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...'

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Happy New Year to all my 'Basement' buddies... I have a special treat for everyone.

This is a guest post from Caleb J Ross, author of the chapbook "Charactered Pieces: stories," as part of his (ridiculously named) Blog Orgy Tour. Visit his website for a full list of blog stops. "Charactered Pieces: stories" is currently available from OW Press or Amazon. For more, check out his web site.

I’ve a secret dream of being a barstool stereotype. But like many other dreamers, I’ve settled for vicarious vodka tonics and the piano-scaled stagger of Tom Waits. Himself, actually, a vicarious rendition of Beat poets and diner patron woe-tales. He can celebrate the mundane, befriend the outcast. Who cares that his reputation is merely an elaborate persona performance? He’s convinced me that every sunken head has a story.

You’ve got to set the mood. Like bait for strangers with tales to spill. And you’ve got show your open ears. But keep the smiles down, too creepy. Order something cheap, something a stranger could assume you’re prepared to order multiples of; you’re staying a while. I go with Hamm’s when it’s served, but a Bud Light here in the Midwest does just fine. Share a laugh. If a stranger offers a joke, take it in. If a stranger offers you catfish, take it, too.

Catfish. A recent tale of my own: myself and author Gordon Highland (Major Inversions) recently took to a dive in downtown Kansas City. I love this place. The barmen don’t know my name, but I’m working on it. A small community of middle-aged regulars lined the bar that day, eating catfish deep-fried on the spot. This place doesn’t serve food; I had always assumed the kitchen was a closet.

The regulars smoked. A city-wide ban made this act one of renegades. Gordon and I commented to ourselves, happy to be in a laid-back room. Shortly thereafter, the bartender offered us a plate. Damn good catfish. Fresh-caught by one of the present regulars, we’ll call her Sue (‘cause I don’t want to jeopardize the family). We talked. Sue and the others feel a bit defensive about their spot, slowly loosing it, she said, to emo types; the kids’ Saturday nights were slowly seeping into evening and afternoon. “We can hardly smoke pot out back anymore.”

I realized the dream again, a couple years before Sue, this when I donned a suit rarely, enough so that wearing one shifted my chin up a few inches. A suit meant I demanded respect. A suit mean I was someone new, and with that leverage, I could dictate my own story. I did so, my first trip to Vegas. A business meeting, but I wouldn’t describe it that way to Laura, a day-friend I met on The Strip at the Nine Fine Irishmen Pub.

The encounter, though simple, warranted documentation and reflection. The non-fiction piece in my chapbook, "Charactered Pieces: stories," called “A Chinese Gemini,” is that documentation. Check it out. And if ever we meet in a bar, I’ll buy you a drink and we can weather some bar seats together.

I love this place.

Caleb began writing his sophomore year of undergrad study when, tired of the formal art education then being taught, he abandoned the pursuit in the middle of a compositional drawing class. Major-less and fearful of losing his financial aid, he signed up to seek a degree in English Literature for no other reason than his lengthy history with the language. Coincidentally, this decision not only introduced him to writing but to reading as well. Prior this transition he had read three books. One of which he understood.

"Charactered Pieces" is his first sole-author bound book. However, he has been published widely, both online and in print. Visit his official site for all of the exciting details.

Monday, December 28, 2009


OK. Shameless self-promotion time...

My prose poem THE LAST MOMENTS OF PAPA H is now live over at Red Fez, a great online portal. The piece actually started out as a piece of flash fiction at Six Sentences that I eventually went on to rework.

Red Fez was founded in 2003 by independent author Leopold McGinnis and concentrates on publishing and promoting non-mainstream, but accessible work by underground and under-recognized artists. The site/zine is divided into a unique, searchable database style and is updated quarterly. Check 'em out... Great stuff.

My bloggin' buddy John Grochalski also has a killer piece over there. He's a guy you also may want to check out.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

In the gutter, you tend to
notice things normal
people wouldn't dare dream.
You notice puddles;
And that befriending a hungry
pooch can be your biggest
mistake or quite
frankly, your only hope;
Nerf footballs make the
oddest shapes when each
end is chopped off and
they make damn fine pillows;

Blended beers from different
bottles don't taste all
that bad once you get used
to the initial warm jolt;
If you think women are hard
to come by in the waking world,
brother, just wait until you
haven't showered for a fortnight;

You realize that the time
of day doesn't seem all that
important anymore;
Bums celebrate Christmas;
You hair can hurt;
A small radio tuned to a lonely
talk station will get you through
the coldest of nights;
Oh, and a can of soup won't hurt;

You remember your best job
and wonder how it all went
And then you remember;
You start to blame people;
Your shitty company;
cheating wife;
that fucking president;
And then you take another
sip of that glorious hooch
and hope you pass out
before the wind keeps you awake;

You look at children walking
to school and that makes
you weep on so many different
levels that it's incomprehensible;
Their bounce reminds you
of promise and that's
something long gone;

You savor matchbooks;
You consider knocking that
old lady in the head just to
get off the street and land
in a nice warm cell, but then
you remember your mother and
hear her soothing voice;

After a time, the gutter
makes you read people
much better than you would
normally; you can see
where they went wrong;
It's in their eyes.

