Thursday, November 10, 2011

NOVEMBER goes NOIR, AT THE BIJOU ~ The Reason For Living ~ By Joseph Grant - BIJOU DEBUT!

 ~ By Joseph Grant

As he lay dying in the East Tremont Section of the Bronx, the bullet wounds he had sustained to the throat and abdomen throbbed with each new pulse and spilled vital blood from his heart to the freezing sidewalk beneath him.
Miguel Sanchez gasped for help on the northeast corner of Garden Street. Getting help at 4:22 on an icy Saturday morning was futile, only Sanchez was too naïve to know any better. The streets were empty. They were usually bustling with varied kinds of illicit traffic at this hour. Maybe it was the gunfire that cleared the sidewalks. Maybe it was the cold.
His father had tried to persuade him to stay in school. “Yeah, that’s fine Pops, he would say, all smart-assed, school ain’t where the money’s at”. His father gave up on him and left them last year for some bodega puta. What the hell did he know?
The bullet fragment in his throat did less destruction than the slug to his stomach. That one was only a ricochet, but it did major damage. He wondered how long he had. All of his friends, with the exception of those in prison, were dead.

He knew the entire neighborhood was peering down on him. He’d done the same when it had been someone else’s turn. Now, it was his. He knew the guy who popped him would return.
They always came back to admire their work. Even he had done it. It disgraced the victim and gave his killer a badge of honor. It was an urban rite of passage.

The streets began to stir. The crack whores began slowly slinking from their shadows. A car alarm sounded in the distance. He was ripe for a jacking. He had done it, too. It was the best and the easiest way to get cash and anything you kept with no questions asked. They called it “getting the goods”. His death would show the same lack of mercy his life had.
A figure stood over him. Shit. It was the Dominican who had shot him. The guy Miguel failed to rip off. He tried to move. He knew the guy was going to ice him.
“You ain’t goin’ nowhere, you dyin’. I ain’t gonna kill you.” He kicked Miguel in the stomach. Miguel grimaced and rolled over. “I ain’t gonna kill you. You already dead.”

The Dominican took Miguel’s watch with a snap that took hair and skin from the wrist. “Lata, you don’t need no watch where you goin’. Hasta manana, mierda.” The guy removed Miguel’s kicks, leaving him in his stocking feet. Mierda, Miguel thought. Spanish for shit. The last words he would hear in a life of mierda.
He looked at the paper. An advertisement showed a young, affluent white couple, drinking, having fun on some Caribbean beach. The ad made him sick down to what was left of his core.
“Have fun this summer with Caribbean beach-saver fares and low rates to exclusive hotels on Fiesta Cruises. Call now for a trip of a lifetime. Life is short, so you’d better start living.”
Miguel rolled on his side and nodded. Life is short, but life is also a lie. No one ever lived like that. Life was shit. Life out here was no fiesta, nothing to celebrate. You just lived, hoping not to die and every day you lived past, you owed tomorrow a death. By his community’s standards, he was already an old man. Life out here was short and so, Miguel lay back and died.  



A minute with
Joe Grant-
One of the most prolific writers in print today, Joe Grant sat down with AT THE BIJOU's Kevin Michaels to share thoughts on the craft of writing, influences, routines, the virtues of writing outside the house, and the soundtrack of songs behind his storytelling.

KM:  A number of your early stories were written in cafes and bars -

JG:  Writing away from the home lets your mind travel outside as well, and as long as the interaction between people is kept at a minimum, then writing can go along uninterrupted and continue on very well.

KM:  You’ve spent some time at the White Horse Tavern in NYC, like other writers ranging from Dylan Thomas to Mailer to Hunter S. Thompson. How did that figure into your writing?

JG:  My writing routine back in NYC used to be to find a nice, quiet cafe or bar like the White Horse in the mid-afternoon before the heavy drinkers started and it became too noisy and write whatever story came to mind. Sometimes I already had a story in mind but other times I just started with the blank page staring back and went from there.

KM:  Some heavy hitters wrote and drank there. I’m going to throw out some other names. Tell me the first thoughts about each.

KM:  Hemingway

JG:  El Maestro, learned it all from Tolstoy

KM:  Faulkner

JG:  Strong and Southern, a few misses though

KM:  Raymond Chandler

JG:  A mug and a great writer

KM:  Norman Mailer

JG:  A fug and Hem wannabe, solid article/essay writer although a good novel writer later

KM:   I can’t let these answers go without a little elaboration.

