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PREVIEW

DEATH DANCE BY

JAY MARVIN

~BOOK PREVIEW, COVER CHOICES, and ORDERING INFO LINKS INSIDE~


DEATH DANCE is NOT sold on AMAZON.COM. HERE’S WHY: We have committed to selling this book independent of cultural & political pressure or convention. Specifically, we are taking a stand against Amazon.com’s treatment of publishers and authors. On a $10 book, Amazon pockets 55% of the cover price, $5.50, leaving $4.50 for the publisher, author, editor, etc. Furthermore, the publisher is required to pay shipping costs of approx. $2 per book to ship to Amazon’s warehouse whenever a book is ordered. Our initial printing costs = $2 per book, leaving $0.50 to be divided by publisher, author, editor, and so on. Amazon.com is the “Wal-Mart” of the book business, a voracious corporate monstrosity practicing greedy exploitation of its own industry, running small bookstores out of business , gobbling up profits, and beating down publishers to ruination. Please think twice before buying from Amazon.com: support independent publishing and publishers who have the courage to sell their merchandise ethically & reasonably priced, directly to consumers, so that the people who actually contribute to the book have the opportunity to profit from all of their hard work. Under this pretense, Howling Dog Press prints, markets, sells, and distributes its own books to keep prices fair for everyone. Buy HERE. Buy from the SOURCE. Buy from US. [For % discounts on commercial quantities, independent bookstores, and libraries, contact us directly: HowlingDogStiletto@msn.com.]

COPYRIGHT © 2011 BY JAY MARVIN / HOWLING DOG PRESS.

All contents of this preview of Death Dance by Jay Marvin, including images, photos, artwork, poems, misc. verbage, logos, etc. are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner without the express written permission of the publisher.

[All illustrative art in DEATH DANCE is by artist Jeff Kappel from 2 unless otherwise attributed.] original photos by Michael Annis,


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TO PURCHASE DEATH DANCE, click on the links provided facing the 5 cover choices that follow. The links are for either the hardbound or the paperback edition of the book, and relative to whether a purchased book is being shipped to a U.S. address or out of the country—for example, Canada. You are given 5 different cover samples before the book preview begins. Each cover is available per your choice when you order directly from Howling Dog Press via this preview. The in-print book you are ordering is 142 pages long. The 100copy [numbered] Limited Edition Hardbound is signed by the author, Jay Marvin, the designer/editor, Michael Annis, and Jeff Kappel, the illustrator. [INSIDE USA, ALLOW TWO WEEKS FOR DELIVERY] To reiterate from the preceding page, you CANNOT purchase DEATH DANCE through Amazon.com. 3


DEATH DANCE cover choice #1: Click on the links below to order Jay Marvin’s book with the cover displayed at right →

USA ORDERS, HARDBOUND, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the 100-Copy Hardbound Ltd. Collectors’ Edition (signed & numbered) for $30 per copy. USA ORDERS, PAPERBACK, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the Paperback Edition [unsigned] for $10 per copy. OUTSIDE-OF-USA ORDERS, HARDBOUND, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the 100Copy Hardbound Ltd. Collectors’ Edition (signed & numbered) for $35 per copy. OUTSIDE-OF-USA ORDERS, PAPERBACK, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the Paperback Edition [unsigned] for $12 per copy.

Prices listed above do not include shipping cost, which is added in during checkout. 4


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DEATH DANCE cover choice #2: Click on the links below to order Jay Marvin’s book with the cover displayed at right → USA ORDERS, HARDBOUND, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the 100-Copy Hardbound Ltd. Collectors’ Edition (signed & numbered) for $30 per copy. USA ORDERS, PAPERBACK, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the Paperback Edition [unsigned] for $10 per copy. OUTSIDE-OF-USA ORDERS, HARDBOUND, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the 100Copy Hardbound Ltd. Collectors’ Edition (signed & numbered) for $35 per copy. OUTSIDE-OF-USA ORDERS, PAPERBACK, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the Paperback Edition [unsigned] for $12 per copy.