"Lottery Man" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by RobinHood76 "Christmas Background1" and provided by The FreeSound Project.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


OK... You can't make this stuff up. Kinda sad. Oddly funny in that demented way... Here's the scoop:

April Wright, of Chattanooga, Tenn., is 21 years-old and is divorcing her hubby who's in jail. Her little four-year-old sneaks out of the house in the middle of the night, opens a Bud Light, gets skunk drunk, puts on a dress and steals the neighbors' presents from under their tree.

"He ran away trying to find his father," she said. "He wanted to get in trouble so he can go to jail because that’s where his daddy is..." Messed up, huh?

Check out the vid:

Friday, December 18, 2009

LOTTERY MAN (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

Back when I worked at the luncheonette,
I remember the guy used to come
in every day. Sometimes twice.

He'd sit at the counter, order his coffee,
break out his pad and pencil and began
to jot down numbers. All sorts
of fucking numbers.

Every page would be dated and under
each day, he would jot down the
winning lottery numbers in pencil.
Licking the tip each time before he wrote,
he'd mumur to himself, almost trance-like.

Lottery Man would analyze the numbers
by tabulating how many odd and even
winners came up per week, month
and year. He'd jot down odd facts
like how often '3' would appear and
would often say if he could get rid of
any number, it would be easily be '9.'

He'd call me 'Sonny...' and would ask
me to steal him an instant rub-off on
the sly at least once a week. When I
declined, 'Sonny...' became 'Mary...'
and Phil the owner would usually give
him more coffee, as if he needed it.

I knew his son. We were the same age
and all I could think was, 'Why aren't
you home with him?'

Lottery Man would win now and again and
usually brag about what he'd buy
his family. One year it was a computer,
then a microwave. He always said
he wanted a video camera but never
got one.

When I quit for college, he bought me
an instant rub-off for good luck.
The last thing I remember about
about Lottery Man was splitting our
winnings which bought me my books.
Here's hoping he got that camera...

"Lottery Man" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Bossa2 "Cuando Vuelva a Tu Lado" and provided by Jamendo.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Dunno where this pic exactly originated online, but I think it might be our kind of place. Right?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


OK... So we're all busy. Most of us can't eke out enough time to write or update our blogs much less READ. Imagine that? Us writers needing more time to READ.

In any case, heeding the call of many time-crunched readers (and I assume to the ire of all us scribes), two enterprising University of Chicago students have published "Twitterature: the World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less." It's already been released in England and Australia and scheduled to be on American shelves on Dec. 29.

How about some examples? In "The Inferno," Dante texts, "Met a guy who ate all his children and actually feels bad for HIMSELF. Creeped me out. Couldn't wait to say, 'Peace, brotha, gotta split.'"

And then there's this lil' gem from "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the bespectacled hero tweets, "OMG Hogwarts OMG I have two friends OMG magic OMG the Slytherins are Nazis OMG there is an EVIL WIZARD out to get me."

The 224-page book will include roughly 80 popular titles that includes "War and Peace," "The Da Vinci Code," and some new popular teen vampire romance.

Ugh... Hemingway is rolling over in his grave.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Something is seriously wrong. It just dawned on me that this is my second post about a coat in a very short time span. In any case, I wrote this for Playboy Online sometime in the late '90s. Being that it's nowhere to be found on the interweb, I figured I would rework it ever so slightly and give it a decent home here in Bukowski's Basement.

OK, so what's it about? My humble search for the perfect leather jacket -- a Chili Palmer leather jacket to be exact. In the mid-90s, it was no friggin' easy task.

* * * *

I'm of the belief that it takes a certain kind of guy to wear leather.

I'm not talking about your typical biker jacket. Any schmuck with a Bon Jovi backstage pass around his neck could pull that off. I'm talking about something a bit more different, shady. Perhaps even moody. Something I like to call bad-ass leather.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


So there I was the other day, driving, and I heard on the radio station how Elton John wrote a letter to his teenage self for some UK book. The jock went on a little about it and I thought, "Huh, how interesting... What would I say to my teenaged self given the chance?"

After thinking about it a small while. This is what came out:


Dear lil' Ant:

Your parents are doing a pretty good job so I'm gonna concentrate on the shit they're not gonna tell you. Brace yourself because I'm going to be blunt.

Ok, so you're small. Can't change it. And stop wasting time with those fucking weight gainers. You're 120 pounds. How much fucking weight you think you're gonna gain? There will always be asshole bullies in your life. Don't feed into them. That's what they want. And sure, they may be the shit now, but trust me, in 20 years, you'll still have your hair and not look like you have an inner tube under your shirt like most of them. That's your revenge.

Booze, et al.
Don't dick around with it. Yet. There will be plenty of time and believe me, kid, you're gonna enjoy it when you can. For now, stick to sippin' those faggy wine coolers. That's all about you can take. As for smoking, we all know you watched your father smoke unfiltered Chesterfields and could mimic it perfectly, but you're allergic to them. Remember that. Fight the urge.

