Mastodon Literary Outlaws, Bad Asses & Underground Writers

Literary Outlaws, Bad Asses & Underground Writers

“…true Unbearables realize that there is nothing to sell out other than that

overstocked warehouse of lost dreams we’ve all been carrying on

our backs for so long they’ve taken on the aura of that immortal

5000-pound monkey-demon of yonder yore, copulating without

protection in the soft grey matter loitering around upstairs.”

—Mike Golden

“Working Without a Net: Intro to Unbearables”, p.9

Unbearables, Autonomedia, Brooklyn, 1995.

“…the age-old voice of the road, the voice of the traveler,

the outcast, the thief, the whore, the same voice that was heard

in Villon’s Paris, in the Rome of Petronius.”

—William S. Burroughs

“If you look a dog in the eye too intently,

it may recite an astounding poem to you. You

might have been mad for a long time and have

realized it only at that moment.”

—Jean Genet,

Funeral Rites, Grove, p.150



Believe me, the irony of blogging for Sensitive Skin Magazine is not lost on me. Twenty years after its initial publication, I still have many of the PDF files of those brilliant early issues lurking on my hard drive. Every generation has its own literary bad asses, its literary outlaws. For me, those bad ass writers, poets, and artists — the Unbearables —  who appeared in the early pages of Peau Sensible are the literary outlaws of my generation.

While much of the fiction and poetry of the 1980s and 90s was hopelessly mired in post-modernist trickery and the increasing Disneyfication of reality — these bad ass writers and literary outlaws ripped the reader’s blinders off, revealing the social, sexual, and cultural disintegration beneath the glossy media bombardments being plastered at them on a daily basis. Brought up on a heavy diet of Pierre Berton, Farley Mowat, and Janey Canuck books, I was hooked. And inspired.

Still, getting my hands on the zines, magazines, and small press publications the Unbearables work appeared in, though, was another matter entirely. I would order copies of Peau Sensible, RedTape, publications from Semiotext(e) and Autonomedia, but these orders would never arrive. Soon I would discover that Canada Customs were seizing my orders at the border and destroying them as being offensive to Canadian moral sensibilities.

Canadian moral sensibilities. I was flabbergasted. How could a Canadian Custom’s agent determine that Louis-Ferdinand Celine, William S. Burroughs, and Jean Genet were acceptable to Canadian moral sensibilities — and bart plantenga, Ron Kolm, Darius James, Emily XYZ, and Bonny Finberg were not? I was left scratching my head. But not for very long.

I decided if I couldn’t order their writings or publications into Canada, I would publish similar literary bad asses within Canada’s borders, and dare Customs (or any government agency for that matter) to stop me. My litzine, Urban Graffiti, was born. That was July, 1993. After eleven paper-based issues, Urban Graffiti went online this past May, 2011.

After 18 years, I’m still publishing the best literary outlaws, literary bad asses, and underground writers and artists I can find North of the 49th. In this blog, I intend to share the most transgressive of those along with what Broken Pencil magazine calls “the ugly, the depressing, the sexy, the funny and the fucked up.”



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