Prices listed above do not include shipping cost, which is added in during checkout.

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DEATH DANCE cover choice #3: Click on the links below to order Jay Marvin’s book with the cover displayed at right → USA ORDERS, HARDBOUND, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the 100-Copy Hardbound Ltd. Collectors’ Edition (signed & numbered) for $30 per copy. USA ORDERS, PAPERBACK, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the Paperback Edition [unsigned] for $10 per copy. OUTSIDE-OF-USA ORDERS, HARDBOUND, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the 100Copy Hardbound Ltd. Collectors’ Edition (signed & numbered) for $35 per copy. OUTSIDE-OF-USA ORDERS, PAPERBACK, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the Paperback Edition [unsigned] for $12 per copy.

Prices listed above do not include shipping cost, which is added in during checkout.

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DEATH DANCE cover choice #4: Click on the links below to order Jay Marvin’s book with the cover displayed at right → USA ORDERS, HARDBOUND, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the 100-Copy Hardbound Ltd. Collectors’ Edition (signed & numbered) for $30 per copy. USA ORDERS, PAPERBACK, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the Paperback Edition [unsigned] for $10 per copy. OUTSIDE-OF-USA ORDERS, HARDBOUND, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the 100Copy Hardbound Ltd. Collectors’ Edition (signed & numbered) for $35 per copy. OUTSIDE-OF-USA ORDERS, PAPERBACK, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the Paperback Edition [unsigned] for $12 per copy.

Prices listed above do not include shipping cost, which is added in during checkout.

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DEATH DANCE cover choice #5: Click on the links below to order Jay Marvin’s book with the cover displayed at right → USA ORDERS, HARDBOUND, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the 100-Copy Hardbound Ltd. Collectors’ Edition (signed & numbered) for $30 per copy. USA ORDERS, PAPERBACK, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the Paperback Edition [unsigned] for $10 per copy. OUTSIDE-OF-USA ORDERS, HARDBOUND, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the 100Copy Hardbound Ltd. Collectors’ Edition (signed & numbered) for $35 per copy. OUTSIDE-OF-USA ORDERS, PAPERBACK, CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE: DEATH DANCE (with this cover) in the Paperback Edition [unsigned] for $12 per copy.

Prices listed above do not include shipping cost, which is added in during checkout.

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[THIS

“Jay Marvin is a throwback to the hard, gritty, naturalistic writing of the ’30s and ’40s when characters didn’t spend all of their time doing lunch or seducing their students. He joins Algren, Wright, Conroy, Olson, and Cain.” ~ Ishmael Reed “Marvin writes like a maniac. He hears things that many of us miss. He puts those things on paper where they are exceedingly strange and evocative. His work is never short of stun gun sharp.” ~ Frederick Barthelme

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PAGE: INSIDE FRONT COVER & JACKET FLAP]


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DEATH DANCE

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18 [ Title page art by Micheline Saliba.]


.DEATH D A N C E: POEMS BY

. ..

JAY MARVIN HOWLING DOG PRESS BRAVE NEW WORLD ORDER BOOKS Ω MEGA EDITIΩNS : 2011 19 literature incontinuum :: psychicarum autem insurgentibus


COPYRIGHT © 2011 by JAY MARVIN ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All rights reserved by individual contributors relevant to their contributions. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles, studies, and reviews. For information, contact: Michael Annis, Howling Dog Press, P.O. Box 2411, Englewood, Colorado USA 80150-2411; or, publicity@HowlingDogPress.com.

