Monday, September 29, 2014


…What a weekend.  I won’t go into it, but it was not pretty.
 …Some horrific things happened in our country and around the world, just unbelievable stuff, most of it quite tragic, such as the Oklahoma postal worker who was fired and returned to his work place and beheaded (yep) a female co-worker.
--Then there was a woman in Greece who, an hour after being buried, was heard screaming in her casket.  By the time they’d dug her out, she was dead.  An investigation is being launched.

--Then there was this:
Two young Amish girls who were abducted from their vegetable stand in Oswegatchie, New York, by a couple.  The girls were kept in a cage and repeatedly abused for months.

--And this
For letting down her family's honor, a 12-year-old girl in China was killed and cut into pieces by her father, who then took the grisly pieces across the street to a public bathroom and dumped them in a public bathroom, police said.
The dad in Wenzhou City said he strangled his daughter because she was doing poorly at school, according to authorities.

--And this:
A 5-year-old boy tested positive for cocaine after sheriff’s deputies in California busted up his parents’ drug empire, authorities said.
The little boy was sitting next to a half-pound bag of blow in the back seat of his parents’ car on Friday when Ventura County Sheriff’s Deputies pounced on the Sylmar couple, authorities said.
The tot’s dad, 31-year-old Marco Cuevas, is accused of dealing coke and guns for months before a narcotics task force brought him down.
He and his 29-year-old wife, Sandy, loaded up the car on Friday and headed out for a family drug deal, leaving the bulk of the coke in the back seat with the five-year-old, authorities said.
Cuevas was carrying another couple ounces of cocaine, and his wife had $10,000 in drug money when they were arrested, authorities said.
They confiscated several pounds of marijuana, hundreds of pills, $75,000 in cash, 16 guns and nearly 3,000 rounds of ammunition, authorities said.
The couple lived in the house with their three kids, and Sandy Cuevas is pregnant with a fourth child, stunned neighbors said.
Preliminary tests showed the 5-year-old had cocaine in his system, deputies said.
Sandy Cuevas’ sister claimed there was no way the boy was high.
“No he wasn’t,” she told reports, adding her sister was “a perfect mom.”

…Holy Hell.  There are a lot more evil people in the world than you would think.

…But on a couple of happy notes, I saw these:

 “Some people say that dreaming gets you nowhere in life. But I say you can't get anywhere in life without dreaming.”  Rose Zadra

“I think that how one lives is more important than how long one lives. So I don't feel too bad.”  -32 Year old South Korean cancer victim Lim Yoon-taek

“Let’s do what we love, and do a lot of it.” Marc Jacobs

Friday, September 26, 2014


…For whatever reason, a lot of people’s pets died today.  Or so they’re saying on Facebook.  I understand how sad that must be.  I’d be miserable if anything ever happened to my sweet little Lucy.  Still, I don’t think I’d share the news.  Seems like a pity grab.

…I live in the boondocks (now there’s a word you don’t hear anymore).  The nearest grocery store (or food store, as they say on the east coast) is fifteen minutes away.  All the phone and power lines are above ground, sagging from slanted poles and there are thousands of old trees which occasionally (especially in winter when it snows, or during windstorms) crack off limbs which in turn fall on the power lines taking the power out with them.
That was the case this week and last week two.  Outages this early are pretty rare.
Yesterday the internet went out.
Sometimes there’s something to be said for living through an outage.  I’d find myself still flipping he light switches, which just goes to show how a person can take having power for granted.
When the kids were still here and we’d have an outage we’d light candles and get out the lanterns and play board games.  The kids actually looked forward to it.
Yesterday, with no internet, I wrote a ton of poetry.
Here are two (the first is all true and the first half of the second is true)


