Mike Tyson in Five Acts

Mike Tyson doesn’t seem full of it, but sometimes
it seems full of him. Each persona gets taken to
an extreme. Think Gollum in Lord of the Rings, if
he moved up a few weight-classes; or Hamlet on
protein shakes...
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Joe Cervelin was featured in the SF Bay Guardian
as a winner of the Lit123 contest (the challenge:
describe San Francisco in exactly 123 words).


Pick a hill. Jump between vantage points. You can
spring the entire city, like a kinged checker, or a
queen. Morphing like Mad Magazine, folding
corners B to A, bending time.

A pharmacy goes BBQ. Sushi boats drift through
your unconscious. You got dragged aboard, then
woke with a craving. Across, in that park: you've
tasted heartbreak, and smelled funny dancing,
and shot hoops with crumpled resumes, and been
winded by a jog.

The city gasps for air just before rush hour, after
running all day, breathing hard. Cue the fog. Now
it's dim: the 'Sco does twister yoga, or the funky
gargoyle, gone buck or cupcakin'. A sushi float
parades the bay, always revolving, barely
perceptible; you're on board, and circling too.
©2010 Joe Cervelin
A Rumpus book feature

Brett Easton Ellis offers social observations,
morbid humor, and compounding degrees of
separation and decadence. If his story cycle
were a Choose Your Own Adventure
book, here are some outcomes:

- You take your disenfranchised son to Hawaii,
lust his girl, and cock-block him at dinner (your
treat). Your son goes off to self-medicate. You
slither up to your crush and fail at

- You go rafting while your expensive Egyptian
lizards get fed poisoned cockroaches. You cheat
and get cheated on.

- You crash your car. You die. Your friend
removes the joint from your pocket before the
cops come and smokes it...

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Rumpus Reviews

Joe Cervelin's reviews a zombie anthology, an
post-apocalypse anthology, an Ol Dirty Bastard
biography, Eminem's memoir, and
more here
The Beach as Office

I go to the beach in January---sometimes I bring a
sweater and a hat. I go to the beach in June in
work clothes and roll up the cuffs. It reminds me
why I'm still in California, what my rent really
includes, that I'm alive...
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Pandora's Boxing

Around Halloween, just when he thought
he wasn’t getting through, he caught
references to his class discussions in their
video comments.  He was touched.  The
phrases lit his guts: Wolverine that shit.  
Another Hansel and Gretel sitch.  Goliath got
whupped.  Go tell your Grendal motha that!  
Whatever Macbeth witch #2!

The best was when he told them about
Bluebeard – the whole here’s the keys for the
weekend, darling, you can explore any room in
the castle, the garden, the theater, just don’t
use this one key in this one room, yet curiosity
gets the best of our damsel and she peeks
downstairs, the door creaking so loudly her
hubby must have heard it at the other end of
town, and in shock she drops the key on the tile
into the blood and beads and diamonds and
powdery petals of his past wives, piled to the
chandelier, the ones who looked before, and
she can’t get the rusty blood off the tip,
scrubbing it in the sink, peering out the window,
until guess what, there’s ol’ Bluebeard, trekking
up the winding road, carrying roses.

During silent written response time, the ladies
threw up their hands.  They said they wouldn’t
be having that with Blueballs or whatever the
idiot’s name was, chuckle, chuckle.  “Hell no.”  
They pivoted their fingers in the air and wiggled
their necks. “Can you say, ‘intimacy issues!’”  
While it was an old story, he appreciated their
desire to whoop Bluebeard’s ass, really.  
“That’s a rather proactive approach..."
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©2010 Joe Cervelin

Logo design by
Christina Kinoshita
Use What You've Got, Son of Cuddler

Round it up and you have 25,000 days to live.  
Bird tweets and sprinklers are tick, ticking.  It’s
a limited-time offer, so act now...
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San Francisco in 123 words
(winner of
SF Bay Guardian contest)

Pick a hill. Jump between vantage points. You
can spring the entire city, like a kinged
Read more
Words by Joe Cervelin