COVER ART, ENDSHEETS, AND ART ON PAGES 11, 73, AND 74 BY JEFF KAPPEL [CREATED FROM ORIGINAL PHOTOS BY MICHAEL ANNIS] TITLE PAGE ART & COVER BACKGROUND BY MICHELINE SALIBA PHOTO ON PAGE 140 BY MICHAEL ANNIS EDITED & DESIGNED BY MICHAEL ANNIS

FIRST EDITION ISBN 10: 1-882863-78-X ISBN 13: 978-1-882863-78-5

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many of these poems have been written between the end of the Gulf War and now, appearing in various magazines in various stages of writing and revision. Most have been rejected by the big “lit mags” and “NEA-MFA” crowd at one time or another in a slightly different form, which has given me great joy. Fuck those people—what the hell do they know? The very fact that a publisher took a chance on this book lets you and them know that they don't have the corner on meaningful art in this country! Thanks to the following people: Gabe Hobbs, Anne Lamott, the gang at WLS AM-FM, Studs Terkel, William T. Vollmann, David B. Goodis, nobody in Milwaukee, Dan Nielson, the old squad at WFLA, Stuart Cohen, Nelson Algren, Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, and my wife, Mary, who keeps me from using the gun. ~Jay Marvin THE PUBLISHER THANKS TOM RUSSELL FOR HIS INTRODUCTION, AND TODD & BRIDGETTE ECKART FOR THEIR ASSISTANCE WITH THE ARTWORK. TO ORDER THIS BOOK, AND FOR PREVIEWS OF MORE PUBLICATIONS FROM HDP, GO ONLINE TO HTTP://ISSUU.COM/HOWLINGDOGPRESS

HOWLING DOG PRESS ΩMEGA EDITIΩNS

BRAVE NEW WORLD ORDER BOOKS WRITINGDANGEROUSLY@HOWLING DOGPRESS.COM HOWLING DOG PRESS PUBLICATIONS ARE DESIGNED & EDITED by MICHAEL ANNIS PUBLISHED & PRINTED at HOWLING DOG PRESS in the USA

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CONTENTS INTRODUCTION ________________________________________________________________ 108 A Few Words About Jay Marvin by Tom Russell

DEATH DANCE ________________________________________________________________ 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 134 135 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147

the dream interstate commerce truck stop america psycho killer a second of time passing judgment the desert’s last call until sunup you’re lucky the mad night hands generic love my vacation in ol’ mexico monday afternoon in the park monday morning memo monday memo, pt. 2 all about it sweet 16 oh, sure 50,000 watts six o’clock news the still smell of decay prozac childhood sex questions old age the death penalty without a second thought father’s sins sins of your father, pt. 2 how i spent my summer human desperation rest stop guitar strings a different kind of race in your bloody hand the hand dealt you not sure when

148 149 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 168 169 170 172 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 188 190 191

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wishing you had choices gun control scream! lobotomy police something to work on there in that alley marcia’s poem marcia’s poem, no. 2 4 plies & country music radio a bus bench with a view in the christ child’s face conformity men’s games carrot top proskey his frustration a room with no view that tawdlin’ town nafta beluga stepfather the fear of the lord same song on the radio break ins hard time served easy brazil here & now that frowzy look something to do at night manic depression by the morning sun rehab my sick soul’s final ride unreasonable prices headed for hell southern living until death do us part after i get out like a pro


192 193 194 196 197 198 199 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 112 113 114 115 116 117 118

new west pops shouldn’t i? foreign aid street logic tones of revolutionary red that night for dinner narco sweat job the field trip for all the hoagies of the world xmas ‘65 a matter of choices waiting to be documented mama’s little apple bite eggs blood red in the morning years later a crippled dog’s life east st. louis in 1969 lawn chair alienation tender pages a good winter when the devil shouts last call cover charge rest of your life divorce

119 120 121 121 122 122 123 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 130 131 131 132 133 134 135 136 137

childhood never ask never tell as if nothing matters the last check sick lonesome earth travel time a cross-stitch self loathing never could, never would head game once the contest is over 8.15.94 i gave her more gay rights no books 7-11 your brother your alarm six points of hiv xmas of ‘83 come winter bbq & beer on my tongue acceptance the #36

139 ABOUT JAY MARVIN

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For Mary, who has kept my head above water for 31 years, and never really gotten the husband she deserved. For Tom Russell: "Roll the Credits Johnny." For Ishmael Reed—a writer who America needs to read and listen to. For Lefty Frizzell, the world’s greatest country singer. And for Michel Anon [Michael Annis] of Howling Dog Press, who has the guts to say to the MFA Crowd, ‘go screw yourselves’. Without Michael, the words in this book would have never seen the light of day.

