With an Empty Gun in Your Hand
Love Like Bleeding out is a broad look at the work of Stephen J. Golds and it will rouse and churn you. It’s the kind of collection impossible to complete in one reading.
For me, breathing space was necessary to ruminate and digest. The kind of work your mind goes back to, perhaps for a reread and reevaluation.
There are a few pieces of WWII Japan, Hari-Kiri takes place in a cave, Ashes in Okinawa at the seawall. The first, the horrible pain of two soldiers. The second, a deliverance of sorts in the beauty of a woman.
Store Mannequin stood out for me. It’s a lesson on how to be an effective killer. “Store mannequins. I’ll be shooting store mannequins,” I said. “Good. That’s good. Starting you off slow…”
Two pieces gave me a snort of laughter, Whitey Bulger was a Neighbor of Mine and Prescription. Maybe they will do that for you as well…it’s all subjective.
This collection of stories and poems are like a serrated edge to the senses, at times calmed in the silk of longing. There is poverty here, in the dirty dishes and unwashed bedding, in the deep sorrow, shredded lives, and drowning spirits. This is Noir, all grit and atmosphere.
Perhaps you are wondering what would bring a reader to entertain these works? It’s phrases like this from a boy in Brain Scan: “Sometimes there was a scribbled, crumpled paper inside my head. I didn’t tell my parents this. I couldn’t explain it.”
And from, In an Unmarked Place, “The drop of the gallows as you realize the reality that you witnessed, that you lived, was nothing more tangebile than a commercial on a cracked television screen.” There are many more instances where Golds brings you a keen observation of a scene.
My first collection/anthology review and there couldn’t be a better Noir writer to profile. I’ve been following Golds’ work for a while now, and reviewed his book Say Goodbye When I’m Gone in October of last year.
~ June Lorraine Roberts
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