I'd like to think that my involvement with The Lineup started something like this: We were all in a cinematic holding cell one night, after each of us was hauled in on one charge or another (mine might be, say, indecent exposure), and we're all grimy, beat-up, redolent, but somehow we start talking about poetry. Suddenly the idea for the chapbook came up, and we plotted and schemed, doing a bloodswear right there and then (using an unconfiscated paper clip to prick our fingers), then later we met in dark alleys, Irish pubs, and tea houses to work out the details, and that's how The Lineup happened, apropos of nothing.
But, in actuality, I knew Gerald So from his contributions to the silly, satirical web site AsininePoetry.com I edit. And he knew I was interested in crime fiction from a contribution I made to the mag he edited, Thrilling Detective. So, when he asked me to be a co-editor, a consigliere, if you will, on a chapbook on crime poetry, I was intrigued. Very intrigued.
Crime poetry is an interesting and unsung sub-genre of poetry. I thought, with all the writers we both knew, it could be a nice haul, a cool compilation of hard-boiled verse I'd be happy to have my name associated with. Something worth doing time for. What the hell?
But who was So, really, and who were his partners in crime? I decided to do some, ahem, detective work. G, I knew, edited Thrilling Detective, and was scarily prolific. Just check out the credits on his blog. I knew and liked his wry, melancholy poetry, sure, but I found and enjoyed his short story ''Call Me Cupid,'' which has lovely shades of Spillane.
But I didn't know the other two Jakes from Adam. I did some legwork and found Anthony Rainone's biting noir story ''Power of the Gods'' and genuinely liked it. Bagley, I found was apparently known for being grouchy, which I admired and was sympathetic with, and I loved his mean little story ''In the Ditch.''
So these were the mugs I was throwing in with. Good. They obviously knew their way around. It felt good to be along on the caper with them. I just hoped I'd be able to my carry my weight. One funny fact I should add that might be of interest: I've yet to meet any of these good fellas in person. It's all been a machine-gun round of e-mails and postings. I hope one day soon, before a reading and such, we get to huddle around a table in a dark Italian restaurant, maybe in the Bronx, whatever, checkerboard tablecloth, and commiserate and collaborate over alcohol and garlic bread, all the while nervously watching each other, itchy to see who'll go to the john first.