JG:  Well…EH is the big game that every writer hunts, so to speak. There are many influences from the Lost generation. There's also Harry Crosby, the mad poet of the 20's and of course F.Scott. I REALLY love the Russian writers, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov and Gogol to name a few……the Russians were the best writers ever. Don't know what's in their water or vodka but they capture it so well. But I will be just as influenced by HST and Henry Rollins.

KM:  Jim Morrison:

JG:  Inward visionary, taught how to observe with new vision

KM:  Music has a big influence in your writing. Top contenders?

JG:  Beatles, Doors and Led Zep, plus the Byrds or Stones and Mama's and Papa's for the 60's. Bruce for the 70's. The Bangles rounded out the 80's, say with Kate Bush. 90's, it was a lot of songs but no real bands.

GRANT OR HEMINGWAY?  How far does Inspiration type?

"Implements of a perfect day ... a cup of coffee, my favorite table against the wall and no one to bug me while I wrote."
 ~ Joe Grant

Joseph Grant's short stories have been published in over 200 literary reviews such as Byline, New Authors Journal, Underground Voices, Midwest Literary Magazine, Inwood Indiana Literary Review, Hack Writers, Six Sentences, Literary Mary, NexGenPulp, Is This Reality Zine , Darkest Before Dawn,, FarAway Journal, Full of Crow, Heroin Love Songs, Bewildering Stories, Writing Raw, Unheard Magazine, Absent Willow Literary Review, AT THE BIJOU.

Here is about as close as I've ever gotten to writing "noir".  If you like this story, feel free to run it.

Thank you,

Absolutely*Kate, raising the mains'l on NOIRvember

You're the perfect cup o'Joe to robust my writer's day. 'Thank  YOU' we AT THE BIJOU are honoured to say. You fellas at The White Horse? A food for thought interview. You're Lennon & McCartney together. Makes me want to let Joe's music play ~
In my life, I love you more. 

Every other day that's

Talk about pullin' no punches. 
Everyone's gettin' into the act as 

Goes   NOIR
Be there

or be square Bub.

Talkin to you too, Toots. 


rises on:

simply C L I C K  show LINKS below:













"NOIRVEMBER" term coined & minted
 by the trendy Harry B Sanderford 

Literary Landmark Legends: 
The White Horse Tavern, New York City 
The White Horse Tavern, built in 1880, has been a stomping ground for New York’s literary community since the 1950s when the bar’s most famous patron, the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, was introduced to this longshoreman’s haunt. The White Horse holds the dubious distinction of being the place where Thomas drank his last whiskey. In November of 1953, Thomas beat his own personal record by downing eighteen shots of whiskey. Soon after the last drink he stumbled outside and collapsed on the sidewalk. He was taken to the Chelsea Hotel and there fell into a coma; the next morning he was transferred to St. Vincent’s Hospital where he died. In addition to the many portraits of Dylan Thomas that adorn the walls, a plaque commemorating Thomas’s last visit to the White Horse Tavern hangs above the bar.

The bar soon drew more literary figures as patrons including James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, Anais Nin, and James Laughlin, the founder of the publishing house New Directions. In addition, the bar was a gathering place for both the Beat writers, like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, as well as the New York School poets, such as John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara.

The White Horse Tavern is located at 567 Hudson Street, between West 11th Street and Perry Street in New York’s Greenwich Village. In addition to the requisite libations, the White Horse Tavern also offers a classic pub menu, so poetry pilgrims under twenty-one are welcome to sit down for a meal.The New Ensemble Theatre Company conducts a weekly tour of literary bars in Greenwich Village, which begins at the White Horse Tavern. The three other bars included in the tour are: Chumley’s, a purportedly haunted Prohibition speakeasy that was frequented by Orson Welles, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck and Upton Sinclair; the Minetta Tavern, formerly known as the Black Cat and a favorite bar of Ezra Pound, e.e. cummings and Ernest Hemingway; and the Cedar Tavern, which Allen Ginsberg jokingly referred to as an extension of his apartment.
~ from White Horse Tavern, West Village literary history

{ We ask our audience in the red velvet seats to consider AT THE BIJOU author JOE GRANT as a worthy contender to this legendary mix. Next time he visits the East Coast, I intend to meet both he and Kevin 'MadDog' Michaels at The White Horse, though I do want to stroll down the street to my literary hero, F. Scott Fitzgerald's hangout. I'll have to be persuasive. Join us?  ~ A*K }


Helen A. Howell said...

