Writing that Spits in Your Face: Give It To Me.


“Your life, won’t be worth spit!” ––Jack Palance to Jack Nicholson, Batman (1989)

I want more writing that spits in my face. Stuff that makes me squirm—not tear-jerk so much as truth-jerk. I mean the way you flinch when Truth (the Alpha-and-Omega of all reality) lurches some saliva in your face.

I need more of this spit. I’m tired of other writers’ shit for show waste of words that deny the workaday world of those blessed to lack the privilege of succumbing to educational institutionality.

Instead, give me the visceral. Give me the vitals. Give me the spit. Stop with this spick-and-span attitude and its obligatory summary of everything that never needed to be known.

“Being.” Try it sometime. The water may not be warm, but at least it’s wet.

“Being” means more of stuff like this coming from writers:

Writers like: Tim Hale, a self-professed “traveling poet,” (see end note), and his poem, “[Untitled],” Welcome to This Moment (2009)

I slept between boats
Made money off poems
That summer in seattle
I never was alone
I hung with the homeless
Took care of each other
I was closer to them
Than I am my own brother.

Alan Jacobs, professor of humanities at Baylor University, and recent blog post, “tribulation” (November, 26, 2021):

So when people whose parents loved them and expressed that love, cared for them and prayed for them, encouraged them in goodness and consoled them when they were hurt, tell me that their upbringing was terrible because those same parents were legalists and fundamentalists, well … let’s just say that I have a somewhat different perspective. I am not referring, of course, to those who suffered genuine abuse, and I see how abuse done in the name of God can be especially traumatizing. But those whose parents were merely legalistic and moralistic, narrow in their views, suspicious of mainstream culture, strict about movies and music — sure, all that’s not cool. But it could have been so, so much worse.

Esteban Rodríguez, Poet of Rio Grande Valley (currently in Austin), Texas, and his book of essays, Before the Earth Devours Us (2021):

Beside the condemned remnants of my stepfather’s mother’s small, box-shaped shack of a house, there’s an empty lot that still acts as a shortcut for the residents of the housing projects on the other side who, for decades, have ambled through with a stride slow and staggered enough to suggest third lives are the most burdened in the world, leaving behind uneven trails that make this parched, trash-riddled space of land seem like it was mowed by teenagers who had never learned an efficient pattern for their summer job.

And Hank Kirkton’s short story, “Loose Change,” (October 7, 2021):

For the first time in his life he’d felt resentment toward his son. It was an ugly feeling that he was unable to suppress or force into the margins. It was front and center. He felt hopeless. He’d found it difficult to survive on what was left of his weekly stipend. He was also attending court-ordered AA meetings and found no solace there. The support was meaningless. Sad gray people with sad gray stories. The meetings were more depressing than alcohol.

Give me the spit-gray story. Give it to me straight. That’s all I ask.



According to Tim Hale’s volume of poetry Welcome to This Moment (2009):

I left ‘home’ when I was 19, lived under a bridge
Had two poems and tested faith through my actions
It is now eight years later and I’m still a traveling poet.

See also: