Recently I stood in a crowded Chinatown basement while a handsome, gray-haired man in a suit read a prose poem entitled “Second Date Idea.” It begins:

I want to chain you to a pipe. Stop taking birth control. Move into my sweaty apartment. Let go of your possessions. Your pets. I’ll ladle water down your gullet. Sop up your waste. You’ll live off fruits I baby-bird down your throat as I impregnate you again and again. Build a bunker underground for our hundreds of offspring. With whom I’ll also breed.

I craned around to peruse the audience, mostly people in their twenties and thirties, decked out in fashionable red-state mufti. This was the downtown set of the 2020s, with its notorious appetite for transgression. How were they taking this guy? Some of the men were laughing and grinning; I didn’t notice any women who were. The guy in question is the notorious internet author Delicious Tacos, who has been blogging since 2012 and whose self-published books have racked up impressive sales numbers and hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon. An interview with Tacos in Countere magazine is prefaced with the assertion that his works are “consistently in the top 1% of book sales.” One thing I can say for sure is that Tacos had been on my radar since long before the reading. Somehow, despite not having a publisher, his work manages to reach the people who find his provocations interesting.