Thursday, July 8, 2010

Land's Edge Contest-Hon. Mention-Anthony Venutolo

Anthony Venutolo is a newspaper man for the Newark Star-Ledger. And, as with news guys, he gives all the facts...tells it like it is. You need only peruse his blog Bukowski's Basement for a while to see the style in which he carries out the business of writing. He also supplies audio for many of his stories, as was the case with his last #fridayflash story Albino Village. He supplied a creepy background soundtrack for you to listen to while reading the even creepier story. Check it out.

Cathy Olliffe recently featured Ant as one of her 'American Weeks' writers and did a fantastic interview with him. She wove interview facts within the lines of a story called A Gossip Nation posted by Anthony a couple of weeks earlier at his blog. You can link to that interview here. If nothing else, check out her interview for the cool photos of Ant. Style personified.
His entry to the contest, Bums Celebrate Christmas, may seem familiar to regulars at his blog as it was a poem he posted there last December. I had no qualms about previously published 'blog stuff' but I consulted with my judging associates and concluded that a holiday poem was permissible. Pretty much because, in the contest rules, I didn't say that you couldn't submit poetry. Then again, those who know me have determined that I'm a poetry imbecile. Submitting a poem to a writing contest with me as judge is like having Nurse Betty moderate a debate at the Royal Society of Medicine.

Without further rambling from yours truly I present the prose poetry of Anthony Venutolo, an honourable mention in the Land's Edge flash fiction contest.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bums Celebrate Christmas


In the gutter, you tend to
notice things normal
people wouldn't dare dream.
You notice puddles;
And that befriending a hungry
pooch can be your biggest
mistake or quite
frankly, your only hope;
Nerf footballs make the
oddest shapes when each
end is chopped off and
they make damn fine pillows;

Blended beers from different
bottles don't taste all
that bad once you get used
to the initial warm jolt;
If you think women are hard
to come by in the waking world,
brother, just wait until you
haven't showered for a fortnight;

You realize that the time
of day doesn't seem all that
important anymore;
Bums celebrate Christmas;
You hair can hurt;
A small radio tuned to a lonely
talk station will get you through
the coldest of nights;
Oh, and a can of soup won't hurt;

You remember your best job
and wonder how it all went
poof;
And then you remember;
You start to blame people;
Your shitty company;
cheating wife;
that fucking president;
And then you take another
sip of that glorious hooch
and hope you pass out
before the wind keeps you awake;

You look at children walking
to school and that makes
you weep on so many different
levels that it's incomprehensible;
Their bounce reminds you
of promise and that's
something long gone;

You savor matchbooks;
You consider knocking that
old lady in the head just to
get off the street and land
in a nice warm cell, but then
you remember your mother and
hear her soothing voice;

After a time, the gutter
makes you read people
much better than you would
normally; you can see
where they went wrong;
It's in their eyes.

11 comments:

Michael Solender said...

Ant always has a knives edge on his work, it slices bot to the heart of the matter and into the soft underbelly of his reader's emotion. This piece of prose is a perfect example of his finely hone two-edged sword. Another classy piece of work here by our Bukowski-eque pal.

Erin Cole said...

Fantastic, Anthony. I've always believed that we are all more alike than we are different- and this beauty is a fine example. A gritty, heartfelt poetic prose about facing truth, regret...life. The last few lines are exceptional!

Cathy Olliffe said...

Anthony that is just lovely. Stark, gritty, yes, but lovely, too. And you're right, soup can never hurt.

Cathy Olliffe said...

Oh, and congratulations, Anthony!

Pablo Gully said...

Fantastic voice, desperate and moving all at once.

David Barber said...

Anthony, I read this earlier but couldn't comment. I don't normally do poetry, mainly because I do a shit job of it, but I've never really got it. Until I started reading more of it and especially yours and Mr Solender's, above.

This really struck a chord and I loved it. So much is said within the words about life in general. Well done my friend. Very well done, indeed!

Kat said...

I loved it. People seldom look at the eyes...

Well done. :)

Danielle Ferries said...

I'm not usually a poetry fan but I really enjoyed this. Very well written.

Laurita said...

I loved this. Real, raw, and so well written. As Erin said, those last few lines are exquisite.

Bukowski's Basement said...

Thanks everyone!! Sorry I'm late in stopping by. My latest #fridayflash took waaaaaay too long...
Again, your kind words mean so much.

Mark Kerstetter said...

Bums often want to look passersby in the eyes. Why is that? They've got nothing to lose, nothing better to do? Passersby, in turn, seldom want to look anywhere near the face of a bum. That's easier to understand...