GLASS (pray the electrons back to sand)

by James Chapman

This is an amazingly personal account of the Gulf War from the perspective of a foot soldier. The style of writing reminds me in places of Burrough's Interzone-era prose. It drifts from realistic storytelling into stream-of-consciousness fantasy. At first I was somewhat put off by it, but the story drew me in and kept me reading. I don't know if James Chapman was really in the Persian Gulf, but this book has an honesty about it that makes me believe he was. At the very least he had some good friends who were.

This is the story of a man living a horrible life. He works at a job he hates, with a girl-friend who attacks him. He drinks too much and continually mourns where his life has gone. Then, his life explodes. His girlfriend leaves him, and he careens wildly away from his old life, finally ending up at an army recruiting center, days after operation Desert Shield begins. The rest of the book describes his boot camp, specialist training and then Desert Storm itself.

It is an interesting perspective; it throws us to the other side of the TV screens we were all glued to that January. The fear, the doubts are related in a very real yet somewhat surreal manner.

There are places where this novel is quite humorous, and there are places where it is extremely dark. Overall, it veers towards the latter. In any case it is quite an interesting read and quite a discovery. I will definitely check out James Chapman's other books Our Plague: A Film from New York and The Walls Collide as You Expand, Dwarf Maple.

December 22 - 1991 - 1992

by Christopher Dante Romano

Dreamboy (and its collection in Dec 22) isnt for everyone. But I sure as hell can't pin down just who its for.

I'd already read some Dreamboy when Dec 22 landed in my lap, and so, to get that vital first reaction, I turned to my friends, Bill and Loki (yes, his name is Loki). Bill ( sayeth, "Take this back. It shouldn't be in my hands, being read." Loki ( "Amusingly homely, but I don't know if I could tolerate it for 200 pages." Well, we know that it's not for Loki or Bill.

So, what is Dreamboy? It's a rather lucid chronicle of Christopher Romanos dreams. And you mutter to yourself, "but I could have done this!" Ahh, but you didn't. To be honest, the schtick is occasionally wearying. My own nighttime and nap time blunderings of psyche are repetitive enough. Since I'm not living the life of Dreamboy's dreams, the collection occasionally lacks that oomph of significance.

All that aside, if you read any of Dreamboy or Dec 22 in great, huge, unabashed gulps, then you'll be entertained. Mr. Romano does not gloss his accounts. So you are left to absorb the themes, characters, locales, and situations. I'll spare your from my efforts to attempt to capture the experience of reading Dreamboy for now except to say that it's worth at least a glance.

To get your hands on Dreamboy in newsletter form, you can write to Mr. Romano at Back issues are available in via anonymous ftp from pub in /Zines/UnitCircle/Dreamboy or via

An Excerpt from December 22

Chris Romano

August 27, 1992

I'm ringside, watching a combination boxing/wrestling match between Tex Cobb and "The Wildman." I don't remember what happens.

Everything changes, and I can see Tex Cobb and The Wildman sleeping next to each other, in sleeping bags. They seem to be sleeping next to a large window in a skyscraper. I'm in a helicopter, looking down on the two of them. I'm filming them.

They're fighting and The Wildman is winning. I think he's got Tex against the wall and he's beating in his ribs. But then, Tex Cobb gets up and starts landing these round-house kicks to The Wildman's mid-section. Tex pushes The Wildman back against the window.

There are two announcers - where they're located I don't know - and they're calling the play-by-play action.

Linda and I are lying in bed together. I know I'm pretty much naked, but I'm not so sure about her.

Linda picks up my limp penis and looks at the head. She then looks at me and tells me I have to "stop jerking it."

August 28, 1992

I live in a light house or a tower of some sort. It's tall and skinny and very dark.

I enter my darkened room through the old, wooden doorway. Then I leave. I enter my darkened room through the old, wooden doorway again. And then I again leave. I enter my darkened room through the doorway a third time. And then I leave a third time.

There's a girl walking up the staircase, and I think I say "hello" to her.

I quickly go back to my room-again-because I'm in a rush and I need to go somewhere and I need to change my clothes. It seems my cousins are over and there are two new babies with them. I sit on the couch and I play with the babies. I'm lying on my stomach, on the couch, and the babies are sitting on the back of my head. I'm doing push-ups or something like push-ups, because I'm lifting the babies up and down off the floor. They seem to like me doing this, but I have to stop playing because I need to change and leave.

Before I can go, though, I'm forced to play "traffic light" with the babies. I don't want to play and try to explain to my aunt Carol that I must go. She gets angry at me, which makes me angry at her because I feel like I'm being relatively selfless.

I'm in the halls of Art Center, sitting and talking to other students. An asian girl walks up to me - she looks like a cross between Jan, the Kerckoff gallery girl at UCLA; Julie Miyoshi; and Wendy Asato. She's actually kind of plain looking, but she has an attractive smile.

She asks me if she can see my grades. I pull them out of a folder, and say, "But I hardly know you."

She just rolls her eyes and says, "I'm not going to make fun of you."

I hand her my report card. She looks at it and begins to laugh out loud. I can't understand why I got a "B" in one of my classes, but she says my report card says I got a "D". I decide to just hang my report card in my studio for all to see.

I walk into my bedroom and see two larger-than-life condoms, unused and still in the wrappers, lying on my floor by the closet. Curiously, I pick one of them up-it says "Optima" on the wrapper.

I notice a huge sheet of unused condoms and put them in a drawer in my room. I get the strange feeling either my father or Andrea Chavez dropped them off.

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