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About MCVT

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  1. MCVT

    Chapter 1

    Why thank you for that comment. You know, that character keeps coming back to me, maybe he's knocking on my door to let him near the keyboard again. Richie the gimp is a sheltered, but stubborn boy, and his shrink is a non-enabling help. I'll have to think about that. Thanks again for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. v
  2. MCVT

    Joe, continued 1

    I think we're needin' to find out about Joe,. Hope he's sorting things out as we wait. v
  3. MCVT

    Joe, continued 1

    "I'm a failed farmer with nothin' but a half-feral cat." He cast about looking for his tux? What the heck? Sad self-description--good luck Joe. Laughing as I read this. Thanks for posting this clip. Last two lines are great. I needed that inspiration this morning as I pen of a man from Pig Hill and Waffle House diners. v
  4. MCVT

    Chapter 1/1

    Collective work during these times. We each asked other writers for contributions on a mundane topic. Some snippets were outrageous--hard to decide to laugh or cry. Glad you enjoyed that and glad you took the time to comment. Thanks, v
  5. MCVT

    Chapter 1/1

    Glad you liked it. Now, about being a voyeur, since this is fiction, I suggest finding a good fictional shrink here on GA. Many stories include doctors, etc. Wonder what someone's imaginary therapist would advise--might be fun to find out. Thank you for your comment, I had to think about that as I chuckled. v
  6. MCVT

    Chapter 1/1

    #366 Our fifteen-year partnership concluded by death. Sold the house, paid the debts, avoided bankruptcy by a few bucks, faced completing a six-page lease application by hand. Co-worker told me about a place where her mother lived. A vacancy opened in a reasonably-priced, respectable old battleship of a building. Decided to stay there as I rebuilt my cache. My grief was still deep—new people might boost my rebound. Four rooms on the third floor became my new home. #366. #612 #612 Was Carl Kolettis’ apartment. Comfortable old guy, spoke softly. Place smelled of bratwursts and white-sugar donuts. Glass of tea, butter-bread always offered. He’d fall asleep when I visited on sunny afternoons. Tiptoed out, locked the door behind me. Carl died shortly after he went to the hospital. Several bags and boxes in the hallway the night before the painters came to erase his presence. Kolettis’ belongings were few: boxes of Polaroids; unknown, smiling faces. Stack of clippings about a fan dancer named Rosemary. Bags of lacy panties, satiny bras, conical foam shapes. None well-worn, each with the tag labeled with the year purchased, it appeared. In 1972 Mr. Kolettis was slender tease—size 6M. #703 Hold each other in place. That’s what neighbors do, or clearly put “better the devil you know.” Gerald was our devil. Gerald had a white-hot temper. Didn’t like certain sounds, often called his neighbors into the hallway for an irrational dressing-down when their noise upset him. Vacuuming, carpet cleaners, furniture assembly, any celebration involving music lit his fuse. Kindly lady in #702 appointed herself the referee during the screaming-matches. Knocking on adjacent doors along the hall, she politely asked everyone to lower the noise and insisted Gerald take his medications, lay down. She calmed him till he rested, his disturbance passed. Her son was easily disturbed as well—succumbed years earlier, they said. Some hands hold others in place thoughtfully. #514 Four servicemen leased #514. Rock music, drinking, partying and whatever makes a person stay all night in the bath groaning. (Old buildings aren’t discrete.) Through the months, some shipped out, they came and went, always re-filled with noisome antics of youth finding their limits. Military actions abroad drew them away. Two civilians sublet. Different kind of men. No beige and camo but linen and cashmere in bright pastels. Modest men, no need for machismo; these two knew themselves. Confident. Applied pre-wash to their stains before they came to the washateria, all their trash was bagged in a neutral, opaque shade, sheer curtains, soft jazz. Dodged the tenant meetings saying they were both working two jobs and left after two years. Moved into their own home near the river. #466 I dreamed of fog; minute droplets of water cooled my face. Water? Jumped up, the ceiling sagged overhead, soaked, ready to burst. Donna, a heavy drinker, lived above. Left the water running again. Immediately sent photos to the maintenance guys, squished across the wet carpeting, moving what I could. Second deluge in three months. Someone in the office laid the law down to Donna, she left for rehab. Thirty days of peace but for the repairs. Several months later I got a note under my door, “Dear Mr. 366, I have to make amends. Personal problems overwhelmed me. I became forgetful….” Not wholly sincere. Slipped a note under her door the next week: “Dear Ms. 466, Came down with a cold slogging across a wet carpet to salvage my things. Two leather coats, my new duvet and therapeutic mattress were ruined. Family and friends stressed helping me recover/replace. Maintenance had to remove drywall, reinstall, repaint, all the floors redone. The costs of your forgetfulness extend far beyond your apartment. Do your amends involve covering these expenses? It’s not your personal problem, but everyone’s and we’re all holding hope for you.” Not all the complete truth, but underlined my point; our shared plight. #366 My duty, as I saw it, was to monitor the parking lot. Keep my desk by the window to watch. I’d call the cops, wake up the security officer until it ceased. Nightly activity below disturbed my rest. A pattern formed, predictable schedule: Homeless dug in the dumpster and bags people left for them. A mother and child pulled a cart for recycled treasures. Chattering carpoolers came home after their swing shifts. Three quick beeps announced the dealer’s arrival. Toward the end of the month, several residents met their clients out back. Rethinking my duty and the reasons behind the noise, I surrendered. I can afford a roof, food as well as earplugs. Started anticipating the nocturnal visitors with reserved concern as they offered up an organic, human serenade. #208 That gadfly Mr. Patel—always spreading rumors, incessant suggestive comments, wiggling his black caterpillar eyebrows at the women. He had the gall to post a note on his door saying he was a good neighbor, “Just knock if you need an egg, cup of milk or flour. Good neighbor lives here.” Patel charged for neighborliness. Case of beer was double the price and he didn’t make change. Good neighbor? His door needed a warning label. #815 “Take these to Riva in 815.” Roberta’s bossy. A small favor I could manage to be amicable. Riva from Hyderabad sounded like she had an extra tongue in her mouth. Rapid-fire, clicking English I could barely understand began as she opened her door. I froze, mail in hand, stuck in a deepening puddle of befuddlement. No walls visible, birdcages everywhere as she displayed her space. Shrieking and peeping, squawking, fluttering sent molted feathers into roiling clouds. A few landed on my face. I didn’t breathe. “Tea?” She screamed at me above the avian din. “Not today.” Bounded to the stairwell, confounded by the chaotic bird-universe she created within inches of the still, drab hallway. #366 Happened to notice a window of another apartment building across the alley. A glint, no, two. Binoculars? Bright trapezoid between Venetian blinds, then it darkened with a watcher’s profile. The unknown exhibitionist in me stood, turned, then pranced in silhouette for them. I arched and strutted like a schoolgirl in full-flirt mode. A few steps to the left, a few more to the right, shook my hips. Being watched offered a short, greasy thrill heretofore unexperienced. One day the blinds were opened, curtains removed. Empty apartment across the alley. Dang. #817 Roberta asked me to dinner. Told me I brought the wrong color of wine, though it didn’t stay corked. Over dinner she explained about working in a metalwork shop, then went into union organizing. Interesting life the sturdy mid-western gal lived. Thought a movie was on the agenda; Roberta had begun with the right color wine before I arrived, she sat beside me: “I won’t tell.” She rubbed my thigh—I moved. “What won’t you tell?” Tilted her head toward the bedroom door, “Nookie time.” She whispered. “"Let's get one thing straight, I'm not.” I stood. “I’m a queer, gay, homosexual man. Men only.” She stood. “Our secret. I bet you’re a nasty ol’ tin knocker when ya’ get goin’.” Her hand reached toward my belt buckle. “Just close your eyes.” Let myself out. #212 Dave lived in 212, older man, quite a looker if he’d only discover the comb. Mornings he sat in the lobby with Tad listening to a transistor radio—the kind with batteries. Kept up on all the conspiracy theories, right-wing rants in their red, white and blue caps from the ninety-nine-cent store. Visually scanned everyone who walked through for commie garb or peace signs. Dave had his “Commies Destroying the Nation” spiel; don’t get him started. It was Tad that interested me. Quiet, non-combustive, smiled occasionally. I could see Tad’s patio from my window. Afternoons he watched for the school kids get stream toward the building from the bus. Thought it strange that he’d always rinse and hang his boxers, socks and tee shirt over the railing at about the same time. Odd way to perv. Odd until he told me of his youth; immigrant enclave in the Bronx. Odd until he showed me the old photos of his grandparents’ struggles escaping a totalitarian regime. Rinsed boxers weren’t only his memories relived; they honored a family’s tenacity. Daily flew the flag of a family’s perseverance. Lobby Lady Never knew where she lived, tiny woman in flip-flops and a knee-length tee shirt. Lived to complain about other tenants at the front desk. They told her to call the cops, “We screen for serial killers when people apply.” #467 #467 is empty now. Tennant named Snyder finished his degree. Took six disciplined years working full-time, in school at night. When I had extra, I took fruit, a sandwich. Snyder was incredibly handsome. Before graduation, friends came to fill the hallway with boisterous laughter, planning to blow the roof off. Heard the six of them in the lobby that night and watched as they stumbled into the lift, giggling, touching, kissing and almost too loose to stand as they pressed every button. “One night of noise,” I’d excuse their ruckus. Fell asleep on the couch from all their banging on the wall, music didn’t hide their moans. Woke at two, Snyder banging on my door, “You gotta help.” “Are you sick?” Pulled him inside. He leaned close, smelling of rum, “We ran out of lube and…” He made a worried face, “so, we got the peanut butter.” “That’ll work.” “We ran out of peanut butter. It was the strawberry preserves….” #312 312 was between my door and the elevator. Radiated a sweet, sick smell from around the door, like a bottle of old multi-vitamins layered with the thick, human smell of soured sebum. Body unwashed; gauging the stench, never washed. I suspected a hoarder. At the front desk, “Someone lives in 312?” “Yeah.” The woman smirked and turned away, “Men don’t know how to ask for help.” “Does he ever go out?” “Comes to the mailbox at around three in the morning once a week. Has his groceries delivered.” Hesitated calling for a wellness check; privacy’s scarce. Decided to leave a roll of trash bags on his doorknob with a note saying I’d take the filled bags to the chute. Noticed a few dark pellets and new overtones to the smells the next week. Left a box of the sticky mouse traps on the doorknob. Saw and heard nothing. Came home from work one day to find #312 buzzing with people in hazmat suits, filling trash carts. Inside, everything left was covered with a wash of golden yellow. Windows stuck shut, curtains and blinds drawn, fuzzy with dust. Amber-hue walls changed to gray near the kitchen, “Is he okay?” “Left something on the stove, and set off the smoke alarm.” She explained. “His family sent him to a home.” Walls yellowed with apathy, smoke alarm calling for human contact; finally asked for help. #366 Out of milk, I jogged across the parking lot to the bodega, cocoa on my mind. Forgot to change shoes, purple slippers look goofy. If I step fast enough…. “Sir? Sir?” A car pulled close, from the passenger side a young woman called, “Do you live here?” A small child slept on the back seat. “Yes. Why?” “Ask him, Un-ken.” I leaned down: Un-ken had dark hair, warm, brown skin, full face and a thick moustache. Broke a quick sweat and smiled. “Are you looking to lease here?” “A small place till I get reestablished. Hard to find a vacancy.” “Two bedrooms, three?” “Just me. One bedroom’s enough.” Did he almost wink? “There’s a one bedroom open on my floor. Same floor plan, if you want to see the lay out.” I walked around the car. “The previous tenant had it appointed in a charcoal gray and gold motif. Quite sophisticated.” Looked up at the building, “Nice here. Wonderful neighbors, just great.” He got out, glanced at my feet. “Name’s Ken. My niece, Melanie,” then smiled, a wide, bright smile and shook my hand. Leaned into the car, “You two go get donuts while I check this out.” End
  7. MCVT


    Life in a high-rise.
  8. Review of Poetry Anthology 2015 Was in the mood for thoughtful brevity and wasn’t disappointed by this collection of four pieces: Crack in The Wall by Aditus Aditus has created an apt metaphor defining permanence and transiency in recollections as they’re tied to feelings. Quick sketch of walls as boundaries, protection, simultaneously creating limitations. Thank you for the time and effort you took to whittle these concepts down to their essence. “Its size deceptive, its meaning clear.” Beyond by Dolores Esteban This short piece is the voice of billions unable to shape the progressions through life so clearly, succinctly. The cut and the hope, for these I thank you, Dolores Esteban. A poet that pokes me out of my comfortable apathy feeds my soul. Memories by jian_sierro Graceful summary of triggers and memories, their fading and the emphasis some gain through time. To me, this piece profiles of the life of neurons and how they’re reshaped as continual stimuli crowds in around them; ebbs and flows leaving slight alterations. This piece left me grateful that memories do change; some are hard in their making. Whitman’s eyes and Cavafy’s Day by AC Benus I had to step back after reading Whitman’s eyes. This piece is a tribute to open-minded people who collected and preserved writers with unique, often controversial perspectives and the courage to state and life them. Without the historical scaffolding to drape these scenes on, they might not have been so impactful. The connection was rich. Handled poignantly and with ease. Looking forward to the next Poetry Anthology MCVT
  9. I've written a review of a Poetry Anthology and would like to post.