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I’d heard about … a f e w w o r d s Jay Marvin before I met him. Heard he was about shaking up the city of ChiJ a y M a r v i n cago with his morning radio talk show. Blistering the air by Tom waves and blow torching the issues his noir sensibility and his “tell it R u s s e l l likewith it is” manner. The numbers were good and every morning was war. Jay Marvin was well armed. He’d come from the days of Border Radio, when shysters sold bibles and holy mineral water and horny goat weed for virility—and blues and honky-tonk music blasted all the way from Tijuana and Nogales, up to the Mesabi Iron Range of Minnesota and further on up to the Arctic. Young kids like Bob Dylan had their ears to the radio and heard Howlin’ Wolf and madcap disc jockeys like Jay Marvin telling them the truth, backed up by the great roots music of the late ’50s and ’60s and ’70s. And Jay worshipped and played early blue collar country blues that spoke of drinking, divorce, guns and prison—before country became suburban, fast food music for bloodless middleclass white folks. Yes, back before this watered down culture became a gigantic clear channel Wal-Mart store, Jay Marvin was one of the last radio voices of authenticity. Those were the days when radio was King. So, one day I had lunch with Jay and his lovely wife in their place overlooking Chicago. Jay had been playing my music on his show, and if Jay Marvin likes something he has the guts to tell the world. Trust me. I think he doubled my audiences in Chicago and, later, in Denver. But Jay’s apartment. Man! He had a parrot sitting there and dozens of paintings all over the walls. His paintings. I hadn’t known Jay was a painter, and also a writer of prose and poetry. The paintings were great. The poetry 24 8


and the prose, like his novel Punk Blood, were getting attention from the outsider elite. He was rolling on all fronts. I walked out of there with two or three of those paintings, thanks to his generosity. One of them graces the cover to my record Borderland. It depicts two Mexican Day-of-the-Dead skeletons aiming guns at each other across the Rio Grande. Jay’s raw and colorful painting was an accurate prediction of the Juarez drug wars that we now live with down here in El Paso/Juarez. Where did this guy come from? I could only elicit life fragments from Jay, in quick letters. Something like this: Born and lived in Orange County, California. Fled to Hollywood, when it got “run down and skanky.” Worked at the Pantages Theater, and the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Egyptian, and a “porno theater off Western. Worked radio on the border from ’72 to ’75. All up and down, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, El Paso.” Can you imagine being a country-western DJ in Del Rio, Texas, in the early ’70s? It’s something from either a Coen brothers movie, or a CorTOM RUSSELL. mac McCarthy novel, mixed with a little Bukowski & Eddie Bunker. Over-the-edge noir with background accordions & trumpets. On he went to Lynchburg, Amarillo, Salt Lake City, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Chicago and Denver. From country music to talk radio. A pioneer. I heard he even guest-hosted for Jerry Springer. He’s interviewed Jimmy Carter and Howard Dean and a hundred honky-tonk singers. I also know he’s driven 25 9


