Friday, November 9, 2012

Charles McLeod's Dedication

In the 37th in a series of posts on 2012 short story collections entered for The Story Prize, Charles McLeod, author of National Treasures (Outpost 19 Books), speaks to who his book is for.

This book is for the first house past the strip mall, red fabric over the windows, strangers’ shadows stamped on them by the ceiling’s bare bulb. This book is for the fifteen year old twink tricking in front of the suburban Chevron, shivering into his cigarette, underdressed, a wad of hundreds in the crotch of his briefs. This book is for people living in towns that died with the train tracks, Eisenhower’s interstates erasing, for them, everything. This book is for the homeowner weeping in her mortgaged foyer, each memento now math in an unsolvable equation. This book is for the month-to-months at the weekly motels, tan butts spilling from tiny, tin ashtrays. This book is for the black kid skating up East 14th, out toward the worst part of Oakland; this book is for what he has to do, once he gets where’s he going. This book is for the dopesick lost driving West Virginia highways. This book is for wrecked-leg Vets cloaked from the world by the walls of care wards, betting their checks from the Feds on baseball. This book is for long-haul truckers who shoot crank on the clock. This book is for widowed farmers. This book is for the sad, sick suits humping it up subway steps, trying to remember if they’re texting their mistress or children while on their way to hawk t-bills from skyscrapers. This book is for the bum I didn’t give money to. This book is for the cop who let me out of my speeding ticket, after I’d told him that I was a teacher. This book’s for the dead, as an RSVP. This book’s for the people who won’t read it.