Short stories


     Sitting in this flop with a picture of you, a chicken pot pie, gallon of Gallo and little else; watching cracks on the wall; hoarse cough nextdoor, the oldfart damn near dead from WWI wounds, dead wives, Bugler and even cheaper wine than I drink; upstairs the nineteen year old Krishna freak without a dime and lacking a brain, chanting muffled through the floor, which is my ceiling, plaster praying to be left alone and let fall and goddamn skidroad god letting the ceiling/floor have its way through slow pain, I love you, but understand why I left.

     It’s hot here. One jammed window and it looks out five feet onto the brick of a sooty warehouse. Tattered oilcloth shade. Stink of gas now tinted with heating potpie. Steamheat permanently high. Landlady same.

     She offers me an extra blanket whenever I pass her shadowy desk in the lobby. She once had a wino freeze to death, she says, and is terrified of death and all its concomitant responsibilities. Fusty creature, sticky booze on her lips.

     No, I have not fucked her yet. Nor anything else. Still jack off to your picture, or sometimes simply jingle the change in my pocket.

     Here the ceiling is high and obscure. Lamp by my creaky bed the only light. Forty watts of consolation. Still, some previous pervert managed to get way up and scrawl with lipstick or blood or beetshit a poem concerning the necessity of leaving your jane to go to war when your country has gotten into hot water. Sonofabitch even rhymes: war/whore, jane/pain, water/ ought to.

     Soon the pot pie will be hot. I plan to eat it with a plastic fork. I am leaving you the silverware. I think it was yours anyway. All the rest is yours, too, and this letter. Send along another picture. I left because there was no longer any poetry to be found.    

Willie Smith

Short stories

Superman Rant

How do you fuck Lois Lane? You do it in the missionary position. I know. With the lights out. Never experiment. No joy involved. In out in out. No thought of poor Lois Lane. Your greed in the bedroom knows no bounds. It’s me me me Superman. You manage five seconds. Grabbing. Ramming. No kiss kiss. Pounding. Not even a sweat. And afterwards you weep like a tortured fool missing his fingernails and teeth. Yes, you weep. You plead for God to bless your holy seed. Wasted. I bet when you roll off Lois Lane with you limp dick spent you thank her. You roll onto your side, close his eyes, and pray. I bet Lois Lane rubs one off thinking of Batman. Once a groupie always a groupie! Superman is for the elite. Superman votes Republican. Superman hates rock n roll. Superman hates poetry. Superman is day. Superman is never night. I see Superman in a floral tie and smoking a thick cigar and saying I want more and more I want it all.  Superman reeks of whiskey and expensive aftershave. Superman does the double V for victory. Superman is obsessed with money. Superman is a narcissist. Superman is a bore. Superman has more billions than you. Superman has more friends than you. Superman would bore the shit out of you!  Superman is verbose! Superman is aknowitall! one clause too many! In HIS chair, next to His fire, and He opines about everything and nothing, rants, shouts all the time.  Is always in the Right.  Superman is never wrong. Superman hates women. Superman is no feminist. Superman hates mothers.  Superman hates little girls. Superman is a front room Victorian father. Superman is a Tyrant in the kitchen. Superman is a Puritan in the bedroom. I picture Superman and Lois Lane having a quiet night at home. He in His comfy chair, puffing on His thick cigar, rolling His eyes, complaining about those that have cancer, those that had any disease, those that need schools, those that need a dentist, those that have more than two children, those that are lazy, those that want to spend time having fun, those that don’t have a bank account, those that dream, those that want a better life, those that are not white!  Lois Lane is drunk, knitting, cursing the black man, cursing the brown man, cursing the yellow man just to keep Superman happy.  And then they go to bed, pray, turn off the lights and she starts with her hands, fingers roaming heavy breathing and you are thinking I should sock her, I should roundhouse her, I should karate chop her, I should shut her up. Superman never gives a man or a woman a second chance. You mess up and you’re out with Superman.  One mess up and that’s it, down you go. There’s no ambivalence with Superman. Superman is always right. Yes, always right. Superman sits in His comfy chair, smoking on His thick cigar, drinking His fine whiskey, and remembers the Good Old’ Days! When men were men and women were women and business was business. Superman remembers crushing those free thinkers: General Zod and Ursa and Non and laughs. General Zod and Ursa and Non were hippies just longhaired hippies. Listened to too much Beatles and that Narc Leary!  Lex Luthor bad? Hell. No. Superman puts down Lex Luthor. Why? Lex Luthor was a small-town boy, a self-made man, a huge success, a billionaire! Superman wants to return to the Golden Age, women in high heels and in the kitchen, mixing the drinks.  Men ruling the bedroom. Superman always knows he is going to win. Superman made sure Supergirl was a flop. He used all of his powers within the Firm to destroy her. Supergirl didn’t stand a chance.

