POEMS TO THE EDITOR
In the spirit
of full disclosure we fully disclose our readers’ private correspondence
you get to see what they really think without the time-consuming hassle of having
to meet them in person
& they get to express their opinion of the journal without necessarily ever
having read it.
beginning on p. 11 of the issue, see readers’ responses to our donation
of new subscriber
money to new york city subway & bus workers while they were on strike.
Your fingers will tell you
that there are no substitutes for a good thrashing
just as there are yards of flesh that I leave behind
as my signal; a brash, ashy signal
that makes my fingers chapped and raw.
In certain circles there are those who maintain
that the ocean laps at the shore
but I know better for I have seen horrible liquids
pouring from the people of this land.
I had once seen the liquid stretching 150 miles
but my vision was occasionally blocked by the gorgeous
spangled wake that the ships carrying snow machines created
as they passed not more than 30 yards from the shore.
One afternoon I wandered by a small refreshment
stand that stood on the edge of a platform overlooking
an inlet gulch. A crowd had gathered there and was looking down
at a bear-like animal with silver fur
that had fallen from the cliff and landed
in a brown puddle. The animal had a tidy purple gash
on its belly around which enormous black flies buzzed.
There was talk amid the onlookers
that the animal we were all gazing down at
was actually a man in a fur suit
caught in a practical joke that had gone horribly awry.
I just read the introductory essay.
It's a piece of work. My hat’s off to you.
It is nice to finally hold an actual copy of the elusive lungfull. I was starting
to think it was more in the realm of fight club than reality. Looks good and
I like the sticker too.
I wasn't born yesterday, though I did just
write a poem called UNICORN MISSION.
I will not let up until I am KING OF POETS
WHO WRITE ABOUT UNICORNS.
Cool. Can't wait to take it in the bath with me. Thanks for posting all those
pics on the Lungfull site, it's a great way to see the world over there.
Thank you so much for this note. It cracked me up and I thought it was super
gracious and responsible of you. I hope your house remodel went well. I am getting
married this Sunday so I am pretty swamped but when things settle down I'll
put together a submission.
received my TWO copies of Lungfull last week...thanks mucho....very funny preface,
btw, on the inside cover.......my only regret is that you guys had to space
my poem out onto two pages (verses, reducing the font size to 10 or 11)....but,
I'm quite pleased to be included in this edition of Lungfull....and among such
talented company....I hope this issue does well comparatively.....and perhaps
we'll be encountering each other's work again sometime.....
Needing to find a colored finder for a lost thought to paste in a found page,
and thinking I was reaching for yellow pages I just grabbed instead the latest
copy of Lungfull!, which, smoldering on my bookshelf, burned my paw. I hope
you have insurance. I think its time to start making those Lungfull! Jumpsuits
you've been talking about — Please send one along with the next issue.
I'd like mine in periwinkle. Thank you.
Charred & scarred in California
PS: You'll be hearing from my “insurance agent” — “soon”
The new Lungfull!
Even greater than America's Next Top Model.
So often I nearly choke on my nightly cereal meal while reading your emails.
They are hilarious. More than a few agree.
I hope lungfull finds it's anarchist ocd bipolar intern.
I'm hopping off to Seattle for a year to check out the weather. I may even take
a gander at completing my m.s. So,if you're in town---make sure to howl (or
whatever it is the kids these days are saying.)
In the lungs.
Divya Victor Hey Brendan,
Just wanted to email and say it was great to meet you and read at Zinc. It is
difficult for me to write this email as my mind was COMPLETELY BLOWN by the
new issue of Lungfull! Wooo! It's good good good. I hope Thailand treats you
well! See you again soon.
I'll always feel a little sad and creepy about something so I won't even try
to pretend I'm not feeling sad and creepy as I write this. At work yesterday
I had a bit of an out of body experience as I wondered how I got to be where
I was at that very moment. As I pondered this question a certain fatigue set
in that made me feel rather dizzy and light-headed for the rest of the day.
