Forrest Armstrong - The hiphop lovechild of Burroughs and Dali: the plot is a graffiti mural of military androids, mad gurus and ectoplasmic DJs

Forrest Armstrong, Asphalt Flowerhead (Crossing Chaos Enigmatic Ink, 2009)

"A picaresque movement in a nameless city. An America engaged in a propaganda-war, determined to clog drug-flow from the Netherlands and the rubble of a broken city on the opposite shore of the Atlantic. The youth who dream in the face of nightmares, who explore themselves with chemicals with sad paint with jail cells with institutions with a belief in something bigger than the flesh that holds them and strong to the constant symphony of junky poetics, melancholy."

"Tarmac toerag? Concrete conundrum? Forrest Armstrong’s written a book. Yeah – you remember them – not the ones you sit in front of while media whore clones babble mindless shit about other media whores – I’m on about the other ones. The ones where you have to do the work – y’know - turn pages, read the words, reflect... it’s time to get your cerebellum on yo!
“The hip hop lovechild of William S. Burroughs and Salvador Dali. The language is poetic and tangled, the plot a graffiti mural of military androids, mad gurus, and ectoplasmic DJs.” (The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction)
Asphalt Flowerhead is a novel about the underground mind in America. It begins with an illegitimate nightclub getting busted by the police and follows those arrested as they try to resume their lives after jail - some through fighting back against the system or pursuit of transcendence, and some through a submission of self to drug addiction and apathy. While America fights a propaganda-war against drug traders, the streets continue to dream in the face of nightmares, and the youth grow strong to the constant symphony of junky poetics." -

"Asphalt Flowerhead fits nicely into the mental-work category. It’s not like a book at all, but a combination of sci-fi outer space films and the latest video-games realities that step off the screen and pull you into their worlds.... When you start reading fasten your irreality-belt and get ready for a never-before mind-space voyage!" - Small Press Review

"There aren't many writers, apart from Milton and Dante, who have such energy and invention, and ease of execution. This novel is tremendous, virtuosic and beautiful. Forrest Armstrong has vast talent." - Tom Bradley

"I like to think I have reached a state where I can observe the world from a detached location, somewhere near the clouds. I write surrealism because I think in the abstract we are closest to truth. Everything divine is surreal. I make enough money to get to whatever comes next but no more. I am writing to give you all I have felt, and nothing else - I am a vehicle and I am trying to bring my visions to the world, however I can." - Forrest Armstrong