Larry Caomhánach

Short stories


Perfectly aware of wearing only underwear, I shoved my fist down the throat of a Waring blender shoplifted last year from Salvation Army. My left index stabbed the puree button. I sought the pure experience.

     The engine locked into a screech. Blades bit knuckles; blood seeped, stung, itched; while from the shoulder I wrenched, beefed into it, matching downward thrust against torque.

     Bitterly the stalled machine yielded stink.

     Kept up pressure. Used left to key suicide prevention. Hit speaker phone. When the do-gooder answered, I blurted a bomb threat. Yelled it repeatedly, till I heard them scurry. Confident they were evacuating, I then punched off.

     No turning back. Nothing now between me and the petulant convenience. Sure – yellowbelly shivers blued the flesh; lemon of a mind salted knuckles, as the stinking blade whined slightly deeper slits; but my soul rubbed hands in glee: I was gonna show more guts than Ulysses. I would choke Charybdis, throttle Progress’s whirlpool – the delusion evolution has a goal, creation a crown, man a god beyond the law of tooth and claw.

     Or else – bit by bit – arrive today where I’m headed anyway.

Willie Smith



There are pieces of us

That hide in little lockets

And a tide swarms in and drowns

A hand that sneaked

A dozen faces into secret pockets.

No one tells you

Who you are and no one really

Knows you.

And every casual romance

You caught in the corner of your eye as you glanced

At the dance of some momentary love, has already passed.

Has been hated and forgiven.

Every moment; stolen.

Tick Tock someone else’s clock

Was always ticking for you.

From the corner of times eye

Time watched you tumble down the stairs but couldn’t help or step inside

Or stop you.

Stuart Knowles


The Gunslinger

The Gunslinger died this morning

A driedup worm on El Paso concrete

Happened in a child’s bed.

There was a pillow & a blanket.

There was a scar around the neck

Not the scar of a failed hanging

But shirtcollar too small.

The Gunslinger was more Cagney

Than Fonda.

Hammered cowboyboots heelshaved and leaky.

The spurs rusted.

Gun missing.

And no wife outside wept and no whores

Drank rye

And the cardplayers

Never missed a hand.

The Gunslinger said twenty-eight men he shot & killed

In Reno just to see them dance.

The Gunslinger possessed  

Thanatic Magnetism

Said an old whore in Cali

She refused to believe his Irish redhair

Was gone

Nobody in the hotel knew his name

The dead Gunslinger.

To the grave the Gunslinger was


In nothing but purple Yfronts.

Anthony James Bergman



Shakespeare achieved a thunderous cough and then shat his pants and died. That’s what happens.  You cough. You shit your pants. You die. Happens to the best of us. I plan on following Heracles & Theseus & Odysseus & Aeneas. Back then you had to pay to go to Hades. You used an obol. An obol is a mundane coin that goes through a metamorphosis. You received the obol on your deathbed. A family member placed the obol on the eyes of the dead. The dead carried the obol into Hades. And to cross the River Styx, which you have to do, you pay the son of Night and of Erebus, Charon, for his service. I am going to Hades and that’s my choice. Heaven is not an option. I’ve been a bad boy. Soon I will be dead and Hades follows death for me. Aristophanes mocked Hades by having frogs down there croaking. Hades is easy to find. We know that the entrance to Hades can be found at Avernus, a crater near Cumae, Italy. Andrea De Jorio drew a map. It is a beautiful map. I possess the map. It is dear to me. The map shows you how to get to Hades, and unintentionally, how to get back from Hades. The Renaissance painter, Karlus Zožičević painted the interior of Hades. It is this Hades I plan on visiting.  Vasari mentions Karlus Zožičević only once, it is a footnote, and it mocks Karlus Zožičević. Vasari, as with Dante, always repaid a slur. Pope Alexander VI commissioned Karlus Zožičević to paint Hades. He wanted a painting to keep him on the straight and narrow in his final years. Zožičević known on the streets of Rome and Milan as Karlus the Sycophant painted Hades for Pope Alexander VI in a matter of days. What he depicted was not some caldron of fire and damnation but a Garden of Earthly Delights with a few rain clouds. Pope Alexander VI was overjoyed. Karlus the Sycophant showed the Pope in all his Priapean majesty. All the females were exaggerated, no two breasts were alike, no pair of nipples the same color, and the brush strokes animated the pubic hair. This greatly pleased the moribund Pope Alexander VI. All men were omitted. Sadly, Hitler’s Luftwaffe destroyed the painting, but we know of its existence because the Knights of Malta would hang the painting on the anniversary of Pope Alexander VI’s death and shit. Heracles & Theseus & Odysseus & Aeneas did not have to experience death to go to Hades. They slit the throats of animals and poured libations to the Gods. That’s how they got entrance to Hades. They paid. Abd more importantly for me they always returned and told their story. Ah, Hades! more Disneyland than Disney.