    Am somewhat confused about where to post it.  Could you direct me to the right place?


    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. MCVT


      That's what I needed.



    3. Timothy M.

      Timothy M.

      You're also welcome to write a blog review for any story or poetry posted on GA. Simply send it to me via PM, and I will set it up on behalf of the Review Team.

    4. MCVT


      Thank you. I'll take that offer.


  10. Surprised to find this. Thanks, v
  11. MCVT

    Chapter 1/1

    Interesting comment. Wonder what would happen to that young man on his own in hostile territory, then the seventies and eighties. He'd have to face further losses through the years AIDS raged in the community. Thank you for that thought and for your comment. Honey may reappear later under another name. v
  12. MCVT

    Chapter 1/1

    Thank you, v
  13. MCVT

    Chapter 1/1

    Not enough, have to, can’t. By and by... Poverty’s lexicon, the language of my childhood except for one word: Honey. … Honey was a luxury, seldom tasted in families with seven children in the deep and deeply religious South during the 1960s. We had cane syrup from tins, a familiar sweetener consumed among staunch defenders of conservative values. Couldn’t be seen acting high and mighty among the other fundamentalists church members of our area—so, no honey. Stark changes lurked around cane syrup tins and long-held traditions; leaders had no time to readjust rights or address inequality in their staid lives and no amount of sweetener could soften their rigidity. Issues of racial integration were at the fore; Southerners dumped the issue in the schools. Children couldn’t do anything about it. Easier to punish a kid at home than jail adults when things got out of line, right? Southerners’ conventions caused incalculable losses which I couldn’t begin to fathom until I was able to afford honey for myself. … Being the middle child in a mess o’ kids, I held an invisible place, only called to watch my younger sisters, put them to bed—otherwise ignored. Being in the middle placed me in a subservient position to my older brothers. I accepted that position invisibly as well, else I’d be put back in my place by their fists. Brothers souped-up cars in a garage behind the house. The leaky old shack leaned to the side; partial concrete floor, cracked and stained. Got the old ‘48 Ford running, traded it for a ‘55 Chevy then moved into a classy ’57 Chevy—candy apple red. Major sport was drag racing on the streets. I stayed in the shadows of the garage while brothers talked carburetors and white walls with their crew of equally greasy, smelly friends. They were a scruffy collection of bonhommies who sneaked my brothers booze and Luckies. Among them was a guy, about sixteen, Steve. Short, wiry, quiet, Steve was the ace mechanic among them. Between stealing and dealing, they rebuilt and repaired the symbols of their manhood – their “wheels.” Most of the guys had girlfriends, and were always shootin’ the shit about girls while they cleaned parts, sanded putty. Hanging out with them seemed like the right thing to do in the man’s world I was readying to enter. Steve drove a pristine ‘59 El Camino. Sometimes he’d take me with him when he’d go on a part run. “The kid’s gotta learn how to deal with Peddigroos.” Local parts store was notorious for selling the wrong parts. Instead of the auto shop, one afternoon, we drove beyond the city limit. He turned off alongside a bayou, pulled the emergency brake and looked over at me. “You’re kinda cute.” He grinned. Didn’t know what to say. He stared at me, flicked my earlobe. I looked away, skin burning scarlet. … “For some reason the sea was smooth as glass, quite unusual. I recall the water there was very, very clear when the surface was that smooth. You could see down through it at least a hundred feet.” … My family lived in cheap-rent areas, noisy places, beside a highway, always on the outskirts of town. Often had to deal with local wildlife which tumped over trash cans in the alley. As I went to toss the trash, I saw rustling in the chickweed and stopped, waited. Cottonmouth came to dine on mice. I was fourteen, snakes were nothing new to me. Pulling an empty can away from the row, rolled it slowly and turned it upside-down on the snake, yelled for my brothers to bring the shovel. Brothers had to make a big deal out of killing the snake. It was steaming-hot out and four of the guys gathered ‘round laying their plan into action. From under the shade of a mulberry nearby, I watched. Steve came and stood beside me. “Found yourself a snake, honey?” Almost couldn’t hear him he spoke so softly. “Don’t call me that.” Was he saying I’m sissy? He grinned, glancing from the side of his eyes at me. “Why you callin’ me honey?” “Just curious to see what you’d say.” He turned away from the group, still beside me, “Got a boyfriend?” Fingers with grimy fingernails touched my hand, his eyes caught mine, then he walked away. I stopped breathing for a few moments. … That night, I lay in bed considering that “honey” business. Steve wasn’t being rough or teasing me, but asking about a boyfriend. Was he asking me to be his boyfriend? Did I want him for a boyfriend? Uneasy topics to consider. The more I thought about it, the surer I was Steve answered a lot more questions than he asked. Questions that didn’t have words; questions that made clear all the unspoken, avoided matters inside me. Matters so evil, so dark they were never mentioned by god-fearing, righteous folk. Those very matters had lived in me since I was small; figured it was my “original sin” in some way. Now, my fall from grace, sure damnation. Sodomite? Sodom and Gomorrah were blasted away due to their evil. Yet the thought of a boyfriend intrigued me, stirred my blurry feelings. A man with a boyfriend was abnormal, guaranteed hell-bound, and my urges were now bolder for being named. I’d ignore it. Hide it. I had to. A dead fag wasn’t of any concern in our area. Watched Steve around my brothers, how he faked his way around the loud rednecks and Feron Young wanna-bees. Chuckled at pussy jokes, tit and ass comments, made stupid gestures and wolf whistles like they did. Started copying him; learned how to “pass.” Smart the ways he did that and my conscience tore my guts to pieces every time I did it. My urges put them back together quickly. … “I watched them take off to the north, turn out over the water and head south