So much to say about the taste of a strawberry
How it takes me back to age nine
My first time working the fields
With all the Hispanics
Knees on the hard dirt and rocks
For hours
Clipping berries from stems
Picking as fast as I could
Filling flat after flat
Until the heat broke one hundred
And the foreman called it quits for the day
While we lined up like prisoners
Around the back of a pickup
Handing over our punch cards which showed
How much we’d picked
And getting cash for it
Bills discolored from berry juice
Looking blood-stained
The same way my fingers would until Fall
Me not caring one bit
Because back at home
In our trailer
As my parents went at each again
And my brothers turned up the TV
To override all the screaming
I lay in my bunk
Thinking about the rest of the summer in the fields
And the summers after that
About how much I’d pick
How much I’d make
Feeling I could be rich
And maybe
Just maybe
Make a new life for myself someday


I remember the day my brother got out of prison
Dad driving his ’63 Cadillac convertible with its chrome-tipped fins
The top down though it was dusk and windy and bitter cold
My step-brother in the back seat next to me
Yelling, “Floor it,” while Dad obliged
Though he’d been drinking earlier
Mom riding shotgun
Wearing a headscarf like her idol Grace Kelly
And cat-eyed glasses
Cigarette smoldering between her lips
Me wondering how it would feel to kill someone
Even on accident
Then being locked up all those years with nothing to do
But wrestle with shame
We’d switched towns after it had happened
But when my girlfriend found out
She broke things off
Others knew soon
I was a killer’s brother
And school was torture
At the prison gate we waited for hours
Until near midnight
He strolled out
“Aren’t you even going to give me a hug?” he said
“I don’t bite,” he said
I never did ask him how it felt
What it was like to be locked up
But tonight after I pick up my Dad from the same place
I’ll make sure he tells me how
It was for him  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


…There’s something about Wednesday that I love, though I can’t quite put my finger on the reason why.

…It’s been a mostly unproductive two weeks.  I need to get motivated.  Probably need more coffee as well.

…I had these up last week:

…Here is a mix of things I like that you might also like:

And this song, one of my faves (lyrics below):

"We Might Fall"
We should go to sleep now, You should stay the night
I'll be up to watch the world around us live and die
Lying on the grass now, dancing for the stars
Maybe one will look on down and tell us who we are
We might fall, we might fall, we might fall, Hallie we might fall
We might fall, we might fall, we might fall, Hallie we might fall
I could join the circus, and you could sell your hair
I could learn to walk the line or learn to train the bears
Tell me are we crazy, did you like the cold
Tell me are you comfortable if comfortable at all
We might fall, we might fall, we might fall, Hallie we might fall
We might fall, we might fall, we might fall, Hallie, we might fall
Now that we are older, I remember you. Reaching out to show me all the things that I must do
Now that we are older, I remember youth, now that we are close to death and close to finding truth
We might fall, we might fall, we might fall, Hallie we might fall
We might fall, we might fall, we might fall, Hallie we might fall
Sha-la la, sha-la-la, sha-la-la oh hey now
Sha-la-la, sha-la-la, sha-la-la,
oh hey we might fall, hey now, fall

Monday, September 22, 2014


Nothing to say but here’s some words from Facebook people”

I wish I was as wise and as wittyas my Facebook friends who had these things to say:

People, please don't do meth. There are no worms in your skin, and short of detox, there's no medicine for what ails you. Go home. We're closed.

The cat has a stuffed penis (with cock ring) catnip toy. Of course Ben's friend brings it to me, smirking. "This looks like a butt!" He declares, pointing at the balls. I am the best mom.

So this just happened. Police came knocking on my door, asking for me. My landlord called them to speak with me about my "unsupervised and out of control children" which they have suddenly received a list of grievances about signed by 10 - TEN - neighbors! Every little incident from the past three years whether it involved my children or not - lumped on me. All a week after the neighbor showed up yelling at my door, cussing me out because my son aimed a laser pointer towards her and a cat and dropped a note from the window asking her if it was her cat let loose outside. For this, so begins a witch hunt. Grab your pitchforks and torches, the B­­­­­­­_________’ s are on the loose! So how am I feeling Facebook, appalled, saddened and frustrated. I am so not where I belong.