back and forth across this country, staying in slum-dog motels and keeping his ear open in dead-end diners, seeking what’s left of America; also trying to exorcise the demons ringing around in his skull. It’s all in the poetry. It’s this life led that makes the words sizzle. Then we arrive at the base, hardcore truths of a man trying to keep body and soul together. Jay Marvin is bi-polar and has never hidden his health issues. Over the last few years he’s been in and out of hospitals for operations on his back and spine (some of which backfired by medical misdiagnosis), and he’s fought back and has been in physical rehab for the last year and a half. He writes his poems, blogs and fiction on his back — shot-gunning the words into a cell phone. This is heady stuff and all that pain and all those journeys give the work radical authenticity and blood spirit. Somehow you’ve got to spit out the poison. That’s part of the rehab. It’s all here. A blue hotel of words. Check it out. I’m proud to call Jay Marvin a friend and I’m lifted up by his work and his long, authentic passage through hell. This country doesn’t reward writers and poets who do not come out of the university system or play the New York literary game. When the Beats floated their alternative, outsider movement for a brief but wild decade, they were soundly reviled by the literary establishment. Our writerly voices have to be a product of the literary factory system. My friend Jay is a product of the frontlines. Border towns, porno theaters, wrestling auditoriums, radio stations, used car lots, mental hospitals, twelve hours on the surgery table, years in rehab … and all of it. His poetry is a testament to a life lived. Read him. Weep or laugh. But read him. Amen. —TOM RUSSELL El Paso, Texas, 2011

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DEATH DANCE

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the dream every night the dream a dirty motel room box air-conditioner moaning for past lovers deals gone dead to sound of a dial tone a gun snuggled against bone your skull sprouts angel’s wings circles twice in the desert night to heights no bird will ever reach.

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truck stop america age 15 available at truck stops across greater america she puts it on the pavement between chicken fried steak & home fries if you don't mind a little chipped tooth bubble gum chewing cock sucking in that sleeper pants around his ankles & family values on his lips.

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psycho killer shit i'm a psycho killer high on 7 cups of coffee determined to make mankind pay for its sins i scrawl angry transposed letters on buildings pull into parking spaces marked handicapped do 35 miles an hour in a 55 zone & dare rush hour drivers to bring it on slam dance in bank lines against bewildered good citizens i'm a psycho killer high on 7 cups of coffee give me a ring when juan valdez shows up in town i'll chew the legs off his mule & take another cup.

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the mad night gray skies wet pavement & slick black leather neon red stabbed my eyes the night i cut her down nouns & verbs like lead on a wire home i buried her alive in a pile of past sickness free to outrun what i never could catch; an illusion turned real dancing on my fingertips long after my heart had given up in the dry desert night.

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all about it she tells me how that one said this & this one said that; the same irrelevant shit day in day out for the last 100 years all i want to do is blow her god damn head off thoughts of her bloody skull splattered on the kitchen wall from a lawn chair in front of peace & quiet off i-85 watching the sand shift bottle of turkey in my lap i hear her call me from the back yard her voice slicing my brain like a knife on cauliflower. i smile & finger the gun in my robe wondering if this will be the time she pushes me too far.

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the still smell of decay wrists bound hands clenched in pain black hood smokes his body jerks in electric elimination why did he stick the barrel in her mouth her husband watching him send her to sweet baby jesus was it his tattoos that drew her to him? or the look of contained anger institutions of amerika gone cold—her wrists & ankles bound by masking tape it wasn't the first time she had played games—never thinking it would be so final laying stone cold purple wrapped in sensational leaded headlines covered in the still smell of decay.

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without a second thought bright colored pills spread out like small candy you jerked them from her hand like she was a child your fingers slippery around her wrists from the oil of a human breakdown the ever relentless spark burned you like a state terror machine now flickering in depression & when you left her bedroom (you got her to lie down at last) you saw him standing there his long frame & big ears a queer stranger smiling like it was a joke you hit him hard & begged him to come on knowing then that despite the beads hair & rhetoric of a generation you could kill another human without a second thought.

