The streets of Memphis’ town had been orange groves when he was a boy. He remembered as, one by one, the groves were bulldozed to make room for neighborhoods, for the people from up north, finally tired of the long winters, to settle into their respiratory diseases and neurological disorders.
At Lil Indies, a hipster bar, it doesn’t seem like many people are getting into the music. People pause conversation and look at the empty dance floor like someone left on the TV. So I decide to get wasted out of my mind until I believe in myself...
The Rusalki wait outside my window every night. White lips, grotesque smiles, green hair streaming with silver fish and lily pads. It’s like being in an aquarium. The Rusalki point and jeer through the glass. They tap on the frosted panes with icicle fingernails.
We walked along the edges of the pickup bed to avoid the alligators in the center, we were tipping and taunting and finally falling into the bed and scrambling, forgetting there were alligators when we found the sun-rotted tarps . . .
“Your prepper’s pantry will be the building block of your family’s survival system,” the page begins. “Have you read our guide, ‘37 Items to Hoard Before a Crisis’? If so, the list below of essentials to stockpile will likely be familiar to you.” Martha has not read the guide, and she’s no stranger to crisis.
As a punk band from Tampa
we were treated like kicked sand—
a nuisance and a bother
to be brushed aside
or shoved off the stage as fodder
for mosh pit marauders
and their skinhead soldiers
down front—that shit happened, no lie.
On the morning of the Inevitable Event, one hundred and eighty adolescents––the early comers, twitching like feral cats at the long mica tables of the cafeteria, heads bowed to handhelds––stiffened in synchrony, reflexively, like an orchestra tensing to the lift of a conductor's baton.
He only came back because Melvin said he would kill him if he didn’t pay off his debt by the end of the week. It was why he left St. Augustine, why he had no choice but to drive down to Lehigh Acres and dig up the box of money he’d buried in his brother’s yard fourteen years before.
Late evening in College Park, outside Downtown Orlando, sixty years after Jack Kerouac’s generation-defining opus On the Road reached critical acclaim, cicadas trilled in ancient trees teased by winds from Hurricane Irma...
A troupe of Russian dwarves retired from the circus to found a community built to their scale in South Florida. They purchased land off the Tamiami Trail bordering an endless plain of flooded sawgrass and called it Sweetwater, a mistranslation of the Seminole name for the same swamp.
The sharp oyster beds cut into the feet and to move in the water is a slowness. There is a quiet around you there. The sun is almost welcome. Is almost a wanted sun up above the window of the sea you wade through the bending sights below all bended and rippled you pass a hand through that waterpane and see your arm take an angle to the oyster there...
I’ve been standing here in absolute darkness for months, me and my forty-three counterparts. I can hear the rustling of Gerald Ford’s restless fingers on the hem of his jacket to my right. Below me, Theodore Roosevelt is breathing so forcefully, he may rip his suit. Bottom stage left, Ronald Reagan is weeping uncontrollably.
In a stretch of amber water some call the swamps of Florida, a man longs for the home he has always lived in, a long-muscled wave tossing between shores, the quarter mile of liquid he knows as if he were the watchman of its vein.
I chased Pricilla who chased Roberto who chased freedom. We ran against the grain of trick-or-treaters, weaving through capes and hats and brooms and axes. Pricilla had decided to name her dog Roberto after the ballplayer, Roberto Clemente...
George Zimmerman had just been acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin, and Brendan and I, still strangers to one another at the time, were put on tour together to promote our debut novels. Neither of us wanted to be the one to bring it up, but both of us wanted to talk about it...
I was writing a book that was greatly influenced by the Southern Gothic tradition of depicting moral or social decay through physical houses, so in light of all that it felt like a natural fit to place the book in Florida...