Saturday, December 22, 2012

After Ghost Hunting

I don't need a parade or anything, but I successfully roasted my first turkey last night. Josh gets a turkey from his boss every year (Merry Christmas!), so we have to use it or lose it. We don't prepare meat in our home very often, and the reason for that is meat is gross. Still, I got a sick thrill cutting out the turkey's backbone. I've always wondered about surgeons, but now I wonder less.

I'll tell you how I went ghost hunting. I was with my friends and two attractive brothers. One is a young Santa Claus. The other is muscles on muscles, and then on those muscles, tattoos. You might say I'm easy to please, and you might be right. We got in a truck that was bigger than a dragon. We went down gravel roads. The truck was very loud. It was important we were quiet when we got out of the truck. Ghost hunting was like fishing that way. We probably didn't see any ghosts. Maybe we felt them? There was a chilly spot in one of the cemeteries, but the night was already cold, and who knows.

The creepiest part of ghost hunting was when we drove past the house where two women had been raped and murdered over the summer. Maybe that house was a ghost. Yes, that house was a ghost for sure.

There were a few times we stood over a grave and passed around a tape recorder and asked questions of no one in particular. Mostly, "Do you have anything to say?" We used our kindest voices. The last time we did it there was an urgency, a polite demand for some sort of sign. Every dog for five miles started barking. A cow stood on a stick, and the stick snapped. Someone used the night vision to watch out for bobcats and coyotes. One of the oldest graves had an early form of photography to identify the deceased. Another grave had just been filled. Our shoes sunk in the dirt there.

My copies of my book have arrived. I signed some and sold them. People are saying it's pretty. Also, small. It's smaller than a sandwich. I read three stories from it yesterday. It was like looking at a picture I couldn't remember posing for. I wrote those stories, once.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hollow Days

We didn't go around and get thankful at any Thanksgiving dinner this year. At one Thanksgiving dinner, we admitted our addictions. I didn't want to name my addiction (men), so I said baking. Two people said shopping. We all laughed. The good thing about shoppers is they give me stuff they don't want anymore. My hall closet is full of half-used scented candles.

There's this one friend who is maybe my sister. The only thing separating us as siblings is our different parents. We talked on my porch until 4 am last Sunday. I have a short list of hetero heroes. She's on the list twice. We drank the cheapest beer. We heard birds having sex or killing each other. We watched a cat draw blood from a stone some poor woman's hand. The last time we hung out on a porch, a sexy stick man did bike tricks in front of us. My sister-friend was amused. I was turned on enough by the stick man to show my teeth when I smiled. The stick man fell off his bike many times. 

I once fell forward on smooth concrete. I was carrying a pie. The pie landed hard. It hit like a car door against another car door. I got up, and Josh was afraid I wasn't OK, but it was the pie I was worried about. The pie was fine. I warned everyone that the pie had a rough life. But listen, you can't taste the fear in pie. If you want to eat a scared baked good, eat cake. Cake is always terrified it isn't as good as pie. It reminds me of that deathbed tradition where you ask a dying person if they want a final slice of cake or a final slice of pie, and they say, "Pie, pie, pie!" and the thought of more pie is so exciting it kills them right away. Cake is the slow death.

That is not a real tradition. When I left home, they told me to make new traditions.

I put up a tumblr. If you find me inscrutable (unlikely), go to the tumblr and easily figure me out.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Password Is Money

I did a reading a couple weekends ago for a secret society. One of my former teachers introduced me. She punched up my bio to make it seem like I just got off a plane, and I was doing the secret society a favor. Someone came up after and wanted to know if I lie awake at night editing my book in my head now it's no longer in my hands. "Of course," I said. During the reading, I closed my eyes when I read one of the heavier sentences in a story. I don't think anyone noticed. I have very small eyes.

I'm working on a new book. I can say that. It's a novella. I have trouble writing longer stories. What I'm doing to get better is I turn off the Internet and sit in front of my computer and crochet a blanket until I think of something good to write down. Then I write for a while. Then I crochet. Then I write. It's working, so back off.

Enough is enough about writing. I sold a pie last week. I finished a pair of hand knit wool socks for a Civil War reenactor. I had a dream I was driving a car for the first time in eight months, and I drove off a pier into the ocean. The closest ocean is pick any direction and drive 1,000-plus miles. I'm waiting for that time in my adulthood where someone I know owns a beach house, and every summer Josh and I are invited there to put on our sunglasses and perv out on beach men.

Some friends came in for the weekend. One of them told the story of how her father calls bad drivers "turkeys." We all laughed. It was a good moment, so I didn't ruin it by saying my father does the same thing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Night Bigot

The rain stopped, and I wanted to take a run. Everything outside felt solid and separate. It was like being in a shower room full of naked men, and every man was wet and slick in his own way. There were leaves on the sidewalk, but they were all from different trees. I was outside, and I felt solid, too, from a lot of eating.

Josh came with me. We were a block before a car got close alongside and a scream came out. It was a woman. The only word I understood was "faggots." She kept driving and screaming. We could still hear her a block away. It sounded like she'd coughed her voice against the ground and then picked up all the broken pieces and ate them quickly but separately. I'd heard a voice like that from a neighbor who couldn't wake up her son. She'd dragged him into the front yard and shook him. He was having a seizure. He'd never had one before. I have had a few.

One of my friends told me I don't look gay until I talk. Maybe the same is true online. I don't look gay until you read my stories. I have a new story in the first issue of Sundog Lit. It starts on one page and ends on another.

Friday, October 12, 2012


I have a pet snake. The only time I talk about her is at parties. Someone will tell a cat story, and then they'll look at Josh and me and say, "But you don't have any pets, right?" and Josh will say, "No pets," and he'll fake-frown. Then I'll remind him we have a snake. Josh will say, "I always forget about the snake."