It wasn't until I got home and started carving my oak crown that perhaps a career
in Life Coaching might be better suited for my high-strung temperament. Here’s
the question part of this letter: when measuring a head for the fitting of a
crown, how high above the eyebrows should one measure?
Sad and Creepy,
Marcus V. Kincaid
I just got off the phone with Donny Sandoz and he is equally disturbed as me
about the dire forecast you delivered at the Naropa Milk Lit Conference in Boulder
last week. In your address, you may recall, you said you'd practice your theory
of the “Math of Affection” with, and I quote: “the certitude
of a strong squeeze on a cow’s blistered udder.” This image has
come to haunt me (and my wife). In addition, the provisions you distributed
after your lecture were seriously laden with useless gifts (e.g. an i-pod nano
is useless when everything is on fire or under water). What we needed after
your lecture were matches and blankets. Think about that.
Lift your heart next to mine,
Please pay attention Tad.
Some people are all about free speech until someone says something about *them.*
I think you misunderstood when I said ABS. I meant “already been swallowed”
as in “Your wife was locked out of the secret apartment she rents for
just such occasions because the keys were ABS by her APT.” Armenian Physical
Trainer. Please pay attention to the needs of your wife's physical trainer in
the future. Donny is lost lost lost, but I have hope for you, but only if you
sign up for my weekend course “The Massive Ass Fixation” up at the
beach house center for swarthy tarts. Your aptitude for math astounds me, but
my lecture had nothing to do with numbers except for one: yours. And now it's
As the microwave said to the three week old leftovers: This is your final warming.
While numbers have never been my strong suit, I am known in certain circles
as The Number Cruncher, as I’ve installed a large foam number “5”
on heavy springs in the graveyard of a church that I use as a tackling dummy.
But that's not the point. The point is: I am good (and sexy), so to imply that
Donny is lost in the presence of my sexiness or the lecture you gave had anything
to with anything BUT numbers is merely an act of denial on your part. BTW: I've
never seen an entire episode of “Friends” but suffice it say that
if I were on a show by that name you would not be in the cast with me. I don’t
know what my wife's physical fitness has to do with your lecture, I’ll
just blame it on the shitty breakfast of malt-o-meal and cool glycerine you're
known for eating on these warm days. Perhaps you've heard I'm also a nutritionist?
Put that in your backyard meat smoker and smoke it. I'm off to Marble Head for
the 15th of July fireworks, a holiday for the Patriots of Blind Glee. I’m
sure you deem the holiday too trite for your participation; that’s your
loss, not mine.
Good Bless You,
Dear Glee Farm
You’ll calm down as soon as the air strike happens. Until then, use the
slow solvent to etch distress signals into the green wall in the lobby. It should
reveal a combo of space junk and Coney Island pubic hair, so don't sweat it
when the authorities ask, just tell them that's the way it comes out of the
bottle. Blinky the porker is available to help you with any harsh combing or
jacking, just ask.
Please let us know about any of your prior commitments or achievements so that
we may dash them in lemon oil and old summer dogs.
By the way, have you ever spent time on the island of good beings? We had that
crushed and powdered so you can only use it as an inhalant or body powder. We
may send you elsewhere with a 4.0 mega pixel camera so you can snap away at
your achievements until your memory is gone and then you're all ours.
You’ll be okay. You can’t complete anything we give you to do anyway
(or do it right) so our expectations for you are rationally low.
Let us know if we can offer you relief in the form of fire or clothing--we'll
try to do what we can, even if we use old curtains from the mansion for your
pajamas--at least you'll have something to burn from us.