along the beach. They leveled off at about 800' and seemed to be in the standard move.” … When a bottle of rum showed up in the garage, Steve and I left to get cola. He’d run a bluff with my brothers to get some time with me, said I had to cash in the empty glass bottles for him. Sneaking in the alleyways, through the woods we found secluded places to hide while we kissed. Sweaty, salted kisses the way men kissed women at the drive-in. Learned mutual hand jobs. Kissing and pulling each other off felt like a space launch from my chest. But it was the touches, affection—something I hadn’t had in my life. Steve was as keen for my skin as I was for his. Couldn’t get enough of each other and couldn’t slip up and give away our secret either. Had to switch on and off quickly, like changing stations on the radio. My secret prompted me to start showering, combing my hair, wearing clean clothes with new enthusiasm. Brothers noticed, asked me who was the impetus for all the grooming. “Cheryl?” I only smiled and shook my head, passing. Passing as straight and through my passing, I became more visible. Steve was my loadstar toward an oblique manhood. Adult female of the house complained that I wasn’t watching my sisters or attending church often enough. “You need to be re-consecrated.” My confidence had grown. Told her my sisters weren’t my children, not my responsibility. Sisters were on their own as I became more visible by my absence. Took part-time work in the afternoons. Wanted some power though hard to amass much installing eight-track players for minimum wage. … My brothers were notorious for cruising the Montrose area, mugging queers to get a few bucks for their Saturday nights. Steve and I avoided Montrose. We found a wooded place in Memorial Park, glanced through some old porn magazines while we waited for dark. Hard to keep from shooting off as soon I unzipped; we were young, no problem. Shy at first, I wanted all of him, “Are we gonna, you know...” Arms and legs all seemed to be in the wrong places until we found what we needed, and didn’t slow down. Slippery with sweat, slippery with our own lube and smelling like sex, we did it. Hurt at first. Pain propelled, fueled our thrusts, excited us for more until we found satisfaction and that sweet union of spirits. Center of my life, I loved, admired and looked to him for the first and only real comfort I’d ever known. But tell him I loved him? I couldn’t; my early indoctrination was hard to shake. … “During the third attack of the night we launched again. The flare ship took off first and began an easterly ascent over the South China Sea." … “Kill all the damn gooks.” My brother repeated the reports he heard on the radio, adding his commentary. Steve always nodded and looked away quietly. At seventeen, he might be drafted soon. I began to understand why he was afraid. Wasn’t about the war, it was winding down. It was about the military—the service wasn’t for fags. Soldiers were armed and played rougher games than the nickel-and-dimers in our garage. Steve wasn’t drafted. He volunteered, glad to get out of his part-time job stocking vending machines. Advised by his father and motivated by poverty, he’d get formal training in the service. Took the easy path, signed up to be a helicopter mechanic, move into aircraft maintenance. Young and ignorant, I thought he’d be stateside after basic training. We’d find a way to be together, we had to. Began studying the newspapers for small, third- and fourth-page articles about the homosexual protests on the West Coast. Maybe Los Angeles…. … The night he before he left, we went to his house. First time I’d been there. An ancient shotgun house butted up to the railroad tracks, little more than an unpainted shack. Inside only a couch and a few tables, chairs, worn and ragged. “Where’s your mom?” “Gone.” We waited till his father came through the kitchen door and shook hands. Couldn’t help but notice him smelling like grease, beer and cigs. “This is the kid? Good to meetcha.” “Dad, if he comes over while I’m gone, help him out.” He nodded, turned, went into the only other room and shut the door. “Been drinking since Mom left.” Steve explained, grabbing his father’s car keys. “How do you get by?” Steve’s home felt so empty. “Dad gives me food money, not much here to clean…” … Hot-footed it down to Galveston that night. All the while I thought about Steve’s mother. In my mind, I knew she wanted her son to feel loved and knowing how long I’d have to wait to see Steve again, this awkward sixteen-year-old acted the best lover he could imagine Doled out all my affection and kisses, gazes, touches between my gasps and moans. Sad night, quiet but for our breaths and the ocean’s waves. More silent tears in the dark before we left at dawn for the bus station. … “The descent appeared normal and I watched them all the way down, waiting for them to flare. The flare never occurred.” … Brothers left after high school. Garage was empty. I left shortly after them, barely finishing high school, no graduation ceremony. Kept working as an installer, lived in a rented room for a while. When I got a letter from Steve during his basic training, I’d take it to show his father, read it with him. Our letters didn’t mention love. Each referenced honey; dirty oil, thick as honey, honey of a deal…. Got a letter in October, I went to find Steve’s old shotgun house vacated. My brother showed up where I worked, “Steve’s dead.” … “…loud thump. They hit at full force. The impact probably rendered them all unconscious and initiated the breakup of the Huey. Their bodies were located on beach the next day.” Final Mission of U.S. Army helicopter VH-LL tail number 65-04453. … Dirt hit casket holding a body once warm. The body that excited me, the heart that wanted me; arms that held me. Dirt hit casket abruptly announcing that at eighteen, I was entirely alone. “I love you. I love you.” Between sobs on the long drive home from the piney East Texas graveyard. “I love you.” Words too late. … So young, so vulnerable, we emerged from privations with unforeseen courage and stealth. Our tender, camouflaged hearts dared to love. Held the ground we gained for our short time together to claim ourselves as victors in an unrecognized conflict. The war we won. End.
  14. MCVT

    Chapter 1/1

    Always nice to receive a comment from you. Thanks, v
  15. MCVT

    Chapter 1/1

    Thank you. v
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