THIS JUST HAPPENED:i was walking with a case of beer, and the box handle ripped, and a bottle fell onto the street and shattered. looking around, i noticed a couple on their porch, and not wanting to leave the broken glass i asked if i could use a broom. they said yes, and as the gal went to get the broom i handed the dude two of the remaining beers as a thank you for them being so chill and helpful. then, after i swept up the glass and put it in their dumpster, dude gave me two mugs for being so considerate.
In portland we’re using booze and pot like chickens and goats, except we have them, too, because it’s portland. 

oh every conversation you have is about drugs, you are clearly an interesting, progressive, and liberated human being.
A drag queen just compared me to Nicole Kidman. Fucking swoon cake

I'm still pissed off that you can't get steel wool anymore

in portland, we're using booze and pot like chickens for goats, except we have those too, because it's portland. two nugs for being so considerate.
I don't think it's complicated—don't hit, beat or abuse women, children, or animals. Be kind to each other, in every possible way.

i was told this in class and i think it's true but i could be wrong: gillette wanted to sell razors to women, i think maybe it was during a war and men were gone but i'm not sure maybe they just realized they could double their market, so they made up a myth that european women shave their underarms to encourage american women to be similarly elegant (bc of concept that europe is naturally elegant.) of course, it is a famous cultural trope now that european women do NOT shave, so this is all pretty funny. basically everything you do is arbitrary and was invented to sell you shit.

Friday, September 19, 2014



      Tight Rope

            I had never picked up a hitchhiker, let alone a pregnant one, and now as we drive outside of the Seattle city limits with the Olympics fading fast over my shoulder, she opens the glove compartment, rooting around with a familiarity that’s both startling and alluring.
            “Hey, what’s this?  You pack a gun?  I didn’t take you for the type.”
            It was actually my father’s pistol.  Dad was always trying to make me more masculine.  He bought me work boots and toolsets even though I am a law clerk and write poetry.
            “You probably shouldn’t play around with that,” I say.
            “You’re kind of a nervous nelly, aren’t you?”
            My fiancé had just called off our engagement.  She claimed I had no pluck.  I had to look up the word, but after I had, I realized she was likely correct.
            This girl, the pregnant one, is maybe twenty.  Maybe.  She wears a plaid shirt unbuttoned too far and she might be wearing a bra but I can’t see anything except skin and valleys, shadows and curves.  Her eyes go wider when she spots me staring.
            “Might want to stay focused on the road there, chief.”
            I have four sisters, tomboys all of them.  I was the youngest, Dad’s only boy.  But we all knew I was a disappointment from the get-go.  Even now, Mother is convinced I’m gay.
            “Seriously, you should put that pistol back.”
            “Pistol.  I like that word.”
            “Yeah, why’s that.”
            “Pistil, stamen.  Like biology.  Like sex.”
            I swallow, louder than I want.
            “You ever do it in a moving car?”
            A croak jumps out of my throat.  “That would be extremely unsafe.”
            “Don’t you ever do anything dangerous, hmm?  You ever lived on the edge?  Even close to it?”
            I want to tell her a fantastic story about me being daring, and borderless but I can’t think of one.  “I used to skinny dip in the neighbor’s pool.”
            “But I’ll bet it was only at night.  And you were alone.  And you probably only did it once, and not for more than a couple of minutes.”
            Had she been there, seen me?
            She drags the snout of the gun between her cleavage, rubbing up and down, doing it slow, in jerky spasmodic movements.  Her breathing has changed, gone deep now, gotten spicy.
            I switch the heater to AC.
            “How far along are you?” I ask just to have something to say.  My mouth is so dry the words feel like hair balls.
            She smooths the gun chamber across her belly, sighing a little.  “Seven months.”
            She nods, her eyes glassy, her mouth parted, lips glossy with sticky saliva webbed like a tightrope between the upper and lower one.
            “I think you’re really handsome.  Hot.”
            “No you don’t.”
            She nods again and the web of saliva pops in two.  “I want to have sex with you.”
            “Are you nuts?”
            “You’re driving me crazy.”
            “I just picked you up.  Ten minutes ago.”
            “I know.  That’s the nutty part about it.”
            It is hard to breathe.  The air’s too thick, as if it’s filled with sawdust or gnats.
            She licks the rim of the gun barrel, her tongue a slithering white worm.
            “Please don’t do that.”
            “You want me to stop?”
            “You do?”
            “I’m trying to drive a motor vehicle.”
            She looks down at my lap.  “That’s not all you’re doing.”
            My eyes start to water.  I hold my breath down the same way you drown someone in a shallow pool.  I’m afraid that I might combust.  My knees knock against the instrument console.  My jaw is flexed so tight I can feel one of my molars is cricking.
            When I look over, I see that she has half the gun inside her mouth, simulating a motion I’ve seen in films.  Or maybe she isn’t simulating.  Maybe she’s getting off.
            She says, “Yes.”  He
r voice is hot and high, perfect.
            She says, “Yes,” again.  One hand steers the pistol in and out and in and out of her mouth while the other hand massage her swollen stomach, the a breast, finding a nipple.
            “Holy hell,” I say.
            I am on the summit Snoqualmie Pass, at the section that always gave me the willies because the road runs right to the edge of a sheer overhang, no guard rail in sight.  I’ve been afraid of heights my whole life, even more so after Dad made me go on a hot air balloon with him at age eight, the to the top of The Space Needle where he goaded me into spitting over the edge.
            The girl is in a trance.  Drool spills down the gun metal, glistening on the trigger, pooling in her the crux of her palm, sliding down her wrist like a foamy slug.
            Her eyes inch up, latched onto mine like a pair of bronze manacles.  My legs twitch.  “Do you want me?”
            I do.  I do.  I want her.  I want her desperately.  I tell so.
            She smiles just before swallowing the gun nearly to the very hilt, gagging, then slowly withdraw it.  I’ve seen snake before, eating whole mice.  I’ve seen other things as well.
            “Do you really want me?”
            “I told you I do.”
            “How much do you want me?”
            “Come on, I’m dying here.”
            “How much?”
            “I’d do anything.”
            “Yes.  Anything.”
            “Prove it.”
            When I look at the instrument panel, I see that I’m pushing ninety.  Out the window the air is vacant except for our vehicle.  I don’t know exactly when I’d driven off the edge of the mountain, but I know that I’m flying now, that there’s no going back, that I’ve finally doing something brave or foolish.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014


