Today Let’s Discuss Tension and Marlon Brando and Naked Running.

He was in the bedroom pushing clothes into a suitcase when she came to the door.

I’m glad you’re leaving! I’m glad you’re leaving! she said. Do you hear?

He kept on putting his things into the suitcase.

Son of a bitch! I’m so glad you’re leaving! She began to cry. You can’t even look me in the face, can you?

Then she noticed the baby’s picture on the bed and picked it up.

He looked at her and she wiped her eyes and stared at him before turning and going back to the living room.

Bring that back, he said.

Just get your things and get out, she said.

He did not answer. He fastened the suitcase, put on his coat, looked around the bedroom before turning off the light. Then he went out to the living room.

She stood in the doorway of the little kitchen, holding the baby.

I want the baby, he said.

Little Things, Raymond Carver excerpt.

Listen. I am about to put your story down. I am about to go watch something blue on something square. I am about to huddle, to semi-circle, to get drunk on antihistamines and Stella. Listen:

Danger + Desire


Oh boy, Brando’s in his psycho Lee Strasburg “method” stage. I can feel the air crackling. People on the set are wondering: “Will he show up today? And, if he does, will he grab someone’s left breast and scream out, ‘Are you a player or a prop, man! A player or a prop?!!'”

(He’ll rip his shirt off in a minute. Many believe this will be the first time in U.S. history that a human will appear in a Hollywood film with their shirt off. This is incorrect, but Brando LOVED ripping his shirt off.)

Once during the sad, sad years of morbid obesity, Brando pulled out a mojito glass, waved it menacingly near my spleen, and said to me, “Sean, I only know four things in this world.”

I said, “What are they?”

He gave me this look. It was like a mix of butane and shortcake. He said, “When to rip a shirt, and math.”


Stud alert:

(Anyone else getting a Calvin Klein, 1980’s, maybe Depeche Mode vibe here?)

Vivid Action Please

His voice seemed about to crack and the grandmother’s head cleared for an instant. She saw the man’s face twisted close to her own as if he were going to cry and she murmured, “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children !” She reached out and touched him on the shoulder. The Misfit sprang back as if a snake had bitten him and shot her three times through the chest. Then he put his gun down on the ground and took off his glasses and began to clean them.

Flannery O’Connor, the hermit novelist…

Often I will hand back a story and I’ll look the student in forehead and I will say, “Can you do me one thing in revision? Can you have somebody punch somebody in the face? Like immediately.”


Sam Pink has this play in the latest No Colony. In the opening:

The one: It’s nice to see you. [smiles]

The other one: [Matching the smile] Yeah, you two.

They both reach for their pockets. Eyes together. With slow precision they put black handled steak knives against each other’s throats.

Here’s how I open my Elvis story published in Crazyhorse a while back…

Eleven minutes later I’m sitting on the diving board waiting for somebody to come out and try to calm me down and Priscilla comes out of the house, walks a full circle around the pool and slaps me in the face.


Blow something up

Crunch a finger


Do something (inside, outside)



Maybe it’s because I am a runner, or maybe just one of the pigeons in this park we call earth, but the Steve Guttenberg running naked video is amusing. (BEWARE KIDS, this C level star will be NAKED.)

A few years ago, I ran the Grand Rapids Marathon (14th overall, thank you very little). And I was talking to a guy after the race who claimed to have run the entire course naked, in darkness, early morning a few days before. He had very authentic eyes so I do believe him. He had a hat crumpled like an apology. His name was either Stan or Dan.

Or Flan.


Cella’s Round Trip is having a big ol’ raffle reading thingy. If you are near Muncie, drop on by. Check out this wacked-out poster, too.


November 21

8-11 pm

At The Heorot, a snazzy dank cave of a bar.

Raffle, reading, ramblings, oh my.


5 responses to “Today Let’s Discuss Tension and Marlon Brando and Naked Running.

  1. Good stuff. Before I write my next poem I’m going to punch myself in the face and see if that helps. I know a guy named Flan and he always does a naked run-through before a race.

  2. I have always wanted to see Steve’s ass – ever since Police Academy . . . or was it Cocoon? Your big stand in the name of machismo and face-punches makes me think you’ve been reading some wimpy non-fiction of late . . . I know my tater soup story was lame . . .

    Wow! That CEllA’s Round Trip poster is wicked! Who wouldn’t want to ride the one-eyed monster through space naked?? 😉

  3. Well, the face punch is a metaphor.

    I need CONFLICT!!!!!


  4. what is your obsession with the gawd dang spleen man?
    New that was carver.

  5. Hi!

    Nice Blog! Happy to keep following this!

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