/ny.mph./

/ny.mph./

Dear Staff of Mario’s,

     I write this with both enthusiasm and a heavy heart. After more than four years of calling this my second home, and you my second family, I’ve decided to pursue a new venture. Without getting into too many details here, I have an opportunity to own a restaurant and bar in Huntington. While going from General Manager to ownership ascends the ladder of stress and responsibility, the exclusively late-night hours of the place would allow me some time in the morning to punch the keys at my desk with cup of coffee—I’ve always been both an early bird and a night owl. Ideally, this may bring my enjoyment of the bar business and love of writing together. There is still some research to do over the next month and legal necessities to address, but the time is here to strike while the iron is hot. It’s a chance that may not come my way again. If the effort ends up not bearing fruit, I will focus on the two writing projects I’ve been working on tangentially over the past year: the biography I was hired to write, and my second novel. 

    In either case, I won’t be a stranger. My grandma has lunch here five days a week and will need a date on many occasions. And I will appreciate a late night IPA next to a bowl of penne a la vodka amongst friends and customers without having to void anything or handle a grumbling customer. 

    I have so many memories here and hope they will continue in a different capacity. And since I’ve kept a daily journal for most of my life, I thought I’d look back and mention some random inside jokes in the form of quotes. If you’re not mentioned in this list, it’s probably a good sign.

Quotes:

“The best moments you experience are the ones you can’t tell anyone about.” — AJ

(By the way, AJ, that’s going to be a line in the next novel.)

 

Me: “Bonnie, you have coffee on your new shirt.”

Bon Diddy Bon Bon: “I know. I missed my mouth.”

 

“Hit me!” — Matt Kerman

“No, you’re my best friend.” — Nick Geo

“You’re a coward! You’re a coward!” — Matt Kerman

 

“Martinis... nice.” — Marco (in reference to Suz’s hair-of-the-dog order on a Sunday morning)

 

“Cayla, plug all your holes.” — Bonnie (on Super Bowl Sunday)

 

Vinny (in the kitchen): “Excuse me motherfuckers.”

Me: “That’s a rude way to be polite.”

 

“He drives a Camry.” — Cayla (Quote about a frequent (and often grumpy) lawyer customer.)

 

Anyone at the bar: “Do I know you? You look familiar…”

Nick Geo: “Do you watch a lot of porn?”

 

Me: “I feel fat.”

Nicole: “Well, you’re 38 and you like beer.”

 

One night at the host station:

Siara (for whatever reason): “…fuck… shit…[add an alphabet soup of other colorful words here].”

Me: “Siara, you really can’t speak that way at the front of the restaurant even if no one is around. You should know that.”

Elin (as if on cue approaching from the Party Room): “These fucking people in this party!”

Me: “Siara, it’s not your fault. The apple never falls far from the tree.”

 

(Preceding conversation about Michael Douglas between Marco, Stef, and myself.)

“My throat is killing me.” — Nic P.

“…you know what that’s from, right?” — Marco

 

Customer (talking to me and angry about cold soup): “You’re a douchebag! You’re an asshole!”

Me: “See those two front doors? Walk out of them and never come back.”

Customer: “You can’t tell me what to do. Do you know who I am?!”

Me: “You’re someone who’s not coming back in here because you’re being rude to me and my staff.”

Customer (yelling and looking at the three hosts next to me): “He’s an asshole!”

Alexa (matter-of-factly): “He’s actually a nice guy.”

 

Kristine: “Lou, are you drinking Disaronno?”

Me: “Kristine, I deserve better than that.”

 

Customer ordering drinks: “Can I have a Screwdriver?”

Olivia: “Let me ask around and see if I can find you one.”

 

“…you know what…it ain’t that bad.” — AJ (Telling my favorite story of which I will not repeat here.)

 

