Category Archives: Ledge Mule Press

Hot Air

Prosody, Please

The boys over at Ledge Mule Press are doing their best to keep Bloomington’s summer literate. They’ll host a book release party featuring poetry reading, music, and other folderol tomorrow night, Saturday, July 18th, 7pm at the I Fell building.

Ledgmule, run by Dave Torneo, Ross Gay, and Chris Mattingly, sponsors a summer poetry series at the I Fell throughout these dog days. Tomorrow’s entry features poet Leslie Marie Aguilar reading from her brand new collection, Mesquite Manual, published by New Delta Review. Aguilar will be backed up by poets Danny Quintos and Britt Ashley as well as musicians Corn Palace.



The Texas-born Aguilar taught poetry in Indiana University’s Creative Writing Program and will begin a 2015-16 fellowship at the Fine Arts Works Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in the journals New Delta Review, the Bellingham Review, the Washington Square Review, Rattle, the Iron Horse Literary Review and many others.

I Fell is at 415 W. 4th St, the southwest corner of 4th and Rogers. See you there.

You Can Look It Up

In case you’re confused as to what, precisely, terrorism is, its definition has been reinforced once again by the fine folks who run this holy land’s security apparatus and corporate media. It is any blood-soaked outrage committed by a dark-skinned non-Christian. Period.

For proof, check the coverage of — as well as the FBI statements in the wake of — the shootings at military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee yesterday. The perpetrator, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez (a dead-giveaway, right?) is brown, Arab-born, and a Muslim. Ergo, his was an act of terror. The FBI special agent in charge of the investigation into the act says , sure, it’s prob. terrorism, and why not?

As opposed to, say, that lily-white kid mowing down black people in a South Carolina church last month.


Not A Terrorist

Special Agent Ed Reinhold wants to clear up any confusion: “We will treat this as a terrorism investigation until it can be determined that it is not.” The Dylann Roof turkey shoot, conversely, was treated as what the cops like to call “a simple criminal act.” Even when certain boat-rockers wanted officials to characterize Roof’s goof as terrorism, law enforcement types said, Whoa, now!

God forbid we should attach the emotional weight of the word terror and all its permutations to the act of a Caucasian.

Don’t you people know nothin’?

Banalities Are Your Friends

BTW, our faithful sentinels in the for-profit news gathering industry have rolled out all their terror- and/or natural disaster-related cliches in the 20 or so hours since the Chattanooga shootings.

The citizens of the town, reporters tell us, are:

  • reeling
  • trying to make sense of it all
  • wondering if they’ll ever look at their hometown in the same way again

Expect Chattanoogans in the next year or so to:

  • pause and reflect
  • come together as one
  • celebrate a new start

Got it?

The Schwarber Era Begins

IU baseball fave Kyle Schwarber apparently is up in the big leagues for good now. The Chicago Cubs have brought the hot-hitting minor leaguer up due to an injury suffered by their regular catcher, Miguel Montero. Schwarber had a cup of coffee with the parent club in June during which he punished Major League pitchers over a six-game stay.

Schwarber has been the subject of an intensive program to bring him up to speed as a big league backstop. He’s always had a rep as a blue-chip slugger but his defensive abilities long have been viewed as subpar. Acc’d’g to insiders, the Cubs have tried to rebuild his catching skills from the ground up since they drafted him in June, 2014.


Schwarber’s First Big League Appearance, June 16th, 2015

It’s a good bet Schwarber will serve as a backup catcher with the Cubs but probably will garner a ton of at bats as a left fielder, a position he is equally inept at. As a left fielder, though, his deficiencies will not be exposed as often as they would be behind the plate.

So, here’s the fantasy: Schwarber bludgeons pitchers for the rest of the year, leading the Cubs to a post-season berth, during which they win their first World Series since the Theodore Roosevelt presidency. Schwarber is then assumed into heaven.

Can’t a guy dream?

My Hiatus (And, No, I Don’t Mean My Hernia)

Just a reminder, I’ll be back pontificating and opinionating here daily (well, almost daily) soon. Right now, I’m still slaving away on the Charlotte Zietlow book. Be patient.

Hot Air

City Of Lit

Keep your eyes and ears open for a new designation for the city of Bloomington (fingers crossed).

There’s a movement afoot to get this teeming megalopolis tabbed a City of Literature by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known to us acronym-o-philes (made-up word; you’re welcome) as UNESCO. The UN agency pushes eggheaded pursuits around the globe so that all nations can live like sisters and brothers and not nuke the bejesus out of each other. Good luck with that.


Writer Dorothy Parker, Sharpening Her Tongue*

Ennyway, Caveat Emptor‘s John McGuigan has pitched the idea to Mayor Mark Kruzan who, in turn, has made City Council mistress of civics Susan Sandberg the point person on it.

Other Cities of Literature so far include include Iowa City, home of the world-renowned Iowa Writers Workshop, right here in Murrica as well as these international outposts:

  • Edinburgh, (Scotland) UK
  • Melbourne, Australia
  • Norwich, (England) UK
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Krakow, Poland
  • Heidelberg, Germany
  • Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Granada, (Andalusia) Spain

So, hey, why not us? Acc’d’g to Sandberg, the 2015 deadline for applying for designation is mere weeks away so B-ton will aim for the 2016 window. The C. of L. is part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities dealio that recognizes “Creative Hubs” and “Socio-cultural Clusters” which:

  1. Strengthen the creation, production, distribution, and enjoyment of cultural goods and service at the local level;
  2. Promote creativity and creative expression especially among vulnerable groups, including women and youth;
  3. Enhance access to and participation in cultural life as well as enjoyment of cultural goods;
  4. Integrate cultural and creative industries into local development plans.

That’s us, right? So, pen-pushers, keyboard clackers, and other ink-stained wretches, contact our mistress of civics if you wanna suggest, support, or otherwise stuff the ballot box for our application.

[ * — Dorothy Parker has nothing to do with Bloomington; I just like her.]

Friday At The Fell

Speaking of B-ton’s creative types, the Ledge Mule Press‘s Dave Torneo — a crackerjack poet and letter-writer — will host tonight’s I Fell Building exhibit, Four Views.

Artists Erik Woodworth, Laurel Leonetti, David Long, and Sean Pendergast will trot their stuff out, mainly dealing w/ “unique representations of the subjective, images abstract and emergent.” (Artists, right?)


Erik Woodworth

Oh, and put aside next Friday eve for another installment of the Ledge Mule poetry reading series. Stayed tuned for more info.

Baked Bruisers

You can believe it or not but one former National Football League player says at least 60 percent of active players smoke marijuana regularly. This player, former star running back Jamal Anderson of the Atlanta Falcons, believes NFL players toke up not just for the high but because it helps them bear the pain incurred through daily hard-hitting practices as well as the body-blasting three hours of every weekly game.


Oh, Wow.

Here are the reasons advanced by players for smoking pot:

  • As mentioned, it serves as an effective pain reliever
  • It helps ameliorate concussion symptoms
  • This generation of players grew up in an era when marijuana carried almost no negative stigma
  • The league tests for banned substances, including marijuana, at a specific time of the year, allowing players to clean out their systems at that time then return to regular use thereafter
  • The league and the players association may have a secret deal wherein marijuana users are not chased with any vigor because, according to one player, “we wouldn’t be able to field a league.”

And the inexorable march toward the end of marijuana prohibition continues unabated.

Just Say No

All we can do is ask why.

The Colorado program that provides low-income women with free contraceptive devices is in danger of ending. See, a private funding organization pitched few mill at Colorado health officials so they could give free long-lasting birth control to women in the state. It was sort of a test — if women, especially poor ones, got intrauterine devices, for example, would that reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, teen pregnancies, and abortions?


The IUD — A Fairly Expensive Little Gadget

The answer? It sure as hell would. All three totals in CO not only dropped over the period of the program, they dropped precipitously. As in better than 40 percent. Poor women flocked to get the devices implanted. They flocked less and less to welfare offices and abortion clinics.

Huzzah, right?

Wrong. The private funding has run out and this past spring Colorado lawmakers refused to allocate dough for the program. I guess they just like the idea of single mothers on welfare, high school dropouts having babies, and abortion clinics sweeping out wombs by the score.

I mean, why else wouldn’t you fund such a bang-up good program?

Hey, wait a minute, I remember now: the Religious Right hates the idea of females having sex even worse than they hate welfare and abortion.

Okay, never mind.

Hot Air

Democracy Inaction

And so, the big mayoral candidates debate finally came to pass yesterday. Sponsored by the Herald-Times with streaming by CATS, the three Dems running for this thriving, throbbing megalopolis’s top office were to duke it out with fewer than three weeks to go before the coronation…, er, primary.

I dashed through my daily writing, chores, shower and shave so as to be on time for the 5:30pm promisefest at the Monroe County Public Library. First, though, I’d have to stop off at Staples to pick up a package of reporter’s notebooks because, no doubt, I’d fill them all up with the bons mots of Darryl Neher, John Hamilton, and John Linnemeier. Ah, democracy. So let’s get right to my notes on this momentous occasion.

Better leave ten minutes early, what with all the traffic sure to be headed toward the MCPL.

Get to Staples at 5pm, pay cash for pkg of three ntbks, in and out. Phew!

While backing out of parking space, almost run over woman carrying huge bunch of balloons from Party Store.

Traffic westbound on 3rd St. bearable. Smooth sailing until hitting Greek row past Jordan. Small sporty Mercedes stops in middle of road — w/o even pretending to pull even a inch toward the the curb — to let out impossibly fashionable young woman from passenger side. YW hefts backpack onto shoulder and walks casually around Merc. toward sidewalk. Car ahead of me and behind Merc. honks. YW flashes dismissive wave that would do Paris Hilton proud. Only when she gets to sidewalk does she break into a coltish trot, graceful, as if she’d been trained at what used to be known as “charm school.” As I pass her, I let loose a string of creative and borderline criminally abusive epithets, concluding with “… goddamned little sorority shit!” YW throws head back and laughs — charmingly.

Near MCPL, I notice empty street parking spaces here and there. Hmm. Where are multitudes? Shouldn’t there at least be a parade? MCPL parking lot full so I pay for 2½ hours of street parking — $2.50 plus .30 credit card fee. Robbers.

Enter libr. Guy at info desk has no idea what I’m talking about when I ask where debate is. He  dials numbers but nobody on other end of line knows about it either. Me: “Well, look, just tell me where the auditorium is.” He points the way. I lope down stairs — if you can describe what an overweight, damaged-heart man w/ a bad right hip is doing as “loping.”

I get to Kirkwood entrance desk, starting to wonder what’s going on. Stop at desk to ask woman, “There is a mayoral debate here today, isn’t there?” Woman doesn’t know what I’m talking about. She does say several other ppl have asked about it already. I wonder what she told them. She’s joined by another woman and both of them work phones trying to get answer for me. Both tell person on other end I am only most recent of many who’ve asked about debate. Again I wonder what they told the others.

First woman nods and hangs up phone. “Okay,” she says, “here’s what’s going on. The debate is being carried live on CATS. [My shoulders slump] But it’s not happening here. It’s at the Herald Times.” I grimace. It’s 5:29pm. She notices and brightens up — “You can watch it on CATS!” I shake my head and thank her anyway.

Back to car to race to the H-T. Traffic down 3rd St. to Collage Ave. again is bearable. I whip into H-T parking lot in no time [actually 9 mins.] Lot is suspiciously un-packed — only four cars. I hobble toward front door. About ten yds. from door, young woman exits and smiles at me as we pass ea. other. I pull on door; it is locked. Meanwhile young woman is stopped by another, older woman, who has just parked in lot. I overhear their convo.: Older woman also had gone to MCPL for debate and was directed here.

Young woman says she doesn’t know what the older woman is talking about but offers to walk woman to front door to help her find out. I say, “It’s locked.” The younger woman pulls out her phone — “I’ll call my editor.” Older woman says, “Oh no! I don’t want to hold you up; you’re going home!” Young woman says, “No, no. I just want to help.” Older woman and I smile @ ea. other.

Ed. does not answer so the younger woman suggests we walk around building to side door. On way, younger woman says her name is Sophie. Side door is locked as well. Sophie dials ed. again. This time he answers. Tells her debate is indeed here & is being streamed live on CATS to “viewing party” open to public in council chambers at City Hall. Debate has started and studio doors are locked. No public. Sophie walks us back toward front door. I still hold out hope I can sneak in. Just as we get there, Sophie’s ed. opens door. Aha! Here’s my chance. Ed., though, stands in doorway. He tells us exactly what Sophie said he told her. That’s that.

MG 20150416

No Debate

As Sophie, the older woman, and I walk back to cars, Sophie says, brightly, “well, you can watch it on CATS!” I pout and say, “I wanted to cover it live.” Sophie perks up — “Who do you work for?” I tell her about The Pencil. She says, “Oh wow!”

I wonder if H-T had mentioned change of venue in paper today. Wouldn’t have mattered; I would have had to read H-T to find out. I prefer The Pencil.

Before opening her car door, Sophie says, “I’m sorry.” I say, “That’s okay. It’s a better story this way. I’ll just snark the hell out of it tomorrow morning.” Sophie laughs.

The three of us get into cars & drive off. I listen to Honky Tonk Woman on CD. Traffic is bearable. I park in front of Atlas bar, walk in, order Stella Artois & start writing these notes. In mid-writing, I spill beer on new reporter’s ntbk. Pencil tip tears thru soaked pages. I sop up spill and find dry pps.

Such is life during primary election season for Bloomington’s foremost blogger.

BTW: Here’s the debate in toto on CATS, complete with a bedsheet as the stage backdrop.

Whose Country?

A Bloomberg poll reveals that two of every three Republicans are more loyal to the apartheid state of Israel than they are to this holy land. A holy land, I might remind you, that they normally call the greatest in god’s creation — especially when they tumesce (a word I just made up) over the hundred of millions of guns and the religious freedom to refuse service to fags here.

These same GOP poll respondents say they’re far more sympatico to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than they are to Murrica’s colored president — their own country’s president, I might add, as long as he isn’t some overly brown, Kenyan-born, commie, Nazi, socialist who moonlights as an abortionist.

Bloomberg Poll

Republicans — those folks who never stop whining and moaning about patriotism and loyalty and all the rest of their blatherings have become a party, I might suggest, that in the year of their lord 2015 is full of shit.

Word Rhythm

Ready for some iambs?

Lexington, Kentucky’s Katerina Stykova-Klemer and Eric Sutherland and Indy’s Wendy Lee Spacek will read their meters tomorrow night, April 18th, 8pm, at the I. Fell Gallery, 415 W. 4th St (the southeast corner of 4th and Rogers). The readings are part of the Ledge Mule Press Poetry Project.


[L-R] Stoykova-Klemer, Sutherland, Spacek


Hot Air

Poet’s Progress

Hi, again. Comin’ out of my book-writin’ hiatus just to let you know Bloomington poet extraordinaire Ross Gay has a new book of verses coming out. Entitled Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, it’s published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Book Cover

Gay’s New Book

Gay is an associate professor in the Creative Writing Dept. at Indiana University. He, along with Dave Torneo and Chris Mattingly, run the independent Ledge Mule Press, putting out limited edition books of poetry using letterpress and woodblock print.

Ledge Mule is throwing a poetry reading and book launch for Gay’s third tome Saturday, February 14th, 7-9pm at the I. Fell Building, 415 4th Street. Gay will read from his new book along with Ledge Mule poets David Watters and Romayne Rubinas reading from their own works.



Ledge Mule, a recipient of a BEAD grant from the city for its Poetry Project Reading series, will hold at least three more readings through the spring. The Gay book launch is the first event in the series. All the readings will be at the I. Fell Building.

Gay’s new book should be available at the Book Corner any day, depending one the good graces of United Parcel Service.

Now, back to work on my book — which I’m a hair’s breadth away from being ready to tell you all about. Stay tuned.

Hot Air

The Immaculate Fix

Get ready for another reading of William S. Burrough’s The Junky’s Christmas.



It’s become a holiday tradition in these parts, thanks to the combined efforts of The Burroughs Century and the Writers Guild at Bloomington. B-town scribes Tony Brewer, Arthur Cullipher, Ian Uriel Girdley, and Shayne Laughter will perform the piece in a live radio theater performance Wednesday, December 17th, 8:00pm, at Rachael’s Cafe. Trumpeter Kyle Quass and saxophonist Chris Rall will back them up.

Ian Girdley also will read from his new book, This poem Drank the Wine (sic).

Burroughs’ seasonal moral: Not all gifts are sugarplums and good can arise in the absolutely unlikeliest of places.

Whee, Me!

Malcolm Abrams and David Brent Johnson are the perpetrators of this:

From Bloom Magazine

Click on the image for the full story. Perhaps my fave part of the above is the exclamation point after my name. You’d think that would be more appropriate for a profile of, say, Vladimir Putin or Taylor Swift.

What’s the opposite of an exclamation point? An upside down exclamation point? Nah, Spanish already has claimed that. I dunno. Anyway, read.

Start The Presses!

Ledge Mule Press has issued its second book, Then Gone by Romayne Rubinas. With two tomes on its résumé, the Press can now be considered the real deal.

Book Cover

Hand-Printed & Hand-Bound

Poets, writers, and all-around Hoosier sophisticates Ross Gay, Chris Mattingly, and Dave Torneo run Ledge Mule. Then Gone was produced on a hand-fed Chandler & Price letterpress machine and was hand-bound by the three. The trio opted to produce only 200 copies of the book so it just may become a priceless collectors item one day.

Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait for the deaths of the principals involved before the thing pays off.

Ledge Mule’s first offering was a collection by poet David Watters entitled Hollow & Round. It came out earlier this year.

Catch Romayne reading her poems at The Back Door, Saturday, December 6th, at 7pm. She’ll appear with poets Kate Schneider and Shaina Clerget.


How cool is this? American major pro sports’ first on-field/court/ice arbiter has come out. Major League Baseball umpire Dale Scott has been calling balls and strikes in the Big Show for some 29 years and just this month revealed publicly he’s gay. Scott’s been involved with a fellow named Mike Rausch since the year after he broke into MLB. Scott and Rausch got married last month.


Scott (L) & Rausch

Even cooler, MLB big shots have known Scott was gay for years now. “…[T]his is not a surprise to Major League Baseball, the people I work for,” Scott told Outsports online yesterday. “It’s not a surprise to the umpire staff. Until Mike and I got married last November, he was my same-sex domestic partner and had his own MLB I.D. and was on my insurance policy.”

Yet another reason for me to love baseball.

You Want A Hero? Here.

There was a time in the deep murky mists of memory when the people of this holy land actually did good things just to, well, do good things.

For instance, in 1948 after the Soviet Union had imposed a blockade around the city of West Berlin, a US Army Air Corps pilot named nicknamed Hal regularly flew a C-54 transport plane (like the one pictured below) into Tempelhof Airport. His usual cargo — 10 tens of flour. Berliners, America had realized, needed to eat. Under the direction of General George C. Marshall, the Berlin airlift, known as Operation Vittles, flew thousands of tons of food into West Berlin.

Berlin Airlift

A Berlin Airlift Plane Landing At Tempelhof

Earlier that year, Hal had met a bunch of kids who watched as the stream of transport planes flew into Templehof. They’d asked him for some candy. All he had were a couple of sticks of gum. He tore those sticks in half and handed the four pieces to the kids who proceeded to tear off bits of the wrappers and pass the scraps around. The kids, having experienced the deprivations and horrors of war and occupation, simply sniffed the bits of wrapper. The looks of sheer glee and gratitude on their faces, Hal later said, were unlike any he’d ever seen.

So he started recruited his own crew members and, eventually, crews of other planes in his unit to donate their rations of candy and gum. The crews would makes little packages of the sweets and attach them to parachutes made of their handkerchiefs and, as they flew over the gang of kids, would drop the treats. It soon was raining candy at Tempelhof.

After a time, Hal had gotten scads of private citizens and candy manufacturers to donate some 21 tons of candy for his makeshift operation. The kids took to calling him the Candy Bomber.

Nobody splashed candy makers’ names all over those transport planes. No individuals screamed out to the world what fabulous souls they were for dumping tons of candy into waiting kids’ hands. They simply wanted to bring joy to the kids. Simultaneously, they were feeding a city of 2.5 million people.

Here’s your hero.


Gail “Hal” Halvorsen In 1989

Thanks to Pencillista Col. John Tilford (Ret., US Army) for sending in the link to the following vid. In it, Halvorsen is honored for his candy drop. Sure, it’s hokey, mucky and gushy, but if you’re not crying by the time you’re finished watching, you’re probably dead.

Believe it or not, even I can be corny now and again.

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