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Robert

Roman

Empire

RED BRICK ALLEY STORIES

The Killards Are Coming

Every damn day in Religion Class, Sister Anna Banana yapped about the Soviets revving up to start a nuclear war with the new president, Ronald Reagan. She said after the cities burned to Holy Hell, there’d be something called “nuclear winter” that would kill all... 

Double-Strength Demon Dogs

Fantastic Freddie was the only altar boy from the Red Brick Alley. He was always consecrating Ritz Crackers and trying to make us eat them like communion wafers. He light-fingered incense from the sacristy, and he blessed water from Old Lady Tully’s spigot...

Laser Loop

I couldn’t see over the tall green school bus seat except when we hit a pothole and I bounced up in the air like a Pop-Tart jumping out of a toaster. Nobody at Saint Augie’s could believe I was allowed to go. My first school picnic ever. I was good from the day I handed in my pink...

The Boy Wonder

How the Hell did Jaggerbush get himself up there? He was clawing his way up into the open window above the Science class door like a real-life gargoyle. The blockhead of a wooden mallet stuck out of the back of his Toughskins where his butt crack was. He wore three...

About The Author

Rob.jpg

Robert Roman grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, where he sold newspapers to cars from a concrete island. Read more→

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  • Robert Roman

My Own Private Ulysses: “This Poem Has Been Declined”


I’m shocked, shocked to find out censoring is going on here.

A famed Hemingway Half-Dozen Prose Poem has been “declined.” No, not by the New Yorker or the Paris Review or the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer. The opus was declined by a Facebook Poetry Group. My lawyer, Doctor Reality asked, “Don’t these people have any idea who you think you are?”

At least they didn’t ban and block me like the Orwellian psycho-sadists over at the James Joyce Facebook Group That Shall Not Be Named. (open case file here)

The Poetry Group administrators provided a due date for revisions but failed to hint at a reason for the declination.

The groundbreaking poem in question:



Joyce’s Tower

Early Hour

Lonely Wallflower


Apparently, avant-garde innovation is too much for these dudes to handle. No doubt, they ascribe to Percy Shelly’s declaration that the poet’s language is “vitally metaphorical.” Fair enough. I hereby submit my revision:


Joyce’s prick:

Massively thick.

Please lick.


Stay tuned for the open-limbed acceptance of this poem.

Same trailblazing time, same trendsetting channel.


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