I bought the snake from a pet store that was nice and clean. They had a tank of baby snakes. I said I wanted to buy one, and the clerk reached her hand in the tank and pulled out a bunch of baby snakes like they were gummy worms. She put them on the store counter and said, "Which one?" I picked one that was white and pink with red eyes. The clerk said, "She looks healthy." I agreed, though I had no idea. The clerk put the baby snake in a paper bag and stapled the top so she couldn't get out on the way home.

The snake bit me the first time I fed her. She was being picky, and I was being stupid. Her fangs went in like sewing needles. She chewed on the heel of my hand. I'd read what to do. I pushed her head forward with my thumb so her fangs slid out of my hand instead of breaking off inside. We have been respectful since. She's a young adult snake now. She eats every two weeks. If I don't feed her right away, I'll have dreams she's biting me. She stays in the spare room in an escape-proof tank built for venomous snakes. She's not a venomous snake.

Once upon a week in August, I guest-edited for SmokeLong Quarterly. The story I picked at the end of the week was called 'Boy Cylops.' It was written by Helen McClory. It's on the SmokeLong site now. READ IT.

You may remember Molly Laich as the writer sitting next to me at one of the off-site AWP readings. Someone came up to her and said, "You stole my seat." Molly got up and ripped that someone's teeth out. She put the loose and bloody teeth in the seat she'd just been warming. She said, "There you have it," and then she did a curtsy and left. I wasn't drunk, but I was drinking. I never saw Molly again in person at AWP, but we are Internet friends. We are both Tauruses, and we should probably only share the same physical space every once in a while. We share some video space at Story Tapes. WATCH IT.

Someone always makes a joke conflating my snake with my penis. No one who's seen my snake or my penis ever makes this joke.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hot Now

My friend was in town from California. Her boyfriend came, too. It was the first time any of us had seen him in person. He has the eyes of a Siberian Husky. His arm hair is burned deeply into my mind in neat and obedient rows. Arm hair varies. Mine is good, but there's no order to it, and that's fine. I recently found out some men use straightener in their beards. I have vanity, but it's a lazy vanity. I probably won't try to straighten any hair on my body.

I was late to the bar. When I got there, someone told me I'd gotten hot, which is one of those compliments that's also an insult. A man with a blue drink stood behind my California friend and kept his eyes on her ass for a while. Someone said a silver fox was watching me, but I didn't believe it. I'm in denial about strangers finding me attractive. My California friend's boyfriend came back from the restroom and told us he was standing at the urinal and a drunk man came up and sniffed the air and said, "Asparagus, huh?"

There have been a lot of toads lately. I picked one up and it peed all over my hand in a sort of water balloon explosion. I used to have this dream of keeping a garden and making a toad house. A toad house is an overturned flower pot full of damp moss. I did keep a garden once, but I didn't make a toad house. It never occurred to me.

I wrote a book. You can pre-order it at Tiny Hardcore Press. One of my friends asked me what you do when you finish writing a book, and I said, "You start writing another book." I have a new project going, but that's all I can say.

There are people talking in my yard. Hush now. I'm going to make a peanut butter and apple pie.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Is There Anything

The joke on my family is God is trying to end our genetic line. Three of us grandchildren are out homosexuals. My cousin and I came out to each other at the same time on a family vacation. We said we had secrets we wanted to tell, and we dicked around all afternoon trying to tell them. We resorted to pen and paper. I told my cousin I was gay, and she told me she was a lesbian. I was sad because I'd wanted us to check out guys together. Sometimes men would come by the dock in fishing boats or on jet skis and try to flirt with my oldest cousin. She's straight. The men were sometimes attractive and often shirtless, and I would have to write it down somewhere how hot I thought they were. One summer, a man with hairy legs accused me of trying to look up his shorts. He was not wrong.

My brother came out years later. In the extended family, there are even more gay cousins. Out of the three of us gay grandchildren, there's an assumption we'll never have children of our own. Someone in my family was telling me about raising kids, and they said, "But you'll never have to worry about that mess." It's something I let slide because I've never wanted kids. I'm lucky if I get home once a year. One year, though, I might show up with a kid. You never know. Next year, I'll show up with the book I wrote. I'll let you know how that goes, especially after my family sees the back cover. It's a sexy back cover. I told you I appreciate a man's hairy leg, and on this back cover there is a man's hairy leg.

Josh and I went to a bookstore tonight. There was a couple on a date. Go into any bookstore and there's a couple on a date. The woman had an armful of cheap DVDs. The man was taking books off the shelf and telling the woman she should read them.

He said, "Read the first page of that," and he put a book on her stack of DVDs.

She said, "Open it for me. I literally have no hands."

I looked to see. She had hands.

The man told her about more books.

She said, "Why don't you write?"

He said, "Because I can read."

The woman went to sit down and sort through her stack. She fanned everything out like she was playing cards. I looked back at the shelf and found a book one of my teachers wrote. It was on sale for a dollar. A mother and daughter were looking at cookbooks an aisle or two over. The daughter got excited about a cookbook with just recipes for rice and potatoes. The mother wanted to know if there were any recipes in there for sweet potatoes.

The daughter said, "Not as many as you'd think."

She started making fart noises with her mouth.

The mother said, "You can just tell me if you want to go."

The daughter said, "I want to go."

But they didn't leave. It is hard for some people to leave a bookstore.

Monday, September 10, 2012


There's been a document open on my desktop for a year and a half, and now that document is closed. I turned in my first book tonight. I was told by one of my editors to sit there quietly a few minutes after I pressed SEND and absorb what I'd just done. When I was through absorbing, I got up and went to the kitchen and ate a handful of cashews. I looked at the floor. I store onions on a shelf in a mesh bag, and the onion skins still escape the bag and get on the floor. If we talk about my book, and you say, "What's next?" I'll tell you I'm going to figure out a better way to store my onions. And then I'll say I'm going to write a novel.

Josh and I take walks most nights. It's getting a little cooler, and the large crickets are coming out. They sound like lizards in the dead grass. There's one block on our walk where people smoke on their porches and fan their faces and stare at us like we just stumbled onto their farmland. That's my favorite block.

I have a story in the last issue of Dark Sky, but Dark Sky closed before they could put up their last issue, so you can find my story at Barrelhouse. It's like when you see your friend with her ex, and she's drinking with him, and she's kissing him, and she sees you looking, and she says, "Shut up, Casey Hannan. It's complicated." 

I shaved off all my facial hair the other day. I looked in the mirror and said, "I look younger." Josh said, "No, you look older." I looked in the mirror again and I saw it, but that's OK.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Friend of a Friend

One of my friends had a housewarming party in a city where I've only ever bought gas. It's a fine city. There's this busted up brick church for sale a few houses down from my friend's new place. Josh and I want to live in that church. You could say something about our childhoods and how we grew up in churches and how maybe that means something specific about us as adults, but I don't know. The last time we were visiting my hometown, we drove around and looked at the historic houses for sale. They all had great porches. We have an OK porch, but we don't have porch furniture. The thing about an old church is maybe it doesn't have a porch, but it does have huge front steps and high ceilings and a bell tower and a lot of skinny windows and ghosts, jeez, so many ghosts.

The housewarming party happened the one day of the summer it tried to rain. We sat outside anyway, and this guy who lives in the basement next door kept coming out in his pajamas and walking around. He'd look up at the sky and then go back in his basement a while and come back out wearing a different pair of pajamas. And that doesn't mean a thing. It was a Saturday, and this is a free country.

Speaking of a free country, I'm reading for SmokeLong Quarterly this week, and you're free to send me a story. I get to choose one for publication. I'm reading blind, which means I won't know who sent which story. If you have it in you, please send me something amazing.

My best internet friend, xTx, has been running a series on her blog called Supermodel Summer. She's had some great contributions from artists and writers, and my story, Thin and Then, ran a couple days ago. There's a horse in it, and that's all some of you need.

After the housewarming party, we all walked a couple blocks to do karaoke in the only bar downtown. Everyone in the bar was wearing boots. The only empty tables were by the restrooms. A couple of cowboys were playing pool back there, and they were stern and curious about our group of mostly gay guys and women. They kept looking at us, and they were both attractive in a really scary, country way, so I kept looking at them. They had two spectators, sisters I guess, who were older and wearing denim jackets. This was a bar where you could still smoke, so the sisters were smoking, and I swear to God, chewing gum at the same time. I wanted to see the cowboys naked, but I wanted the life story on those sisters.

The drunkest guy in our party came over and wanted to have a serious talk about dating in Kansas City. He wanted our advice. Josh and I met over eight years ago in a tea shop, and we haven't stopped being together since. There isn't much advice there. There's no math. My friends say I'm very lucky, and I say it's not luck; it's a choice. We choose to love each other and be together. It's not romantic or magical, but it's the best choice I've ever made. I tried to tell the drunk guy that, but he said, "I don't know. It feels like there's more to you guys than that." And of course he was right.

I like this song.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary

You will have heard it's hot. It's so hot a woman pulled out her right breast to get some air. Josh and I were taking a walk, and we were about to cross paths with this woman. I thought she had her arms crossed, and I was seeing her elbow, but that meant she had three arms, and no, it was a smooth black boob. The woman didn't look at us. It's just so hot out there. I've been dreaming about scorpions.

Josh is in a play about DADA. It's about the literary DADA, not the visual art DADA. Josh and I went to art school, so we know the material. It's hard with history. I feel like it dies getting to me, and all I have to look at are the bones. That's fine, though. I wanted to be a paleontologist. I like bones. This play is better than bones. It's set up like a cabaret. The actors have a lot of fun with sound poetry and manifestos. Everyone is attractive and excited. There's one more show on Friday, so go, please go.

I took my shirt off and swam in a pool for the first time in maybe two years. There are Speedos, and then there are Speedos. Speedos are the illusion of clothing, and I'm on-board with that illusion. One man in a Speedo climbed out of the pool, and his Speedo slipped enough for some well-made ass to fall out. Speedos are like Band-Aids in that they always fall off when they're wet. I looked at my friend and said, "I got what I came for," and she said, "I know, right?" It's good to be in agreement. Two other men had Speedos, and they apologized for them, but we all waved our hands and said, "Oh no, it's fine." And it was. It was very fine indeed.

Molly Laich interviewed me. I forgot to tell you about it, but here you go. She came dangerously close to saying my name three times in a row. We know what comes of that. Nothing good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Burter and Erl

I don't know many of the men in my neighborhood, but I've given a lot of them honorary boyfriend status. There's the pizza boyfriend, because he works at the pizza place and walks by my house to get to work. He smokes and always wears shorts and never wears socks. Pizza boyfriend looks like a young Allen Ginsberg by way of James Franco. I know, I know, and I could say I'm sorry, but I'm not.

There's an entire house of new boyfriends across the street. I haven't seen any of them up close. They wear soccer jerseys and sit on their porch and read a lot. That's all I need. They share a motorcycle. One of them mows the lawn in khakis. It's ridiculous, but that's fine because he has to mow uphill, and those khakis do favors.

It's the hottest summer on record, and I'm really into bread baking. There's bread in the oven right now. I can't breathe when I go in the kitchen. I'm losing my belly, so I'm walking around the house shirtless in the heat. I'm very pale, like the underside of a snake, if you're into that sort of thing. I touch my arms all the time. I like to feel progress being made.