    In closing, I will miss you all. I will miss my work wife Lynn and her omnipotent perspective, the comedy of Babs (dryer than a martini without vermouth) and her love for animals, Shaina’s prankster tendencies in the red room, Gabby’s sweetness and literal gift of gab, Bonnie’s crabpuss stories and awkward couple pairing musings, Alexis’s blue bumper adornments, Shayne’s top three, Nic P.’s natural and stylistic disposition and mutual love of all things Ron Swanson, crushing candy with Candace, talking vinyl and music with Randy, Stef’s sudoku breaks, Alexa’s galvanizing assuredness, playing Ninja with Siara, DillyDilly-ing and ChillyChilly-ing with Geo, putting $20 up against Jarlin in favor of the Yankees, Olivia’s commentary revolving around strange customers and her existential question of “Why always me?”, Kristine’s unity, AJ’s effortless and sage advice, Casey’s gentlemanly approach to every table, Ariana’s arias with a guitar out back and her care for my grandparents back in the day back in the Campari room, Kathleen’s ability to always work when I do not, Vinny’s positivity and demeanor, Victoria’s lime juice compulsion, Brandon’s hustle, Jamie’s ability to integrate and explore any country, Alicia’s inspiration to be healthy, Kyle calling me “Bossman”, Elin’s unsurpassed professionalism and being a wonderful mom, Jen W. (Z.S. Esq.)’s affinity for cool and complex arguments, Nicole’s honesty and willingness to help out in any way, Katie O.’s serenity under pressure, Logan’s ability to get the hot table (wink, wink), Julie’s capability to make six drinks while describing the specials while complaining about the heat while complementing someone’s outfit while telling someone she’s wearing too much perfume while requesting more glassware from the barback while remaining completely sweet to everyone, Heather’s spritely enthusiasm and hate for all things olive, Monday morning philosophical discussions with Erica, Nick D.’s work ethic, Lana’s all-too-honest opinions, Cayla’s intelligence and perspective and hatred for Andrew Jackson and the patriarchy which he embodied and I apparently am an advocate for, Gianna as a doppelgänger of my college girlfriend, Carmen’s infectious laugh and our talks while closing up the registers, Chris’s ability to reach any bottle in the restaurant, Katie G.’s utter sweetness and kindness and being the only one who really hears my drop the f-bomb on the regular, Katy C.’s grace under pressure and perfect team attitude at all times and someone who you can’t help but smile when you’re in her presence, Shannon’s friendly Canadian prestige, Shawn’s vocal performances, Cristina’s organizational skills and calming presence, all of the hard work that allows the restaurant to run smoothly with Keisy’s unique style, Liliana’s persistence and the way I can get her to laugh unexpectedly, the way Ana is able to set all the tables and dust the mirror and fill water glasses and remain on FaceTime throughout, Claudia’s fun giggle when I try to pretend to be pregnant with a pasta baby, Norma and her ability to always remain calm during the rush, and I’ll miss all of the potential memories with the new cast of Danolvis, Kasidy, Lindsey, and Ally (aka Reno); and the kitchen staff: Camillo’s creative and perfect specials, Miguel’s salads when I’m trying to be healthy, Baba’s relaxed demeanor, Luis’s positive vibes, Jeffrey’s music playing from the iPhone in the prep kitchen, Riccardo saying “YoLou!”, Porfirio’s tireless efforts, Rolando’s meticulous cleaning and hard work, talks with Juan outside on a slow sunny day where we can discuss life, Ramon’s comedic presence and the whole “Now I know!” and “Ecume, Ecume!” stuff, enjoying the steadiness and power of the affable Misael (aka Leo) by the broiler, and the constant presence of Pablo, the man we all look to when we need anything and everything; and the three guys I want to “take to town”: Josh and his chameleon-like abilities to perform every job at Mario’s, Ryan “It’s Gameday” Kampe, and Joey for his unfailing enthusiasm for life that I only wish to embody on my best day. And, of course, Marco, my gregarious friend, one with a commanding presence and one who gives tremendous and unexpected insight into matters related to both the restaurant and life through good times and bad. He’s a fair, even-handed, generous gentleman, and it’s been a pleasure.

    Anytime I’ve moved from one place to another, I’ve reflected on how I felt when I started. This was my first journal entry about working at Mario’s on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. It reads: “Bartending training at Mario’s 11am - 9:30pm. 1st day: Trained with Christine and Alyssa, poured wine/beer & made some drinks — met a lot of staff and customers — it was very exhilarating, and hustling around made 10+ hours feel like 5.” My last entry is soon approaching, but I imagine it will feel the same way.

    Overall, there has been a mix of every human emotion tied to this job: I’ve seen new loves and old flames, first dates and marriages, friends grow bitter and adversaries become close, hard work rewarded and laziness accepted, stories exchanged and lives altered, tears slip down cheeks and laughs become uncontrollable fits of joy, and the births and deaths of loved ones to be, and loved ones to remember. All of those sentiments are important. I’ve realized that the job of restaurant manager is less about inventory, ordering, and scheduling, than it is about understanding and assuaging over 70 different personalities and relationships that give this place its heartbeat. 

    I’m proud to have been part of this East Setauket institution, proud to have seen the accomplishments, in ways both small and large, which are equally valuable, of all the kitchen staff, servers, bartenders, hosts, bussers, and barbacks. I’m greatly appreciative of Marco, Mario, and the Branchinelli Family for trusting me at the helm before it’s passed on to the next person. So, shake up the next cocktail, fire up the appetizers, be welcoming to the guests, give them great service, make some money, then clear the table. 

Sincerely,

Louis L. Lasser IV

 

P.S. I apologize if I made this dramatic. I just can’t help myself.

 

/Sky Ride Tap/ I

/Sky Ride Tap/ I

Potential Opening Words of SRT:

 

I found god at the end of my cigarette.

It was the first time he spoke to me.

He said, “ . . .

/digitaL.L.L./ Kindle & iBooks

/digitaL.L.L./ Kindle & iBooks

Dear Friends,

In what has taken the better part of a year after the release of the print edition, for reasons and faults both circumstantial and my own, this baby is finally available digitally. Doing everything on your own has benefits and detriments, with the chief negative being the finite resource of time. In creating an unusual book (the layout, the concordance of endnotes, the custom fonts, and strange arrays of poems), it's made this process very difficult. And it's not even 100% where I want it to be. It's about 98.6%, but it's enough where I can feel alright about putting it out into the world of zeros and ones. I plan on updating the last 1.4% in the near future. But with two other projects on the horizon, I'm ready to put more effort swimming out into the unknown. (Project #1: I've been hired to write the Memoir/Biography of Billie Phillips Sr., which is in the interview stage as I mine both the subject and his cohorts for stories. Project #2: Writing the first draft of my second novel called tentatively called "Sky Ride Tap" about a comically prophetic tap dancer living in Chicago. At least that's how I'm starting out.)

If you'd like a code for a free ebook, just send me an email and I'll send you one for the iBooks Edition (Apple's Platform). If you've purchased a copy on Amazon, the Kindle Edition now comes with the paperback in a bundle. If you visit the Amazon page, it will show a price of $0.00, and you can add it to your cart.

For the Kindle Edition, click on the stars *************

For the iBooks Edition, click on the hearts <3<3<3<3

My email: contact@louislasseriv.com

Thanks again for all of your support, interest, kind words, and positive reviews. It's a monster of a book and not a light read, so I genuinely appreciate it. (And the hardcover is still forthcoming, believe it or not.)

Cheers,

Louis L. Lasser IV

/Amazon Reviews/ *****

/Amazon Reviews/ *****

Here are some reviews about Wednesday Night Meeting on Amazon. It means so much to me that people have enjoyed the novel and took the time to post their thoughts. Every time I read a book, I feel I get to take someone else's brain for a test drive. So it's a strange thing that other people are now jumping into mine. Feel free to join in; my friends tell me there's plenty of room.  —LLL IV

*****

5 stars / must read!

By dLew on September 9, 2017 / Format: Paperback

lasser's vivid tapestry, unspooled from the fabric of a near futuristic new york approaching a digital dystopia, deftly weaves the existential journeys of four characters as they attempt to navigate the perils of love, identity, and spirituality, through rebelious art, music, and the after hours... as much a mystery as it is a dark comedy!

*****

5 stars / Stroke of Brilliance

By Anthony M.on June 18, 2017 / Format: Paperback

A beautifullly written "strange novel of connected short stories" is exactly how I would describe Wednesday Night Meeting. Louis L. Lasser's self proclaimed and accurately described "weird book" captivates beginning to end with vignettes of the 4 main characters poetically converging revealing the true interconnectivity of the city we all love, NYC. LLL's emergence into the literary scene most definitely has me anticipating his next stroke of brilliance. Highly recommended!

*****

5 stars / Must read..

By Theodore P. Heim on February 22, 2017 / Format: Paperback

Truly enjoyable book. Fantastic characters. Poetic,insightful, and captivating. Highly recommend.

*****

5 stars / A very sophisticated modern novel

By RJ Letwins on April 17, 2017 / Format: Paperback

A truly enjoyable complex work of literature that reads like a number of short stories that intertwine into a comprehensive novel, cocktail recipe book, NYC travelogue, peek into the world of off beat art and historical jazz, while presenting an apocalyptic warning of what the future could hold for mankind if certain technologies, cultural and religious fanaticisms go unchecked. You can appreciate the deep thoughts the author brings to paper through his characters actions, struggles and beliefs. It presents the constant friction between mainstream ideologies and the alternative "buck the system" as his characters struggle with everyday societal, cultural and family issues. While there seems to be one dominant character its hard not to become intimately involved with following all four of the books characters. The format or construction of the book is truly unique, as scenes end abruptly,page formats change erratically, what appears to be random thoughts all of a sudden appear, the concordance (index) is actually used at times to present mini stories and mathematical undertones are everywhere. While the book does physically end you get the feeling that the stories have not ended for the author and we might see more. Be prepared to learn a lot of fun facts about baseball and new words to expand your vocabulary. George Orwell and Joseph Heller, meet Louis L. Lasser IV.

/WNM HEADLINES/

/WNM HEADLINES/

To get a sense of the times in Wednesday Night Meeting, there are some chapter interludes with news headlines. I first starting writing this over three years ago, and some of these ideas seem to be tilted toward the prophetic. Here are two excerpts from the first half of the book.

