Literature Review of Simpler Times

By Liam Strong

classic story of girl meets boy meets non-boy meets world. classic complications, tensions, sex scenes. classic story of neutral earth. classic vibes in classic towns with classic neon. classic story about pre-transition child stealing cigarettes for his mother from Admiral Tobacco. he’s classically cute, he’s funny, he’s dying. classic fable about two metaphors being the same emotional height. classic story of the monster devouring its sibling, then an entire village. classic story of sherpa-lined attitude, opposite sexes with ample similarity. classic story of the gender-bending liquid metal Terminator who disintegrates in a bath of molten steel. classic story of faggots burning on Turner Classic Movies. classic story of giving no context & receiving zero commentary. Ramones in Russia somewhere beyond the background, cake on the lower lip, Alicia Silverstone in Clueless but also not—all classic narrative details. classic husband thievery story, classic synonyms for facade in every story. a distant father in the apartment complex next door yearns for when kids liked classic stories, required reading in school. classic stories—like death having very little to do with death. classic stories such as Macbeth, Freddie Mercury, The Fault in Our Stars, Macbeth. classically iconic, the protagonist functions as their own antagonist. classic stories don’t involve so much politics. classic stories on pre-existing conditions & not so much speculation, deliberation. in classic stories, the reader is not supposed to see themselves in the mirror of the page. in classic stories, queerness is easily defined. in classic stories, the dead stay dead as long as need be.


Liam Strong (they/them) is a queer neurodivergent straight edge punk writer who has earned their BA in writing from University of Wisconsin-Superior. They are the author of the chapbook Everyone's Left the Hometown Show (Bottlecap Press, 2023). You can find their poetry and essays in Vagabond City and new words {press}, among several others. They are most likely gardening and listening to Bitter Truth somewhere in Northern Michigan. Find them on Instagram/Twitter: @beanbie666

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