Josh is in a show about DADA. If you're local, you should see it. If you're not local, well, I can't help you.

I haven't talked about the book in a while. I'm almost done. Don't worry about it. It's a good book.

One of my best little stories is at matchbook. They're excited about it. I'm excited about it. We're all excited about it. It's time you got excited about it, too. It's another in a long line of penis tales. Go read. 

Oh my G. I hate telling people what to do.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Here Is Where

I hate running about as much as I hate making small talk about pets, but I ran this weekend, and I liked it. My legs are sore, and I like that, too. It reminds me of when I worked at the museum and stood there in a rental suit and got my nose dirty in other people's business. I had to say no a lot, and I hate saying no. There were other good guards who liked saying no. There were no guards who looked good in their suits. I had no idea about anyone's body shape, but there was this one guy who had a big, beautiful writing desk of an ass, and he stretched that nasty pant fabric as far as it would go.

My body is going through changes. I stretched my arms over my head the other day, and my friend said, "Do I see muscles?" This is fun because I've never had muscles. Now I have a few. I put a tank top in the rotation, and it got me a few good stares from this hot guy at the Indian buffet. We can blame the holiday. Fireworks look like electric pubes, and everyone was in the mood.

Josh's birthday was yesterday, too. The highlight of that was walking around the neighborhood last night and smelling the fireworks. The trees were too tall to see anything, but Josh loves the smell of fireworks, so happy birthday Josh.

I have some stories coming out this summer. You'll read them or you won't. They'll be there anyway.

My family is getting together in Virginia this weekend. There's no way it'll happen for me to be there this year, and that's a real shame. The Missouri River has nothing on the James River.

Once, when I was afraid of my body, I wore a white polo shirt to cover my belly at the beach. I was in the direct sun, and it was so hot. I was keeping an eye on my cousins while my grandmother took a break under the trees. My cousins wanted to walk down the beach, and I said they could go as long as they didn't go too far. They went too far. I couldn't see them anymore. I looked back to the parking lot. My grandmother was smoking and sitting on a rock wall and reading a book.

The beach was on the James River. A replica colonial ship was coming in to dock. The ship had cannons. I was scared I'd really messed up, but my cousins came back, and they were fine. They'd picked up some crab claws and wanted to keep them as souvenirs. I said no. I said they'd fall apart and start to smell.

My cousins wanted me to swim after lunch. I kept my shirt on and said it was because I didn't want to burn. We went to a lake later that week, and there was a guy who finally convinced me to take my shirt off. He said it was too hot for me to be wearing heavy cotton. I couldn't see his eyes behind his sunglasses. I could just see the puddle of my belly reflected back at me. There are pictures on Facebook. You can see me pale and happy to be in the dirty water. You can see me drunk and wincing, soft and shirtless in the sun.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cave Mystery

For the first time, I wrote a script for a wedding ceremony for my friends, and Josh officiated. The wedding was in a public park. Josh and I wore almost the same clothes. People called us Mormons like Mormons were the first to think of dressing in black and white. Mormons don't have mustaches.

The bride and groom have always been the cutest straight couple I know. They both sew. They own a haunted mandolin that plays songs from inside its case. Their daughter will be unrivaled in practical skills. They spent the right amount of money on their wedding, which was the cost of cigarettes and beer for everyone involved.

Some people gave toasts, which were old, funny stories from college. I didn't give a toast. The bride and I were in studio once, and the bride said I would be the first person she forgot when we graduated. That's how I knew she wouldn't forget me. I sometimes suspect she's my sister. I have a toast for her, but it can't go anywhere but a letter.

I made a pie like I always make a pie. Someone drunk joked about how there must have been a sale on graham cracker crusts at the dollar store. I have a hard time raising my voice out of the cave of my throat, but I managed to say, "HOW DARE YOU. I made this butter crust by hand." I don't think the drunk someone heard me. Josh often repeats what I say so at least people will hear. They think Josh has good jokes. I don't mind. It's my schtick to just give this stuff away.

The truth about everywhere I've lived is there are bugs in the summer. I like walking at night. Josh and I went to a concert Saturday night and walked the three miles home from downtown. That's a lot of cockroaches we saw. I told one of my friends I like not having a car because I like walking, and he said, "Don't say that," like I'd just said something bad about a dead person. "You'll get a car someday," he said. He's in advertising and maybe thinks I just haven't met the right brand. I've heard that argument about other parts of my life.

I was at the bus stop, and I saw a man stumbling in yards and chasing after a white rabbit. The man was homeless. He'd been standing at the stoplight outside a sandwich shop. He was going to eat the rabbit. A mother and son were also at the bus stop. The son asked his mother why the man was chasing the rabbit, and the mother said, "That's not a rabbit. That man's dog just got away from him is all." The man saw us watching. He waved his hands like, "DON'T LOOK AT ME."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Flat Snake

It's summer, so I've been to some gatherings. Parties. Dinners. My college roommate was in town. That meant drinks and food and tarot card readings. I can't tell you what was revealed. It's none of your business. I can say we were at a bar, and I saw a guy look good in a tank top, and now I want a tank top. It's not so much I think I'll look good in a tank top; it's I think I'll look amazing in a tank top. If you're feeling like a generous stranger, I take out the guesswork at TANK TOPS FOR CASEY HANNAN.

We're still car-free. Josh and I walk to the grocery store, which is nice. We saw a flattened black snake today. When I was a kid, there was a reptile zoo in Kentucky with all these venomous snakes. When I went, the guy who ran the zoo was milking a rattlesnake. The guy was missing parts of some of his fingers. He had a cobra out later. The cobra was flaring its hood, and the man was dancing around it with a stick. People were sitting in a circle like the cobra was a campfire. A few years later, there was bad flooding, and some of those snakes got out and were never found.

