A Fist-Sized Hairy Spider That Squeezed Out of My Left Nostril: Tom Burke

[Very new work by my old friend, Tom Burke. As I remarked to him, these excerpts from a developing novel, Everett and the Cosmos, remind me of my own strange exploits and adventures which ended up sealed in journals. How interesting it is to go back and spy quick glances of those times. Amongst other great pieces, Tom wrote a poignant essay about his relationship with his memorable downstairs neighbor, Bonnie Ascher, may her memory be for a blessing. I'll see if I can dig up a link to that.]

from Everett and the Cosmos

I loved the motorcycle taxis in Pingnan—even now, thinking about it
makes me want to own a motorcycle, but I never will, too much of a
pussy. Sometimes when I was out drinking with my Chinese friends, at
the end of the night I’d get myself back to the school gates, then I’d
flag down a motorcycle taxi for a ride—it made sense to me that if I
started at home, I could explain that I wanted to end up back at the
same place. In any event, that’s all my Chinese could accommodate. At
first, these motorcycle taxi drivers couldn’t understand what I was
asking them to do—“get out of the lights of the city and drive fast”
wasn’t in my vocabulary. But, after about a half dozen drunken rides,
I think rumors spread about me within the drivers, and it got easier.
You could see stars on some nights, once you got away from the lights.
And in the dark, I imagined the land on either side of the road was
primeval. It was actually drained swampland and razed villages.

The bouncing floor disco, where the dance floor—on risers, and made of
flexible metal sheets—actually bounced. Every Saturday night at
midnight, the dance floor was cleared and there was a performance by a
troop of six midgets. Three would run onto the stage in traditional
Chinese military uniforms; they’d do a quick karaoke number to a
Communist marching ballad—accompanied by acrobatics—and then the other
three midgets would come out, interrupting the show, toting rifles and
waving a Japanese flag. They battled, the Japanese soldiers died
dramatic, limb-twitching deaths, and Chinese national anthem played.
This bar also had men who massaged your back while you stood at the
urinal. Dino danced with a female Japanese midget soldier there one
night—that same night, he fell off the dance floor and knocked over a
waitress who was carrying four pitchers of beer. He looked pathetic
splayed on the floor. We were the only non-Chinese in the place.

I dreamed that I died the night before I left for China; in the dream
I was a grunt—rucksack and fatigues—roughing it knee deep in a bog
surrounded by dense rainforest when three dark figures high in the
canopy used automatic weapons to make mincemeat of my torso. Gasping
in a puddle, I didn’t just feel death coming, but I existed for a
moment after my death where everything went black, was not just absent
of light but devoid of everything. My life seems marked by these
intense dreams, like the morning after the first time I had sex with a
relative stranger without a condom. I woke up in the morning, still
very drunk, to a nightmare featuring a fist-sized hairy spider that
squeezed out of my left nostril and scampered over and around my body
at a speed twice that of my reflexes. Or camping at high altitude when
I experienced my only wet dream: a nonsexual and strange off road
racing adventure in a dune buggy with my brother’s high school
girlfriend whose motion sickness manifested in my lap.

I had a crush on one of the English teachers at my school, Cherry. I
really dug her, thought maybe I had a chance, but then I got an invite
to her wedding. I was glad to experience a traditional wedding, but
got severely drunk; everyone did, but I got drunker. I was one of the
last people at the party. Cherry’s relatives and William were trying
to teach me how to play Mahjong, but I was too drunk. I had to throw
up at one point, but when I ran to the bathroom, the toilette was
broken so I threw up some rice and pigeon that stunk of bijou into my
hand, and tossed it out the window, which I had to step on an upturned
bucket to do because the window was so high up. I swallowed the rest
back down, then said my goodnights. I took an awesome motorcycle ride
that night. It was damp and cool out, and my driver took us whizzing
past a half mile row of neon lights shaped like palm trees that I’d
never seen before.

Awww-Man Cops: More Anna Vitale

[I don't know about the rest of you, but for months I've been walking around saying, "My tits break a cuke." Here she is again, that rough master from Detroit, Anna Vitale.]

both thugs

99 nickels and dimes
ten chrome flips
I hit the bone
mission/ monat
thugs’ drive
rolled/ showed
nine quad flesh

lovin his
I’m done
catch sleep
stand down
your feet
won’t stand
up, the grind
creepin up
then doom/ natural
lovely/ funny

awww-man cops
my ass behind a tree
game is easy/
grip stacks
99 ways

hood red grip pump blood
nothin to lose, goin down instead of pumping
running things I take into the dark

creepin back up
the day/ son cash/ partner
was hungry/ stolen
temple/ simple bang/ run
dealin/ chillin/ stealin


People admit they’re scared of punks
in a hydroshell they’re about to live in.
The bass has a boom in it and it also
has a boyfriend or a man. The honey
is hard to stop. Spring. It’s a mood in a shell.
Faithful good loving in spring, you know
reality because a decent girl is living out
justice and harmony. It’s hard to make
the honey stop. Play-

hitting through winter sometimes feels
inferior. People raise money, I raise
hell. Sitting on the rag-top, bitch saw
a blinker as inferior to really wanting. The world-
shank, high and low, Dr. Dre has been around
the world and I’ll never know what
it feels like! Snoop Doggy Dogg around
the world and, still, it seems they’re not around!
Here: a kiss with dazzy dukes. Get loose.
Smack me. I’ll smack you exactly,
but ‘gainst the wall. Everybody, sliding
the open door, whipped
down the hall.


likes? niggaz? doggs? types? hands? minutes? khakis? fingernails? bubbles? bitches? bucks? socks? chucks? days? guys? steps? kids? socks? rocks? shoes?

say/ eat/ sing/ go/ party/ cause/ bother/ rock/ rock/ see/ cause/ create/ listen/ say/ woke/ gave/ went/ wash/ threw/ put/ said/ slipped/ used/ got/ am/ put/ can/ threw/ take/ got/ am/ threw/ stepped/ stopped/ forgot/ ran/ bumped/ said/ am/ love/ said/ said/ tried/ said/ broke/ grabbed/ give/ love/ said/ gave/ said/ says/ am/ says/ am/ be

nigga? dick? shit? trouble? mic. mic. mic. health? condition? mission? shit? mornin. stretch. yawn. bathroom? soap? face? cup? mirror. mirror. wall. rubble? mirror? bastard? beef? leaf. oil. skin. file? style? tub? bath? body. hair. underwear. powder? cologne? house? indo? alley. smoker. girl. life? dope? eye? mother? mother. face. eye. belly? feet? child? concrete? bitch. sack. dick. play? love? bitch? mother? hit. bitch. mother. pussy? lover?

The Cabin’s Name is Ben Fama: Two Poems of Ben Fama

[Here's a couple of tremendous poems by the great Ben Fama. Ben is the dreamer behind SUPERMACHINE, the literary magazine and reading series. And I offer all apologies for not getting his poems posted until today.]

Glitter Pills

To live a serious life

that’s a fucked up thing

I would have to rent out a cabin

beneath terrible angels

if I get old wipe the dust off my tits

I should have a serious log cabin

the cabin’s name is Ben Fama.

find directions on the internet

when you want to leave you can

I’ll stay there just me and my heart

bigger than the sun

Joe Brainard's 21st Tan

Opened like the funnies

a picture stuffed into another picture's frame

the sky becomes gray, no candles lit

this reality will not suffice

if it isn't cosmic it isn't anything

I once thought a mind could take hold

of the sea, asked to marry the moon

it's raining and I'm going out

maybe Joe Brainard will show up

maybe a diamond will fall

all the things he talked about

still make the poem a surprise

Katie died surfing

I too know the sorrow of wanting love

refuse to tame my vulgar emotions

Joe Brainard are you lost like me?

and I'd like to go home the long way if I remember

Baberle is Dying: Tomaz Salamun

[Back to the basics of what we are saying, here are three poems from Tomaz Salamun. All three are translated by Michael Thomas Taren.]


A dusk in summer?
Mushrooms in summer.
A chirping in Bohinj, putti mine a dew.              

Where in abundance?
There in abundance.
A bent head, a wheat in a grave.

What story telling?
This story telling.
The sea splashes, in the sleeve the first stalk is drawn.

Where on a stone?
There on a stone.
Baberle is dying, rue St. Jacques.

My command?
Your command.
Horses trot and stop before the night.

When Watteau?
Now Watteau..
We love grapes, brogues on the trails.             

Who is permeable?
He is permeable.
The beads roll, the marinated sex.

A bridge to the sky?
Wheat to the sky.
We play with God’s sun, we surmise wood.



I hear, earthworms and Perun                                  
pens for herds of cattle, bats torn apart                        
I stand on the asphalt, I sleep armed
the time has for us come to divide light, shepherd

to you the south, lusting for fruits
to me the north, taciturnity and passion
to you ascent, horses to flare                     
to me pursuit of the sun, the night blaze

we won't alloy into one, the time is to incise           
let our souls have the frame, not the door
the fire for birth and death, we, two little carpenters
the sword and material, austerity of the craft

let the birds be like tusks of weight
when death comes, after death the lava
let her take off gifts, we'll be light as a shout                        
like black cold quails at the bottom of the pit        

I want a verse as taut as bamboo
buffalos’ anathema, Satan’s hard planks
snails’ anathema, flabbiness of those succumbed in wars                                                                       
worms! I want a carpet of hunger to heaven’s gates

I want fanfare, splendor, genuflection
the service of the priests, blind churning of the crowds
I, the king, want blessing for the slaughter
from Your Hands O Lord, a pillar for the abyss

I want a scepter, a gift for black lips
dry crackling pretzels, silk of Lilliput
I smell mattresses on rusty hooks
brushwood in my arms, I smell wounds in shrieks

bread anathema, lodged wheat of the dead lineage    
ants drowned in bogs, punctured moths
travelers & sailors, juniper, holy sites
I crush the gravel in souls, I drink glory

Introverted Mystical Types: A Message from WIAF

[Dear Reader

The Wolf apologizes for the unannounced hiatus over the past month. 

In the weeks ahead, please look forward to the resumption of poetry and errata. 

When the Maggid of Mezeritch,         at last,

visited the Ba'al Shem Tov, he found the latter

sitting with a small candle atop his head,

dressed in wolf's skin.]