too thick to reach around. Using both hands, he frantically tried to rip it out of his leg. The fangs stuck in the wound. The third time they tore free. His calf was trenched more than an inch deep. He smashed the snake’s skull against a rock.

"The other rattler successfully disengaged its target. After striking, it withdrew in a coil beneath a saltbush. Val hacked it apart with a machete, then sank to the ground. Pain and swelling started in fifteen minutes."

Order Deep Wild #2 to read the rest!


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The One

Recently re-discovered the copy of CURBSIDE REVIEW (I guess now defunct) in which this appeared, way back in 2003. 

The One


            Tu es pure, tu es encore plus

            pure que moi-même



If I say I have given up nothing

it is not true

and the smoke doesn’t care

if I go


her mouth

her eyes

I may be the only one to speak of them

the only one to have been surrounded

and choked by the heat


and fire has a face

a hated face

a hating face

your face

you who I will not name who other men have known


the dirt says: on me

the ashes say: on me

embers sense your presence

and our best moments

still burn


the sadness of knowing you

the sadness of having you

or not


the impatience of waiting

the corruption

you who forgets


who brings absence and takes me from the world

I hate you for crying

which destroys me and creates itself

like fire



Sunday, August 9, 2020

Movies I've seen at least three times

 Movies I've seen at least three times and have somehow formed my life

1. Star Wars

I saw the first movie thirteen times in theaters when it came out. It's a space opera, perhaps cheeseball, yet at the time, visually, it was amazing. I felt like Luke in real life, living lonely on a desolate planet. I still feel that way. And I wanted to be Han Solo. I still feel that way.

2. Aliens

The first, Alien, is also a classic, maybe even visually and artistically more so than Aliens, but there is something about this one, the non-stop action, but I love Vasquez. Ripley too, she was even smarter, but both offered me the strong women of comic books, strong women I've always looked for since. But more than one other young man I knew in the 90s loved Vasquez too, and her call to action has been mine for my life: "Let's rock!!"

3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

I'd even argue The Life of Brian is better, but The Holy Grail was the first of theirs I saw, and changed how I saw humor: mockery and satire, above all to oneself. As a D&D nerd, this one hit home.

4. Blood of Heroes

With Rutger Hauer and Joan Chen. My group of high school friends, boys and girls, all loved this one, though I'm not sure how popular it ever was. That scene at the end—Joan Chen: I don't want to lose. Hauer: Then win.

5. Rollerball

All three times in my teens, I think. The original, with James Caan, spoke to something in the angry soccer player of my younger self: "This isn't a game! It was never meant to be!" There's something about all sports in that statement. Recently re-watched and it holds up.

6. The Seven Samurai

I would be one of the group of misfits, wanting to do the right thing and defend the defenseless.

7. Blade Runner

Any version, though the Director's Cut (without the voiceover) is best. Combining sci-fi with noir is genius. But the question of what makes us human (memories? emotions?) is still relevant. Loved the sequel too.

8. The Piano

The only woman-directed film on the list, I know. All three of the actors are intense powerhouses. Holly Hunter (without speaking!) gave me the first real look into women's desires and fears and the balancing acts they have to perform. I would be (am) Harvey Keitel putting his tongue in the hole in her stocking.

9. Casablanca

Probably on everybody's list. The choice: he could get the woman, but gives her up for the greater cause. I want to love people because they serve a greater cause.

10. Barfly

It's gritty. It's about the lowlife class which rarely gets representation. Which is what Charles Bukowski was always writing about. The beauty and the despair of being poor. Creating out of that.

11. Apocalypse Now

The original, not the Redux version. The extra footage doesn't add anything. I don't even like Martin Sheen or his performance—he was added late, was supposed to be Harvey Keitel I think (and imagine that)—it's everyone else in the movie, and it's the madness, not just of war, but of life. In a sense, and I just thought of this, Sheen works because he's so blank: he just wanders through the quest, already damaged from life, already shut down emotionally.

12. Spinal Tap

I saw the bass player Billy Sheehan give a talk, and he said, "I didn't think Spinal Tap was funny. All that stuff has happened to me." Which makes it funnier. The deadpan humor, everything played straight. I think it's somehow a mockumentary about men, in general, somehow. And not just musicians, but anyone who loves rock/metal music loves this movie. Because it's true.

13. Sex, Lies and Videotape

I relate to James Spader's character, his distance and desire, and I love the contrast between the people who are having sex but who are not connected/intimate, and his desire for, but fear of, intimacy.


Honorable mentions:

The Company

Man On Wire


They Live

A box of incense—micro-fiction

 My micro-fiction, "A box of incense," now up at VOL. 1 BROOKLYN: