Just another East Bay Ray...
I was raised outside Oakland, CA, reading Harlan Ellison, Thomas Hardy, E. A. Poe. At the tender age of 20 I relocated to San Francisco to study creative writing (Blanchot, Hemingway, Joyce). Abandoning Baghdad-by-the-Bay and SF State, I traveled to Europe in '86 with a novel idea (H.D., Beckett, Kathy Acker, Kafka, Alfred Jarry). I fell in love, sojourning in Rome (Cervantes, Jane Bowles, Bataille, Henry James). In the '90s, I studied Italian literature in Florence (Dante, Boccaccio, Deleuze and Guattari), and comp. lit. in NYC (Chaucer, Virgil, Ann Radcliffe), got a Ph.D., and wed a well-known feminist rock critic; together we co-edited Resister magazine (Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Jean Smith). Later, washing again upon Tuscan shores, I re-married and fathered a child as the millennium came to a close (Hubert Selby, Jr., Arthur Machen, Ezra Pound). Nowadays I rent in Florence with Debra A. Zeller (Margaret Atwood, Chris Kraus, Georges Perec), where I enable American university students studying literature and writing abroad (Malcolm Lowry, Pasolini, Rilke), spend my summers in California, and recite my own works—with and without banging a drum—to anyone who’ll listen. My fiction, poetry, essays, and articles have appeared in Aql, Dark Ages Clasp the Daisy Root, h2so4, The Village Voice, Semicerchio, Resister, WTF, The Book of Broken Pages, Fuck Fiction, The Origami Journal, Visions with Voices, Vending Machine Press, Wilderness House Literary Review, Black&White, Futures Trading, One Throne, Streetlight, Syndic Literary journal, Crack the Spine, Full of Crow, Forge, The Bicycle Review, Oakland Review, and Witness. I write a literary column for the monthly Florence News. I also penned the "Crass" entry for the Spin Alternative Record Guide because no rock critic would touch it.
Here Lies (The Remains of Francesco Castello, AKA Borromini)
Here Lies (The Remains of Francesco Castello, AKA Borromini) is a Punk Rock historical novel in which Baroque Architect Francesco Borromini, immediately following his suicide, writes his way through Dante’s purgatory.
He recounts his raucous, Bohemian life and loves in 17th century Rome, his architectural triumphs and failures,
and his rivalry with Gianlorenzo Bernini, all while confronting each of the seven deadly sins in turn.
But does he really want to be saved?
And who will be waiting for him in Terrestrial Paradise?
Can there even be a paradise without art and the struggle to create it?
Cover photo of the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane by Debra A. Zeller. Cover design by the author.
Inbetween (A Lyric Novel)
Inbetween is a politicized Gen X love story. It's 1986: a musician and an aspiring painter meet at university,
move through the San Francisco underground music scene, backpack around Europe, study art in Florence,
and eventually find themselves--and revolutionary politics--in Rome.
This novel is not available through Amazon or in large, corporate bookstore. Please order it from your local
independent bookstore, from the author himself, or directly from The Florentine Underground Press.
Cover design by Debra A. Zeller. Photo by the author.
Poison and Antidote (Bohemian Tales)
It’s the first half of the 1980s. There’s a deceptively stupid, smiling old man rabid to destroy the middle class
in the White House and his more intelligent female equivalent at 10 Downing Street. The new world order
is crushing art through irony and the most recent artistic resistance to capitalistic conformity, punk rock,
through co-option; selling out is suddenly desirably de rigueur while hipness becomes a synonym
for the poseur, as if neither art nor love had ever existed in the western world. Poison and Antidote
is nine interrelated Bohemian tales of a motley troupe of painters, rock stars, writers, performance
artists, and druggies negotiating the shark-infested waters of 1980s San Francisco à la Henri Murger,
James Joyce, Morrisey, and Flipper.
Poison and Antidote is available in hardcover, paperback, and as an e-book.
Cover design by Debra A. Zeller. Photo by the author.
SOJOURNER (An Anthology of verse and stories)
Sojourner gathers fiction, poetry, and a CD's worth of recorded performances from the author’s 25 years spent
traveling, sojourning, and living as an itinerant student in various US and European cities. Each text engages the
mystery of place and the desire to escape into unknown territories.
In Sojourner we hear from teenagers in murderous California suburbs; San Francisco apartment hunters and
soon-to-be-unfaithful boyfriends; European backpackers, junkies, and prostitutes; South American
refugees; mourners in Texas; revolutionaries in Brooklyn; dreaming Manhattan barflies; Arctic lovers; victims
of Vesuvian politics and Partenopean trash bags; a re-figuration of Poe’s amontillado-tippling Fortunato;
Florentine ghosts; Tuscan expatriates lost in summertime reveries; and the Mad Hatnik in Poznan, Poland--
along with his evil doppelganger and invisible companion, Alhambra Akhmatova.
Sojourner is available in hardcover, paperback, and as an e-book.
Cover photo and design by Debra A. Zeller.
Fake Novel takes no prisoners. All forms of fascism are ridiculed on sight. Fake Novel gets all up in the face
of the real estate mafia’s takeover of the White House and the happy human centipede administration.
Fake Novel satirizes discourse and channels voices: Russian intel ops, deep state con men, Dreamers, Amerikkka’s former mayor, Robespierre, the ghosts of satirical novelists, St. Francis, cabaret songs for
the Neo-fascist era, facebook ranters, and Native American History professors out of alternative realities
all get their say. Fake Novel is angry, outraged, despairing, desperately funny, and ultimately hopeful
for a post-Drumpf world without border walls, Neo-Nazi rallies, adolescent shooting sprees, interment camps,
or government appointment by bribery.
Fake Novel calls for a second American Revolution.
Fake Novel is the new truth in a post-truth world.
I studied the theatrical arts at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and appeared in various productions
in my hometown’s local repertory theater and at the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival. Combining my interests in music,
writing, and performance, I co-founded the band Nominal State, with whom I wrote lyrics, sang, drummed, performed,
and recorded throughout the 1980s. (I penned a futuristic rock opera called 316 when I was eighteen and performed
it to bewildered UC Berkely students in costume at the Berkeley Square in 1980.) Even as my writing has evolved
into longer prose forms over the years, I've continued to experiment with recitation, drumming, sounds, and performance
techniques. I've performed my compositions on the radio in England and on stage in San Francisco and Sacramento,
New York City and Buffalo, Salem and Portland, Seattle and Olympia, WA, and in Florence, Italy, where I can usually
be found between gigs dodging traffic upon Rocinante, my bicycle, "that which rolls."