I used to enter a short story in the Hemingway
Write-Alike contest in the Dog Days Festival
every year, when the mockingbird doesn’t sing and a cut won’t heal.
I said the judges bought a case of beer with the entry fees, gave the prizes
to their friends, and threw the entries in the trash, unread. One year
they gave me an Honorable Mention. It’s the best I ever did
in a contest. The awards are given out at Sloppy Joe’s.
The original site of Sloppy Joe’s was Captain Tony’s.
I had a booth across the street from Captain Tony’s,
under a royal Poinciana tree with a bougainvillea vine
growing up in it and next to a pirate with a tropical bird
on his shoulder. He would take your picture with
his bird and call you a Parrothead.
It’s all about the tourists.
You can buy the tour jacket.
A swinette is two horseshairs across
a hog’s ass you pick with your teeth.
I am the Swinette-Picker of American Letters.
Joy Williams, Rust Hills, Monica Haskell, Jim Hall.
I give myself prizes. Rust Hills called me
an injustice collector. I like it. The injustice collector.
The neurotic. The bittersweet pain, as Gilbert Sorrentino says.
Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things.