NEW FICTION: Bourbon & Blondes has arrived!

From the bus stations of Rt. 66 to the smoky, neon-tinged jazz dives of the big cities, these wanton tales of longing introduce us to vixens on the fringe and those shifty men that drove them there.

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Watch: The 'Bourbon & Blondes' Book Trailer

Get your shot glass ready because you're about to enter a retro world of showgirls, drifters, barmaids and thieves.

The eternal question for scribes?

In this new social media landscape, the question becomes: Is blogging dead? It just may be...

Watch: The 'Front Page Palooka' Book Trailer

Read the pulp novella that one reviewer called 'A potboiler in the style of old school writers like Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler...'

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Somewhere up there - in that great beyond - I hope that Chuck Buk isn't laughing. While I would in no way fancy myself a poet, I will say that the form itself is a wonderful way to tell a short story. It's slightly abstract and perhaps a tad mystical. I hope everyone enjoys.

The mystic told me to stay away
in that cold way they do.
I didn’t know if she truly
did know anything but
shit, she certainly sounded
like it, looking at me
all suspicious and
knowing. Like she had one up.
What a gift, to be able
to see through people
and all of their bullshit.
I wish I had that. I’d know
if I was wasting my time
here or there.
As she spoke, I kept looking at the
ocean, onto the horizon, wondering
how far it went...
But I did hear her.
Stay away, she advised once more.
She kept asking me odd questions as
if I knew what she meant. Then she
asked if I wanted the full reading.
After asking what it entailed, she
broke out a beat-to-shit deck of
tarot cards. I remarked on them
and she told me they were a gift
from her aunt,another mystic.
She dealt my hand and all sorts
of weird shit popped up. I thought
I’d have a better chance inside at
one of the casinos, but what did I
know? I’m the one sitting here.
She told me things I didn’t want or
care to hear. She drudged up
old memories, feelings. Images.
And then I could swear I smelled
the smells of ten years earlier.
I panicked. This was a mistake.
The full reading, I mean.
And then she turned her cards over
and asked me for my fifty dollars.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


The genius that is American writer, Raymond Carver...

While post upon post can be written about Carver's life and work, let's just say that for all intents and purposes, his simplistic, yet utterly effective prose will send shivers down many a spine. He wasn't only one of the world's finest writers of short fiction, but also one of its most large-hearted and affecting poets.

Like Carver's stories, the more than 300 poems are marked by a keen attention to the physical world. His unflinching talent compressed vast feelings into three or four words and was truly a voice of conversational intimacy. The best aspect of all of his writing, however, was that he knew when to stop at the most precise moment.

Enjoy this Saturday's poem ... It's filled with a staggering sense of dread. Let's hope none of us have to go through something like this.

What The Doctor Said

He said it doesn't look good
he said it looks bad in fact real bad
he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before
I quit counting them
I said I'm glad I wouldn't want to know
about any more being there than that
he said are you a religious man do you kneel down
in forest groves and let yourself ask for help
when you come to a waterfall
mist blowing against your face and arms
do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments
I said not yet but I intend to start today
he said I'm real sorry he said
I wish I had some other kind of news to give you
I said Amen and he said something else
I didn't catch and not knowing what else to do
and not wanting him to have to repeat it
and me to have to fully digest it
I just looked at him
for a minute and he looked back it was then
I jumped up and shook hands with this man who'd just given me
something no one else on earth had ever given me
I may have even thanked him habit being so strong

-- Raymond Carver

Poetry Collections
Near Klamath (1968)
Winter Insomnia (1970)
At Night The Salmon Move (1976)
Where Water Comes Together
with Other Water (1985)
Ultramarine (1986)
A New Path To The Waterfall (1989)

Poetry Compilations
In a Marine Light: Selected Poems (1988)
All of Us: The Collected Poems (1996)

Friday, June 20, 2008

NIRVANA (Bukowski poem)

In this super-quick update, check out this Chuck Buk poem "Nirvana." It's quite different for Bukowski. It seems to be at a slower pace. He's somewhere peaceful, somewhere the young Bukowski perhaps would've liked to have stayed.

In a weird way, it's the ultra-American poem. Truck stop diner; waitresses. The whole bit... Enjoy.

Before you check out the poem, though, click HERE to hear an awesome NPR radio show about Bukowski.

not much chance,
completely cut loose from
he was a young man
riding a bus
through North Carolina
on the way to somewhere
and it began to snow
and the bus stopped
at a little cafe
in the hills
and the passengers
he sat at the counter
with the others,
he ordered and the
food arrived.
the meal was
and the
the waitress was
unlike the women
he had
she was unaffected,
there was a natural
humor which came
from her.
the fry cook said
crazy things.
the dishwasher.
in back,
laughed, a good
the young man watched
the snow through the
he wanted to stay
in that cafe
the curious feeling
swam through him
that everything
that it would always
stay beautiful
then the bus driver
told the passengers
that it was time
to board.
the young man
thought, I'll just sit
here, I'll just stay
but then
he rose and followed
the others into the
he found his seat
and looked at the cafe
through the bus
then the bus moved
off, down a curve,
downward, out of
the hills.
the young man
looked straight
he heard the other
of other things,
or they were
attempting to
they had not
the young man
put his head to
one side,
closed his
pretended to
there was nothing
else to do-
just to listen to the
sound of the
the sound of the
in the
- Charles Bukowski

Now check out a nifty short film (by Tyler Martinolich) based on the above poem. Pretty damn cool...


Not exactly sure how, what or why Wordle exists but... hey, the app makes cool-looking word clouds.

According to the site, Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that the author provides. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Pretty cool...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


On this Wednesday evening, I give everyone this odd, original poem about a little boy and the creation of a future drunk.


Every other night they convened
to talk about whatever.
Be it the Yeti,
price of Gold, horses
or who was on Carson,
they’d yap it up together.
And all over Kentucky’s sweet nectar.

I was about eight or so when I
attended my first gathering.
My uncle snuck me into the back
door of this backwoods juke joint
and plopped me in a torn corner booth
with a folded up Richie Rich comic.
After visiting ‘Ol Phil at the bar
my uncle gave me this sweet red drink.
At the time he called it a “Popeye”
but let’s face facts, I was riding
the Good Ship Lollipop.

After making sure I was settled
he patted me on the head and joined
the fellas. I just stared.
They all seemed so very loud.
One of them kept flicking his
suspenders every time he laughed.
Another didn’t say a word but just
pointed in agreement every time someone
made a point. The leader, or so it
seemed, wore a monocle and every five
minutes or so would look over to me
and nod, making sure I was still with them.

About an hour -- or three Popeyes later,
I was called over to the men. The leader
had me sit on his lap and I looked
for my uncle who was in the two o clock
position. All I really remember now is the smell
of the place – a pungent concoction
of talcum, cigar and tobacco, musk
and bourbon.
Lots of bourbon.
He told me that it was a special night
because I was becoming a special member
of their sacred club. He poured a small
amount into a shot glass and, in an almost
slow motion, slid it over to me.

After the hellfire of the spirit slid
down my young throat all I could think
about was getting another one of those
godforsaken Popeye drinks. But I was now a
member and Phil would have to listen to
me for the rest of my life.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Thanks heaven for YouTube. Enjoy this Bukowski gem - a spoken word performance of Buk's "The World's Greatest Loser."


Hmmm, not sure entirely where this new prose poem came from. I mean, yes, I wrote it, but not sure how or why. As I started writing, I kept having images of solitude, torment, mania and horror.

In any case, enjoy this short piece that explores the notion of a few different things - be it addiction, inner demons or just that person who all hate to love.

Sitting byself,
I heard his
The sociopath
the shadows.
And then again.
It’s been some time.
A long while, in fact.
He’d borrow and steal.
Lie. And cheat.
And then, afterwards,
he make you feel
like an idiot,
as always.
He’d sneak up on me
when I was most weak,
like now.
After a few drinks,
I have to admit, that he
had a way about him.
Slick and charming when
he needed to be, but
otherwise, cold and distant.
I feel his itch more
now than ever.

Never thought he’d be back.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


In most of my circles, I get the impression from most of my uppity buddies that the works of writer Charles Bukowski are grossly undervalued. I'll hear something like, "Bukowski? Whatever ..." Blow me. You know who you are.

It's a crime. The more and more I discover his often anti-social prose - and believe you-me, there's a ton of it - the more I discover something new and intriguing. In this quick update, check out this poem that explores the notion of a simple evening out. Lord knows, we who love scotch, have been there.

Big Night On The Town

drunk on the dark streets of some city,
it's night, you're lost, where's your
you enter a bar to find yourself,
order scotch and water.
damned bar's sloppy wet, it soaks
part of one of your shirt
It's a clip joint-the scotch is weak.
you order a bottle of beer.
Madame Death walks up to you
wearing a dress.
she sits down, you buy her a
beer, she stinks of swamps, presses
a leg against you.
the bar tender sneers.
you've got him worried, he doesn't
know if you're a cop, a killer, a
madman or an
you ask for a vodka.
you pour the vodka into the top of
the beer bottle.
It's one a.m. In a dead cow world.
you ask her how much for head,
drink everything down, it tastes
like machine oil.

you leave Madame Death there,
you leave the sneering bartender

you have remembered where
your room is.
the room with the full bottle of
wine on the dresser.
the room with the dance of the
Perfection in the Star Turd
where love died

- Charles Bukowski

'US IN TWILIGHT' (guest poet)

I have a friend. An elitist, Oxford-educated buddy named Edoardo who constantly scoffs at the very existence of certain pop culture mainstays. We could argue that worth of scribes like Kerouac and Corso for hours. Long heated hours. Still, he's a classic guy. A scholar. Interesting that he would drum up such a dreamy, beatnicky poem. I dug it so much, I had to post it. Enjoy...

"Us In Twilight"
I dig with two hands
but digging is a nod of the head
to a jazz riff
and a smile at the girl
curled up like smoke from dead
cigarettes. She can't dig;
leaving the hands nothing to do
but rest in stiff pockets
in tightening jeans. Dig.
Attitudes don't work
or can't or won't.
Thank God for my hands.
I have my fathers hands.
I can work if I need to. Dig?
Me and my youth-
we once knew wonder
but now we scoff at truth
and jump at thunder.
But always there, like a familiar song
I dig. The jazz, the chick, the me that's gone.

- Edoardo Mungiello, April 18, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008


Enjoy the review of this book, located proudly on the shelves in the library of Hemingway's Lounge. I reviewed the tome YEARS ago, but the book it still a consistent seller at Amazon. Enjoy!

Like Hemingway, writer Jack Kerouac has ingrained himself into the very fabric of “The American Literary Experience. Where Hemingway was distinguished, Kerouac was cool. The pop culture’s guy’s guy.

A hip scribe who’d think nothing of hopping a freighter in the middle of nowhere and arrive at an even more remote destination and work as a farm hand earning just enough for a pack of Chesterfields, a bottle Dewars and, possibly, a copy of the newest Charlie Parker LP. He didn’t give a rat’s ass about conforming. The “nine-to-five” wasn’t in his vernacular.

That’s why it’s so surprising (albeit, downright quirky) to see “Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters,” a collection of postcards, letters and poems where Kerouac corresponded with girlfriend Joyce Johnson between 1957-58. Filled with the same literary scatting and spontaneous prose Kerouac was best known for, “Doors” starts in a Greenwich Village Howard Johnsons right before the publication of “On the Road” made him a household name. Broke and womanless, poet Allen Ginsberg set up a blind date between the 35 year-old Kerouac and 21 year-old aspiring writer (and beat groupie) Joyce Johnson.

Interspersed between letters, Glassman’s commentary reads almost like guilty-pleasure fiction in this supreme soap opera of star-crossed beat lovers.’ With no second thoughts,” Glassman writes, “I rushed downtown to meet him, who at 34 was one of the most compelling-looking men I’d ever seen, with black hair, blue eyes, and ruddy complexion. ...After an hour or so of conversation, when Jack asked whether he could come home with me, I answered with deceptive coolness, ‘If you wish.’ Young women were not supposed to have such adventures in 1957.” Kerouac stayed with her for three weeks and then took off on one of his soul-searching jaunts to Africa (specifically Tangiers), thus beginning the affair of letters that lasted about two years with the King of the Beats globe bopping from New York to such locales as Paris, San Francisco, Orlando and Mexico City.

The exchanges between them give the reader the almost voyeuristic opportunity to experience beatnik life in the fifties as well as catching a glimpse of the tender side of Kerouac that has yet to emerge:
” Got your fine letter - Yes, we’ll find you some place to stay in the city when you get here,” writes Kerouac from Frisco. “...I’ll meet you at the bus station (or some pre-arranged bar) and I’ll carry your bag and we’ll go find a room. ... You’ll love it here, it’s great... There are art museums, beaches, glorious parks, those Chinese restaurants, wharves, waterfront, all kinds of interesting scenes and people , lotsa jazz, friends to make. Just ignore me, my gloom, unless I feel better when you get here. As ever. - Jack.”
Yet at times, the roguish charm that was all too much the real Kerouac intrinsically breaks through and the reader can almost hear the young Johnson cringe as she reads her boyfriend’s frank letters:
“Look forward to seeing you,” Kerouac writes from Tangiers, “lonely here, don’t like whores anyway and no girls speak English.” Ouch. To that all Johnson says, “It was as if he forgotten for a moment whom he was writing to. But I decided not to probe into the question whether or not Jack was seeing other women - a policy I would later try to stick with much greater difficulty.”
As Kerouac struggles with a bewildering fame, readers will find the work an remarkable portrait as he struggles to cope with his public, dodge critical attacks against his subsequent works and teeter totter his relationship with the only woman who might have truly understood him.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


You gotta wonder what goes through a guy's head sometimes.

In Raymond Carver's case, he's living proof that everything - anything - is fodder for art, prose and the like.

Enjoy ...

The Scratch

I woke up with a spot of blood
over my eye. A scratch
halfway across my forehead.
But I'm sleeping alone these days.
Why on earth would a man raise his hand
against himself, even in sleep?
It's this and similar questions
I'm trying to answer this morning.
As I study my face in the window.

-- Raymond Carver


While watching my new DVD "What Happened to Kerouac?," I inadvertently discovered an awesome beat poet - Gregory Corso.

Check out this heartfelt short poem from his collection "Gasoline"

"Birthplace Revisited"
I stand in the dark light in the dark street
and look up at my window, I was born there.
The lights are on; other people are moving about.
I am with raincoat; cigarette in mouth,
hat over eye, hand on gat.
I cross the street and enter the building.
The garbage cans haven't stopped smelling.
I walk up the first flight; Dirty Ears
aims a knife at me...
I pump him full of lost watches.

Here's a brief bio:

Gregory Corso, the only major Beat writer to have the forethought to actually be born on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, was sent to prison on a robbery charge at the age of 16. He probably would not have made poetry his life's work if he had not met Allen Ginsberg in a Greenwich Village Bar when he was 20.

Corso met Ginsberg in the Pony Stable Bar, one of New York's first openly lesbian bars. Corso, only 20 and recently released from prison, was supported by the women of the Pony Stable as an "artist-in-residence". Corso was writing poetry there the night Ginsberg arrived. Ginsberg, cruising bars, was immediately attracted sexually to Corso. Ginsberg later said, "The Pony Stable was I think a dyke bar... I just wandered in and I remember he was sitted at a table, and he was a very nice looking kid. Alone... So I thought, was he gay or what was it? Maybe not." Ginsberg was even more struck by reading Corso's poems, immediately realizing Corso’s talent. "One he showed me...blew my mind instantly...and it struck me instantly that he was... spiritually gifted." Eventually Ginsberg introduced Corso to the rest of his inner circle.

In their first meeting at the Pony Stable, Corso showed Ginsberg a poem about a woman who lived across the street from him, and sunbathed naked in the window. The woman turned out to have been Ginsberg's girlfriend during one of his forays into heterosexuality. Ginsberg introduced the young and virginal Corso to the sunbathing woman, and in a panic, Corso ran from her apartment. Ginsberg and Corso remained life-long friends and collaborators.

In later years Ginsberg’s initial assessment of Corso held. During an 1996 interview for the documentary film Corso – the Last Beat, Ginsberg claimed, "I think Gregory is the poet's poet. Certainly the one poet I learned from most now. Gregory, I think, in some respects is a poet superior to myself."

He went on to become one of the most well-known and widely-read Beat poets. He has an anarchic style similar to Ginsberg's, though his favorite poet is Shelley, a Romantic poet who was much too flowery for most Beats. He does not write with Ginsberg's massive intelligence or protean poetic power, but then who does? He once wrote a love-poem to atomic weapons, 'BOMB', in the shape of a mushroom cloud.