Speaking of which...

Nothing huge to divulge here. At some point, you're gonna get your heart ripped out like one of those characters in Mortal Kombat but life will go on and you'll be surprised how easy it'll be. You'll know lots of girls -- many of them friends. You're picky. Stay that way. Pay attention to these little cuties. Each one will teach you something you'll use almost daily.

The words.
I'll be honest, hopping a flight to the Left Coast to hob-knob at the studio commisary with writers and agents still ranks pretty high up there. But I'll save you some trouble. You're not gonna make movies. That said, however, you will carve out a pretty decent career in the news game. It'll be a long road. Shitty assignments. Totem pole stuff. But you like to write. Stick with it. It'll serve you well financially -- meaning you'll be able to live -- as well as satisfy that creative spark you've had since grade school. Cultivate your writerly senses. Watch people. Listen to what they say. It will come easy. The writing will be the actual hard part. Your ideas will never fail you. Trust yourself.

That catholic school you seem to hate right now will teach you many things. While you may not currently understand, it'll provide you with some pretty decent life skills. Like what? Well, being that there aren't any girls, it'll force you to grow a sack and talk to them on weekends at the roller rink. Plus, without the distraction of giggly teen chicks in class, you'll concentrate on building better friendships and how to value them. Perhaps most shallow, catholic school will teach you how to look good in a suit and not be afraid to wear a tie. Ok, so getting dressed up every day sorta sucks for you now, but there's gonna be a time where nice threads won't seem so bad. In fact, you're gonna like it. And you know what, kiddo? You're gonna be a clothes horse. And hey, between you and I, save those knit ties -- they'll be coming back.

Higher ed.
This one is tough. When it comes time for college, you're gonna be bribed to stay at home with a car. A pretty cool car, in fact. Resist the urge. The car is gonna die a slow death and it will cost you almost 10 grand in repairs through the years. Go away to school. You'll learn things that took this guy way too long to learn. Like laundry. While we're on the subject, ditch grad school. You're never going to use your graduate degree and pay for it long after your first child is born. Did I just freak you out? Good. There's gonna be plenty of those moments. Brace yourself. You'll do fine.

Most important, spend more time your your dad. You don't realize it now but he's seen alot. Ask him about The Depression. Chat about World War II. Talk to him about when he was your age. Believe me, if you don't have these conversations, you'll regret it -- like I do.

trust me.

--- Big Ant

Sunday, December 6, 2009

OVER A HAMBURGER (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

So here we were.
Staring at each other,
this time over a hamburger
during a late lunch.
And I can’t drink this
fucking beer fast enough.
I need to get out of this zone.
The more she doesn’t say
anything, and stares at me or
into space, the more my head pounds.
It throbbed the second we got up,
partly because I was dreading
the day that would be coming.
She was still pissed about
our talk which never gets
us anywhere, but here,
staring at each other
over a hamburger.

"Over A Hamburger" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by 'kaponja' Guitar Arpeggio" and provided by Freesound.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I WEAR HIS JACKET (poem & podcast)

Please click play to enjoy an audio reading

The military jacket was crumpled
in a sloppy ball on the floor of the
antique show that some chickadee
dragged me to.

After hours and hours and rows
upon rows of beat-to-shit furniture,
hat pins and jewelry boxes, I saw it,
this gorgeously authentic army jacket.
Laying there, musty and crinkled, I
tried it on and it was a perfect fit.
This was the real deal, not some
knockoff shit direct from Abercrombie
but a coat that evoked history.

From the tattered interior stitching
I'm guessing the coat was issued
during Korea or maybe even Vietnam.
The patch had the name 'HALL'
and I started to think about him.

Wearing it, not a day goes by where
I don't have questions like how many
offensives had he seen? Was he scared?
I think of the mud he crawled through.
I think of the horrendous rain this
coat must have endured and the
cigarettes he must have smoked during
those uncertain night patrols.

I wear his jacket and I think of the
dog he missed and that perfume
she used to wear on their dates
at the drive in that drove him crazy.

I think about his mom's reaction when
he told her that he enlisted and how
proud his dad secretly was that his boy
would finally be made a man by Uncle Sam.

I think of 'HALL' as I drive to work
and I do the math. He must have kids
around my age if he were still here.
I wonder if they think their dad was a hero?

I wear his jacket quite frequently now
and every time I get a compliment
for it, I think that yes, I wear 'Hall's'
jacket, but I could never fill his shoes.

"I Wear His Jacket" by Anthony Venutolo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Hosted by The Internet Archive, download MP3 here. Music by Rhonda Lorence, track No. 11 "Trail of Tears" on the album "Movements in the Moment," and provided by Magnatune.


Blockbuster Video is selling books now... I know times are rough for the video retailer but selling books?? And they're not even movie tie-ins ala the Harry Potter or Twilight franchises. Oh well, chalk another one up to us hard-workin' scribes...

Thanks to Gizmodo for posting the pic above.