This piece had a hard nose grittiness to it, enabling the reader to visualise the neighbourhood (remember I'm from Oz ^__^ ) and more importantly hear the character's voices.


Author said...

Dark and brutal - a world without pity. Nice job!

Harry said...

Gritty is the word for it. Great job Joe, as always. Really liked the interview too Kevin!

Chris Rhatigan said...

Man, that is a bleak story. Well done. Very cool interview, too.

Madam Z said...

Joe, you grabbed me by the throat, with this line:

"...the bullet wounds he had sustained to the throat and abdomen throbbed with each new pulse and spilled vital blood from his heart to the freezing sidewalk beneath him"

I could just see the blood puffing out, beat by beat.

Life sucks and then you die, especially if you're a young, Hispanic male in the Bronx. Mierde!

Anonymous said...

Stark and unrelenting and true. I spent a lot of time in the Caribè and saw it all, not just the BS of the posters and brochures. Great story telling, narrative is solid and exact. I'd say breathtaing. Reminded me a bit of the movie Sin Nombre in its speed graphic photos of life and death in the streets of paradise. Cool.

Anonymous said...

Joe, you know how I feel about your writing, but this was one of your best. You hit right between the eyes with a warning to stay straight. We are all are vulnerable. Great interview!

Jeanette Cheezum

Adam J. Whitlatch said...

Well done, Joe. The Word Weaver strikes again. Keep 'em coming, as if you need me to tell you that.

Next time I'm in NYC you'll have to come along and we'll drag Kevin out to the White Horse.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

God...Damn that was awesome. If I had to pick my favorite parts, I would have to choose the whole shooting match: The story, interview,presentation...spectacular,every bit!

Paul D Brazill said...

Fantastic. Great to see The Master back. Smashing interview too; I've got to get to The White Horse Tavern before the liver gives up!

Kevin Michaels said...

An excellent, gritty, compelling read. You nailed the voice and the atmosphere exceptionally well ("life is is a lie....).

Well done!

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

Joe, oh Joe,

Where do I start? From the chill I felt past the freezing sidewalk to the naivitee of the futility of finding help at 4:22 am, to the well-meaning padre off for bodega puta -- Mierda! The lines, the touches, the mood, the dark concessions all hit true grit. (apologies to JW)

But this ~

They always came back to admire their work. Even he had done it. It disgraced the victim and gave his killer a badge of honor. It was an urban rite of passage.

Gem shot through with no holes into the dying of The Reason For Living. Man oh man, I say it's so Joe, you're one of the masters of our well-writ time. Call the waitress over, pour me a cup at your cafe?

Grace o'thanks for NOIRvembering AT THE BIJOU. Stick around, will'ya BigGuy?

~ E'er your fan and friend,
~ Absolutely*Kate

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

And Kevin 'MadDog' Michaels ~ What an interview shabang you bring to Joe's centerstage as NOVEMBER goes NOIR ~ AT THE BIJOU.

No randoms, bullets all.

Two superb chums jawin' on what juices up the further from writing influences that nudge, sucker punch and swagger their way into our conciousness. Grace o'my thanks for your flair, tough guy.

~ Absolutely*Kate,
lovin' like crazy the interactions AT THE BIJOU, where Writers' Raves are Readers' Faves

Kate Pilarcik ~ absolutely said...

WELCOME Adam Real good to see you check out Joe's show. Stick around, the action's about to get explosive.

~ A*K

Nigel Bird said...

goodly done. the spilling of blood has rarely seemed so matter of fact, the slipping away of life rarely so matter-of-fact.
love the music choices, too.


Salvatore Buttaci said...

Joe Grant is one of my favorite writers. He never leads you down dark paths that end nowhere. He lays out description that's so clear a reader would have to be mentally blind not to see the pictures his words paint. In this noire Joe tells it like it is without beating the reader over the head. Great going, Joe!