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human desperation the stench of human reproduction seeps from the faded carpet & dirt stained walls dull patterns from cheap curtains yell their approval in the day's afternoon light i let the speckled tab float on my tongue wash it down with a cold beer the heat from the desert covers the coarse nevada pavement four days of internal fireworks waiting for the night things will look fine behind the wheel 70 miles an hour into my future fueled by human desperation & 9 millimeter hungry for flesh.

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in your bloody hand you hold your intestines in the palm of your hand warm blood oozes between your fingers where's the fucking christ child now or will you meet him soon? you stagger, cry for help passing blank faces no one gives a damn your stomach ripped open like a torn bean bag chair all for a card that has its privileges an idle twisted piece of plastic in the palm of your bloody hand.

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wishing you had the 2 of us rolled across west texas high on speed from austin to houston in record time eyes fused to the windshield passing one joint after another you with the 1910 fruit gum company on the 8 track me with that hippie shit on the radio neither of us agreeing on the state of the world nor the music; our chemical-tight nerves a tangle of anger applying a choke hold on our friendship doomed to a breakdown when you pulled over & put that gun barrel in my face go ahead and use the motherfucker i yelled, the 8 track plastic casing cracking under the weight of my tony lama boot grinding against the highway gravel for an instant thinking you would use it there under the moonlight on that farm to market road 20 years later laying in the darkness wishing you had.

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there in that alley nine months pregnant well concealed third world package two of you standing in an alley behind the 7 to 11 club smell of burning motor oil & fried dog meat she squatted on her haunches to take you in her mouth her bag broke water streaming down her legs going into labor there in that alley sound of mexican rock ’n’ roll in your ears you spread her legs reached into her blood & sweat she smelled like she’d taken on the whole afb you pulled the tiny head & shoulders into the world another body to work the streets for the right to eat for the right to live.

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4-plies & country music she was born in the copper heat of the desert mama’s legs in a back seat wishbone the stench of human conception spilling off the seat onto the hot floor the child never made a sound d.o.a. 90 miles outside of yuma the body left in a rest area trash can a halo of black flies for pallbearers nothing but the sound of 4-plies & country music the rest of the trip.

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break ins 1. with a burnt french fry or heat-forged licorice stick we watched you jimmy open the window an entrance into a dark hole of surgical steel, rubber hoses & missed appointments the four of us hooked up to green tanks passing gas around an invisible camp fire vomiting & laughing in disregard for private property dedicated to the healing arts we numbed our minds & limbs with stings from a silver plunger stumbling into daybreak heads thin like balloons stomachs empty & gaseous a new found respect for american dentistry.

2. iceboxes thick & depth in crystal frosting heavy to inhale you chewed the locks like cartoon carrots, surrealist steel dust yellow, on a dirty back room floor cases of beer, bags of chips & smashed empty cash register what a party you’d had that night passing beers, needles, guns & chicks on a long ride to vegas in a borrowed car calling it quits in a motel room on the deserts’ edge two bodies, one mind sweltering with rage in the midday heat killing your maker to hum of the box air-conditioner

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BREAK INS 3. on their knees in the desert heat you made them crawl into brush stumbling behind drinking their beers the cold drops inching down your chin like separate but equal messages asking you not to. the gun stuck in her mouth her head moving back & forth on it like a sick amusement park ride you laughed & sent her soul spinning away like a dust devil off to join her gone lover at the sin soaked feet of their maker another homicide left to greet the sunset in the care of painted rocks & wind beaten cactus

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something to do at night found a job night clerking a motel outside of flagstaff nothing to do but stay in my room & pump speedballs drink warm beer & listen to the drone of truck tires. at night nothing to do but sit under the fluorescent emptiness read old fuck mags & check in an occasional salesman to the sound of the box air-conditioner i thought i would go mad running out of junk & trading rooms for pills out of some geek’s sample case anything to get by until i got into a game of russian roulette with a trucker for $20 a pull hands shaky our heads sweating he blew it against the back wall like a thumb on a fat potato bug blood squirting out in long abstract streaks the money was mine the corpulent state trooper let me go plus there was another bonus: with the cleaning & painting i now had something to look forward to every night.

