by Larry Fondation

Corpses slow like cilia. Birds transmogrify, amber ale, polar opposites desalinate. Power plants below sea level. Mineral reserves. Her one long fingernail. I choose not to debate transubstantiation. Sloe gin fizz. The reporter’s questions turn harsh. Slices of cheese. Burned to a crisp. I fail to see particulate matter. Reversing the follicles of the dead across the drawstring bridge. Surgical scrubs at the ready. The U.S. Army website. We never hear the phone ring.

Pallor re-established. Punk trees. Ever-ready. Explosive devices. Broke-down car. Shattered dawn. Shuttered buildings. Cigarettes smoked.

Your hair is long, not golden. You drink my drink. I buy another. The world goes on, just not for us.

What can you tell us about your new book Martyrs and Holymen, coming out here in the U.S. in March 2013?

    Martyrs and Holymen is a book about the bad things we do—in our private lives, and in our public lives. It is about Los Angeles (as always for me!), and it is about War. The book has five parts: a very brief opening section, a brief interlude and a short coda. These short sections consist all of flash fictions that frame the rest of the book, so to speak. I see it as a kind of “combine” book—in the way painters (such as Rauschenberg) envision assemblage and combine n the visual arts—a disparate, but coherent, gathering of material, both found and invented.

    The two main components are called “Creeps” and “Heroes,’ respectively. “Creeps” features characters with strange and odd private lives – living in LA, acting out, legally and illegally. The characters in “Heroes”—titled ironically, of course—are Angelenos, too, but they are off to War. These pieces are set in an unnamed Desert War, but it’s clear that context is Iraq/Afghanistan and the quagmire that we are in there.

    I have been thinking a lot about how, as Americans, we obsess about peoples’ private lives—Lindsay Lohan’s arrest record, for example—while we tend to downplay, or outright ignore, issues of great public importance – homelessness, our ongoing warmongering, etc. A piece of our Puritan heritage, I believe. The historian Thaddeus Russell, author of A Renegade History of the United States, called America “the land of the violent, home of the chaste.”

    Martyrs and Holymen tries to explore—in fiction—our persistent public/private paradox.

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