Mud People, No. 10

Mud People, No. 10 (2019). House paint on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

“I’m not like my brother,” he muttered, “I don’t sing when I’m drunk.” In fact, he didn’t sing at all, and he didn’t drink much, certainly not enough to get drunk, not since those days in his twenties when he tried to keep up with their father. His eyes squinted when he thought of it, from pain referred through the ages, the recollected burning of shiners. Their father always wanted to fight when they were drinking, not fight everyone, mind you, or anyone in particular, excepting him, his kid that was trying to be his drinking buddy, the one closest to his cocked fist. They were cold, he remembered, the father’s hands when they landed. Somehow cold, possibly from the succession of beer bottles and rock glasses they held prior to commencement of fisticuffs. That split second freeze on his eyes and the punches connected, before the residual burn and swelling amidst the dizzying fall to the floor. What moments! Like the spray of a rushing stream before it takes one under and down, down into the familiar, the darkness, the escape. Oblivious to the father blows and the father epithets and father spittle raining upon the shirt already damp with whiskey.

Their father was dead before the kid brother took up drinking like the old man. Long fearing for him, the big brother steered his sibling away from violence, instead teaching him to sing.


-Danny Grosso




Mud People, No. 9

Mud People No. 9 (2019). House paint on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Can-I-gettaCan-I-gettaCan-I-getta; that’s what he says, or sort of sings to himself, over and over, faster and faster as the afternoon slides forward. The melody is disjointed, not exactly familiar, even to him, but still enormously pleasing – a stress reducer. Like so many of his habits, the quickening staccato-shot toward an unreachable crescendo that would drive others insane, instead works to steady him, make him feel like himself. The old boot that he is. Old and worn in, not out. The bump and scar on his shin where his hammer strike missed the bumper he was detaching. The heaving chest that grew ever so slightly with each moment of adulthood. The crazy mind that spins out songs and exclamations all day in bursts of glee, about penguins and hot rods, donuts and trailer parks. Eh-eh-eh, Eh-eh-eh… he’s off on another tangent – a car racing downtown, 20 miles in 20 minutes, in traffic. Better use the shoulder. Caaaaaan-I-gettaCan-I-gettaCan-I-getta…


-Danny Grosso