Walking Backwards
by Dennis Barone

ISBN: 0-9700663-6-8
Saddle-stitched, $5.00
Publication Date: Winter 2002.
5.5 x 8.5 inches, 32 pages
(ISSN: 1527-9579, Volume 3, Number 4)

Individuals: Order directly from Small Press Distribution,
1-800-869-7553 ; or Amazon.com.

Bookstores: Order through Small Press Distribution.

In Walking Backwards, life leans into the absurd to laugh while quietly relishing the beauty of a private thought. Loosely organized around an Italian-American theme, the characters and voices of these pieces consider the merits of Fergus Falls, being a gladiator or a poet, 45-minute operas, and the quest for a “new hit song.”

“The sentences [in The Disguise of Events] link and make a puzzle or a map or a path in the wilderness, nevertheless a familiar wilderness turned strange.”
— Peter Ganick

“The quiet village where Barone lives with its tight-lipped locals and New England Decorum, seems a suitable palette from which to draw ruminations about half-meanings, truncated logic, and the deception of language.”
— Stacey Levine

From Walking Backwards...

Roman Address

It is better to be a gladiator than either a cowboy or an Indian. Wear the vest, hang the banner, commit humble obeisance at the feet of the polished trophy.

It is better to be a gladiator than either a cowboy or an Indian. His favorite tea is the mint juniper berry of delicatessens. The gladiator makes his unformed literal statements of ordinary feeling almost every evening, alone. From within his prison cell he wonders, when are the desert flowers most in bloom? Some believe that his lament is too wretched for their hero to sing.

It is better to be a gladiator than either a cowboy or an Indian. Those barren eyes are his swollen fingers, our brave solemn hero-man. All he wanted was to live long so that he could claim to have seen something, at least, occur and recount it, too. What are his prospects? He so wants to go, like Virgil, to his farm. Cuttlefish protein has blessed him with long life and now he’s getting ready to exit Earth orbit for Andromeda.

There’ll never, he tells me, be another Rome. Never. And he should know for once he fought in the coliseum. Later, he rode bareback herding doggies in amber grain, shot turkey beside Chingachgook and Uncas before they came so early to obdurate, ill-natured death while Natty Bumpo stumbled along his happy trails. The coliseum, he tells me, had more class than the plains: death in stone, more resonance than in prairie grass, alone and nameless in Nebraska or Vietnam.

He wants to be a poet, not a gladiator.

© Quale Press LLC, 2006. Receive information on Quale Press books.
Terms for Booksellers.