It was a common name for girls among Norwegian immigrants. Rutgersen, Börresen, Dahl, Aarstad. And others. All produced Mildreds. The vogue lasted across at least two generations. No one names girls that any more, not since the War.


We glimpse a gun. We know it will go off. Not now. Later. Two damaged and violent souls, Skinner and Jimmy, products respectively of American military and carceral systems, not by-products, not failed products, just products, predictable and necessary, like the gun. Likewise they will go off. Not now. Later. But surely. Fates walking to meet our reading with slow and inexorable measures.


As I warm to the subject I will ask who anyway wonders what S.K.Johannesen might have to say about Scorsese’s films, say, or Norwegian Pentecostals. Nobody.

Sister Patsy

Reading one’s own work after a long interval gives one a certain distance. It has become, in a sense, strange. I am moved and distracted, I speed up and slow down, as with any reading. Like any other reader, I puzzle over its meaning.

Electric Ferry

Or perhaps these are the inevitable themes of a certain kind of writing in a certain kind of era. The narrator of the story of the Venus on the Malecón believes that a Time of Terror calls for the most elementary of reconstructions: “primitive materials . . . life histories, fictions, collections.”