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manic depression smash it against the wall shatter complex web of bone & flesh smash it against the wall until it bleeds leave a bubbling red trail to mark the spot made by a human paint brush split it in two, right down the fucking middle the slab of skin, nail & capillaries listen to the sound of the blade the ping & scrape from cold flesh contact feel it coil up your spine replacing dark with white, hot light try to control it with medication paid for out-of-pocket wait for it to pass; now on its second day hide in the corner knowing what awaits on the long downhill slide to the other side.

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headed for hell she was no good & i wasn't any better the two of us dodging the summer heat in abandoned buildings squatters’ rights fortified by guadalupe brown she put it in the street i hit every mark in the universe broken needles fell like sick xmas tree tinsel the byproduct of our physical dependency outlined cracks on a dirty parking garage floor nothing left to prove we drew a breath except a tiny skull howling nightly like a silver armadillo on a farm-to-market road headed for hell.

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until death do us part 1. it sat between us on car seat sweating cold against hot vinyl neither of us wanting to pick it up she grabbed it & pointed it at me go ahead i yelled use it! she dropped it & got out started to walk her black high heels leaving small round calling cards in the sand. i wondered if this meant she really did love me after all.

2. at the big chief gas station off the interstate we stopped for fuel & food. the man behind the counter was wheelchair bound lost both legs in ’nam. if it hadn't been for that i would have shot him right there instead she took him in her mouth where he sat i helped myself to gas & the cash drawer left him pinned against the popcorn machine a smile on his face & hole in his head.

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UNTIL DEATH DO US PART 3. in an isle at pic ‘n’ save outside des moines i put a snub nose to her ear & asked her if she loved me. she asked me why. did i want her to prove it? yes, i wanted her to prove it. “humiliate yourself in front of god, middle america, & me.” she stood & let urine run down her bare legs i watched the yellow fluid run river-like through her toes & over dirty green tiles our love baptized in her water until death do us part.

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that night for dinner she never went anywhere there was never anywhere to go boys her age seemed young & stupid it was so easy meeting her on a rainy afternoon in a dalhart fina gas station we rode to an abandoned discount mall smoked joints & passed one tall boy after another she talked about her mother who married her father at 16, same small town bullshit except no shotgun. her shorts & legs looked fine parked there among the busted out windows of retail business gone bust after the boom of the reagan years it took doing, but i got inside her soul the taste of beer and hemp on our tongues lefty on the radio flesh young & firm no she wouldn't go all the way yes she would do that her head in the crotch of my jeans tammy wynette on the radio hair across my belly her lips like fine silk untouched & when she was done we drank beer & she talked about her mother marrying her father, then she got out to take a piss; i saw her squat between buildings & threw the car in drive hit the highway the sound of haggard in my ears. i had to hurry in order to meet the wife in amarillo that night for dinner.

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waiting to be documented hendrix on the sad radio desert sky purple & alone neon street life over the hill the bars the cards smell of used smoke wise guys play the angle work the thread paste board & ivory jump & dance made today—out tomorrow 16 with sour breath & smeared red lips you gave her your last dollar she went down on you head bobbing you went down on her with a .38 they found the two of you off mile marker 24 in back seat heat your smells dangling from cactus needles waiting to be documented reported cleaned off the upholstery & set free.

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six points of hiv the fever raged for days turning his eyes lemonade yellow huge sores opened up on his body like unwanted calling cards his tongue swirled in spastic saliva seeking coolness the city wrestled with the virus leaving burnt bodies everywhere those who could still move crawled towards every last christ statue kissing & licking the icon’s feet begging for a miracle but he never gave in clutching a tiny star in his oily fingers until he left the earth with a foul stench keeping guard over his body.

