I answered a call for “essays about the moments you saw yourself in pop culture” from Toronto’s Daily Xtra and my essay was accepted. It’s a tribute to Debbie Harry, and a diss on the film it served as theme. it chronicles the effects of hearing Blondie’s genre-crashing track “Call Me” on me at 16. #RepesentationMatters
I’d taken the lyrics as a sort of instruction manual in the absence of any other. Its beat, repetition, sultry coaxing, and charged inferences accompanied me as I navigated longing.
Thanks to Natalie Wee for the prompt, and to Natalie and Rachel Giese, Director of Editorial, for the thoughtful and thought-provoking edit.
“Traumatic Book Review, Alive, by Piers Paul Read“, my submission for the 2018 Saints + Sinners fiction contest, made the semifinalist cut.
I read Alive probably too young. I was freaked out by the fate of the Old Christians rugby team, even while longing for their camaraderie. So I grew up to write a short story exploring lust, shame, body issues, and loss.
Warner nudged him awake with a bare foot; Vin looked around to find the library empty. Noting the paperback on his chest, Warner smiled. “Alive. Who knows how that turned up here? Guests in and out, someone must have left it behind…”
Vin roused. “One of the survivors–Canessa–was my first crush.”
“Ah! Now we know. You’re into jock cannibal trade,” Warner joked as he gave him a hand up.
I’ll be reading at this year’s festival in New Orleans.
My short story “One Nation” was published in OutWrite‘s rowdy collection of stories, interviews, poems, and spells. A young man with a tambourine shows up for the 2010 rally and figures out the best way he can serve the cause of social justice.
“Dangit! I missed the bus,” I awaken with a jolt the morning of the rally. The country comes out of me in times of stress. Four years of living in New York City I still can’t figure out the balance between nighttime adventuring and daytime responsibilities. Phone has a mess of texts from my friend Owen. Where R U Qween? being the latest. I was supposed to take the charter with him and his activist crowd. Owen believes we queers must do our part for the broader struggle for social justice. I’ve been crushing on him since he recruited me to the cause one night at the Phoenix.
Ovunque Siamo is a journal of new Italian-American writing. The title–translation Wherever We Are–is apt for our assimilated and diffuse ethnic body.
“Miss Bensonhurst” is a fictional account of my grandmother’s friendship with Marylin Monroe. The story was first presented in nonfiction form in 2013 in Salon.
She and the girls are enveloped in the warm bakelite booth. A curtain shields her from the crowds. The two little angels share the hard seat. The camera–that possessed apparatus which would stalk her to the end–here blinks obediently. Flash.
Today’s the release of Volume 2 of the Anthology Hashtag Queer. My short story“Raunch Daddy” appears . Purchase print and kindle editions at the link. Loosely based on sex work experiences, the character “Dean” is based on the late Dean Johnson.
“I think I’m in love with Benito,” Nick confessed over a beer.
“Who’s Benito?” asked Dean.
“You set me up with him. The Mexican writer in the West Village?”
“Oh, raunch daddy,” Dean said with laughter. “You can’t go falling in love with your johns. You’ll go out of business!”
Two short stories placed within a few days of each other and they couldn’t be more different.
“Miss Bensonhurst,” a fictional account of my grandmother’s real-life friendship with Marilyn Monroe, will appear in Ovunque Siamo‘s July issue. OS (“Wherever we are”) is a journal of Italian-American writing so it’s a great fit for this story of MM’s interaction with Italian-American culture.
“Raunch Daddy” will appear in Volume 2 of the Anthology Hashtag Queer. It’s a story mined directly from my sex work past which I believe succeeds in subverting conventional sex worker narratives.
NewTown Writers hosted this reading at the Center on Addison. Bringing New York in the 80’s flavor to Chicago:
He’d been crossing through the Ramble by night for years, as Smart lived on the East Side and he lived on the West. He navigated its paths by moonlight, nodding to a few familiar huddles of men. Sometimes ambling through its shabby splendor was the only way to shake off Smart’s fixated gaze.
The reading took place at the charming Charmers Cafe in the Jarvis Square neighborhood of Chicago. The excerpt I read ended with these lines:
Something about seeing this aristocratic British man tied to his throne with his own silk had soothed him, like the synchronized click of jail door magnets on multiple strike plates. Behold my colonizer!