Thomas Glave, through all his talk of fiery-hot lighters and thigh sweat, really is trying to say something. The protagonists in the short stories of Whose Song? and Other Stories—who, more often than not, are gay African-Americans, like their creator—stumble around in hells of their own making, their souls crumbling in a torrent of self-loathing and hypocritical macho posturing. Though often matted in syntax that would make William Burroughs’ eyebrows leap, Glave’s portrayals of trauma caused by mendacity and intolerance are powerful enough to grab any reader. Trust Harry Belafonte, who called Whose Song? “as important to this century’s body of literature as Kafka’s Metamorphosis was to the last.” Haul your ears on over to hear Glave read at 8 p.m. at American University’s Butler Pavilion Board Room, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Free. (202) 885-2973. (John Metcalfe)