Larry Caomhánach



I was bung outta dung.

I was bunged in.

I didn’t know where to crap I was

gonna get any more dung.

I checked inside my wallet and

nope, not a turd, not so much

as a drop of piss.

I was bung outta dung,

I was bunged in.

I knew there was a lotta dung downtown.

I could smell it. All that dung rolled inside

paper assholes, crammed inside cash registers,

bung up in the banks,

bunged sky high to the lid of the First National Bank Tower.

I tried bunging my way onto a bus,

but nope, no soap,

the driver slammed the door in my nose

because I didn’t have so much as a drop of piss.

So I hitchhiked and it rained

and I got downtown a little later than I had hoped,

but Lord! the stench of dung was overpowering!

Bunged-out winos crumpled to the sidewalk

like men made of turd. Businessmen shiny as piss

walked by and

grinned at themselves in shop windows across the street.

I was sickened… there was nothing else to do:

I entered a bank and shot the teller and stuffed my jeans

with clean green dung.

Easy as pie. One, two, three. I

ran out filthy with dung, and almost made it

to the new car I was about to buy,

when Bung! Bung! Bung!

the cops shot my ass off.

Willie Smith

Short stories


A lobster with other lobsters in a watertank – in the corner of a famous restaurant – sees a forefinger pointing at him and says to the other lobsters in the watertank, why me? and the other lobsters in the watertank say, why not you?



I think you may be smiling

I think you may be smiling

When you see your sunburnt feet.

Remembering the traders

You bought trinkets from.

When the sunlit cartwheels of the twilight turn to dreams

And everything sounds empty

In the photograph.

There is time to fall apart

And sometimes time to sieze

You can’t catch the feeling of a hug

In pictures.

The strident lions stamp their ground

And gently play their song


This is what we sing

And what you’re working for.

My hip was bitten by

A windy door

Can’t set my feet

Everywhere I look just looks like yesterday.

The tearing tides just swiftly

Strip the drifting shores I mind

Put them far behind

Shipped away

To twilight isles where I can’t find them.

Stuart Knowles

Short stories


    A marmoreal sparkle and hush of velvet. A disciplined fidgeting in the line-up, attentive, linen-stiff, lustrous. Distant diaphony from the pit.

    Three pairs of approaching footsteps, a slight shuffle on the left step of one, to which the others’ are synchronized.

    -Herr Direktor Müdd, Excellency.     -Excellency.

    -Herr Kapellmeister Stugel, Excellency.   -Excellency.

    -Fräulein Flüss, soprano.            -Excellency.

    -Herr Moll, baritone.                -Excellency.

    -And, Excellency, Herr Doktor Ranke, architect.  -Excellency.

    A slow progress, unsynchronized at first but steadily more stately, through vestibule, concourse,auditorium, remarking on the flooring, seating, cantilevered boxes; the coffering, the vine-leaf moulding, the fretwork panels; the proportions, the spaciousness, the co-ordinated colour schemes; the revealed ducting, the concealed cupboards. The en-suite humidors. The provision for wooden legs.

    A word to the aide, murmured, anticipated, relayed.

    -Herr Doktor, His Excellency wishes to wash his hands.

    -But everything here is new, dusted, polished to impeccability. Besides, his gloves…

    The murmur becomes sibilant.

    -His Excellency wishes to   spend a pfennig.

    The whisper lies stranded in the silence.

    –Gott in Himmel.

    In the auditorium, above the tuning from the pit, the shot rings clear, bounces off the baffles, dies to the rear stalls with a three-second decay.

    The acoustics, at least, were perfect.

David Rose