Broken Land

Br. Land Cover
My first novel, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, which was named Underground Book Reviews Book of the Year (2014), has officially been re-released. Available in paperback and digital editions. Click here to buy.
ABOUT: A spectral, existential noir set against the aging irons of Coney Island and old guard lions of hip hop and silent film, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale tracks the singular odyssey of would-be sleuth and soon-to-be wordsmith, Salvatore Massimo Lunezzi. Prompted by an enigmatic phone call from a writer-friend claiming to be dead, Lunezzi launches an investigation that leads him to Ghostwriters, Inc., a company selling inspiration to struggling writers through the medium of “ghosting.” From Buster Keaton to Arthur Rimbaud, a boozy and brilliant dwarf to an enchanting femme fatale, Lunezzi is drawn deeper and deeper into the soul of story where fiction and reality inevitably converge.
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Winter Adagio

Nightwalk in a small town.
Moonbleached adobe
set against
the snowglobular shakedown
of flakes,
as if dandruff
from the itchy shaved scalp
of God
was falling,
a phosphate rhapsody.
Along the road,
mudskinned snowdrifts,
like albino coal-miners, crouching,
or dispossessed humps
banking the puddles
of bootsuck slush.
Not even nine,
the streets empty, and the silence,
tracked to easy on the eyes
lamplight amber,
buries itself
in deep pockets
and folds.
Suddenly, a feeling takes hold,
and I am convinced that I am
the last living creature on earth,
a soloist
treading
a stark open womb,
Winter’s milk-pink voice,
an elliptical hush,
birthing softly an ode
to its sometimes love,
so soon departed.

 

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First Love, Winter

Boy and girl, sledding
tongues, no words—
Winter, gloves off.
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Mary

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   It was a scorcher. One of those ovenbake summer days where you feel like you’re huffing fur.
   I had decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood, and re-acclimate myself.
   As I walked down the block my fingers, Pavlovian in religious memory, signed the cross every time I passed a Mary. Like a recursive pop art icon, she featured in just about every garden or yard—Mary, with her mantle and shawl, her grace-bearing arms, keeping pious vigil over the entire block.
   In my younger angrier days, even after I had renounced and scorned my Catholic background and its leading man, Jesus, I never turned against Mary. I always had a spiritual thing for her. Perhaps it was the mantle and shawl. Perhaps it was the grace-bearing arms that seemed a runway toward lighted enclosure. Perhaps it was those doleful eyes that pierced your heart if you stared into them for too long. In that respect, Mary was like the sun. Except staring at the sun would make you dizzy and see dark spots and potentially go blind, while staring into Mary’s eyes hurt in a different way. They made you feel human. Ashamedly human.
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Winter, a Love Story

Winter’s brides,
wearing long white scarves of sleet and song,
touching pale sky to blue lips,
breathing memory and frost;
their sorrow
and spectral want
grows hands
 that enclose me, a robust crush,
matrimonial in its grip,
until I am no more than a whiff of air,
and then, not even that, a traceless speck
unremembered to light,
and how it falls.
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Zuzu’s Petals

 

A Wonderful Father

A father’s pocket,
containing secret petals—
the meaning of love.
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Claim for the Meek

I do not want to see
the face of God.
I want to see her mask,
where
and for whom it cracked,
the causal history of lines and fissures;
want to trace,
with blind mute innocence,
the light quartered and drawn
in Braille, its grooves holding,
without strain or regret,
Mercy’s hidden inheritance.
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Fables Reimagined

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They Are Their Own

Do you know where your children are?
Or rather who, in their ripening pedigree
and new language they are in the process of becoming?
Make no mistake
They are not
nor have they ever been
yours
belonging
infinitely to the green force driving wild shoots
 and spleendeep rhythms,
rogue digits
calculating Tomorrow’s petty pace,
they pay no heed
nor praise
to milkwhite coroners
or dead secret gods—
Feral beginners,
brazen and jangled,
they are learning, on a tilted axis,
how to master vertigo
and mend hemhorrages,
how to alter static forecasts
and give the future a fierce makeover.
They do this
claiming the Meek’s inheritance
to fund an Indiegogo Renaissance,
rearing ingrown urges
to become the next generation
of textonal Beats, Bards & Romantics.
Teething on sound, fury
and bright rage,
they don’t need your
Oxford, Britannica
or New Yorker
to define themselves,
to hell with your Webster’s
and Times crossword puzzles,
They have traded in oldschool standards
for a youtube revolution
and ad-free listening to
to hi-def Muses,
pipers to their own call,
they deliver fresh signatures
and encoded cravings
upon cybercentric
walls and posts
beautiful wrecks
of form following function
to blow print runs
and paper hats out
of standing water,
smileyface wink and nod to democracy
is at their fingertips
and screen tested daily.
Pop horror be damned,
they will not turn into braindead zombies
scavenging the earth for slugs and entrails,
their hands far too busy
turning screws and splinters
of discontent
into arias and choral chants.
So I ask again—Do you know where your children are?
Or who in the juggling of pits and seeds they are destined to become?
Make no mistake
with each and every
text, glyph, groove, totem,
riff, rant, image, ballad
and blow,
they are growing
nearer to themselves,
cellular babes toddling bluntly
against the grain,
scamps trespassing a course, uncharted,
their compasses set to Grace.
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Review of Charles Bukowski

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Review of Charles Bukowski’s Storm for the Living and the Dead, appearing in Riot Material.
“Baby . . . I’m a genius but nobody knows it but me.” — Bukowski, Factotum
As a bottom-feeding, hardscrabble Walt Whitman, Bukowski sang of himself, incessantly, with a volcanic chip on his shoulder. He was determined to be heard, recognized, affirmed—Charles Bukowski Wuz Here stamped on Eternity’s forehead. He coerced you to see life as a cruel and dirty joke that he was in on, and often felt himself to be the butt of, and he would play the page like a blowsy stand-up comedian with too much acid in his diet. He was a living room Pulcinella with a beer-gut, a literary W.C. Fields tossing water balloons and Molotov cocktails with sardonic glee. And yet, much like a comedian whose routine never strayed too far from its chafed heart, from its wounded “bluebird,” Bukowski had the genuine knack of unlocking pathos in a single line or turn of phrase. There was a “knowing” to Bukowski’s writing, a sadness that always leaked out to soften the rough and bestial edges. Like a little kid who builds sand castles by the shoreline so as to delight not only in the act of creation but also the inevitable destruction by waves, Bukowski, in his stories and poems, would inflate his persona, only to stick a pin in and invite you to experience the deflation with him, to become intimate party to the willed ego-puncture. All of that is on display in Storm for the Living Dead, a new volume of uncollected and unpublished poems.
To read the full review, click here.
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