Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

By Evan Roskos

“I hate myself yet i like Walt Whitman, the kook. constantly confident. i have to be extra confident, so I wake myself up each morning with a track of myself.”

Sixteen-year-old James Whitman has been yawping (à l. a. Whitman) at his abusive father ever considering the fact that he kicked his cherished older sister, Jorie, out of the home. James’s painful fight with nervousness and depression—along together with his ongoing quest to appreciate what resulted in his self-destructive sister’s exile—make for a heart-rending learn, yet his wild, exuberant Whitmanization of the realm and willing humorousness maintain this emotionally charged debut novel buoyant.

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Example text

Then I tied up the garbage bag. I heard Frank in the shower. Moving mechanically, I started water for coffee, did the dishes and swept the floor. Frank didn’t look at me as he passed wrapped in a towel, but when he reappeared dressed, he stood in the doorway repeating my name. I ignored him. I poured myself a coffee and sat at the table with the newspaper. ‘Look,’ Frank said. ’ I pulled the front section free. ‘Men just get erections, Ellen,’ he said. ‘We don’t have control over it. It was a coincidence I was holding Carolina.

She smells like diarrhoea. She pulls the knife to her chest and curls around it. ‘I’m going to kill myself,’ she says, but now her voice becomes happy and sweet, very different from her mean whisper in my room. A bird-song voice. She adds, ‘Call your father. Call the doctor, Ellen. Call Dr Thomas. ’ She lifts the knife, stares at it and giggles. ’ Daddy has moved out. I don’t know how to call him or the doctor. There’s a large silence. I can feel urine falling down my leg. Not a big, bathroom burst of it, but a trickle.

Congratulations,’ I said, passing one to Frank, holding out my lighter. ’ Slowly, very slowly, without registering emotion, Frank stripped the plastic off the cigar, bit its end and put it to his lips. ’ I was wobbly with happiness, though the news was still sinking in, but worried, too. Would he want it? It wasn’t exactly an accident, but it was unexpected. ‘Is that … okay? ’ Cigar fumes billowed out. I coughed and backed away. My father had smoked cigars; the smell made me ill. I swallowed hard.

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