Barry Graham is a Writer I’d Like to Fuck
Barry Graham is a writer I’d like to fuck. Now, we all know that here, so why bother, you ask? Because I want to fuck him, man! And he’s a writer!!! And I invented the WILF! It is probably the only good thing I have ever invented! So, Graham’s excellent collection of stories, The National Virginity Pledge, just published by the independent press Another Sky Press, should be on everyone’s shelf. (Above the bed shelf is my spot for it). The collection features work that originally appeared in Storyglossia, Hobart, Wigleaf and many other journals. (Lots of links here, people. Check it.) It consists of short shorts and longer, more traditional short stories, but all represent Graham’s rich vision of the complexity of sorrow and humor in life. Here is “Parable of the Dead Rolling Snowball”:
I’m outside my father’s house, looking through the window, he won’t let me in. The door is locked when I turn the handle. I knock on the door. It wasn’t cold this morning, but it’s getting there. My coat and hat and gloves are inside. I look through the window and my father and mother are reliving the only day they ever loved each other. Him, sitting at the table, shirtless, beer belly, singing Conway Twitty tunes along with the record player. My mother, sitting beside him, enamored. My little brother on her lap, stealing sips from her can of Pabst. Laughing, telling jokes about the time I almost died because the babysitter left a half-cup of train oil on the floor beside the model track and I drank it. And another one about the time my oldest sister super-glued my eyes shut. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes sitting out on top of the stove, applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon. My father sees me looking, closes the curtain. The laughing gets louder. The air outside gets colder. I knock on the window. I knock on the window. He opens the curtain back up. All three of them pointing at me. Laughing. Laughing, like the time my mother was pregnant and fell down a hill and rolled like a snowball. My father may already be dead and this may or may not be a parable.
There is no excess of words in this collection and yet language matters.The sentence “I knock on the window” is repeated because the narrator knocks again. And yet the repetition serves also to emphasize, to be language, to break our hearts. I love the ugly/beauty of the people, the precise details of their lives, the richness of their rage and lust. I love the integrity with which he caresses the hopeless souls on this planet. Human life is so miraculous and so sordid and wrong and beautiful and Graham knows this and spews this knowledge onto every page.
But back to why I want to fuck him Beyond his great ability to wield words, Barry used to be a boxer and that just makes me hot. He had kids way too young, which is rad as fuck and is part of his general world-weariness/I-love-life take on existence. He thought I looked like a dude when I posted a photo of my tits here on htmlgiant and that broke my heart in half and you’re always hot for the guy who breaks your heart, right? The man, obviously, looooves pussy. Once we were chatting here about how fucked up we used to get and he wrote about this time he put all this crap inside himself, “until”, he said, “ I barfed foam”. That’s right, “until I barfed foam.” I fucking love you, Barry. You are a really soulful, skillful writer. You are the real thing.