(for Joe PULVER)

Heard he was a writer, some insidious concoction of two-fisted noir pulp and terrors and beauty. Spoke in prose read by kings clad in yellowing garments, masks ajar,whispering poetry with scotch roughened breath.

Don’t know him. Never met.

Read him for the first time back in… early 2000s? Late 2000s? BLOOD WILL HAVE ITS SEASON specifically changed things. I was already too old to change much back then, but the potency of his stories was of such a vintage it made me look at things differently. Cracked the rattle of my head and replaced the beans inside with something MORE.

I thought, “People can write this way? People can commit such gorgeous crimes on paper? He can get away with this?”

So I too decided to become a criminal.

That’s trite. But I’ll leave it.

Chalk outline sentences and police tape prose.

No. Too ham-fisted.

Discovering his work made me feel the way I did when first read CHANDLER, when I found the world of comic books and HUBERT SELBY, jr. and horrors and weird literature that didn’t appreciate being shelved into any tidy genre. I was Dr. Stephen Strange stumbling across some archaic spell within the pages of the Book of the VISHANTI, or studying the DARKHOLD parchments and something clicking into place in my head and the gears are suddenly well oiled in this machinehead. That’s what it was like to discover such a sorcerer.

Domo arigato, mister Agamotto.


What can I say? I’m not anywhere near his level of expertise. Can’t achieve his cunning, his skill, but I’ve seen what fervent ugliness and chaotic beauty he is capable of conjuring. Doing so helped boot me in the ass to commit my own cons, try my hand at this writing racket, bloody some knuckles, grift some folks, chip some teeth. I can’t claim to have as many victims as him, have yet to attain the perfect crime, but I keep going because of him.

Too ham-fisted. It stays.

Hope to meet you in person some day. So all I can do in the meantime is say thanks.

So thank you JOE PULVER.

Thank you.