Another thing about walking is who cares?

One of the parties I went to last week was an actor party. The actors seemed really interested in my book, and so naturally I couldn't trust anything they said. They asked what I was working on, and I told them about my collection of short stories, and they said, "You don't hear that everyday!" Except I do hear that everyday.

There was food at the actor party, but not much eating. There was drinking and smoking, and that's why all the actors were skinny. The actors were cute, of course, and the cutest one peed in the bushes, but it was dark, and the bushes kept their secrets.

I have a secret, and you're the last to know it. My story, "Ghost Water," is the June web exclusive at American Short Fiction. There's also an interview and a picture of me looking serious. One of my eyes is larger than the other. I'm told this is common.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

These Men Wonder at a Star

It's warm. I've rolled my jeans to the knees. All sorts of people go by the house. One of the people is shirtless and running. Another is crying and hugging her purse.

A crying woman once asked me for a cigarette and I felt so awful for not having cigarettes. I was holding a small box of frozen mice and the crying woman thought it was a pack of cigarettes. I explained, but the woman was already walking.

I haven't smoked a cigarette in a few weeks. The last time I smoked a cigarette, I didn't really smoke it. I just held it in my fingers and my friend told me I held it like I was rich. No one taught me to smoke. I've watched my grandmother, though, and that's where I picked up the form. It's from when smoking was part of a person's social presentation. Everyone smoked in the past.

One of my friends has a vapor cigarette. It's a long, electronic tube of metal. The tip glows green when you suck in. It looks like a dog whistle for robot dogs. The vapor is flavored, but all the flavors are crushed candy. When you breathe out, the vapor is white and thick as pot smoke.

I saw some shirtless men sitting on their front stairs giving each other haircuts. I have a list of situations I find attractive. The haircuts one is only surpassed by the one where a gap-toothed man crosses the street carrying a case of beer on his shoulder. It's been a lucky week because I've come across both of these situations. The gap-toothed man wasn't smoking, but that's the optional ingredient in the recipe.

It's been a lucky month, really. My story, "Other Sons" from SmokeLong Quarterly, made the wigleaf top 50. I got my first check for a story you'll read in June. I looked in the mirror and smiled because I've been working out and I can finally see the change. I was around at the right time to watch my snake shed her skin. It was like watching someone try to take off their shirt after a workout. I wanted to help my snake, but I have this policy about disrupting the natural order of things.

I will swat a fly, though. If it needs doing.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cutting Off the Nose

My birthday was Sunday. I was born in West Virginia in the mountains. My grandmother and I went looking for the exact place a few years ago. We couldn't find it. There's a place called Hurricane, West Virginia. There's also a place called Nitro, West Virginia. The interstate is carved out of mountains. You can look down into towns if the fog isn't bad. Kansas City sits on hills, too, but no one outside Kansas City knows that. They all ask if the flatness makes me crazy, but I have to drive a little before I can even see the horizon. It's been a couple months since I've had a car to drive.

I've started having nightmares I have to drive a car and can't do it. The roads have changed and I can't read the signs. Josh has these dreams, too. He's a non-driver. I also dream of going back east this summer. However it happens, it won't be because I drove.

Every year, there's a family reunion at a lake in North Carolina. We swim across the lake and we're in Virginia. There's a little beach there and we try to be quiet because we go at midnight, but sometimes it's not possible to kill our joy. We swim back by way of a large rock where the water is cold and the catfish brush our legs. A lot of the family stay in the lake house they've owned for 30 years, but the house is sold now. I don't know what we'll do. I didn't go last year and now I won't go again, at least there, at that lake. I cried. Sue me.

Josh is in a play. I've told you that. You should go. There's a show tonight at 8 and tomorrow at 8 and Monday at 8. The tickets are 15 dollars. Monday night they're 10. Josh is the real deal, kids. I didn't know it, but I do now. I mean, Jesus, really. He can't drive a car, but he can be funny when he needs to be. 

I got news of a big story acceptance last week. I don't like saying where until it hits, so I won't. You'll know in June.

Josh and I walk everywhere and sometimes people in trucks whistle or yell. I get mad. There are stories I could tell. I'm too mad to tell them. What makes me mad is those people whistling and yelling are gay, too. In some way, they're queer and they hate it and so they hate Josh and they hate me. I hope they find a little quiet time to be men with other men. If I had one wish.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Snakes Alive

Walking all over Kansas City is one of the new things I do. Last weekend, I walked all over Kansas City with my friend. We got lost. We got found. We looked at houses and drank bourbon and ginger beer. We saw a bunch of cats. My friend said the best thing to come out of the economic downturn is all the outdoor cats. Any of them will come up to you and act like a pet because they all used to live indoors. My friend and I sat on my porch and a stray cat jumped in my lap and my friend said, "See. That's totally your cat."

Everywhere I go, someone is telling me a snake story. Everyone has a snake story. I tried to feed a snake out of my hands once and the snake bit me, of course. I'm not Snow White, though one of my friends has a bird who will fly across the room and land on her finger. My only fairy tale quality is that I have a really good sense of direction. Oh, and I'm the first son, which means I'm destined to make a fatal mistake involving my pride.

I made a molasses pie yesterday and it was nasty, but then I put it in the fridge overnight and today it has promise. I can see how I'll do it next time. Josh politely ate his slice and then said, "This is acrid." Yes, I used a strong molasses. I'll use sorghum when I try again. We can beat this thing together.

The weather was so good for a while. It got chilly this week, though, so the men of the neighborhood kept their shirts on while they mowed. One of them even wore jeans, which was sexy in its own way.

I'll tell you about a dream I have every year. I'm walking down the street and a dog runs at me. As it jumps for my throat, I pull its jaws apart with my bare hands. You may know my hands are strange and I probably couldn't kill a dog like that. My fingers have weird bends to them. I used to try to force them straight, but that doesn't work. Will never work. Has never worked.