It's said that Charles Bukowski got more 'tang than a WWII sailor on a weekend pass. Chicks dug him for his Bukowski-ness. Whatever that means.

Early in his life it's said many girls found him depraved-looking. Truth be told, he was a weird-lookin' dude. But also, he was one of those dudes that grew into his looks.

Call it the upside of being a man. Yeah, we may drop dead first, but if we're lucky, we'll age like fine wine. Or in Bukowski's case, really fuckin' good Kentucky moonshine.

He was definetly a better-looking older man. He wasn't Tyrone Power or anything but he had character. Essence. So chicks, groupies, came in droves.

And when all else failed, they were mere drinking buddies.

So check out this quirky, if not desperate-sounding poem Bukowski wrote to some dame who lifted his papers. Poetry, in fact.

It's funny, sad and true all at once. But try not to chuckle... You're reading primal creative frustration. The dude was passionate about his art in an age before floppies and flash drives.

To The Whore Who Took My Poems
some say we should keep personal remorse from the
stay abstract, and there is some reason in this,
but jezus;
twelve poems gone and I don't keep carbons and you have
paintings too, my best ones; its stifling:
are you trying to crush me out like the rest of them?
why didn't you take my money? they usually do
from the sleeping drunken pants sick in the corner.
next time take my left arm or a fifty
but not my poems:
I'm not Shakespeare
but sometime simply
there won't be any more, abstract or otherwise;
there'll always be money and whores and drunkards
down to the last bomb,
but as God said,
crossing his legs,
I see where I have made plenty of poets
but not so very much
-- Charles Bukowski

Now check out this awesome clip from the acclaimed Bukowksi documentary "Born into This"

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Back in July I had the fortune of tying the knot in Las Vegas on 777, something I've always wanted to do. Me and the Mrs. were lucky. It was a great time and people we cared about were with us. We ate and drank lavishly and stayed at a gorgeous strip hotel. But what about those people who took the plunge in the fair city who weren't as fortunate? What if no one cared? Posing that question, I give you this narrative poem. Enjoy...

Inside one of the
darkest bars on the planet,
away from the smoldering Vegas
sun, two kids barreled into
my daytime bar, just off of
Freemont. Fresh faced and scrubbed,
he with his craggy polo and
flip-flops; she with an equally
wrinkled sun dress, they didn’t jive
since it was the kind of
joint people came
to when they just
didn’t care anymore.

The Atomic. A would-be beacon in a sea of
grimeholes, beckoning its
hopeless. And what of them?
Lonely Nevada drunks, crappy pickpockets,
former goddesses well beyond turning
their tricks and sunken men without
prospect who abruptly discovered
they were 46, scratchy and achy.
Even the fucking jukebox gave up.
It plays once a year on St. Patty’s Day.

Gillmore behind the bar,
a failed strip magician
plum out of illusions served
the kids their booze. The boy paid
with a thick wad of crinkled
dollar bills, which, by the
way still got you pretty
far at The Atomic.

As the afternoon progressed, their
giddiness got worse and it broke
everyone’s concentration. A few times
I had to put down my magazine and give
them the ol’ once-over. Didn’t do much good.

Clutching my mug, I asked if they
took that clichéd Vegas plunge. The cutie
nodded and Eduardo the Ecuadorian who,
up until then, never uttered a word
to anyone -- in Spanish or English --
raised his Pabst and told Gilmore that he’d get
the next round.

Their bliss told me that no one in
their lives knew where they were or even
even cared. Another sip.
I went back to my magazine.

Five drinks in, they still grappled
onto each other in that sickening
Eskimo kisses sort of way.
At the same time, the act made
me love them for it’s
innocent audacity and hate
them for my own sense of cowardice,
never having the balls for such
public displays.

The boy strutted to the sorry juke
and I knew there’d be nothing in
there for him.
But it didn’t matter, today was his
St. Patty’s Day and he was
ready for the world. Here.
On his honeymoon.
At The Atomic.
Away from the smoldering Vegas sun
and inside one of the darkest
bars on the planet.

The music started. I put down my
magazine and shut my eyes until
it was quiet once again.