Winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition, Pilgrims: A Love Story is a book I’ve had on my stack for far too long. I bought it because of the cover. I wanted to know what this car had to do with anything. I bought it because Black Lawrence Press is an imprint of Dzanc. I bought it because I like a lot of the writers that come out of Alabama’s MFA program and so I thought I’d take a chance on T. J. Beitelman. And I’m glad I did. This book is about one of my favorite writers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and one of my favorite dreamboats, Jude Law. Someone should make this book into a short film. Man, I’d love to see this on screen.
Here is one of the early poems in the book, “The Inciting Incident,” which introduces the two to one another:
Scene: Arc d’ Triumph. Jude Law meets Gabriel Garcia Marquez, calls him Gabo. Marquez slaps the boy and calls him puta, Bitch, and they are instantly transported To a deserted island where they must listen To evangelists until they repent and kiss On the lips. A stand-off for months. Then the rainy season. The droplets, open mouths. The two men kiss like dust.