Archive for the ‘Literary Critic’ Category


June 1, 2009

(First printed in Walking Slow, Lazara Press, 1985 and translated into Dutch for Ik Heb Tien Benen, 1990)

I can’t stand books about people who don’t pay rent –
you know what I mean?
Those books where people just carry on
and never once do they pay on a mortgage or pay rent –
you know what I mean?
Then there’s the books where people don’t eat.
Movies, too.
They have this earnest or dramatic of some such
conversation over dinner which furthers the plot line
but they don’t eat.
You know what I mean?
How about books where people travel
and we’re not told how they carry their luggage?
I hate them.
I can’t follow the story
because I’m too busy trying to find out:
did they have one suitcase only?
If so, how could they pack everything in one suitcase?
If they have two or three suitcases,
how did they carry them?
Did they get a porter?
If so, how much did they pay him
and in what kind of currency?
You know what I mean?
But the worst are the books where people don’t pay rent.
You know what I mean. 

December, 1984

Copyright 2009, Helen Potrebenko. For permissions please visit