Todd Colby, President
The Glee Farm Corporation
cc'd donny, bev, and the meat angel
I’ve news for you: I can read your mind! I can't take your mind off of
my mind even when I’m thinking about myself, even when I’m grooming
(myself), or going over the facts with myself. The gift of solitude, when it
is spent reading your mind during repeated listenings to Mile’s Davis’
song “Great Expectations,” is a drag. I'm going to spill “The
Beans” in a movie about YOU, as in “you.” It will show “you”
licking CAKE BATTER off a wooden spoon that I HOLD. I’ve got really good
feeling about this project so don’t spoil it for me. In the past I’ve
had an award winning lack of nerve but that has all changed: now I’m more
about losing control while taking advantage of certain genealogical messages
I get from my wonderful MOM. This message is super good for you; it should help
you reach (and maintain) astonishing speeds. I'm looking out for you, so relax.
Here’s the thing. I’m watching this movie the other day, right?
The one where the man descends into a silver portal while his wife (blind) awaits
him in their wedding bed. You know, where he travels through time to when birds
ruled the earth, and he sleeps in those terrific trees, and one night, as he’s
glaring astonished at the miracle of the stars, another portal opens up and
returns him to the hotel only minutes after he’d originally left, and
he hears his wife calling out his name, frightened, and though he can’t
speak, still inundated by the shock of his adventure, he walks toward her, and
you can see her groping, still saying his name, and when her hands finally find
his face, which is now covered with a dense, redolent beard, she screams? Yeah,
that one. Well, I’m walking out into the sunlight and can’t see
a thing and I run into my ex-girlfriend. You know, the one with the missing
toes? And, get this, she’s still mad about that one page in the last issue!
Okay, it looks like my attorney is going to take over all my future correspondence
with you as the recent missives you’ve aimed my way have been full full
of vile threats and mean barbs. Suffice it to say that I have a lawyer that
is “itching” to take this case on and believe me, there will be
If you think this is a fib or that this is simply some elaborate ruse to seduce
you into sending me cash or some other valuable piece of furniture or housing
fixture you're wrong. I have everything I need in this world to provide me with
the sort of material status that you can only dream of. Do you need examples?
I’ll send you a catalogue. This has everything to do with honor, remember
I'm still looking forward to the luncheon,
Old Lady in Switzerland—
I am writing to request that you go. You must go now. You should have gone already.
I will no longer call on you like old days and sit with you for tea, biscuits
and your feigned neutrality. I wouldn't have asked you to leave but now I know
and if only I never knew wednesday what we would become, and when, oh when,
not if but when. If I see, then I say, a good call, and there will be no more
somethings, no more doomsdays.
Consider this your eviction notice. You need not pay this month's rent. Just
leave. It is really better this way — we're out of space, there are no
more rooms left, and notice the post in the stairwell about the landings, they
are costing us a fortune to keep up with the mix-ups all the time and the Times
keeps putting the classifieds on the front page!
Last week you said it's only a sea change with gray-haired age and it all comes
to counting only a matter of days and bodies on not if but when day. But enough
is enough. Pack your things, Old Lady, I saw the plane circling outside to take
you away. We know the graham-cracker plot, no more milk and cookies for the
orphans. No more checks cashed in your name. Now off to the bay (not Sheepshead,
of course), but the bay by-the-by, that means goodbye, good riddance!
Please go, granny, so I will be safe. When they drop you in the sea, little
nymphs can carry you away, and you'll have no more worries, no tired body and
no more aches, and everyone will be pleased every when not if on wednesdays.
Please turn in your keys on Tuesday.
This week I visited Albany, New York. On the bus there, I passed a street called
“Korn Street” — named after the hard rock band (which I believe
Then I realized: “I must have misread that sign.” Though pop culture
has saturated our nation, it has not yet reached street signs. You don't even
see streets named after The Beatles.
How many of the 108 Basic Knots — the essential “alphabet of knots”
— occur in nature? Do scientists search in horses’ tails, straw,
human hair, etc., to find natural knots?
Suddenly our rabbit (“Bananacake”) is elderly. Her hutch is no longer
a confining cage; it’s an “Old Rabbit Home.”
Cellphones are attracting other technologies. Already they have absorbed wristwatches,
cameras, address books. Eventually the cellphone will replace the wallet!
