Saturday, May 31, 2008

The 2008 issue of the Stray Shot is now available & can be read online/downloaded here.

The issue was edited by Jon Hartmann (whose cover photo is at left), Sam Hunt, and Nick Benson.

Our thanks to Anna Kjellson for technical support.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Clarice Lispector

I am a huge fan of Clarice Lispector (the link takes you to a piece by Anderson Tepper in Nextbook) and it's hard to know where to begin, but this entry from her series of newspaper columns is pretty good, and it's from today, thirty-five years ago:

More Than Simple Word-Play

What I feel, I do not put into action. What I put into action, I do not think. What I think, I do not feel. I am unaware of what I know. I am not unaware of what I feel. I do not understand myself yet behave as if I had no difficulty in doing so.

- Clarice Lispector
in Selected Crônicas, trans. Giovanni Pontiero, NY: New Directions, 1996 (211)
original publication date 5/26/73

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Aldo Palazzeschi

So let me have my fun!

Twee twee twee,
froo froo froo,
eehu eehu eehu,
uhee uhee uhee!
The poet’s having fun,
he’s insane,
he’s out of control!
Don’t insult him,
let him have his fun –
poor guy,
these little pranks
are his only pleasure.

Cocca docca,
docca cocca,
What are these vulgarities,
these oafish strophes?
Liberties, liberties,
poetic liberties!
They’re my passion.

Know what this is?
It’s very advanced stuff,
nothing silly –
it’s the chaff
of other poems.

But if they’re deprived
of any sense,
why does he write them,
the blockhead?

Biloloo. Filoloo.
It isn’t true that they have no meaning.
They do mean something.
They mean...
well, it’s like when someone
gets to singing
without really knowing the words.
It is very déclassé.
Yet this is how I like to play.

A! E! I! O! U!
But, young man,
tell me something –
isn’t it a bluff,
to feed
this raging fire
with such paltry stuff?

Whisk... Whusk...
Shoo shoo shoo,
koku koku koku.
How’s anyone ever going to understand?
Such exaggerated claims as these −
now it sounds like you’re writing in Japanese.

Abee, alee, alaree.
Leave him to babble,
better yet if there’s no end.
His fun will cost him quite a bit –
he’ll be called an ass for it.

& so lala
Lalala lalala.
Certainly it’s a major risk
to write things such as this
these days, when professors wait
at every gate.

So I’m entirely correct,
the times have changed quite a bit −
men no longer expect
anything from poets,
so let me have my fun!

Nick Benson's translation of one of Italian poetry's definitive poems, by Aldo Palazzeschi (1885-1974), from his book L'Incendiario (The Arsonist, 1910), which was published by F.T. Marinetti's Futurist press, Poesia. Two other translations from this volume appear in the current issue of Calque:

The issue features work by Yves Bonnefoy, Astrid Cabral, Laura Solórzano, Ernest Farrés, Dmitry Golynko, Bruno Jasienski, Rieko Matsuura, Aldo Palazzeschi, José Saramago, Kazuko Shiraishi, and Ko Un, translated respectively by Marc Elihu Hofstadter, Alexis Levitin, Jen Hofer, Lawrence Venuti, Eugene Ostashevsky, Soren A. Gauger & Marcin Piekoszewski, Michael Emmerich, Nicholas Benson, Albert Braz, Samuel Grolmes & Yumiko Tsumura, and Brother Anthony of Taizé, Young-Moo Kim & Gary Gach, along with an Interview with Michael Emmerich by Jeff Edmunds, and reviews of Roberto Bolaño's Nazi Literature in America (New Directions, 2008) and Florence Delay & Jacques Roubaud's Graal Théâtre (Gallimard, 2007).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stray Shots/reading this evening

[poster by Ian Engelberger; purchase the prototype here]

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On the Water by Cassidy Goepel