HEADLINES FROM VARIOUS NEWS OUTLETS, 

BOTH DIGITAL AND IN PRINT

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, MMXX

*

DEATH TOLL REACHES 300 IN POSSIBLE WIDESPREAD TERROR PLOT: 

HIGH-SPEED COLLISIONS MAY BE NO ACCIDENT

*

ELECTION 2020: CROSSOVERS

*DEMOCRATS ALLIGN WITH PRO-LIFE ADVOCATES*

IN AN EFFORT TO GAIN SUPPORT FROM SENIORS AND GIVE THEM ACCESS TO SOCIAL SECURITY FASTER, DEMS PUSH FOR A LAW THAT WILL ADD 9 MONTHS TO EVERYONE’S AGE

*REPUBLICANS SEEK UNION BACKING*

PROPOSE DAILY DIRECT DEPOSITS TO WORKERS, CITING /r/deutoronomy2415

*

VIRTUAL MOVIE STAR “JACKSON CHISELHAMMER” ACCEPTS FIRST DRAMATIC LEAD ROLE

*

SOURCE: EMOJI ESSAYIST A FINALIST FOR PULITZER

 

*        *        *

 

*THE MONTH OF DECEMBER TO BE OFFICIALLY CHANGED TO ‘CHRISTMAS’*

*

*NY GOVERNOR TAKES AIM ON RISING GUN VIOLENCE*

*

*HOLOGRAM FUNERALS SEEN AS TOUCHING, BUT CREEPY*

*

* STATE TROOPERS: “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, PRAY SOMETHING”

*

*UNIFIED KOREA BREAKS GUINNESS WORLD RECORD FOR LONGEST CONGA LINE ON THE 38TH PARALLEL* 

*

*SPECIAL REPORT: INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATOR FOR APPLEFACEGATE DISCUSSES CORE ISSUES*

*

*FIRST HUMAN CLONE BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK*

*

*OCULUS CLAIMS THEIR HEAVEN WILL BE BETTER THAN YOURS*

*

/Roosevelt/ WNM

/Roosevelt/ WNM

An Excerpt From "Wednesday Night Meeting: A Novel of Connected Short Stories"

Here's the first appearance of Roosevelt, a poet/graffiti artist. It includes a look into his journal, the mental scaffolding for the vandal.

***

    Roosevelt walks out onto the graveled sidewalk. He takes the scenic route to the 2nd Avenue subway station off Houston Street. He takes a mangled diagonal path through Tompkins Square Park that starts on the corner of Avenue A & 10th Street and emerges on the corner of 1st Avenue & 7th Street. About half-way through the park, he eases onto a bench. It’s close to midnight, but he has no idea nor care about the time. His cell phone has been dead for about three days, so he’s been living in the digital wilderness, which isn’t unusual for him anyway. Even his watch is back at home on his apartment nightstand, nested in a silver baseball glove catchall. His weariness has caught up with him, starting with his mind and eyelids, and then south to the leg joints. But the infusion of air on an early spring night, the same air as a winter noon, delivers enough oxygen to his brain to kick off the process of being a witness. 

    He swings his backpack to his chest and unzips the front compartment, takes out his book, tucks it in the warmth of his armpit, and takes out a black pen. It’s the type to bleed through pages. He gives the pen a bite and holds it between his canines. He slings his backpack back around and hears the swoosh of canvas on canvas, which drowns out the subtle hum of vehicles on the avenue and the breezes whispering through branches and budding leaves. 

    The relative silence is a rarity, but it is a Tuesday night. This is his mental yoga. As he begins writing, his index finger jiggles. After all, he’s been holding down the fat caps on several spray paint cans for several nights straight. Though he’s frustrated by the bit of finger weakness, this is the release of words and ink that clears his head—as they’re a different type of contents under pressure.

    The poet sometimes titles his work, but always autographs it. It’s a symbol of closure, the seal affirming his presence. The prominent part of the signature is the atom, a reminder of the infinitesimally minute building blocks of the universal structure of thought. He leans along the park bench’s curve and feels his vertebrae pop. He takes in the perfections of the night, uncaps the pen, and let’s the ink flow from soul to paper. Then Roosevelt stands up from the bench and continues on his path to the underground.

    His underarm travel companion is a red leather journal that he’d recently found on the subway during the devil’s hour. It was blank, save for the first two pages. Those pages had someone else’s handwriting; someone who lacked an appreciation for the art of lettering. Roosevelt never starts writing in books in the beginning because he considers it sacred. To affirm at the start what the book will contain will restrict the rest of the pages—any impromptu zig-zags would have to be straightened. He often considers going in the reverse order, from end to beginning, but that feels equally restrictive. To declare the end before knowing where everything comes from might be unjustified. If the end doesn’t measure up to the path laid, the odyssey will be a disappointment, a diffusion of grandeur.   

    Roosevelt knows it’s unlikely that anyone will ever read his journals sequentially, if at all, but it gives him the assurance to proceed. He knows that with his scattered brain, wavering moods, and blend of interests, he needs the freedom to roam the linen waters. To begin somewhere in the middle, possibly where the string binding can be seen weaving in and out like a beige Poseidon, is to take the work anywhere in space and time, forward or backward in either dimension. He prefers to wade between the paper crests, crawling toward one shore, and then breaststroking to the other in an effort to define the coasts with a concise title and epilogue. Roosevelt’s notebooks are ever-changing and vary in style and texture. They’re a hodgepodge of sketches and scratch-outs, half-started poems, full-blown sap, unabashed regret, quotes from overheard conversations at bars, mathematical challenges, business ideas, and lists. Lots of lists. 

    When Roosevelt works on a poem, he spreads the journal open to two empty pages. The left side is the worksheet, or outline. The right side is for the refined thoughts, the finished poem. Usually, on the reverse side of those pages are lists. He pens the poems and lists in his 80s style graffiti lettering, taking care to go slowly and avoid the traps of his undiagnosed dyslexia. The lists he favors of late are made up of various “Downgrades.” They’re a great time spender, or killer.

* * *

(42) 

Classical Music: Overcast Sonata, Flight of the Mosquito, Für Bertha, Swan Pond Suite, 1811 Overture, Hungarian Jig No. 5 in G Minor, The Magic Flugelhorn, Billy Tell Overture, The Absolute Value of Negative Four Seasons, The Ill-Tempered Clavier, Pistol in D Major, The Hallelujah Collaboration

Candy: Charleston Swallow, Infant Ruth, Somalian Fish, MargarineFinger,  Almond Mediocrity, Humps, Reece’s Morsels, Reece’s Peanut Butter Athletic Supporters, Gingivitis Bears, Sullen Rancher, Wrigley’s Dry Fruit Gum, Singlemint Gum, Jelly Stomach, LifeHoarders, N & N’s, Whizzlers

(43)

Notes from Tompkins Sq. Pk.

their angled roots, their sinister leanings,,

the slowest of explosions, a decades long burst,,

future puts gray axe to white bark,,

trees bleed the blackest blood,,

,..,,..,

(44) 

Haiku: Tompkins² Park

 

trees look like frozen

explosions, blowing with the

wind in slow motion.

(45) 

The Bible: The Old and New Quizaments, Joseph and the Amazing DreamShawl, The 10 Suggestions, ‘Matt, Mark, Luke, and John,’ Noah’s Raft, The Last Snack, ‘...For 4 days and 4 nights,’ The Tune of Solomon, The Suburban Colonial of Babel, The Ashy Bush, Jonah and the Striped Bass, Daniel and the Den of Kittens, The Afterbirth of Christ, Jesus Stumbles on Water, ‘...For God so loved the world that he gave his only forgotten Son,’ Jesus Turns Water to Wine Coolers

The Mall: Temporarily 21, American Chicken Outfitters, Alien Apparel, Banana Nepocracy, Barnes & Serf, Decent Buy, Assistant Coach, Taint’s Sporting Goods, Mr. Martens, Frederick’s of Inglewood, Conjecture, Crunchy Couture, Mikey Kors, Old Teal, Passiv Facial Care, MiniVans, Victoria’s Gossip, Confederate Candle, Build-A-Boar Workshop, Jog Telecommunications, Space Kids, Verizon Wires

* * *

/pOEm/  XXVIII

/pOEm/ XXVIII

***

solitude is my therapy,

but I’m never alone.

pain is my joy,

but I feel great.

giving in is my religion,

but I can’t believe it.

***

/Kissing & Darkness/ WNM

/Kissing & Darkness/ WNM

Hello Everyone, Here’s a quick chapter from the first few pages of my novel "Wednesday Night Meeting," for which I’ve received a lot of comments from my readers. Many have said that this section made them think about kissing in a way they never had before. Maybe you’ll get a kick out of it too. I plan to do this novel excerpt thing more often for the sections that can stand alone. Hope you enjoy it. -LLL IV

 

TUESDAY NIGHT

[[    ⫛    ]]

    “When you’re kissing someone, you close your eyes, right?”

    “Of course. What are you talking about?”

    “I was just thinking about what that means. You have two people, who are in love, spending time locking lips. So why does it seem creepy if they both keep their eyes open the whole time, an inch apart from each other, eye ball to big blurry eyeball? Shouldn’t they want to?”

    “No, they shouldn’t! You’re too funny. Why are you thinking about this? Just close your eyes and enjoy kissing her!”

    “Well, that’s just it. That’s what I do. I close my eyes and pucker up and hold her close. But that’s not all. I’ve also been thinking about what I’m thinking about while I’m kissing her. Melanie, what do you think about when you’re kissing someone?”

    “I think you’re thinking too much.”

    “Actually, I think I’ve thought too little, which is what kills me. When I’m looking at someone, I believe that most of my thoughts will be related to them. Although, there have been many times that I’ve looked right into a woman’s eyes, with her batting her lashes while I tell a story—but my mind was latitudes away. But generally, when you look at someone, you’re thinking of them. So that’s why we should keep our eyes open when we’re leading off first base. It should be reassuring.”

    “I’m not even blindly following you, Zeus.”