A sudden intuition: Bob Hope will return from the dead!
Half of the people in each country have no national character. 50% of the English
could just as easily live in Hungary. Half of the Russians could be Yemenis.
The other half of the population gives each nation its distinct tone.
Reality TV is too cutthroat. Why not a cooperative show? One woman dates 12
men — then decides to marry them all! They have a New Age wedding on a
hilltop in Oregon. The minister is a pagan woman. As a gentle flute plays, all
13 vow to “respect the Four Faces of the uncontrollable Wind.”
Why is a wristwatch called a “watch”? Because it looks out at the
world with its round, eyeless face?
Shortly after the release of the last issue, subway & bus workers in New
York went on strike against the MTA,s unreasonable demands -- Demands that included
raising the retirement age beyond the median death age for transit workers.
The strike brought the city to a standstill & while the press blamed the
union, saying they were greedy & insensitive to “average New Yorkers”
most people recognized the real issues: that transit workers are themelves average
new yorkers. that an injury to one is an injury to all, that if you lose your
benefits & your wages get cut, my cuts won,t be far behind. In solidarity
with the workers, Lungfull! gave a portion of the proceeds from new subscriptions
to the Transit Workers Union strike fund. Here are some responses:Your comments
on the strikers are right on the mark,
with you — and them.
15 miles to and from work today, I don’t feel at all kindly towards said
transit workers, whatever their grievances (and they do have some legitimate
ones), nor their union, nor the MTA, nor George Pataki (who ultimately controls
the MTA). I normally am supportive of labor, but not this time.Easy target or
not, they and the MTA equally share my wrath.
Thank you for sending this. I thought I was the only one supporting the strikers.
I have a question though — I thought the 6% into the pension was only
for new hires, so MTA's proposal was even worse than I thought.
I’m sorry I missed the party. It sounds like it was a blast.
John S. Hall
i am quitting teaching at the end of the term, a decision that spawned from
the new contract there. i am chagrined that 65% of the uft voted yes on it.
it, too, is ultimately a reduction in pay with good measures of humiliation
thrown in (a teacher cannot respond to a grievance filed by a principal, for
sorry to have missed the party - glad you had a rally! rightly so!
Right on brendan;
this is a great message and i am going to forward it all around.
Merry Christmas to you too. I appreciate your note about the workers —
I didn't know all the facts, I just assumed sympathy for the workers based on
principle, I guess, and it'll be nice to have some details to support my position.
Thanks for the info. I’ve been following the strike from afar —
viz. Paris, France, home of the most strike-prone public transport system in
Keep up the good work, lad. Pump up the volume. The revolution will not be televised.
Though it seems the strike hurts the workers most, fellow non-MTA workers of
NYC can profit from the chaos, ponder the meaning of all this, perhaps remember
that they too are allowed to strike in defense of their rights as workers. This
might even warm the hearts of disgruntled NYU grad students who were bullied
into going back to work after striking for weeks in defense for their right
to have a union (let alone, a new contract). In fact, New Yorkers — and
visitors from elsewhere in the country — might just remember that there
is such a thing as unionization, collective bargaining, etc. and that Jesus,
and the dollar, are not the only voices of authority.
If I make enough money this year, I might venture back to the city (and your
country), and try to see another Japanese movie with you, and share a plate
of fries. Though with the serial fare hikes, I might opt out for a cheaper destination,
such as... well, the local park or library, here in grey Paris.Those are still
free here in France, though rampant privatization is also a real, and ugly,
threat. France is doomed.
Ciao, & happy holidays,
Your insight on the issues is always
all the other LUNGFULL! commies!,
Greetings and happy holidays from Minneapolis. Please expect our subscription
within the week. We think so highly of you; thank you for doing the right thing
pretty much every time. Really, we just think you're the absoslute greatest.
Sarah Fox & John Colburn
Glad you had a great celebration and AMEN to you statements about the MTA and
Patricia Spears Jones
I agree about the strike, and appreciate the stats you quote.
