If My Book: Beer-Breath Kisses, Damon McKinney

Welcome to another installment of If My Book, the Monkeybicycle feature in which authors compare their recently released books to weird things. This week Damon McKinney writes about Beer-Breath Kisses, his new collection of flash prose out from Belle Point Press.

If Beer-Breath Kisses were a mall, it would be the 16th Street mall in Denver, during the late ‘90s. Where the homeless kids harassed passersby for change, “so we can get drunk and play in traffic,” all with smiles on their faces. 

If Beer-Breath Kisses were a statue, it would be that bear standing outside the pawnshop in Mannford, Oklahoma. What makes this bear special depends on the day; it could be wearing a hat or holding an umbrella. While they may seem innocent accessories, to those “in the dope game,” they’re signals, notifications, signs. The goods are ready for pickup and the cash needs to be collected. 

If Beer-Breath Kisses were a rock, it would be found on a secluded beach, never touched by a human hand. Until one day when you come across it, and pick it up, caress it, feel its heft, and notice the cracks, crevices, the odd bulges along the face. So, you take it home with you. Once there, you wash it off and pat it dry, to get a better look at it, under a light. You begin to carefully chip away at the surface. The whir of a Dremel fills your workspace as you remove the unnecessary material. As you work, the shape of a long dead crab—extinct to be exact—is revealed. The claws, legs, and top of the shell are now visible. Thanks to you for uncovering what no one else knew was out there. 

Damon McKinney is an Indigenous author currently residing in northeast Arkansas. He has a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. He’s a member of the Sauk and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. His body of work is found on various online literary magazines. He is the former managing editor for Emerge Literary Journal, former contributing editor for Barren Magazine, and former fiction editor for Likely Red Press. He’s been married for twenty-one years to his wife, Sara, and together they have two children. Follow him on Twitter at @DamonMckinney76.

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