    “So, since I’m not looking at her, what should I think about? A different image? Like her profile picture or a wallet-sized portrait to hang in my head? Or do I think about what she looks like at that moment? In which case I might as well just open my eyes. And this sounds pretty damn silly when I say it out loud, but what if the image in my head is of her alone somewhere—in a room maybe?”

    “Why is she standing in another room?”

    “I don’t know. So you tell me, am I supposed to picture her independent of myself or not?”

    “I have no clue.” 

    “Is it possible that both kissers have their eyes closed and are both imagining what the other person looks like? And if so, are they idealized pictures of what they represent, or true to form?”

    “I wouldn’t bring this up to the next girl you hook up with.”

    “You know what else I’ve thought about? And this may sound like creep city, but here’s something to consider.”

    “I can’t wait.”

    “Suppose I create a second version of myself, like a ghostly figure that hovers over my shoulder. This way, my inner-vision of the lip-locking includes me—I’m there after all—but I’m focused on her, bending it more toward reality, I think.”

    “You should really stop thinking. So, you’re saying that when two people—let’s say they’re in a closet playing the old Seven Minutes in Heaven game—are kissing, they both have separate versions of themselves watching the kissing in an attempt for realism?”

    “I think that’s pretty much it! When two people hook up and close their eyes, it becomes a foursome—unless both ghost watchers also end up kissing each other. In which case... forget it. I feel some kind of infinite loop of voyeurism approaching. Anyway, tell me what you really think about when you’re kissing someone.”

    “I just think of darkness.”

    “Darkness? Hmmm... Do you mean the kind that clouds your vision because your feelings associated with touch and changing body temperature are that intense? The kind of darkness that allows you to shut off one of the physical senses so the emotional senses are enhanced? I think I see what you mean. That ultimately, when we look into each other’s eyes, we look not at the color of the irises, but to the pupils. When we’re attracted to someone, our pupils dilate because we subconsciously want to see more of them. So, we don’t close our eyes to avoid looking directly into each other’s pupils, but rather to enhance that very idea. I think you’re on to something. Because we want to experience the other person so deeply, we close our eyes and fuse them into one that lacks actual sight, and it becomes the shared inner-vision of darkness that only allows for feeling and love.”

    “Wait, is that four eyes becoming one, or eight? Are the ghosts over the shoulder still hanging around for all of this?”

    “Four. It’s four becoming one abstraction of sublimity. It’s beautiful!”

    “I think it’s just darkness.”

/Haiku/   XXXI

/Haiku/ XXXI

  ***

morning flood // brain blood,

    hold the levee // write the show,

slay the dead // end flow    .

  ***

Goodreads Q&A

Comment

Goodreads Q&A

I answered four questions on goodreads this morning:

1) What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Treat it like a job. One that you really respect. Show up every day and don't take weekends off.

2) How do you do deal with writer’s block?

I have the opposite issue. There is too much in my brain that wants to get out that I have to try to block access to certain subjects so I can focus on one topic. If I have writer's block at all, it is I can be temporarily anesthetized by not knowing where to focus. 

3) If you could travel to any fictional book world, where would you go and what would you do there?

I'd go to The Garden of Eden to check for bellybuttons.

4) What are you currently working on?

Two things:

*The biography/memoirs of Billie Phillips Sr. I'm in the mining phase by way of interviews and discussion for another month or so. Then it'll be time to punch the keys.

*My second novel, Sky Ride Tap. It's in its first trimester.

***

My first novel can be found on goodreads here:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33370479-wednesday-night-meeting

Comment

/pOEm/  XXVII

/pOEm/ XXVII

***

Imagination running in the jungle,

I lean wild or better, 

she fills the mold to the letter.

Reality chilling in the suburbs,

raw skin, the rash redder,

forgive me, your debtor.

***

/pOEm/  XXVI

/pOEm/ XXVI

ssippin` sloe 

& ddrippin` lo, 

never no.

 

problm` wild 

& sobbin` child, 

never know.

 

wishin` hell 

& kissin` well, 

never O.

Book Signing & Book Giveaway

Book Signing & Book Giveaway

Here are two upcoming events—one in person and one on the interwebs:

1) I'll be selling and signing books at Emma Clark Library in Setauket, New York this Sunday, April 30*. It's a reception for the authors in the community. There'll be refreshments and a chance to get philosophical about the purpose of my novel. And then I'll be heading over to Mario's Italian Restaurant & Bar (just a stone's throw away) for a cocktail. Hope to see you there!

2) I'm running a promotional book giveaway on Goodreads.com. It will begin Wednesday, May 3 and conclude Wednesday night, May 17. It's free and easy to sign up. It's even easier if you're already on Goodreads. Hopefully it will get some new eyes on my book, which is a direct view of my strange brain.

