"My Friend, the Short Story Writer" by D.S. Maolalai




telling me about his novel.

explaining that it all takes place

in this religious schism;

all middle ages Turkey stuff -

there's this young guy

and an old guy,

both different sects

of different

kinds of Muslim,

and then this third guy,

he's the narrator

but he's got his own biases -

and it all goes off,

rot against rot

in 13th century Islam.

I say

"I detect a little Borges there" but really

there's nothing to detect -

blustering pomp and researched nonsense. you're 27,

for fuck sake Cian,

write better.



he'll never do it,

and even if he does

he'll never sell it,

and if he does

I'll never read it -

this Irish-ass bum, bumming it in Paris,

cycling bikes, making sandwiches

and banging french teenagers


oh yes,

that's it,

that's the man

to show us dirt in the fingernails of the Muslim world;

write something

that happened to you

or nothing at all. that's what makes Algren good,

Carver, Hamsun, Eve Babitz, none of your heroes - hell that's what makes me

think I'm good when

I think I am.


that's his real name up there,

by the way,

and he's one of my closest friends -

I don't want to lose him, I don't

have many.

but if anyone takes this and prints it

I'll send him a copy

and sign it “to cian”

and see how things really

shake out.



I'll get lucky

with an unflattering caricature


in the next issue

of his friend's raggy smallpress

short story broadsheet.