A breeze tosses some stray pieces of hair into my face, partially blocking my vision. The top of my head is warm from the sun beating down on it, and the skin on my shoulders has been getting hotter as it burns. My body is balanced on a small, round, incredibly uncomfortable seat. My feet are strapped securely into shoes that are at least 6 sizes too big. The shoes are old and worn, with Velcro that barely sticks anymore. They are at the point where no person in their right mind would allow their bare feet to touch the scummy insides; mine are most certainly protected by socks. There is white tape wound around the ankle of the shoe in an attempt to keep my feet inside of them against the pull of momentum. The tape is wrinkled, and folded; clearly the work of someone who was rushed. The shoes themselves are fastened to a board with nuts and washers. To my left extends a black rigger with a long oar that reaches at least 6 feet out into the water in one direction, and about 2 or 3 feet back towards the boat coming to rest in my experienced hands. The tiny seat I mentioned before serves as transportation to bring me forward to “the catch” and then with a strong push of the legs it allows me to travel backwards. The boat I sit in is about a foot wide and maybe a foot deep. It is attached to the foot board, to which the shoes are bolted, inside of which my feet are strapped. It has become an extension of myself. The boat is an offshoot of my body that must be pushed through the water with my six foot long carbon fiber arm.

There are three others sitting behind me waiting on my next move. They are breathing hard in between strokes, and my boat-body has given me an extra sense, allowing me to feel the variations in their strength and timing. Without looking behind me, I see their expressions; mouths open sucking in air, eyes squinting against the sun and focused on the neck of the person in front of them, strands of hair tossed about, sweat dripping down their brows. My arms are extended, I bend from the waist allowing my hips to rotate forward while keeping my lower back tight and straight then my feet bring me up the slide again. With a subtle, but strong, movement I drop the blade into the water hearing a satisfying “ker-plunk” as it catches the water. Immediately my quads fire and I push back to apply force before the momentum of the boat carries the oar away from me. My legs accelerate and I finish by squeezing my hands into my body, popping the blade out of the water at the last possible moment. The water shoots away from us, I watch as the four puddles from our oars become further and further away and by the time the last one reaches the tip of the boat I’m at the catch again. Whoosh through the water, our strength combining with precise timing. Slowly I creep back up to the catch, allowing the boat to run in the water underneath us. It ripples around the boat creating small waves and patterns on the surface. The footboard springs me backwards. Out the corner of my eye I see my blade click into place, feathered to slice the wind. As my hands near my ankles in my forward progression I gradually begin to twist my hand forward and up to ready the oar to be dropped into the water. Click and it’s back into place. The green handle pulls away from me under the stress of the water as I brace myself against the boat to pull it through. The seats hum from the friction of the slide, and the boat speaks softly through its creaking riggers and clicking oars, then silence. It’s just as exhausted as its rowers. The boat runs on the surface and our oar blades slice through the air, then back into the water with a collective splash. Again, another stroke and I finish with the handle against my body. The speaker next to my feet vibrates with the voice of our coxswain, giving the boat a voice while we give it wings. The finish line is close by and the adrenaline pumps through my body making the pain of work obsolete. Thirty strokes to freedom, the coxswain's voice pushes us onward, “everything you got!” she shouts, “no regrets!” My lungs start to scream, echoing a groan from someone behind me as our last energy reserves start to disappear. My legs burn and the boat creaks, it wants relief, it wants victory, if only to be able to glide again, but it knows it must carry us across the line. Ten strokes left and the crowd is cheering us on, they can see the pain in our faces and know the desperation that comes with these last final strokes. We pass by the last buoy and our coxswain calls us to rest. The rowers throw their heads back, opening their throats as much as possible to get the air they need. Their leg muscles are already stiffening as they fill with lactic acid, but the stiffness matters about as much as the pain did during the race. A sense of respect lingers within the boat, an acknowledgement of each other as athletes. We silently commend each other because we know we couldn’t have done it alone. We sit there, idle on the water, waiting for our coach to come tell us the results, but it doesn’t matter. We flew, together, as fast as we could fly and it felt incredible. At the end of the day it’s not the number of minutes it took, or how many strokes per minute we took, or even whether we beat the other teams. Our accomplishment goes much further than that. The boat pushed us further and faster than we thought we could physically go. “No regrets,” the coxswain’s affirmation echoes in our ears. No regrets.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jane's Addiction by Jon Hartmann

Jane's Relationship with God in Charlotte Bronte's Novel Jane Eyre

In the novel Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, God becomes the symbolic, father, brother, and caretaker of Jane. This motif or idea first appears when Jane sits on the deathbed of her close friend Helen and asks; “Where is God, what is God?” (Ch IX). Helen responds: “My maker and yours who will never destroy what he created” (Ch IX). At this moment, the idea is suggested that a tangible, personal, relationship with God may be had, and it becomes the basis for much of Jane’s reasoning throughout the novel. To Jane, God offers a perfect and intimate relationship that was never present in her life, one that she immediately becomes attached to. There is somewhat of an unspoken struggle throughout the novel for this position in Jane’s life. God’s role is often obscured or even replaced, first by Rochester, and finally by Jane’s newfound relatives: St. John Rivers, Mary and Diana. Ultimately, Jane finds the balance between her human and spiritual relationships in a romantic climax.