I have things to brag about, but the only one of those things I'm comfortable bragging about is that I have a story up at Spork Press. Read it, I beg you, because I'm so proud of that story.

My birthday is soon. Get cracking.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ain't No Party Like

I tried a new pie recipe and the custard separated because I overbaked it. I stayed up late doing the pie again so I could get it right. It was a really good pie. Maple buttermilk. The custard was perfect on the second run. It was solid on the fork, but then it collapsed in the mouth. A familiar experience for me, obviously.

I'm making another pie for a party tonight. It's a divisive pie. People love it or they politely hate it. It's a vinegar pie with honey for the flavor and sweetness. I sprinkle the top with sea salt. It's complex, but it's heaven. It goes without saying that my butter crust is perfect. Whoops. I said it.

God. Enough about pies. Spring, y'all. It has sprung. Which means I walked to the grocery today wearing a t-shirt. I love the grocery because there are always men there I can use to develop quick crushes. Everyone has to get groceries, even hunks. One of my crushes actually works at the grocery. Josh and I caught him fist-pumping the air once. He's probably straight. He was out front today smoking a cigarette with a girl. The girl said, "Are you sure I'm not going to get you in trouble?" and the guy looked around like yes, she might get him in trouble. "No," he said. "I'm good."

Josh is going to be in another play. Get your tickets HERE. He plays about ten characters with different foreign accents. He's been sexing up for the role. He flexes his arms and muscles pop up now. It's not like begging a noodle to do something it can't do.

St. Patrick's Day sure was a day. A couple walked down our street eating pizza right out of the box. The girl of the couple came into our yard and tried to feed her slice of pizza to a tree. The tree was not receptive. The girl steadied her drunk self and tried again. No dice.

On the same day, Josh and I were walking home from the library and a drunk girl leaned out of her parked car and yelled, "Are you all gay? My boy here's gay. Yeah, he loves penis." There was a guy sitting next to the girl. He was drunk, too. Josh and I kept walking. The girl was yelling, "Hey! Hey!" but we were gone. If the guy wanted our penises so much, he could've said so himself.

My Kentucky friend keeps calling to talk about her snake problem. She has snakes mating in her trees. I'm fascinated by snakes. My friend insists on calling it a snake problem, but I like to think of it as a snake opportunity. My friend was picking up sticks and talking on the phone with her mother when she almost picked up a snake. I think that's just wonderful. I wish my yard was tripping with snakes. It is, instead, tripping with dog shit.

The only animals I've seen around lately are cats. There's a new stray and she has these short little legs but a regular body. She crosses the street at intersections like a person. In the dark, she looks like an opossum.

Speaking of, I have a story at Monkeybicycle. A man in England hates my story, but he hates everything. It's adorable. I wish I could watch him eat so I could see on his face how much he hates the food. My story has an opossum and a car accident and two men getting in the shower. But read it anyway.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Wounded Party

AWP made me want a cigarette. Well, not a cigarette, but to have cigarette smoke blown in my face by a hot guy. It was the worst on the last night when this very attractive animal of a man was rolling his own cigarettes while we all drank in the hotel bar. He couldn't smoke in the bar, so he asked if anyone wanted to go outside and smoke with him. I tried to come up with a way to decline a cigarette and yet ask if I could stand next to him while he smoked. There was no way. I stayed inside and thought maybe when he came back he would lean over to talk to us and a little bit of stale smoke breath would creep out of his mouth and into my nose. It didn't happen.

I met my soul mates, though. I would give you their names, but what if you think you're one of them and it turns out you're not? You are, though. You probably are. One of my soul mates tweeted about how that week in Chicago changed his life and how he was crying because he missed everyone. Then he deleted the tweet. I saw it and put my hand to my heart and thought, "I know what you mean." The connecting of faces to names was religious. I met Roxane Gay and it was like going behind the curtain in a temple.

Josh was with me. Josh isn't a writer, but Josh is a reader. Josh bought a ton of books. Josh danced. Josh made all the ladies go yeah. Josh was honest with me about my reading. "It was a little fast," he said. Josh was right. Don't tell him, but Josh is always right when it comes to things like that. Josh and I had a lot of whiskey gingers that were mostly ginger.

I met my best internet friend. I knew her by her hair. I miss her. She kissed my tattoos and then she made other people kiss my tattoos. Once upon a time, I internet joked about this one guy kissing my tattoos. When this guy was around, Josh would poke me and say, "There he is," and I would just look the other way like it didn't even matter. My one regret, I guess.

Chicago doesn't have better food than Kansas City. Josh and I ate a lot of OK food. We took the train and the bus and we went all over trying to eat the best of the best as determined by food critics. The stand out was this torta place, XOCO. The flavors, y'all. In every other way, Kansas City has Chicago beat.

People kept telling me I didn't look like my online pictures. I was taller or nicer or hotter, depending. Thank you, everyone. You were hotter, too. You all had very nice hands.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hot Dog

Josh and I are on our way to Chicago. We're on the Megabus. Our driver's name is Maurice and he makes jokes like, "Excessive profanity is prohibited, but you can cuss a little." I would cuss, but there's nothing around here to cuss at. We're in the middle of Illinois. People make fun of Kansas, but I mean really, what's the difference? I guess Chicago's the difference.

The bus is a double-decker. We're on top so we can look down into the big trucks we pass and assess the drivers. I've seen one hot truck driver, which means there's a first time for everything. He had a ginger beard and, well, the Megabus was going too fast, but I think we made eye contact. His name was Roy. Like I said, we talked with our eyes.

