It’s been a good summer for laundry because its been a good summer for dirty clothes; and since I’m at the laundromat (The Wishy Washy) a lot, it’s been a good summer for reading zines. I’ve road-tripped a bunch, camped a bit, went down to a part of Mexico I’ve never been, and didn’t go back to New York at all which is new for me. I put out a Jv poem called They Not Love Ballad Of Goodbye Brooklyn, Forever and then realized I’ll never go back there to live, as fun and as hard, and as broke as that part of my life was. It’s gone now, Brooklyn. And the friends I have there, Kevin, Gloria, Honey, Frankie, Lone Wolf Tribe, I convince them to come visit in San Francisco and get some new perspective instead. Open the field.
The top zine on that pile is Rust Belt Jessie’s Reckless Chants no. 20: A Field Guide To Vanished Things. Ithas me thinking all nostalgically and I think that’s kind of awesome for writing to do that. I bought the zine right when it came out, but saved reading it because I knew I was taking a roadtrip to Wisconsin (Eau Claire) this July to help a friend of mine drive out to Denver. The zine has a Wisconsin Cold Storage Co. pic on the cover, and deals with towns near Milwaukee, but a lot of other places as well, which I’ve learned and liked about the author: how much America has been travelled.
Jessie speaks to vanished things that have not just disappeared by being torn down or people dying, but things that have changed to the point of being unrecognizable, sometimes right before your eyes. It’s that kind of vanishing that hurts me the most, and this zine offers up something of a salve in learning to sing the longing. (Sing, write, fuck, drink, run) If not fully accepting change then at least recognizing that it’s happening.
And it’s not easy. At all. There was a great line about how it seems everyday is some anniversary of one of your favorite heroes’ death. It’s true. I remember living in Manhattan a few years ago and hearing 3 Neil Young songs on the radio and thinking “oh shit, Neil Young must’ve died.” And the same thing will happen with Bob Dylan. Tom Waits may live forever, who knows? This zine kind of fights through it all in a good way, a lot of different forms (beer type list memories, quotes from Rebecca Solnit who i really want to read, song memories). There’s a short story Insect Summer #1 and a few poems, both of which are good, the last of which, Things My Father Gave Me is fucking killer and maybe my new favorite country song. I like that Jessie includes poems in the zines even though people met in the zine community or readers of Reckless Chants sometimes have hangups about poems in zines. Sonnet Reducer zine was a holler and FUN too. Anyways, check out RBJ and Reckless Chants 20. 88 pages! TWENTY issues so far. I’m a newb by comparison. What do I know?
I recommend any of the zines/small press stuff in that pile. Message me if you want any info on them. The Cometbus bookstore day Oakland/Berkeley release contains one of the best essays I’ve read on self-publishing and zines. A Call To Arms, which I think was a broadside he put out for a Chicago Zine Fest a few years ago. Recommended by Tomas Moniz, who’s yellow zine there with the circle on the cover, Profane, is so damn good and creative.