Before Jane’s romance with Rochester, she is steadfast in her ascetic lifestyle. Jane feels supported as an individual through her relationship with God. God is a source of sustenance and justification for the values that she had come to appreciate at Lowlwood; namely self-deprivation, modesty, and asceticism. She invokes the name of god often, considering him a peer or a witness to her daily struggles and worries, almost as a family member. “I pray to God that Mrs. Fairfax may not turn out a second Mrs. Reed” (Ch XI) Jane states sincerely to herself after making plans to seek a position at Thornfield. Early in the novel, Jane’s sole source of reassurance is God. In the face of great difficulty or trial, Jane continues to consult God as a peer or parent. “Love me then or hate me, you have my full and free forgiveness, ask now for God’s and be at peace” (Ch XXIV) Jane asserts upon the deathbed of her hateful aunt Mrs. Reed. Here Jane faces a difficult moment with the support of God, almost in place of the assurance of a family. However a conflict quickly arises as a struggle for this position in Jane’s life occurs.

Jane subconsciously seems to seek this relationship in her life, filling the emptiness left by the absence of her own direct family. At Thornfield, Rochester quickly assumes a powerful and similarly important role in Jane’s life. While God substantiated Jane’s life with his omnipresence and moral standard, Rochester offers human companionship, financial security, and any degree of material comfort that Jane could possibly desire. Rochester provides a very tangible relationship, and God’s symbolic fatherly provision is swiftly overshadowed. Falling in love with Rochester, Jane forgets her devotion to God and to an ascetic lifestyle as she takes pleasure, although minimally, in the security and significance Rochester offers her. Jane shares a close relationship with Rochester; he shares his innermost thoughts with her at every opportunity. And this human connection or intimacy Jane finds seductive.

“He stood between me and every thought of religion as an eclipse intervenes between man and the broad sun. I could not in those days see God for his creature, of whom I had made an Idol.” Jane has idolized Rochester, eclipsing entirely the “sun” or her past source of fulfillment: God. The statement ‘I could not see God for his creature’ suggests that ultimately Rochester had replaced God’s role in Jane’s life, becoming her mentor, brother, father, lover. In her zealousness, Jane doesn’t thank, or even mention God once during her romance with Rochester until it comes to a dramatic halt. When Jane discovers that Rochester is still married, she immediately cries out to God in lament. The material has failed Jane, and she returns quickly to supernatural or divine dependence. “I lay faint, longing to be dead, only one idea still throbbed life like within me, a remembrance of God” grieves Jane, at the news of Rochester’s secret wife (Ch XXVI). Jane seeks support in this time of great emotional stress from God. “looked for aid to one higher than man: the words “God help me,” burst involuntarily from my lips.” Jane’s support and confidence are again from the divine, God seems to have resumed the role of Jane’s caretaker. God now symbolically occupies the role of her father, lover, and sole relation in the world.

