"George Bush belongs in f*cking jail"
Is This Heaven?
by Mike Palecek
From up here it kinda does, maybe seem like that.
I am waaay up here.
On the water tower.
Not on the water tower, on that walkway that goes around.
We've got one of those silver, pointed ones, not so big, not like the big, round white ones they have in Des Moines and Cedar Falls.
Ours depicts, at various times, the town name, the current graduating class, the current mayor's current girlfriend, and the current state of the local educational system via spelling acumen.
Well, I have been stationed here by the local city council to look for terrorists.
I am scanning the perimeter.
Hey, they gave me this cool pith helmet with netting, and a beeper. I get a beeper. I've tried it. It beeps.
And I've got this assistant, Jordan. He's going to be in fifth grade in the fall. He sends me up extra water on this pulley system he fixed up ...
Maybe I'm facing the wrong way, but what I see is Mrs. Van der VanDreesen pulling into the Hy-Vee lot. She's been pulling in for most of the morning. There's a special on iceberg lettuce.
And I see Jarrod van de Boom. He's driving around in the cruiser, mostly watching me.
There's most of the city council coming out of coffee at Family Table. They're not really supposed to get together like that, makes people think they're planning, making decisions outside of meetings.
They're pointing up at me. Hey, guys.
There's the spire of Saint Lucy's Catholic Church over in CreameryVille, on the other side of the corn and soybeans and the river and the dump and the national guard armory.
Well, I'll keep my eyes peeled.
Don't worry about a thing.
The perimeter is secure.
I'll let ya know if I see anything. Hasta los tacos.
And there is Lula Vander Zwaaag.
I could see a lot more if I had some binos.
Hey! Heeey, Jordan!
To see covers, more information: www.mikepalecek.com
Killing George Bush: I like KGB because it tells the forgotten story of prisoners and conspiracy theorists and people slaughtered by Bush Sr. in Panama and women and children in jail visiting rooms and other stuff.
"Well-written and imaginative."
- Danny Schechter, one of the first CNN producers
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Publish America (December 2001)
Joe Coffee's Revolution: I like Joe Coffee because it tells the truth about the Democratic Party and about farmer revolutionaries and farm kitchen tables.
"Palecek's greatest talent lies in his ability to depict the ordinariness of life. After a few chapters of Palecek's tender attention to the characters' small lives, readers will feel the same itch for revolution that the characters give into."
- Meta Hogan, Voice Of Olympia [Olympia, WA]
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Badger Books LLC (April 2003)
Twins: I like Twins because it talks about a prison burning and about the Twin Cities, which I love, and about robbing Twin Cities banks to give the money to the poor on Hennepin Ave.
*Review by Michael Wilt, Nimble Spirit Review: http://www.nimblespirit.com/html/twins_review.html
Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Badger Books LLC (October 2003)
The Last Liberal Outlaw: I like Outlaw because it talks about a reporter in a small town doing what a reporter in a small town should do, pay attention to the commas and oppose the construction of the prison near town.
"Palecek is at his best when writing about small-town America ... We haven't had a writer like this since Kurt Vonnegut was at his peak."
- Chuck Gregory, All Books and Records, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: New Leaf Books (September 15, 2004)
The Truth: I like The Truth because it was written in the run-up to the current war and was written in a rage against pre-war stupidity in Iowa. I tried to stop the war with this book. I tried to expose the lies, stuff a dish towel in Tom Brokaw's mouth to keep him from lying.
"As a professional writer and editor I want to strongly second all the positive comments for this book. In addition to its fine message, its layout and Mike's real deftness with plotting make it a great reading experience, like few books I know."
- Phil Hey, Professor of English & Writing, Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, Iowa
Publisher: New Hampshire Writers Collective
Looking For Bigfoot: I like Bigfoot because I think there is a Bigfoot and I think Bush did 9/11 and I think the CIA killed the Kennedy's, and I like baseball, a lot.
Publisher: Howling Dog Pr (November 30, 2005)
"Mike Palecek poses powerful questions. He has constructed a masterpiece in this novel. It deserves to be read. It's exhilarating and terrifying. It's realer than real."
- January Magazine
Terror Nation: I like Terror Nation because I think it would be cool to be a small town sports reporter who was put into the local mental institution for writing anti-Bush letters to the editor. And a dream of mine would be to cover Iowa sports or coach baseball and have that be good enough.
"If you haven't heard of Mike Palecek, you should have."
- Karris Golden, Waterloo-Cedar Falls [IA] Courier
"Palecek is ... a natural - or highly practiced - writer. With his rolling rhythms, everything he writes, even Charlie Johnson's brutal confinement, goes down easy."
- Russ Wellen
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Mainstay Press (April 4, 2006)
The American Dream: I like The American Dream because it's like punching America in the nose, it's like punching George W. Bush in the nose and Karl Rove in the nose. And I think those two pussies need to be punched in the nose. And it punches those ministers with American flags and dead children on their altar, and it punches my neighbor right square in the kisser for mowing his lawn and worrying about his damn lawn while we are killing children in Iraq.
Publisher: CWG Press
"Palecek is fearless, skewering religious extremism, political right wing fundamentalism, gung-ho patriotism and the use of fear to play upon the innocent...and ignorant. And it works. I finished the book in one night...but it's been in my brain ever since, like a song that won't go away...haunting."
- Marie Jones
From "The American Dream":
"Above the town, behind the post office, across the alley from the library, the sun shone down on Homeland's water tower.
It was a shaft of pure light, Jacob's Ladder, by which they could almost reach paradise.
A group of second graders looked down from the walkway, watching the burning elementary school.
They stood gripping the railings, buckets of dripping red paint and brushes at their feet, paint in their hair and on their arms and faces and clothes.
Behind them the newly painted shiny gray water tower had just received another coat: "NO WAR."
The children licked at tears.
They scrunched up their faces to try to stop crying.
Two of the children, a dark-haired boy and a blonde girl, hugged each other and then sat, bare feet dangling in mid-air, swinging.
Below them on the ground by their overturned bicycles lay their fishing poles and slingshots and straw hats.