My Catapult essay “Let Me Pass Away”: When Your Mother Blames You For Your Cancer Diagnosis

“My mother assumed I must have done something to bring a rare blood cancer upon myself.”


“Let me pass away, nobody bother you, my mother texted after yet another of our phone arguments.

She blamed me for my cancer.

She also blamed the ghosts of the victims of 9/11. She blamed the fact that I’d worked in Lower Manhattan for two years, inhaling all those thirteen-year-old fumes from the fallen Twin Towers. She blamed my urban “lifestyle” of eating out at restaurants. She blamed my daring to leave the Bay Area suburbs where I grew up. She blamed my wife’s preference for turning up the heat in the winter. Buoyed by the infallible teachings of her favorite TV medical practitioner, Dr. Oz, she blamed my diet. She assumed I must have done something to bring a rare blood cancer, myelodysplastic syndrome, upon myself.”

Read the rest at Catapult

“Make American Loitering Great Again #magla” My interview with FLAPPERHOUSE is up.

“Leland Cheuk is a big part of the Flapperhouse family: he has performed at three of our readings, and contributed three excellent flash fictions to our Summer 2017 issue (including “Vote For Arnie,” which we posted last week). He has also contributed work to fine publications like Salon, Catapult, Kenyon Review, and Prairie Schooner, and has written wonderful books like LETTERS FROM DINOSAURS and THE MISADVENTURES OF SULLIVER PONG. Leland recently exchanged emails with our managing editor Joseph P. O’Brien about his writing, as well as generation gaps, the universal appeal of Haruki Murakami, and the potential economic necessity of polyamory.”

Read the rest here.

My flash fiction “Vote for Arnie” up at FLAPPERHOUSE

“HI, I’M ARNIE CHANK, FOUR-TERM SENATOR of our great state of M—. This presidential primary season has been marred by the usual cynicism and incessant criticism of our federal government and its waning ability to solve the problems of the American people. There’s gridlock in Washington. Partisan rancor is at levels we’ve never seen. I get it. You get it. Hell, the UFOs get it. And I admit that, on many of the average of ninety-four days per year I’ve actually shown up to work to represent the great people of The Urchin State, I’ve been part of the problem, not the solution.

But today, I’d like to send a message to the American voter. Hear me now for words will neither be minced nor julienned.

I have come to help you take our country back…in time.”

Read the rest at FLAPPERHOUSE



PONG on The Rumpus list of books re: corrupt families like #trump with Attenberg, Franzen, Bender, Diaz…and the Bible

“This week, America got a glimpse at the depths of the Trump family’s depravity. In summary: Donald Trump Jr. tried to collude with the Russians, failed, and then failed to cover his tracks. His father (our president) tweeted that it’s “the greatest Witch Hunt [sic] in political history.” Meanwhile, Ivanka has her own problems to contend with but is headed out of town with her husband, and sister Tiffany is living it up abroad.

It’s all so laughably awful, but for the fact that, you know, the actual fate of our Republic is at risk. As we wait for this latest crisis-slash-scandal to shake out, here is a list of great books about terrible families.”

Read the rest of the list here.