According to Jane’s assumptions about God, she starts her ascetic lifestyle anew, fleeing the human camaraderie of her now shunned lover. “Let me break away and go home to God” (Ch XXVII). Jane faces considerable difficulty and starvation in her wanderings; she cries out to God. “I can but die and I believe in God, let me try to wait his will in silence.” Once Jane is delivered to a dry home, “my dripping clothes were removed…I thanked God,” she appropriately resumes a pattern of life that she feels pleases the one now closest to her in her life: God. She lives sparsely and with little passion as a school teacher in exceedingly modest quarters. However, Jane soon inherits a considerable fortune and discovers relatives. At this point in the novel, again, God quickly disappears as a motif or a representation of Jane’s longing for relations. “It seemed I had found a brother: one I could be proud of, -- one I could love; and two sisters” (Ch XXXIII). Jane revels extensively in the comfort of her newfound family: St. John Rivers and sisters Mary, and Diane, generously furnishing their home with her new fortune. "Have I furnished it nicely?" she asks (Ch XXXI). The energy Jane feels in her new situation is clear; she quits her job teaching, keeps to the house of her relatives, and relaxes for extended amounts of time. Not mentioning or calling upon God once, as she had done constantly weeks before, it is clear that Jane had forgotten the relationship and intimacy she held with God. Her desire for relationship has presently been fulfilled by her discovered relatives. St. John Rivers sees this replacement, and criticizes her on this loss. "To the end of turning to profit the talents which God has committed to your keeping; and of which He will surely one day demand a strict account. Jane, I shall watch you closely and anxiously -- I warn you of that. And try to restrain the disproportionate fervour with which you throw yourself into commonplace home pleasures. Don't cling so tenaciously to ties of the flesh” (Ch XXXIV). Although a fervent and perhaps overly passionate man himself, he recognizes the shift and the loss of Jane’s symbolic relationship with God. Planning to be a missionary and to marry Jane, he slowly pushes her with cult-leader-like authority back into a relationship with God. Jane, either seeing her divergence, or feeling crushed by his passion, decides to run away to Rochester.

Jane discovers that Rochester -- now physically disabled by an unsuccessful attempt to save his wife from throwing herself off the roof of the burning Thornfield -- has sought an intimate relationship with God as well. He can no longer depend on himself, being blind, and in some ways seeks to fulfill this deficiency with a dependence on God. Figuratively, It seems both Jane and Rochester now rely on God to compensate for their own shortcomings; Jane for her lack of family and Rochester for his physical disability and to some degree his own lack of relatives. “My heart swells with gratitude to the beneficent God of this earth just now. He sees not as man sees, but far clearer: judges not as man judges, but far more wisely…I supplicated God, that, if it seemed good to Him, I might soon be taken from this life, and admitted to that world to come, where there was still hope of rejoining Jane” (Ch XXXVII). Ultimately, Jane comes to fulfill her desire for relationship, with both God and humanity in her marriage to Rochester. God plays an intimate role in both of their lives. Jane describes this accurately: “I am not of those who live without God in the world, and only mind earthly things” (ChXXXVII).

The novel ends on a mention of Christ: “Amen; even so come, Lord Jesus,” which is a quotation of St. John Rivers’s letter (Ch XXXVII). This symbolizes the significance and intimacy of God to all three characters, Rochester, Jane, St. John, and most significantly the final harmony in Jane’s life. She has found both a relationship with God and Rochester, both human and divine, living in the manner that she imagines God would approved of: an ascetic existence in Rochester’s unfinished forest cottage. God has resumed the role of intimate confidant in Jane’s life, and she lives accordingly.

This unspoken conflict is resolved. Jane has integrated and accepted the symbolic relationship of God harmoniously with that which often caused her to stray from it: human companionship. God now plays an intimate role as father and caretaker, despite her previous conflict, straying to the tangible companionship of Rochester, and to the comfort of her relatives. Jane has successfully integrated this symbol into her life.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Poem by Ian Engelberger

so i put on a side as i walked out
towards the city lights
hoping for something to shout

sometimes your silence
and a walk after sleep
are enough to convince me
though my thoughts fade
that we’re all broken
because we were made

when i’m quiet i can hear my fear
like a river that screams as it rushes
a room full of voices raised at once
audible as it crushes
composed of words i can’t understand

and when i’m asleep my human dreams are distraught by nature
my mind reels to find
images and feelings by morning i rarely remember
broken boys dry eyes agape at televisions telling the story of love
and those holy days in mid december

i sat on a hill and watched them
all brought to a cliff and made to jump off
with that drunk old supermarket cough
their deaths they couldn’t embrace
unmedicated fear that i could taste
in their voices as they leapt from their palimpsest lives undone
those dull screams
like bullets shot at the sun

when i talk i feel their weight
words lost as i walk after them
the ugly notion that i’m too late


people mistake me for myself
as i float and refuse
why should i seek that kinetic abrasion -
my own realisation?

anyone’s realisation in this long country
anyone’s truth found on these streetcorners of elusive happiness

i’d rather descend instead into the sun and
with melting eyes fail to see
the flames
without ears to hear
and with melted hands i wouldn’t understand

and people mistake you for myself
moving in my head as someone else
can’t you look learned?
point everywhere and lead nowhere

followed giant fingers pointed in the sky
with clenched fists full of crumpled paper
laid down staring after potential airplanes
never to be realised in the rhythmic pursuit of my seconds

and my flutter of concerns before sleep
unsettled minds and poisoned heads
their america found dead
our bloodsport is six o’clock
channel five news

young men left lame
fighting wars left undeclared
old men’s money better off fared

where’s the pill that closes my eyes
to all this blindness i suffer?
how many weeks of two pills a day
before an american can
without seeing hate
look out their window
and find nothing worth buying

and how do i make the safe dollar?

and how many of those will take my eyes off the smoke
on the horizon?

that black bleak column
that means nothing to me nor should it

that from the side of my eye
suggests that maybe old men bought me

and old men sold me

[Congratulations to Ian Engelberger, who has just won the Gunnery's poetry contest, judged by Valzhyna Mort, with this poem. Ian is a frequent contributor to Green Hill and I think he has a bit of Dustin Hoffman in All the Presidents' Men in him. Honorable mention went to poets Sara Silverman, Kirsten Bouthiller, and Jon Hartmann, whose work is known here already and/or whose work will appear in this spot in the near future.]

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Yi Chen Jessie Tsai (2007)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Seasonal poem by Alex Geerken

All the trees bud,
the flowers start to bloom.
It’s the time of rebirth:
Spring is nature’s womb.

Behind this illusion of beauty,
a fiend lurks about.
It lashes out sporadically
and will attack without a doubt.

Small irksome spores
become airborne from the wind.
Once your eyes start to itch
you’ll beg the pollen to rescind.

Quickly take your meds
and hope for the best.
The only thing you can do
is wait it out & get some rest.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Illustration by Ian Engelberger
[...unintentionally recalls the story by Alex Brimelow posted below. More by Ian, including poems, coming here soon]

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Street Fighter by Alex Brimelow

I remember the first time. The first time I killed another person. I was fourteen. My family and I lived in Baghdad, Iraq. My father, Amaz Busayna, was in command of the 345th Infantry Battalion, who during the invasion held off an American advance on a bridge for over 8 hours. After the 8th hour, my father said bombs and rockets fell out of nowhere as if Allah himself had demanded it. On that day his men broke and ran. He was then forced to surrender. My father blamed the Americans for everything afterward. Our family had served Saddam as long as he had been in power. My father, even after being stripped of his rank, tried to serve Saddam. I remember him leaving after dinner or slipping away during the day, sometimes with my brother, Azad. They would return later, sometimes happier, sometimes in a rage. Azad was eighteen. He thought that if not for the Americans, Iraq would be happy and wealthy.

One night I asked Azad where he went with my father. After a minute of silence I asked again.“Please, Azad, tell me where you go.” “I can’t tell you,” he hissed. I begged him. Eventually, he said they were part of a group who fought Americans. Azad said the only way for the infidels to leave was through a hail of lead and mound of bodies. “You see Imm, Americans are not like us. They are devils. They can only speak through their guns and only bring sorrow and misery to the places they go.” I listened to my brother and asked him if I could help too. He lay in his cot and did not reply.

It was not because I dislike the Americans, but because I was curious about the group that I wanted to go. In truth, I was once saved by an American soldier. It was a hot day in early June the same year. My friends and I were walking down the street heading to an ice cream store. We turned the corner and stopped at the end of the street was an American Humvee surrounded by half a dozen Americans. One of my friends said, “Maybe we should turn back? There’s always another street.” Some of us nodded and began to head in another direction but my best friend, Hdi, turned to me and said, “Come on Imm, they would never hurt us.” I called out to him “Hdi! Don’t! Come on, let’s follow the others!” He stopped and turned toward me chiding, “Imm, I’m not afraid. Are you?” I stood there, and then I chased after him. We walked side by side. The Americans were half way up the street, silent. They all seemed to be staring at us. The car seemed more like a giant steel dog, growling as it moved down the street. As we neared them, they began to talk to each other. Hdi didn’t even flinch. I was scared. So afraid. These men with black and white colored skin, whose bodies seemed to blend into the wall and whose eyes were nothing but black holes that you could see your own face in, they seemed like devils. One of them smiled at me. I looked at my feet hoping that I could just walk through. Then there was a shriek and explosion. Chaos exploded around me. The Americans began to shoot their guns. As I looked up, I saw Iraqi men standing on the roofs shooting at the Americans. I was thrown to the ground. One of the Americans was holding me, using his body to shield the bullets. He put me in an alley and started to yell at me, making hand motions. I looked into that face and felt more fear than I had ever felt in my whole life. The American ran back to the street, where the gunfire seemed to increase. I turned and ran down the alley. I did not stop running until I got home and burst through into my mother’s arms. There, I began to weep. She held me, hushing me, rocking. Later that day my father brought news that Hdi had been killed in a firefight downtown. I did not tell him that I was there too.

