The fuse is lit . . .

Here in the shadows.

We are from the underworld, the howl of individual expression apart from the mainstream, no matter its genre, using whatever means necessary, affordable, convenient or possible.

Books are incendiary devices, messages in flaming bottles that ignite the soul, communicated in private, and their mercantile value has little to do with the echo in the canyon. We don’t care about this or that patch of land, about your political bazooka, about the state of your soul, career, or place in the grand scheme of things.

Abnegation is everything.

 In our grand moments we imagine ourselves working alongside William Blake, etching visions of angels and chimney sweeps, inhaling corrosive acid as we lay the type. In our destitute moments we are Poe, skulking through the streets to a Boston printer, or Twain, whose publishing company went so far broke he never recovered.

 At some point we are no longer the voice but the mechanism by which it is broadcast.

 We have collaborators in high places and low.  The list is endless.

Hogarth Press—founded by Virginia Woolf to publish herself and her literary circle—and which is now part of Random House.   Obelisk Press, who published Henry Miller using the money of Anais Nin, who herself was published by the infamous Swallow Press.  Black Sparrow, and City Lights, and Black Lizard, and Miracle Finger—full of child poets—and any of the hundreds and thousands of booklets and pamphlets circulated under infinite imprimaturs by writers as notorious Celine, Marinetti, Marx: obscure as the religious zealot on the corner, the local school teacher, the schizophrenic poet scribbling missives on napkins and handing them out to passersby on the corner of Columbus and Broadway.

Some of those napkins are gathered and captured and others are scattered in the wind.

 We may be around for a while.

 Or only an instant.

 We are the bottle, full of ether, flame at the tip, hurled toward the wall.

What happens next, how can we know.

Our backs are turned . . . we run down the alley . . . 

The fuse is lit . . .