We just passed some wild turkeys hitchhiking on the shoulder of the interstate. A guy in front of us said wild turkeys roam around in packs of 20. It made me think of chicken nuggets. All I used to eat was chicken nuggets. The only vegetable I ate as a teenager was corn and I don't even think corn is a real vegetable. It's just sweet golden nibblets. The point is: these wild turkeys were just looking for a ride and the Megabus did not stop.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I didn't get my driver's license right away. I was afraid to take the driving test when I was 16. When I finally took the test at 17, the tester said, "What are we parked on right now?" We were parked on a hill and I'd forgotten to pull up the emergency brake, but I said, "We're parked on...asphalt?"

Just to put you in the mind of my driving history, I had the same car from 17 to last week. A 1999 black Toyota Corolla basic. It had a slot for a dashboard clock, but there was no clock. That basic. I loved that stupid car. And now it's gone. The engine died and that's all. The end. I'll get another car when I need it. I've been taking the bus, and that works, too. It's been a while since I've been a passenger. I used to love driving, but lately, I've hated it. Maybe it's not so bad on the bus.

I'm just kidding. The bus is awful. Someone please surprise me with a car.

There's a party on Friday and I'm taking the bus there. I think that's pretty funny because I live in Kansas City and everyone I know has a car. People here are idiots for cars because it's the Midwest and everything is so spread out. I will be hard-pressed to ask for a ride from my friends. I hate asking for rides. I would rather walk. This is the sin called "pride," but I don't really believe in sin, so.

Yesterday, I knitted with Katharine Cobey and some of my former teachers. My teachers treated me like a master knitter and crocheter. I've been writing so much I almost forgot I'm really good at knitting and crocheting, too. I wouldn't say I'm a "master" because that implies I care. I don't care enough about knitting and crocheting to make it my life. For a few years after college, I thought I might care that much, and I tried to care that much. I had some gallery shows and then I admitted to myself I wasn't really making art. I was making glorified stuffed animals and wall hangings and kitschy sweaters, but they didn't mean anything to me. It was just cheap yarn and some stuff to put around my house. Maybe I'll feel differently in some years, but that's how I feel now. I crocheted a unicorn with a banana split sitting on its back and what the hell is that supposed to mean?

Back to the knitting with Katharine Cobey. We sat around some tables and practiced some techniques I already knew. It was fun anyway. Some students were knitting, too. There were some guy students and they were so good looking. I mean, really. A couple of them were dressed like they were going out for the night and I just laughed to myself because NO, they weren't going anywhere. They were sticking their arms in dye pots and pulling out ugly/pretty fabric and maybe breathing in some questionable chemicals. One guy came back from lunch and his eyes were red, red, red. I'm just saying. We're all knitting again tomorrow, so I'll have to ask him if knitting is better or worse that way.

But anyway. We were all knitting and there was a camaraderie since we were all doing the same basic technique in different ways. There were cracks about men and how they ruin everything. One of my former teachers touched my shoulder and said, "We're just joking!" And I was like, "No, you're right. Men are awful." Katharine Cobey sat there knitting faster than anyone. She said, "Men aren't awful. They sometimes just make trouble is all." AMEN.

In other news, show my beautiful friend, Ethel Rohan, some love. Buy her books and tell her how they make you feel. We both recently cut our hair. Walk by us in the grocery store and see if you know us. See if you're surprised.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


My mother's mother, Pearl Trent, died last week. Josh and I went to Kentucky for the visitation and the funeral. My grandmother was quiet with Alzheimer's for 13 years. Half my life and there I stood looking at the casket trying to remember my grandmother ever saying my name. I couldn't even remember the sound of her voice. I do remember one summer I went to live with my grandmother for a couple weeks on the farm. There was fishing and cats and land going back and back and back. I remember the farmhouse like a wood paneled dream and how the carpeted floor popped in places. I remember the smell like the land was in the walls and that somehow the walls were very old and still very alive. There were noises all night--the coyotes screaming outside and neighbor dogs barking back like they could do a thing about it. And my grandmother. Quiet as far back as I can remember. She was so at one with the farm that to remember one is to remember the other, and to go back to the farm now would be like visiting a grave. I didn't even think about driving out there. I should have.

My mother's family doesn't get together often, but there was a reunion around my grandmother's body. It looked little enough like my grandmother that I had to keep telling myself what we were there for. She was so preserved and clean. I knew chemicals and makeup were doing that. They were keeping an image of rest. My cousins kept saying how my grandmother looked asleep. She'd lost a lot of weight and you could see that
in her nose. It had the sharp flares of an orchid. The lighting was a soft red so my grandmother's skin looked like it still had blood running under it. I have seen recent pictures. My grandmother has not looked that way in a while.

One of my uncles didn't get far from the casket. He didn't say much until after the funeral when it seemed like all of a sudden he realized other people were there. The grieving was like that. My mother spent a lot of time looking at her hair and nails and arranging every little thing in the room. One of my cousins fainted. Another was fine until she wasn't. People were talking about old cars and she just sat in the middle of them and cried. I didn't know how I felt until we got back to Kansas City and I remembered everything like I had seen it in a movie. I don't remember how anything smelled. I don't remember being cold or hot. I ate, but I don't know that I tasted anything. All I did was see everyone else.

Bringing up all those memories and seeing those people I hadn't seen for so long made me sick with guilt. I drove back to Kansas City with a cold. There is an entire branch of my family I have ignored for going on a decade and they were all there saying, "Remember when?" I pulled up those memories and they looked like trees grabbed at the roots by a tornado. How dare I put one arm in the ground and try to walk away from it when my grandmother had no choice but to be buried little by little until she was all gone with no way of coming back? I'm only here because she was here first. Oh, Pearl.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


OK, folks, it's Restaurant Week. Josh and I went to Justus Drugstore last night and the chef danced on our cheap little tongues. I'm just kidding. My tongue isn't little. It's short and fat like a garden spade. But the food and the drinks! I won't tell you all we ate. It was pork one way or another. Pork in every dish, even dessert. There was bacon brittle on our chocolate tart. It doesn't deserve more words than that. It just deserves that you get to Smithville and eat it.

What I really fell in love with was the bartender. I loved him as soon as I saw him. He was wearing suspenders and looked like he'd just hopped off a velocipede to mix our drinks. The wind was still in his arm hair. He had these jars full of plants and syrups and I felt like I was watching a true nerd and genius do magic for a bunch of rubes. I was too in love to say anything much, but I hope he saw how I licked the egg white out of my glass like I was digging holes for garlic.

I got rid of my hair last week, mostly on accident. I was trying to give myself a mohawk. Who do I think I am giving myself haircuts? My head is smaller in proportion to my body than I ever remember.
The story ends there and isn't much of a story. I look like a Pringle with a Tic Tac balanced on one end. Someone do me some good and knock that Tic Tac off.

If you see me at AWP, you'll tell me I'm tall. Duh. I will have the mohawk by then and you can say if it works or if it doesn't. Tim Jones-Yelvington will probably have a mohawk, too, but his mohawk will be made out of lit taper candles. He will be naked but for the dripping wax that forms his outfit over the night. It will definitely work.

In college, I was a fiber art minor. The fiber studio was full of men wearing heels and women wearing ballet flats. We all ran around screaming about fabric and t-pins. There was a weaving studio, too, but it was across campus and no one screamed in there. You opened the door and the slam of the looms sounded like cars having sex. Being in the fiber studio got me over the fear I used to have of taking my shoes off in a dressing room. There are always pins on a dressing room floor. In the fiber studio, there were pins everywhere and still, there were never enough. People would steal them right off of mannequins, and I'm going to admit something right now--I was one of those people. I never bought a t-pin in my life. I owe my former classmates at least a nickel each. Forgive me.

I haven't had pizza since September. I'm nostalgic for a time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Weekend Junk

We went out to Kansas yesterday to celebrate the second birthday of some twin boys. Josh and I sat in the back of a truck with our knees to our chests like we were hiding under a table. There were more birds sitting in roadside trees than I have ever seen at once. My friend was identifying them with the savant focus you get from people obsessed with math. She was calling out birds like they were numbers flying in front of her face. Starlings, mostly, but also grackles, geese, gulls, and hawks. Bird + bird + bird. It was fascinating. With the smaller birds, all I see is a ball with wings, but my friend knows them every which way.

The birthday party was at a church, but in an adjacent fellowship hall, not the actual church. I'm told the church is precious inside, like a Catholic cathedral in miniature. It's in the middle of the country like it fell from the sky. We couldn't go in because there was an afternoon mass. I wanted to see the painted statues, but maybe some other time.

I met a ginger man at a bar this weekend who was...opposite to me in every way. By the end of the night, he had a crush on me in the way straight guys sometimes do with gay guys. I fought most of what he said, from beer on down to pop music. That seemed to surprise and irritate him. The first thing he did was push me out of the way because he didn't realize we were with the same party. I knew I was in for an obnoxious and delightful evening. When he left, he shot me with finger guns and a wink. So.

My first rejection of the year was pleasant and painless. No acceptances yet. I'm mostly working on the book. I can't tell you how hard it is. I mean, physically, I can't. When I talk to people about the book, I act like it's a weekend of knitting. I belittle the process to get the attention off of me. You wouldn't know I take it seriously at all. But I am terrified. People ask what the book's about, and the only thing I can muster is, "It's about a guy."

I don't think I ever told my parents this, but when I was in college, some people with guns came on campus and stole computers. No one made better art because of it. Also while I was in school, some of my friends were mugged. The first time it happened, one of my friends laughed at the mugger because she thought he was joking. Our studio building was near a gas station and we used to walk down there and buy vodka for the long nights at the end of the semester. Vodka and Fritos and Twizzlers. I went in a gas station recently with some of those friends. One of them bought a bag of Doritos. No one else bought anything. My friend said, "What? No one eats shit anymore?"


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guts and Glory

It's 2012, so I can start freaking out. There's a reading next month at AWP. I've only done a couple readings and those were a hundred years ago in undergrad. I would read my story like I was ordering food at a drive-thru and people would laugh and I would think, "But this story isn't supposed to be funny." Ha ha, Casey Hannan. Ha ha.

The AWP reading is at a bar in Chicago. I will drink a little something before and try not to think about the hot guys all around me. They will read stories, too, and I will probably not hear a single word. Some other people will read after that and the roof will be on fire with how good these people are at reading in bars. The people in charge of this event will let the motherfucker burn. And then who knows? Don't look at me to put out any fires. There was once a grease fire in my kitchen and I made a mess with the fire extinguisher instead of just throwing a lid on the pan. You live, you learn, you pretend to be a smoker for a little while, but you really can't stand cigarettes on yourself even if you love them on other people. It's a big world and we're all stupid about a few parts of it.

This time last year, I was having my first stories published and it was blowing my little 2011 mind. I didn't even have it in my head that alt-lit demi-goddess, xTx, would be the best thing to happen to me all year long. But here we are. She knows all my names. She says if you say all my names at once, I sound like a serial killer from the Midwest. It's good that I'm not.

The only thing I've ever killed was a lizard in Florida. It was a very small lizard and I plucked it off a wall with my brutal kid fingers. The poor little sucker popped in the middle with the pressure. The whole thing was uncalled for. I tried to make myself feel better by saying there were a ton of lizards in Florida anyway. I kept picking up lizards, but only the one was so delicate as to explode in my hand like a hot berry.

We are on the subject of things we cannot change. As to 2011, I have no regrets.