Lately, I’ve generally been dispensing with developing new works of original short fiction, and have instead been compelled to grapple with my increasingly unreckonable and monstrous novel manuscript-in-progress, tentative excerpts of which I’m now delighted to share with y’all. To that end, a few self-enclosed extracts from the manuscript have recently been published in both Vol. 1 Brooklyn (U.S.A.) and AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought (U.S.A.), two of my favourite new lit. concerns specialising in innovative prose and poetics. The longform 5,000-word excerpt for the book showcased online at AZURE, was also recently accorded the winning entry of their January 2016 Writing Contest for best original contribution for the issue.
You can read both these chunky excerpts from my novel manuscript-in-progress now by clicking through to each of these aesthetically radical and summarily excellent publications.
¶ “Firewater Moan” at Vol. 1 Brooklyn:
“He was readying to retire at the age of thirty-nine. Would cloak himself in quiet, resolve himself to the collapsing of his face over decades, become an old daft backwoodsman swallowed in tidepools of wizardly white hair, eat the plenty of the land with two buttery gums until his stomach shrivelled with the evils of time, grew so ancient he whistled in his sleep, died by drowning in the milky glottal clots that had softened his lungs while he traced the trembling grace of the wetland. All he could muster was the singular soulbright desire to dwindle into obsolescence, into finite memory, so that the only evidence of his American inheritance was that of a revenant adrift through the trees, some whiskery sylvan coot whose snowy folds of hair seemed to trail through the bay willows for weeks. He would greet extinction by tonguing the undersides of bromeliads, by surrendering all propriety, by swimming nude in the mud with the pythons and corn snakes, a pretty poltergeist music surfacing from his throat.”
=> Summon up some sustenance in the swamp, and savour its smoke-throated whiskey burn here.
¶ “Brass Tyrant and the American Thirst” at AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought:
(This image is copyrighted & conjured courtesy of Evgenia Barsheva, the in-house illustrator/resident visual genius for AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought).
“Sometimes he would come across a bald-pated ancient nursing a dram of whiskey, cupping his ear to the glass as if harkening through the centuries to the acrid rumble of cannon fire. Sometimes he would catch a wrinkle-sunken sentimentalist inhaling from his whiskey snifter as if responding to sulphur notes of cordite and decay. Some days Briggs would observe the whiskey-blinded hobos on the New Jersey streets, those rag-and-bone men hobbled by uncoordinated thirsts who tussled for change while clutching brown paper bags like Chinese lanterns before them, and he would think the drink was a cruel inheritance, like a nation-building bullet once lodged in the spleen during the heat of the fray and slowly disintegrating. Whiskey only ever seemed to eat away at a person’s insides while the host deluded himself that it was the stuff of ceremony, of romance and Reconstruction. But it was closer to an autoimmune infection exclusive to American dynasties, Briggs reasoned, a thing which southern sons learned at the bottom of their daddy’s bottle.”
=> Learn about the cult of New York whiskey, its criminal allure, and what it means to drink death down in dragon doses here.
As ever, my thanks to the keen-eyed encouragement & estimable editorial energy of Vol. 1 Brooklyn‘s Tobias Carroll and the Lazuli Literary Group‘s Diana McClure & Sakina B. Fakhri, incomparable literary executrixes all three.