from my bookshelf: i’m losing you by bruce wagner


i’m losing you involves numerous loosely-related characters who overlap sometimes without even realizing it, living in hollywood, california. wagner’s dark sense of humor, meticulously crafted characters, and poignant messages from topics ranging from sexuality to drug abuse to AIDS, make for a truly unique story that needs to be read more than once to grasp its full effect.


“Gliding down Sunset Boulevard. Something in the road. Harpy upon him, hurls him to the ground, scattering teeth to curb like a bloody herd of mah-jongg chips. The dreaming physician ran eastward with the piggybacked cargo, necrotic hands clapped around his neck–trying not to glance  down at the wormy holes in the cuticles–apocryphal howling wind chilling him to the bone. Rounding the recurring corner and standing at recurring gate . . .”

“Locking himself in the restroom, he vomited on the descent–a septic torrent of cookies, hot fudge and shrimp, scotch and filet mignon, salad and steamed veggies, potatoes au gratin and a dozen bags of peanuts so sweet they made him shiver.”

“Aubrey was sedated so she wouldn’t panic during the MRI. They were checking for brain cysts and put you in this tunnel–she didn’t like enclosed spaces. The Valium or whatever it was let her drift; a lozenge in a cylinder, she woozily returned to the scene of old crimes.”

“A blizzard of Voices fell from range, chagrined, avalanche-buried spouses in flip phone crevasse, electromagnetic wasteland of tonal debris. Neither Alpine nor AudioVox nor Mitsubishi-Motorola could defend against unnerving fast food airwave static: recrudescent, viral, sudden and traumatic–words dropped, then whole thoughts, pledges, pacts, pleas, pleas and whispers, jeremiads–maddening overlap, commingling barked-staccato promises to reconnect swiftly decapitated: Westside loved ones morfed to scary downtown Mex, collision of phantom couples in hissing carnival bumper cars, technology cursed, torturous redial buttons pressed like doorbells during witching hour–hullo? hullo? can you hear me?–symphony of hungry ghosts begging to be let in. I’m losing you.

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