Thanks! & hoping you are well,
This is such a good idea.
I like that you are on the side of the transit workers. Uh...I have two letters
to the editor for Lungfull! and am wondering how to submit them (I appreciate
Sparrow's missives.) Can I send them in this way? They are below.
What's hot air full of?
Yesterday I got a lobotomy and some free
Thanks so much for this email. I really appreciate the statistical breakdown.
Rock on strikers and transit workers!!!!!
Mariana Ruiz Firmat
thanks for sending around this message about the strike — it was easy
to miss the salient facts, especially before Roger Toussaint's amazing press
conference today. i just subscribed!
Right on Brendan! Workers Unite!
Today my computer stopped typing the letter that comes between "j"
and "l". I hope this will be clear.
Seriously, I was glad to read your ta e on the
stri e. Especially the fact that transit wor ers don't often reach age 62, the
age the MTA wants to push bac retire benefits. I didn't now that.
I enjoyed photos now up on the Lungfull website, I loo forward to pic ing up
a copy of the anniversary issue soon as the hectic waiter season cools off.
See you about.
Holy mass transit,
Brendan, someone willing to speak up for the working class in the midst of the
strike! I'd like to see the MTA board work underground for 20 years breathing
steel dust and losing their hearing — or just take the subway for 12 months
and see what they think of the conditions. My father in law drove the J train
for years — talk about a stressful job. Your stats are too real. He passed
at age 55. But we love his memory and his life and can still hear him as if
from his from his wheel chair, when his wife was out of ear shot, “3 cookies,
just bring me 3 cookies.” Hooray for your support.
It's been a long time! Hope you and Tracey are doing well — I went
and took a look at the Lungfull 10th Anniversary photos today and you look well.
While there, I was glancing at the contributors to the current issue and noticed...my
name. What on earth kind of letter did you publish under my name, you little
scamp?! :) Seriously, did I submit a letter to the editor and then
forget that I did so?
By the way, I really liked your e-mail about the transit strike. I feel the
same way but you expressed it far better than I could.
Let me know how you are doing! I went to the Lungfull site in the first place
because I was looking for when the reading series resumes. I plan to stop by
one in the new year.
for explicating the TWU's case so clearly. I don't know what they gave Toussaint
to get him to back off, but in the meantime only you and WBAI seemed to understand
that this was a legimitate action for a workers’s union to take, and to
publish the reasons why. Maybe there were websites somewhere, but mainstream
newspapers and radio stations — and His Arrogance — were more or
less united in denigrating the action. Good work, and thanks,
WRITE THE WRONGS
Get those visonary tics off your shivering chest for real real. The blogovine
and passive aggressive sniping behind the editor’s back is so 72nd-generation
Hater School. Yes we were wrong to reject your work, or to accept it, or to
change a few words & sell it to a movie studio under our own name. (It seemed
like such a win-win to redo your sestina as Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj.) There’s
no end to the way in which we have failed you or “the community”
or American Literature. Let us know how we got your goat & what unnatural
acts we performed upon the poor guy. Or tell us how much you enjoy the journal
for reasons unclear to even yourself in more lucid moments of reflection. THE
POLICY: Anything you send that is not a check or a submission will be considered
a Letter to the Editor & perhaps printed so brace yourself. The amazing
thing about people who complain that we published their letters without permission
is that A) those very letters tend to be in praise of Lungfull! & B) those
songs of praise are written by people who have apparently never seen the journal
or they would know about our policy (see above). We can understand not wanting
people to know you’re a big fan of German scat movies, but shame over
liking a literary journal? People who say one thing publicly and the opposite
privately may be adept social navigators, but ultimately they will be untrusted
by everyone. They will die alone & unloved, surrounded only by obediant
sycophants angling for one more blurb. And their German adult DVD collection.
But you are not like that! No, you are filled with unremitting light, (we think).
Prove it: LUNGFULL!Magazine, 316 23rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
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