I am pleased to announce Scott Wozniak will join Moran Press. After reading his poetry collection, Crumbling Utopian Pipedream, I emailed him almost immediately that I'd like to published the book, it made that strong of an impression on me.
Here's a short description of his upcoming release.
Scott Wozniak's "Crumbling Utopian Pipedream," is a book of poems born of the streets. It unflinchingly celebrates gritty realism while detailing some of life's hard won battles, and continually urges the reader to face the obstacles life puts in our way, and to realize that we have the strength to overcome any and all hardships.
Reading Scott Wozniak you feel the dark grit beneath your cuticles, the needle wagging in the hinge of your arm and the demons' claws raking down your back. This is authentic outlaw poetry. --Rob Plath
Look for the release of Crumbing Utopian Pipedream in the spring. I promise this collection of poetry will make an impression you won't soon forget.
By eleven, it was Leo’s turn to try out the cross.
He had it all worked out in his head. The whole walk over to the little stage, the stripper and the cross itself. This was a comedy. This whole thing was going to be really goddamn funny in either a week or six months. That part was going to depend entirely on what Laura thought tomorrow. She had given him her blessing, but that blessing could just as easily disappear later. Two hours from now, she could change her whole mood, and decide she‘d never agreed to it in the first place.
He looked around the bar for her, no idea of where she had run off to. It was only a half-hour ago that they had been sitting together, but he couldn’t remember where in the bar that had been. The whiskey sours were legion, and they had replaced his short-term memory nicely. He tried to pinpoint the moment when everything around him had gone from the calm before the storm to the actual storm of human activity. This was one of the city’s trendier college bars, very carefully designed to look like a desperate hole in the wall. Bondage Night was just one of their many little functions. Bars were just a profound waste of time and money for him. It was cheaper to get drunk at home. The music was better.
As he finished his drink and got up, he looked around for Laura again. There was a lot going on outside, and his eyes were having a hard enough time focusing on the room. This wasn’t drunk. Not yet. Not even close. But it was right in the middle of knowing that he was going to be fairly hammered by the time he settled up his tab. The human obstacle course from the bar to the little stage was considerable. He had to struggle to be aware of the seven dollar wells, four dollar beers, and how much he was spending on them. Moving freely was out of the question. Every step felt and probably looked like a bad dance craze on acid. He rested against the back of a chair for a moment, or against the point of being five surprisingly strong drinks into the evening.
The night was going to move with or without him. It seemed important to move along with it. The song playing was pretty good. Off-hand he was pretty sure he hadn’t listened to The Sisters of Mercy in about six years.
Of course, the next song would probably be one of the five Nine Inch Nails songs he didn’t really care for.
He gave a feeble wave when he was close enough to the little stage to be seen by the stripper. Or he thought she was a stripper. He wasn’t actually sure. Bondage Night seemed a little too silly as an actual concept to attract a real dominatrix. He didn’t want to ask her. He couldn’t even remember her name. She had told him earlier. It was a plain name. He remembered that much.
Thankfully, she seemed to remember him, and said something he couldn’t hear over the music.
There was no choice but to guess. “Yeah,” he said, “I’m ready whenever.”
She pointed at something- it took him a second to realize she was talking about his leather jacket. When he and Laura first decided to go to this thing he’d spent a good hour, with Laura taking three, trying to figure out what would look like a legitimate effort to fit in. Even though it was August, the leather jacket seemed like the only way to go. He was hoping for a cool enough evening and was grateful to get one. Once people had started to really pack in the place, it felt a bit warmer, but he was willing to put up with it. He took his jacket off, handing it to the other dancer. He liked the Louise-Brooks-as-an-80’s-drug addict quality of the one working the cross, the one he had been speaking to, but they were both sexy in an out-of-his-league kind of way. Then again, so was Laura. The virtually-non-existent bondage outfits they wore were only reminding him of the old buoyant days, when he could think about these things without the constant companion of paranoia. Laura wasn’t a psychic, but she could play one on TV.
The stripper’s sweat clung to her skin. It was choked, blunt, disconcerting sexuality. It actually looked like it was tightening her skin. Her black bangs were matted against her forehead.
She pointed at his shirt, and said something else he couldn’t hear. Most likely, she was telling him to lose it. That was fine. It made sense. He wasn’t really looking forward to showing off how much weight he had gained in the last few months. He handed the shirt over and killed the introspection. That was one of the constant dangers inherent with drinking. Everything had to be analyzed to death, reanimated, and then questioned again at great length, starting with why it needed to be discussed into oblivion in the first place.
His experience with S/m was just barely diverse enough to pass an evening with the stories he had accumulated. However, he’d never tried one of these bondage cross things. It was just assumed where his legs and arms were supposed to go. The cross itself was metal. It looked shiny and well-cared for. There was an adrenal charge from how chilled it managed to feel on his skin. It was almost impossible to see anything from the right. The world could only be viewed from the left. Still, he looked around for Laura, as the stripper tied him down and then leaned into his ear, clasping the last arm strap.
SATURDAY NIGHT BONUS CONTENT FROM THE UPCOMING RELEASE THE MOURNING AFTER
It was years before your cancer diagnosis, years before your wife answered the phone crying.
