Columnist for The Rumpus
Here in the District, where even the strip clubs play CNN these days, knowledge is the only power we have. They call us a swamp, but what we are is a hive of very prickly nerds. I’ve only been here for five years, but what I’ve learned is that we’re all a bunch of Tyrion Lannisters: we drink and we know things.
"Dispatches from the Swamp" (From June 2017)
Fiction for Barrelhouse
With a bang, the cockpit door flew open. There, suddenly, were Alice and the short fat Cuban, his knife pressed anew to her neck, and now—now they went bananas. The ovation would have made the rafters of the Metropolitan Opera buckle; indeed, the plane itself began to judder and rattle.
Fiction for Catapult
There are no old men in South Sudan, so I think this one must be a ghost. He appeared in the middle of the street, in the white light carved from the darkness by a passing Land Cruiser’s headlamp. His hair is white, like a ghost’s, but I do not know why a ghost would need a cane. I do not know where he came from. No one in Juba walks outside after the sun goes down.
"The Ghost of King Solomon" (June 2016)
Criticism for Brooklyn Rail
The Parrots may not be a Great Book. It is too unkempt, too messy, too rangy in its attentions, and too ham-fisted in its attempts at symbolism. But because it is all these things, because it is rude, it is sharp, it is vulgar, and it is, at times, as beautiful as the rosy blush on an old dipsomaniac’s cheeks, The Parrots is a terrific book.
“Make Ready the Champagne Bottle.” Review of The Parrots (I Pappagalli), by Filippo Bologna (February 2014)
Criticism for Bookslut
Homeless, jobless, and partially faceless, Tim winds up convalescing at the home of his brother, Valentine, a fireman, influential member of the New York Democratic party, morphine addict, and all-around sybarite who can hardly poke his oft-broken nose into a scene without the reader's wishing the book had been all about him.
Review of Gods of Gotham, by Lyndsey Faye (May 2013)
Travel Writing for Roads and Kingdoms
The crisp warm shell was fragile as a swallow’s nest. The difference between the flimsy yellow versions flogged in mainland China and this, the real deal, was the difference between Hello Kitty and an actual cat purring and sleeping in your lap.
The Only Decent Dessert in China (August 2015)
If coffee is a stimulant, Ethiopian coffee is smoking crack out of a lightbulb fragment. It tastes like the stuff Noah used to seal up the ark.
How Not To Watch Soccer In Kenya (July 2015)