For example, Matt Mullins and Three Ways of the Saw (Atticus Books). The “jagged” school. Certainly Eugene Martin (this book amazing, BTW). Sometimes XTX, Mary Miller, sometimes KGM. Certainly Jamie Iredell. A Hubert Shelby Jr./Iceberg Slim/Patti Smith continuum. Lipstick on the edge of a knife, balls clanking. Thrown/thrown down bottle of flungward. Slash. Krash. You wake up to vomit and your breath smells like burning tires, wonder, jamboree and regret.
Matt Mullins lives in a three-room apartment in a quiet business section of downtown Indiana. His apartment, located in a fifties-futuristic building in sight of four pawn shops and a hat store (That’s not really a hat store, Matt told me), is comfortably unimposing, though it does testify to his days as a traveling musician: souvenirs from Kalamazoo, Mexico, the Eastern Shore, the steppes of Kansas; a bookcase lined with personally inscribed records by Kiri Te Kanawa, DMX, Matt Salesses, Ginsberg (spoken word), Dee Dee Ramone; an entryway in which vintage amplifiers and various guitar cases are stacked shoulder high, as if headlining festival tours of indefinite length were perpetually in the offing.
Our first meeting took place in the summer of 2011. I arrived at his door in the early afternoon, but it was not his door, it was a small bar. There was an elderly woman behind the bar who looked exactly like a cross between a nocturnal monkey and Anthony Perkins. I had a shot of vodka and a very cold beer then asked, “Does Matt Mullins live around here?”
Night-monkey Perkins nodded to the ceiling. “Upstairs.”
I found Matt Mullins newly awakened, his thick brown hair tousled and pale blue eyes slightly bleary; he was obviously surprised that anyone would come to call at that hour of the day. As he finished his breakfast (a Pop-Tart and a grapefruit) and lighted up his first cigarette, his thin, somewhat wiry frame relaxed noticeably. He became increasingly jovial.
“There’s a bar below this apartment, can you believe that?”
“There is?” I said.
“Yes. Let’s go down and have a look.”
We never did get to the interview that day. But there were other days.
The Bee-Loud Glade
by Steve Himmer
Atticus Books, 2011
224 pages / $14.95 Buy from Atticus Books
I wish I had read The Bee-Loud Glade with fewer expectations, though that may have been impossible after examining its exterior. The title is from Yeats (“The Lake Isle of Innisfree”) and the front cover features a slightly altered version of Magritte’s “The False Mirror.” One blurb employs the phrase “postmodern complexity.” Another describes the novel as “Thoreau meets Ballard meets Huysmans and many more.” Thoreau was a hermit for some time, and The Bee-Loud Glade does feature a hermit.
August 25th, 2011 / 12:06 pm