Originally from Brooklyn, New York, author, poet, playwright, and performer, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of three novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, and Nocturne Variations; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, and a children’s book, Once Upon a Time: Classic Fables Reimagined. Broken Land was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year. His debut poetry collection, Arclight, was published by Indie Blu(e) in February 2019.
BROOKLYN SLICE OF LIFE
Video recording of a reading from my novel, No Man’s Brooklyn, as part of “Italian Good Fellas Night” at SOMOS (Taos, NM).
In this scene, father and son pay a visit to Atlantic City, where gambling, drinking and storytelling play out under the flickering lights of a knotted past.
(Photo by Anthony Distefano)
UPDATE (7/9/19) — BALLAD OF THE CUCKOOS:
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With warmth and gratitude,
John Biscello is not simply a novelist and poet, but an alchemist of verses. In Arclight, Biscello captains a voyage that transcends the physical world with graceful introspection, and philosophical wonder. His reflective nature invites us to ponder our own life experiences and ideals. Arclight is a true tribute to the human heart. “I always saw the humanity behind his thick-lidded eyes, the small child,begging for a banquet of golden crumbs to appease the motherache churning in his heart and stomach. A thousand lions pitted against a studded chain smoking beer gutted gladiator, I saw that too, he, the lions, the gladiator, the arena, the smoke and booze, all of it…” from, “I See Myself”
Los Angeles, December, 1989, is when we first meet the seventeen-year-old Piers, a runaway and a savant puppeteer. Addicted to Sike, an experimental drug which promises a surrogate return to Childhood, Piers, in an act of revenge, robs a briefcase full of Sike from her dealer and flees L.A., pursued by two hit men. Hiding out in the Southwestern town of Redline, where she meets and is taken in by a man named Henry Hook, Piers is soon confronted by the buried trauma of her past.
Comprising a jigsaw synthesis of narrative, journal entries, letters, monologues, film footage, poems, photographs, and press clippings, Nocturne renders an interior world of fragments and parallels, and casts a tinted light on that neverland between dreaming and waking.
In this rogue’s tale, full of sound, fury, and surrealism, we meet Alex Fillameno, a writer who has traded in the machine-grind of New York for a bare-bones existence in the high desert town of Taos, New Mexico. Recently divorced and jobless, Fillameno has become a regular at The End of the Road, the bar where he first encounters the alluring and enigmatic D.J., a singer and musician. Drawn to her mutable sense of reality, the two begin a romance that starts off relatively normal. When D.J. initiates Alex into the realm of sexual transfiguration, however, their lives turn inside-out, and what follows is an anti-hero’s journey into a nesting doll world of masks and fragments, multiples and parallels, time-locks and trauma; a world in which reality is celluloid and what you see is never what you get.
A spectral, existential noir set against the aging irons of Coney Island and old guard lions of hip hop and silent film, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale tracks the singular odyssey of would-be sleuth and soon-to-be wordsmith, Salvatore Massimo Lunezzi. Prompted by an enigmatic phone call from a writer-friend claiming to be dead, Lunezzi launches an investigation that leads him to Ghostwriters, Inc., a company selling inspiration to struggling writers through the medium of “ghosting.” From Buster Keaton to Arthur Rimbaud, a boozy and brilliant dwarf to an enchanting femme fatale, Lunezzi is drawn deeper and deeper into the soul of story where fiction and reality inevitably converge.
It wasn’t a bad neighborhood, just coarse and ingrown, with too many nerves wired to the same frequency. Comprised of five stories and a novella, Freeze Tag takes you inside the heart of Bensonhurst, the “Little Italy” of Brooklyn. A boy teaching himself how to “disappear” as his family collapses around him; a group’s last desperate hurrah at a dive strip club; a comic book artist returning home to grieve his lost childhood love; a middle-aged woman using baby-talk to seduce her daughter’s boyfriend-these and other storylines mix concrete grit with magic realism in rendering an essential portrait of The Old Neighborhood.
More of Biscello’s work can be found on his blog