Poor Dumb Bum

I was fucking Rosie Fox on a pool table in the basement of a Lower East Side club called Quando. Rosie’s miniskirt was hiked to her waist, her panties were somewhere on the floor, her ass was positioned over the side pocket like a giant white cue ball, with her legs spread on either side […]

The Last Good Year

The house felt like Christmas, at least that’s all young Louie Laszlo could think to compare it to. Mama made a special dinner, cleaned the house more thoroughly than her nurse’s job usually allowed, and lit the scented candles. All of this was unprecedented for a midsummer’s eve, but in his trusting youth Louie had […]

A Scar Is Borne


It enters the room at 10:15 on the dot every morning, flitting about for several minutes before hovering over my perishing body. I wait for it to alight and pounce on what remains of my sanity. It touches down on my chin, before springing to the entrance of my right ear canal, where it continues […]


Gregory loved Peggy Biderman who lived at the Chelsea Hotel. Peggy, she was probably around 55, even older than Gregory (who was twice as old as me) but younger than I am now. I’m not sure of the relationship the two had in their past, lovers, friends, I don’t know. I knew she lived at […]

Like A 45 On 33

Only two days after Brian met her at a cocktail party, he walked out the front door of his home on Cape Cod, left it all behind: the ocean view, the bank account, the credit card, the mortgage, the car payments, the wife, the three kids, the kit, the caboodle. With nothing more than the […]

Junkheap, E. 7th St., Ave. B & C, 1983 photograph by Philip Pocock.

Bunny Embers

Bunny Embers A melody ponytail, a middle-name smile, an old-fashioned jig with the neighbors. A wipe of the windscreen, sunscreen. Gimme the Carter, the Marlowe, the town protector, the well-breakfasted, the special ones who spit This soil, this lonesome steak. The smokers steak. The cold song dance speakers I don’t like it but it doesn’t […]

Just A Little Bit

I had to shit on someone to make this money! shrieked Lani, I need you to get me off! Now! Lani had translucent skin and tiny, spidery veins. Usually, I could find a place to hit her but she’d done some serious damage on a recent coke run, and her reedy voice was getting on […]

The Dead Man by Julius Klein


(Bus routes, train routes, walking patterns and thinking jags) Riding the #22 Clark Street bus north on a fall evening in Chicago, 1978, getting off at the Armitage stop, descending the few stairs to the oval expanse of park benches, just in front of the Natural History Museum, my eye instantly focused on an old […]

Joined at the Hips

When you hitchhiked back then, before it was redefined as criminal trespass – and dangerous – you could get around OK and once in a while catch a ride with someone you would never have met in your regular life. [Do not take too seriously the image of my mother sobbing on her knees, clutching […]

Scab Vendor 39 – Sins of the Father

An excerpt from “Scabvendor,” Jonathan Shaw’s memoir of his days at the top of the tattoo racket. Jonathan reminisces about conversations with his father, the legendary jazz clarinetist and bandleader, Artie Shaw.