from CARL SITS SHIVA (in progress)


Carl’s a musical genius and a survivor of cancer. He doesn’t walk: he floats. He whistles Mozart operas in the bathtub, with splashes for punctuation. He’s hard of hearing and he’s addicted to nasal spray and once you’ve met him, he’s impossible to forget.

...The last time I took Carl to the hospital, the custodian took one look at his stubby grey ponytail and said, “You groovy, man!” Carl told the staff that I was his girlfriend, and that we were to be married the following week. He smooched the nurse, and she wiped her cheek.

As four beefy men had rolled him into the ambulance, he had pointed to a fat cat, orange as a pumpkin, rolling ecstatically in the dirt, and said, “That’s my Leo! He eats squirrels!”
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Hope is the thing with feathers

Take a more intimate look - click on the photo.


Staceyann Chin

Yay, excitement, jump on the bed! If you live in Chicago get yourself to Women and Children First Bookstore on Weds, April 8 at 7:30 pm - Staceyann Chin, one of the finest living performance poets, is presenting her memoir and it's FREEEEEEEE.


The Threshold Between Life and Death

I am on the threshold between life and death. As a parting wish I ask the Lord to flash me a moment, any moment, from my life. The moment is me, age 19, standing in my kitchen on Gold Street, rolling a lint roller over my tight red pants, listening to Outkast. Dirty lemon-patterned pot mitt, stink of garlic. It is extraordinary.


An Infant Memory of Tires

I had a flat, and by the time I pulled up to Ortiz Tire I had two – I think the bastards sprinkle screws in the alley to enhance business. More snow fell, innocent and white, each flake a unique possibility, but the pileup around us was so hopelessly soiled with exhaust, who cared. Boo Boo woke with a frown and coughed out a stream of curdled milk. She looked plump and crotchety, and I sat in the back seat with her singing along with the radio, Little Red Corvette! Her frown cracked into an enormous toothless smile. I held her tight to my body in her screaming pink snowsuit with Eskimo trim, and jiggled her in the garage, surrounded by mounds and mounds, coils and coils of tires. She was mystified by the black mountains. When she is 27, she’ll have a dream of infinite, whispering black mountains in twilight, and she’ll interpret it as an ancestral land, when in fact it is an infant memory of tires.

Travnik, Bosnia

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Zita and I tried photography together – art shots in our underwear, eating bananas, then lying with the peel, some unexamined idea we had about male impotence. We were horrified to see our creativity developed – shots that probed up our nostrils, and white flashes magnifying goosebumps and rolls of back fat. But the rest of Rome seemed delighted by our appearance. They treated each woman as a fantastic new discovery. Men honked, smiled, made kissies from afar, cried “Ciao, Bella!” or “Oh, hellooo, Beautee!” There were ones who inquired “You like fucky-fucky?” and others, like the bin man, who showed us their penises. Little gypsy girls – knackers, Zita called them – who lived in trailers and ditched school to moan for lira with dirt rubbed on their faces – flocked to us and squeezed our breasts and asked, “Have you ever done it? Did you! Did you make a baby?” We dodged our regular admirers, like Renato, the policeman who loitered on my street, with games and lies. I told him that my name was Nuvola – Cloud. I had no nationality, I explained, as I had been born on a boat in international waters, but I considered my motherland to be Cameroon, where I had studied insect life and mastered traditional dances. He would look at me from under his starched white bureaucratic cap, long oiled hair curling at the base of his neck, eyebrows perked, his lips contorting into a rubbery grin – “you are a fascinating young lady!”

was a wonderful country to grow up in, a safe place to be a slut.



Read Kate Duva's RARE interview with Jason Behrends of the colorful arts and culture site What to Wear During an Orange Alert.