"With sandwiches going at twenty dollars a pop (according to one disgruntled online reviewer), it seems likely the bards all have tenure. How would they react to their franchised enclave being invaded by a penniless kid from the rough part of Boston who dropped out of high school in 2007? And what if this youngster, making his entrance--which is to say creating his point of ingress--reached out an unwrinkled, unarthritic, yet masterful forefinger and caused the Somerville bakery wall to melt like sour cream on an unfrosted Jewish doughnut?
Of course, after recovering from their shock at his means of making the scene, the Bagel Bards, being poets, would embrace the beautiful boy and buy him a fifteen dollar latte, in unconscious hopes that the dairy content might speed the day when he no longer shames everyone by looking so god-damned good--for he is impossibly young. The lad could be Hugh Fox's great-grandson, if this nosh pit were languishing among the savage Latter-Day Saints in the unincorporated municipality of Panguitch, Utah, instead of metropolitan Massachusetts.
As it is, he's Bostonian in the same way that V. Ulea is Odessit: not just in spirit but bodily as well (a duality unacknowledged by more than one of our seven authors). This enigmatic Keats, this chaotic Rimbaud, is none other than Forrest Armstrong. And in his unjaded newness he starts from assumptions which his elders must hypertensively huff and puff to arrive at. Here he is penetrating a storefront in his beloved native city -
They stop short and turn into an alley. Dead end.
"This the place?" Bill asks.
Nail holds up a finger and smiles. He strokes the cracks in the brick wall and it starts to radiate like a blacklight. Bricks melt and drip down the wall in embryonic sludge. An opening emerges--marijuana smoke billows out like steam from an exhaust pipe--Nail dips his shaved head inside and drops through the void like a fetus. Bill follows and the hole closes.
In the city, the only trace left behind is a weed cloud dissipating into the stars
. - Asphalt Flowerhead
Forrest Armstrong bursts in upon these places of commerce so handily. Dare we hope this native Atlantic Seaboarder will one day pull a similar Joshua on the East Coast Literary Establishment's walls, and make them, too, melt with a flick of his godling digit? Gone, fucking finally, will be the bloated Brahmin days when American lit's "sense of place" was determined by a Beantown hack like William Dean Howells. Coincidentally in the very Gay Ninety which Hugh Fox evokes above, Howells, author of that stupid abortion about Silas Whoozit, forsook the twats at the Atlantic Monthly for an effectively identical clutch of twats to the southwest. In schlepping his fat ass the 190 miles from Boston to New York, the equivalent of two thirds of the distance between the real and unreal Odessas, he is said to have "brought the literary center of the country with him," thereby, presumably, effecting a huge epochal discontinuity in the Annals of American Literature. And then, a hundred or so years after the fact, the Atlantic Monthly itself dogs William Dean Howell's steps. The Odessos and Odessa of our own Argonautic coast become quantumly entangled. And, as I sit here in my Nagasakian position-momentum, I wouldn't give a fuck if the resulting rend in time-space sinks both of them under a mile of submolecular silt.
Long before email and the web made it obvious, Milton knew how wrongheaded this fetishization of locality is-
...horror and doubt distract
His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir
The Hell within him, for within him Hell
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
One step no more than from himself can fly
By change of place
A more or less recent fiction editor of the abovementioned overblown ass-rag once proclaimed there was "not a single good writer in America" who didn't send his best work, "first and immediately" to the following Cartesian coordinates, from which all unsolicited manuscripts weren't re-snailed unread unless accompanied by an SASE (can't you just taste the mollusk mucus on the backs of those stamps? Can you even remember the doomed relic called postage?): Atlantic Monthly ,745 Boylston Street , Boston, Massachusetts, 02116
-as in:
...on Boylston Street a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling.
Gasp and genuflect at the unmitigated glamour! What a privilege to have one's saliva regurgitated back in one's face from such a lofty fucking flyspeck on Maya's map! This fabled curb sounds like the perfect place to squat, trousers about ankles, expose one's own boils and take a big steaming, fly-attracting catharsis. It's the second most popular Back-Easty place one fantasizes about going up in smoke, in dreams whose skies are filled with jumbo jets that have been laden with nukes.
Hiroshima does indeed come to the mind of the present reviewer, who coincidentally spends his current incarnation commuting between there and Naga-etcetera. This undulant resident of those burgs, each boiled as any bagel, daily walks past rubbly remnants memorializing walls that, with the help of fuddy-duddy Einstein, not glam Heisenberg, really did melt and radiate black light and ooze Armstrongian embryonic sludge. We proper Boom Towners don't need to resort to commercial photographs, as Lowell did in his cushy Back Bay. And it's Forrest Armstrong's Boston, and his only, which we would never wish Hiroshimized--though it's Forrest's that is more than resilient enough to withstand any number of apocalypses, the most drastic of which must be the prodigious lad's own fictionalization of the place, as here -
The city shudders when the only familiar face disappears. Leaves blow in circles overhead like razors. Streets feel like massive corpse with weathered gray skin as Nail cuts across Landsdown...
And here--
Streets dripping halogenous and running off the frame, revealing (space) at his feet, neon screens skeletal in the (sky), architecture ignited and glowing hot blue like laboratory flames. Time runs jagged like cut-up film and the building glow burns out like an overcharged light bulb. I am alone in this city as I am alone in my head...
And, yes, by the knotted bowels of Christ, here--
The city at night: a thousand molten steel skeletons with sedated fire burning in ribcage, lungs and skull. A calm hush over the streets, blue gloss the stars, tires to cement and car sounds but everything seems to come from a distance as if Nail, Bill and Luis walk in sealed-off reality glitch--the world around them kept out by nothing but a paper-thin sheet of fog...
Leave your Euclidian space; quit your Quantum, too. Fuck Schrodinger and his house pet as unambiguously as they can be fucked in a multiverse where a cat's ass is no doubt interchangeable with the dewclaw on its elbow. Stuff like Armstrong's nukes all pseudoscientism to nothingness. This is not semi-gelled abstraction, but concrete composition - Asphalt as well, in the molten Miltonic sense. Armstrong turns the walls of all our complacent nosh pits to Asphaltick slime, such as sizzled from the Infernal Bridge -
Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell...
...the work by wondrous art
Pontifical, a ridge of pendant rock
Over the vexed abyss...
And, while we're speaking of vexed abysses, of spaces nuked to nothingness, of an art every bit as wondrous as Forrest Armstrong's, let's just unzip all the way. Call in the wrecking ball and turn all four walls of that bakery to embryonic sludge. Send starchy food items flopping everywhere. Rest assured that Crossing Chaos Enigmatic Ink will maintain a presence on the disintegrated premises.
Were you aware that every demolition site in every town, in every Odessa, in each Boston and all Hiroshimas, is a sculpture?" - Tom Bradley
Forrest Armstrong, ed., Avant Garde for the New Millennium (Raw Dog Screaming Press, 2009)