A week or so later, my father called me to the roof of our house after evening prayer. We sat in silence looking out over the city. My father looked at me and said three words: “It is time.” I was puzzled, but he continued. “My son, it is time for you to join us and help us remove this stain from our country.”

He told me that the Americans were not like him or me. They were devils. They neither loved nor cared for others. They only sought to kill. I asked why we do not just ask them to leave. He said that they would never leave our country unless we killed them and drove them back to hell. Allah wills it, he said, and we must do Allah’s will. “Tomorrow you will see.”

The next morning after breakfast, they took me into the city. We walked and walked until it was noon. At a big house, my father went down the stairs. He knocked on the door. A small window in the door slid open and then closed. There was a turning of locks and the door opened. The room was dark and musty. Only a few light bulbs dimly lit the room. I could make out some of the faces of the men who greeted us. As my eyes got used to the gloom, I saw men unloading boxes. They pulled out guns. My father picked one up and knelt before me. “This is the tool that will drive out the infidels. This is your sword that may strike down the demons to defend our home.” He smiled at me and offered it. I held it, but it did not make me more confident.

“Father,” I said, “I don’t know if I will be able to kill the Americans.”
“Don’t worry,” he said, “You will.” We sat there for what felt like a lifetime. We wrapped cloths around our heads and made masks. A door opened from the top of the stairwell and everyone began to move. We followed the stairs all the way up and travelled along the rooftops until we reached a place with a busy street below. Fear gripped my stomach. I wanted to scream “Get away!” but I couldn’t. I felt like a stone.

Then I heard the growl. The growl of the Humvees. The street seemed to empty as if people knew what was going to happen. Two Humvees began to move down the street with a dozen Americans on either side. A man with a RPG aimed at the Humvee. An American yelled, and chaos filled the street. The American soldier aimed and shot the man with the RPG. I watched as the man fall, scarlet blood spewing out of his body. Another RPG was fired, hitting one of the Humvees. The explosion rocked the street but the truck seemed unharmed. Azad was standing now, shooting at the soldiers. I looked toward them and raised the gun to my shoulder. One was dragging his comrade into an alley. Then I saw one alone, standing against the wall under an overlapping roof, aiming with a grim expression on his face.

I put the man in my sights. My hands trembled and I couldn’t keep my aim. I don’t need to do this! I thought, this isn’t right! Tears crept down my face. The American soldier dropped to one knee and reloaded. He stopped and looked up right into my eyes. I felt his eyes scanning me and I felt so naked. Time seem to slow and stop. The yells and gunshots seemed to disappear until there was only silence. My hands stopped shaking and the tears slowed. Then I whispered, “I’m sorry.” I pulled the trigger. The bark and the kick of the gun brought me back to the real world. I unloaded my gun at the man. I saw him hit the wall he was standing in front of. He stood against it and slipped into a sitting position. A red smear seemed to paint the wall even after the gun was empty. I continued to pull the trigger. I fell to my knees and began to cry. I heard someone yell “Back! Back to the safe house!” I grabbed my gun, turned still crying, and ran with the group. I jumped and weaved around the rooftops. I still cried. If god wanted me to kill these men, why did it seem that my soul died with them?

[Alex's story was among the pieces of creative writing selected to be read at the evening event celebrating young writers held by ASAP and hosted by Denis Leary at the Washington Town Hall on Saturday, April 26th. The story was read by veteran singer, actor, and narrator John McDonough, who especially commended its author at the outset of his reading.]