*From the Emma S. Clark Library Website:

On Sunday, April 30, at 1:30 p.m., we’ll be honoring our Three Village authors at a celebratory reception in our historic 1890’s periodical reading room. This event is a chance for the public to meet many of the author-neighbors whose works they’ve come to know – or hope to know – through the library’s Local Focus Collection. While guests mingle, they will also enjoy live music by a string quartet of musicians – Jaedon Abbott, Emma Cowan, Lawrence Lan, Kathryn Leung – from Ward Melville High School

Following the festive reception, there will be light refreshments and an informal book-signing opportunity downstairs in the Vincent R. O’ Leary Community Room. There is no need to register and all are welcome (not just local residents).

WNM "Curves to Zero" T-Shirt

WNM "Curves to Zero" T-Shirt

Wednesday Night Meeting "Curves to Zero" T-Shirt

Features a graphic of the rotationally symmetrical and prophetic "WNM" logo, the symbols and mathematical representation of the arcs of the main characters, and the author's initials.

Designed my the author.

It is currently available by clicking here at Skreened.com

 

WNM Review / LLL IV Interview

WNM Review / LLL IV Interview

Click here for the original article with photos: Three Village Herald/TBR Newsmedia

Wednesday Night Meeting: Reviewed by Kevin Redding

In writing his first book “Wednesday Night Meeting,” a large novel of connected short stories tackling a wide range of topics from religion to baseball to surrealism to poetry to minor traffic violations, East Setauket resident Louis L. Lasser IV set out to create something unconventional and personal, wanting to, in his own words, “write a book I always wanted to read.” It’s clear when speaking to the 38-year-old North Shore native that the unconventional route has always been his preferred one, and his book, made possible by a Kickstarter campaign and available now on Amazon and at Emma S. Clark Memorial Library, is for those looking for something different.

The tap dancer-turned-math teacher-turned-bartender-turned-author, who grew up in Mount Sinai, got inspired in New York City, and spends his mornings writing and his nights serving drinks at Mario’s Italian Restaurant in East Setauket, recently spoke with me in the darkly lit, cozy restaurant about his upbringing, his complex relationship with religion, how film directors informed his narrative style and the influence Long Island and Manhattan have had on the book.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Mount Sinai going to dance classes, tap and ballet, because my mom was a ballet teacher. I would hide it for a long time and didn’t want to tell my friends. I actually ended up studying a lot, started playing [sports like baseball and football] less and dancing more … I quit football in high school just to tap dance, which my coach didn’t really understand or like very much. He was like “what are you kidding me, Lasser?”

I started at Cheryl Rich Dance Studio in Nesconset and then when I went to Adelphi University, they didn’t have tap programs so I had to take the train into the city to Broadway Dance Center and started taking classes from the world’s greatest tap dancers, Savion Glover, Omar Edwards, and it ultimately led to me dancing on stage with Gregory Hines several years later, so that was a big part of my life and it still is.

What did you study in college?

I was a math major. Then I taught math for 12 years in the private school system. I taught in the city (La Salle Academy), Southampton and then in Sayville at Prince of Peace Regional School.

What got you interested in writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I liked writing poetry and I learned that I could save a lot of money on mom’s presents by writing her a poem, putting it in a frame, and then she’d cry — which I knew was an accomplishment for a gift.

What did you like to write about?

Everything from appreciation for life and the crazy chance that we even exist to seeing the good and bad in things. A lot of it came to question religion and the role it plays and whether people really think about their religion or whether it’s a religion of convenience. A lot of my life has been about religion. My grandfather was a pastor, my mom taught me to question things and be very accepting, and my own readings led me to be very skeptical about a lot of stuff, so a lot of my life has been trying to figure out what religion means and the book tackles that.

When Prince of Peace closed, a lot of teachers got reassigned to other schools or private schools and I liked teaching but I didn’t love it and I always wanted to write and wanted to take on something bigger than poetry. I wanted to actually put a novel together.

What is your writing process?

I treat it like a job. Every morning from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. is writing time. The pen wasn’t on paper at 6 but I woke up, made the coffee, opened the laptop, started taking notes. For three hours, I had to “show up.” Sometimes it would be really productive, and sometimes you’d regret it. Sometimes I’d wake up and say ‘this week this chapter has to be done or I’m gonna punch myself in the head’ or force myself to take a cold shower for an hour. Set some punishments, which isn’t a bad way to actually motivate yourself. I’ve heard a good way is to take a terrible picture of yourself and give it to someone else and, if you don’t meet that deadline, they post that picture on social media, so you better get it done.

Tell me about ‘Wednesday Night Meeting.’ 

There are four main characters and they all start out with their own short stories that alternate throughout the beginning and then become a cohesive novel halfway through, and the story arcs of each character are based on math equations where they eventually will start separately and meet in the middle and then their lives are altered from there. That’s kind of the math teacher background playing a part.

One of the main characters is a poet questioning what’s going on with religion and the book takes place about five years from now and it’s after a big breach where everything embarrassing — any sexual history that you’ve had, search history, keystrokes — is out there and no one knows exactly who knows everything but it, in turn, makes most of America become religious to at least publicly atone to say “I’m not that bad, I’m not that terrible, I’m gonna correct my life.”