“I began this anthology to dispel the illusion that we are in a famine age of literature and the result surprised even me in how powerfully it shattered that misconception.”

"Words are slippery things and though we have bridled them with grammar, feel at ease in the presence of a common turn of phrase, they have not been completely tamed. And there are still writers who are both brave and foolhardy enough to let words out of their cages, feed them despite the signs that clearly state not to and prod them with sticks to see what they might do.
Editor Forrest Armstrong has gone in search of these experimenters, alchemists of verbiage, who wrestle with words in dark places and return with something newly minted, transmogrified and fresh for us to puzzle over.
Avant-garde is by definition work on the front line of art, and I accepted every single piece of writing in this anthology because of how fresh it is, how differently the writer approaches his or her art."

Gigantic • Steve Aylett
The Reformation • Kek-W
Transcript at the Close of a Life Cycle • Forrest Armstrong
Performance Equations • Thomas Wiloch
Fist World • Carlton Mellick III
Looking for a Name • Kevin L. Donihe
Ecphoriae • Forrest Aguirre
Perpetuity • D. Grîn
Moral Turpitude, Fella • John Edward Lawson
This Town • Mike Philbin
A Cock Smiled • Richard Polney
Istigkeit • Amy Christmas
From Click • Kristopher Young
Intermittent Movement • Joe L. Murr
Alchemies in Orbit • Robert Chrysler
From Degenerescence • James Chapman
Anti-Music • Prakash Kona
Book 24: Humble & So Humble • Tim Miller
Poems • Cameron Pierce
Poems • D.D. Wildblood
Living for a Nuclear Tomorrow • Forrest Armstrong
Poems • Stephen M. Wilson
Death-in-Life Love Song • Kevin L. Donihe
Items #6600-6617 & 0930 • murmurists
Poems • John Moore-Williams
The Nikkeo • Lynn Strongin
Poems • Cocaine Jesus
Poems • Jeff Mock

“Be careful! If books had teeth, Forrest Armstrong’s Avant-Garde for the New Millennium would chew you up and spit you out just for the sake of amusement. More a bestiary than an anthology, Avant-Garde for the New Millennium contains some of the meatiest, most carnivorous fiction being produced in the English language. These are not stories for those who prefer petite truffles with extended pinky. These stories will break your pinky off and stuff it into their mouths and then come after the rest of the arm. These writers bring meals, not finger food. Eat this book before it eats you!” —Eckhard Gerdes


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