“I found the poem you wrote about him folded neatly in his wallet.”
Years before my life without you, we were leaving the supermarket we worked for, heading out to look for drinks, to meet women, when you spotted one staggering to her knees outside the adjacent drug store.
“What’s with her?” you asked, pointing in her direction. She started projectile vomiting onto the pavement as soon as I started to look.
“Help me, please,” she gasped between heaves.
My hypochondria repelled me back, I covered my nose and my mouth with my sleave, you immediately ran to help her.
“Oh my God! Jesus! Are you ok?” In a few minutes you discerned that she had the flu, that she badly needed meds, and that her boyfriend had refused to walk to the store to get them.
“Please, don’t call an ambulance,” she begged us, “a trip to the hospital will bankrupt us.” The boyfriend was unemployed. She was a waitress. Her vomiting had calmed down. You took off your button down shirt and used it to clean her face. You helped her roll over and sit on the curb as you handed me your keys.
“Go get my car,” you said to me, then turned to her and said, “don’t worry, Miss, we’ll get you home.”
I hesitated. “Dude, I don’t know.” And you lost your temper with me.
“I said get the fucking car! Now!”
We drove her home slowly, avoiding the bumps, her head hanging out the back window. She just kept saying, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
You replied, “You’re welcome. Now, just keep breathing. The fresh air will make you feel better.”
“Ok,” she sighed. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
In five minutes she was gone, and we went back to the supermarket to buy supplies, to disinfect your car, to hopefully remove the lingering stench of her vomit, and to get back to looking for drinks, to meeting women.
“Ugh! Some Saturday night!” I complained, wiping Lysol drenched chunks from your back seat with some no frills paper towels.
“Dude!” you snapped again, this time stern in a way only a man in his 30s can be with an early 20-something kid.
“That could’ve been my future wife, or your mother,” you said, “and I can only hope to God if that kinda shit ever happens to one of them some people like us will come along and help.”
Then you shut up, your point made. And I shut up, because I got it. And we finished cleaning the car. And we found the drinks, but we met no women. And neither of us had the flu the next morning.
In all my years of Buddhist training, of Higher Education, you were my greatest teacher of empathy, of compassion, of the point to living in a society—all that wisdom gained on some random Saturday night in the early 90s, from a butcher who kicked himself until the day he died for never graduating from high school.
1.) I love the goddamned Golden Girls: I’m mentioning this because I’m sick to shit of people having “guilty pleasures”. If you like something, it’s not a guilty pleasure. It’s a pleasure.
2.) I was born in Canada: This always seems to alarm, confuse, and potentially arouse racists who have strong “Not to sound racist…” opinions about immigration. They always seem to forget about white immigrants. Generally, this realization is followed by “Well, I’m sure you did it the RIGHT WAY.”
3.) I’ve logged about 50, 000 miles on Greyhound: Ask my immigration lawyer. I sent him dozens of tickets I had saved over the years (I believe they call it hoarding, but nuts to those fuckers, since it actually served a purpose). I’ve written a lot of travel essays, mostly for Drunk Monkeys, but people still think I’m exaggerating. I’m not. When you travel from one end of the United States to the other a few times, the miles accumulate. If you include car travel or trains, I don’t even know what the number might be. Yet I’ve never been outside of North America. I hope to change that.
4.) I’ve been a writer for almost 20 years: Bondage Night isn’t the first novel I wrote. Hopefully, it won’t be the last. It’s just the first one that’s getting published. I had a poetry collection come out a couple of years ago called Clouds of Hungry Dogs. The next one coming out is going to be called Love and Quarters. All of this is the insane accumulation of deciding when I was 12 years old that I wanted to write for a living. I had been writing for most of my childhood at that point, but it was at 12 that I understood that there was nothing else I really wanted to do with my life. I’ve expanded on that a little, but the main idea has remained the same. When I was 12, I started looking at ways to get published, and I started working on my craft. I’m still working on it, and there’s still a lot of things I’d like to do personally and professionally, but Bondage Night is the culmination of everything I have been working on for nearly the whole of my life. When I tell you about it, that’s what I’m essentially talking about.
5.) I own a lot of stuffed animals: I don’t have children. I have godchildren, but thank Christ, their parents are really healthy. But I collect stuffed animals, particularly bears and elephants. It’s a hobby I picked up as a kid. I’ve never really seen a reason to stop. It’s a weird contradiction to some of the other things I like, but it’s one I’m keeping. They cheer me up, and the list of things that can do that is becoming smaller and smaller these days.
FIVE THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT ME CHARLES BIVONA
1. I love disaster movies. I find the fictional sight of our civilization being wiped away by nature very relaxing.
2. I love all music, but The Beatles, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Tom Waits, and Sage Francis are my favorites. Oh and the Miles Davis album “Kind of Blue,” because of a particularly chill car drive through Kansas in 2002.
3. There are words that I adore and words that I absolutely despise – i.e. ‘pamphlet.’ I hate that word.
4. Contrary to what some people believe, I’m not at all confident and/or sure of myself. I do fake it very well.
5. A psychiatrist once told me that I suffer from chronic empathy. “You take on the emotional states of other people.” he said. “You’re like a neurological chameleon.” I hide this from most people. Now you all know.