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“Jay Marvin is a throwback to the hard, gritty, naturalistic writing of the ’30s and ’40s when characters didn’t spend all of their time doing lunch or seducing their students. He joins Algren, Wright, Conroy, Olson, and Cain.” ~Ishmael Reed, poet, writer, and publisher “Jay Marvin dips his pen into warm blood and shattered bone and paints his unflinching view of how it is out there. An honest voice in an age of whining, emotionless hacks. He’s a friend and a valuable creative spirit.” ~ Tom Russell, poet, singer, and song writer “One hell of a writer or the hell of a writer? Both. Jay can take you along on breathless rides on the wings of his very peculiar, black and sad songs: hold on and let the rhythm of his prose take you to the very center of his world, where the anguish of life and death meet with the aesthetical joy only a true author can produce.” ~Vittorio Curtoni, Italian science fiction writer, author of DOVE STIAMO VOLANDO and LA SINDROME LUNARE “Marvin writes like a maniac. He hears things that many of us miss. He puts those things on paper where they are exceedingly strange and evocative. His work is never short of stun gun sharp.” ~Frederick Barthelme, publisher of THE MISSISSIPPI REVIEW and author of BOB THE GAMBLER

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About Jay Marvin Jay Marvin, an openly socialist talk show host for over 20 years, was also one of the first. Marvin has always written serious, boundaryshattering literature that takes heavy emotional, cultural, and psychological risks to up the ante of what should be defined as groundbreaking art. His avant garde, award-winning noir novel, Punk Blood, was published by FC2 in 1998 to great acclaim, garnering praise such as “Meet Jay Marvin, the first great crime writer of the 21st Century.” [Edward Bunker] Marvin has had poetry and fiction published in Mississippi Review, New York Quarterly, Black Ice, The Pittsburg Quarterly, and other publications. Much of his writing has horrified the MFA crowd that controls a great percentage of what sees print in literature. When asked about the MFA crowd, Marvin says, “Fuck those punks and their cream and rose poetry and fiction.” Marvin states that he “is proud to be part of the Howling Dog family.” And Howling Dog proudly includes him in its pack of cultural revolutionaries.

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Photo by Michael Annis.

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[THIS

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In a terrifying desert of booze, broads, and drifters, Jay Marvin drives lone, hard, and fast down the mapless highway of the depraved human psyche. His characters are strewn like litter, blown by winds of death in the backwash of crystal meth, whiskey & brutal sex. His words are bullets fired from minds dark, outcast, psychotic and scheming. He throws us in the back of his pickup truck and hauls us to a remote, craggy ditch of desolation, and there in his noir persona reveals what is buried deep in the soul of the American experience, in the greedy heart of corporate capitalist society within which every man, every woman, every child is groomed into a rapacious testament to merciless, predatory co-dependence .


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CAUTION: Jay Marvin’s DEATH DANCE is a collection of meditations on human psychosis, spiritual discord, emotional abuse and perverse eroticism. DEATH DANCE deals with human despair and depravity at the most basic level of sociopathic alienation, where waves of overwhelming sadness and desperation capsize lifeboats filled with refugees of addictions to sex, violence, drugs, and social estrangement. Interrelationships seethe with parasitical victimization. The reader is forewarned about the poet's use of explicit language and imagery. The literature in DEATH DANCE is not advocating extreme anti-social, antihumane behavior as the poems graphically depict, rather opens and broadens the reader's understanding of psychic chaos. It is a profound psychological study of cultural impact upon human individuality and autonomy, on pleasure and pain, freedom and imprisonment, crime, corruption, and absolution. An inhuman disenfranchisement grinds and churns through the mind of a madman as his rage boils down the highway of no return, leaving in its wake death & debauchery for untold numbers of victims as predation reigns, and sado-aggression unfolds. [continued on back flap] 58

HOWLING DOG PRESS

ISBN 10: 1-882863-78-X ISBN 13: 978-1-882863-78-5


DEATH DANCE by Jay Marvin (sample preview)