I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These is a collection of 57 short pieces that range in length from compressed paragraphs to 10-page stories. Its characters, voices, and surreal scenarios are unified in a playful vision of the world that is equal parts metaphor, memory, cartoon, tragedy, love story, and song. Speed and brevity are a large part of the collection's design. To this end, I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These is quick, colloquial and comic, yet challenging and highly reflective. It offers readers--at a glance--a journey into a fictional world that is poetic and narrative, fantastic and familiar, accessible and adventurous. "Published by BOA Editions in their American Reader Series, Tognazzini's debut collection is the well-respected poetry press's first foray into fiction. The lush hybrid of short stories and prose poems...has one foot in the mundane everyday world and the other in the fantastic and grotesque....the overall effect of one of revelation and joy."--Indiana Review "Reading Anthony Tognazzini is like having a surprise party thrown in your honor on every page. I Carry A Hammer In My Pocket For Occasions Such As These turns cartwheels, plants daisies, and sings love songs in honor of all that is strange, sad, serious, and sublime about being alive."-- Myla Goldberg, author of Bee Season
I Bring the Lip Balm
Ever since he scaled the heights of Macchu Picchu, my shadow has had a cocky way about him. From my room I see him strutting around in a pair of fancy pants. On the opposite wall his shape looms large, then surges, jerks and shrinks to a dot along the corridor tile, goes over the door to the bathroom mirror where he clips his chest hair with a pair of little scissors. I know everything about him. My shadow's favorite food is baked beans, and on the day of my barbecue he eats three cans worth as he cruises the lawn, talking to the ladies. My shadow spends all day at the barbecue: never once crushed by the Hibatchi. I try coaxing him to go, but he just leans back in a lawn chair, playing the flickering hair. Playing dead is another attribute my shadow has. His sleepy voice sounds like he's gargling with gravel. "Am I in bed yet?" he asks. "Asleep?" Back in his room, my shadow frightens me by taking out a porcupine quill he claims to have inherited from his father and sliding it, very carefully, into his chest. Says this cleans the sludge from his heart. My shadow is forever tapping against the quasi-permeable membrane of the self. "Who are you really?" I ask, looking straight into his face. He says, "If you want to know who, you are doomed," then goes on to complain that his lips are real chapped.
© BOA Editions. Ltd 2007
Publishing Date: April 2007