There’s this Mafia-like group [in the book] going after people that question God because people don’t like when you have questions in this fictional world [2020]. So the secret group DOC (Defenders of Christ) is going after artists, writers, and will do anything it takes to kill or suppress someone who has influence in raising other people to question their superiority. They’re going after the main characters, who are openly questioning it and don’t know they’re being targeted.

A majority of the book takes place in Manhattan. What is your relationship with the Big Apple?

Living out here on Long Island I’d see the city as a big beacon basically, the center of the entire universe. You have all the skyscrapers and all these things. My grandmother, who was an opera singer who sang for a radio station in Chicago, would take me in all the time to see Broadway shows and go shopping.

Every once in awhile she’d wake up and want to go to the city and have no one to go with, and my mom would say “Lou, do you have any tests in school today?” and I’d always say “no, never, of course not, I don’t even think they want me there today.” And she’d say “I was thinking it would be good for your grandmother to go with someone” and I’d say “I can make that happen.”

So I skipped out on several days of school to go out into the city, and had a really great picture of the city and I wanted to just keep going there. I’ve always held it in high regard and I frequently go there, for dance or just to go out to dinner.

Has Long Island influenced the book?

Oh, a lot. I could argue this area is one of the best places to live anywhere — we have beaches five minutes from us to drive down and do some writing, it’s a short train ride to the city if you need further inspiration. Bartending here you meet a lot of locals [and] they’re very encouraging. I think Setauket gives you the space to really think, it’s a great town to live in. I use Setauket as a place to write. Before I started working [at Mario’s], I was writing here at the bar. If I go anywhere, the locals will expect me to have a laptop and a book and a beer just doing my thing.

Who are your influences?

Outside of writers like E.E. Cummings and David Foster Wallace, I like the way Quentin Tarantino puts a story together. He doesn’t stay in the same timeline. Spike Lee also does some really cool things and tells things differently.

The book was self-published thanks to Kickstarter. Tell me about that. 

I didn’t want to go the traditional publishing route because I have no following … I’m a new author, and no publisher’s gonna say “let’s take on some guy from Setauket and bet on a book that’s really weird in layout with a lot of weird fonts.” I knew I had to do it myself and I figured Kickstarter would be a way to raise some capital for doing everything myself like editing, illustrating the cover, etc. There’s a lot of behind the scenes things that you don’t really think of that require money. I met my goal in about two weeks.

What’s next for you? 

I have a really broad outline of what my next book will be about. The main character will probably be a tap dancer. I think I want to call it “Sky Ride Tap,” which is the name of a bar in Chicago under the Skyride, a World’s Fair exhibit. It’s just a dive bar but I want it to take place there so I’m anticipating going to Chicago in a few months and staying for a week, going to that bar everyday, talking to people, and figuring out how I can do it.

/pOEm/   XXV

/pOEm/ XXV

1.1.17

***

wake up with machine gun kisses,

brew the morning muse with the tribe on blast,

read the times on the brown chair,

push-ups and daydreams on the bamboo floor,

philosophize and write on the old desk,

run the trails for a good 6.2,

hot shower with a cold beer,

some alone time with someone else,

binge on flix and sketch on linen,

a fire and a cuban to season the denim,

laugh with my one over cooked food,

meet up in town to share in this life,

remember those lost and bring them with you,

write one more time then love by candlelight,

draw the curtains and sleep naked,

enter cloudland in color and in control...

 

and with everything, be unique.

damn, my ideal day takes a week.

/pOEm/  XXIV

/pOEm/ XXIV

ANOTHER ITERATION ON AN XMAS XXIII, HOW POEMS CAN CHANGE

***

AFTER MIDNIGHT, AFTER THE WINDS,

THE TREETOPS WHISPER, AND I KISS HER.

 

THEN MORNING CHIMES, OUR TREETOP SHINES,

AND THE RABBITS REMEMBER THE JOYS OF DECEMBER.

***

 

/pOEm/  XXIII

/pOEm/ XXIII

*

After midnight in May, and after the winds,

the treetops whisper, 

and I kiss her.

**

In August, ocean waves are just fine,

the bedsheets crest,

as do the rest.

***

Against the rain and against time,

we will surrender

late in December.

****

Paperback Release Date 12.8.16

Paperback Release Date 12.8.16

I thought I'd have a lot of things to say about this moment, but I've been in a haze since my first novel Wednesday Night Meeting hit the digital shelves of Amazon yesterday afternoon. Someone asked how I was feeling at the bar. I said, "I feel like I'm in a post-orgasmic halcyon after three-plus years of a tantric orgy in my mind."

I should've said, "Good."

Here's the proof that the book actually exists: WNM PAPERBACK ON AMAZON

To all of my generous Kickstarter friends, I'm starting to put together your reward packages now to time it with the release of the Kindle edition. That should be ready in 7-10 days.

Cheers!