(Excerpt from Raking the Dust)
Seven years later, reflecting upon an analytical snapshot held up to the light: Thirty-three, unemployed, a boatload of debt, drinking excessively, divorcee, amateur plumber of shit-clogged pipe dreams—when I got my head stuck up my existential ass this way, what I saw and sniffed in that tight dark space was not myself, but writers who had come before me, those with a solipsistic bent.
A docent-led tour of the inside of my ass would reveal curious specimens on exhibit:
John Fante, the eternal wop fanatically following a trail of lint and bread crumbs.
William Saroyan, raised on flashbulbs and braggadocio, the daring young Armenian with the rakishly tilted fedora.
Dylan Thomas, the Welshman with kinked locks, an angel’s ballpoint and biblical swing, a barstool dying in the light of his eyes.
Then there was Henry Valentine Miller, chock full of vinegar and asphalt, off-key singer of gutter-songs, hailing from Brooklyn, my home turf.  What have you got for me old boy?
I have no money, no resources, no hopes.  I am the happiest man alive.
Ah yes, that again.
When I first read those lines in my early twenties it blew open a door for me.  That the door would be of the revolving kind, I had no idea.  I got lost in a whirl of constant movement and didn’t want to stop and examine the nature of what would eventually amount to degrading orbit.
I have no money, no resources, no hopes.  I am the happiest man alive.
Goddamn you, Miller, and your Zen merry-making.  Goddamn you and godbless you for showing me the way.
This was a game I enjoyed playing with myself.  Blaming writers for who I was, circumstances I found myself in, cycles I kept repeating.  Jeannie used to say she hated when I was hanging out with the likes of Hemingway, Joyce, Faulkner, Kerouac, because they were bad influences on my actions and behavior.  She was as wrapped up in blaming ghosts and fiction as I was.
Yet the blame game implicitly carried an amen within it, and I derived a sublime and perverse pleasure from having been led astray.  For wanting to be led astray.
Straddling the line between goddamn and godbless created a necessary tension in my life, and perhaps at the center of my being.  If my head was stuck up my existential ass, then I should not try and pull it out, but rather drive it in deeper and deeper until it broke through to the other side and I was able to breathe fresh air and a new future.



About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables, which were paired with the vintage illustrations of artist, Paul Bransom, for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ.
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2 Responses to Snapshot

  1. I really love this, the way you describe things is my favorite
    So much of your ass, now that’s all I’m thinking about. 😶

    Liked by 1 person

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