Jerry sported gold chains, even when he broke the bread, the body of Jesus, and passed the little cups of water, the blood of Jesus. It was a thin one, there were thicker ones. It was the end of 1980s, North Las Vegas. French kissing was in the air. Here is a gold chain, from my new book, The Green Monk.
Las Vegas, 1985, maybe August. I am a newly arrived immigrant in the United States of America. First Vallejo in a trailer park and then Las Vegas. Also, from a few years previously, a new religion, Mormonism.
I was almost 12. On the border of puberty with a funny accent from Northern Ireland. Do you want to see the strip, asked my mum. I didn’t know the strip but it was obviously something exciting. My stepdad drove the car, a secondhand Nova donated to us by the Mormon church, to the strip. Needless to say it was buzzing. I was saturated with eye candy. Las Vegas, on the strip, was hyper sexual. It is one of the sin cities in history. Maybe the premiere sin cities. Circus Circus was my favourite. We ate a very large American buffet. It was cheap, and even cheaper for us since we were Mormon. They wouldn’t make the money back from the slots. We just came for the steak. And also, sometimes, the eggs. American steak and eggs. And then a toothpick afterwards.
In the new Mormon church, everyone was brother and sister. A nice thought. But no one got our new surname right. So my mother was sister sleeze. Instead of Slease. Slease is pronounced like a leasing a car and adding an s. We got the new name when my remarried a British solider in Northern Ireland (and part of the reason for leaving the country). No one knows where the surname comes from. I have felt alienated from it. But also, it’s my name. Your name is the first fiction. Is everything a story? Maybe almost everything.
Here is a story. It is from my book Play Yr Kardz Right:
Some of my stories are lyrical and surreal. They allow a lot of room for the imagination to create meaning. An active participation of reader and writer. Also, in the surrealist tradition, a journey between the conscious and less conscious parts of our minds. The various energies that direct our lives. Hopefully something to hold onto, like a good walking stick, but also allowing for spontaneity and directionless wanderings. The umbilical cord. You have to cut it. Welcome to the cosmic bathtub. This one has some mashup from Basho. A nomadic surrealism. It is also in the tradition of the cosmic egg. It is called “The Big Egg.”
The Spirit of the Bathtub is now available from Apocalypse Party:
“Marcus Slease’s gentle & generous engagements with the ephemera of almost-everyday life, coupled with a variant of bill bissett’s Lunarian English, and a sensuous, curious, cosmopolitan, and compassionate world-view, make this happily humble beautifully-modulated everything collection—without any shadow-of-a-doubt—my book of the year. For 1973 and for 2017.” Tim Atkins
“Marcus Slease offers a great deal in Play Yr Kardz Right.” Mike Topp
“These deeply sound-based poems perform the linguistic athletics of English-to-English immigration: ‘I began in uh faild sosighity / with mushee piez / & fried pineappulz.’ This book dishes a sauce of green slime, trailers, ducktails, and fantasy: that of both sex and magic. The titles swirl with pop culture—Pretty in Pink, Body Snatchers, Beaches, Chariots of Fire—making the whole collection hum with non-sentimental 90s nostalgia, playful and pointing at the same time: Ronuld RAYGUN. This book is a delightful, full-bodied, fluid-rich study of how the past still exists in the present: ‘my bag / 4ever / uh rottun banana.'” Laura Wetherington