…Hey Wednesday, you’re looking kind of sexy.

So I have this up at Eunoia Review today:

…Sex and money and other stuff

-57% of people ages 24 to 30 had no sex in the past year.

-In 1988, about half of boys 15 to 17 were having sex.  By 2010, that rate had been cut nearly in half.

-The average man has seven arguments a year about when to have sex

-77 million Americans own an average of $5,200 in past due, collectible debt.

-A middle-income family with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend about $245,340 for food, shelter and other expenses up to age 18, an increase of 1.8% from 2012

-Oklahoma basketball player Kevin Durant recently was offered a ten-year $250 deal with sporting apparel company Under Armour.  Apparently Nike just matched that offer.

-4 out of 5 men have traded blows defending a woman’s honor
--55% of men have had a fight with their wife or girlfriend behind the wheel.

--8% of men claim to have been sucker punched at some point in their life

--You have a 64% increased chance of developing heart disease if you hold a grudge.

--Apple reportedly spent more than $100 million dollars in making and distributing U 2’s new album free to its 500 iTune users.

…Alex Trebek set the Guinness World Record for most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter at 6,829
It’s his 31st season and he’s asked more than 416,000 questions

…Jack Ma, founder of the Amazon-like Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba Group will be worth $15 billion after the company’s IPO later this month.

Monday, September 15, 2014


…Pretty depressing sports weekend here in Seattle.  But it’s just sports, I guess.

…(Braggart alert) Stephen Ramsey had some nice things to say about my latest piece in the Pure Slush Anthology:

I’m not broke, but I’m getting there. Besides, it’s lonely on the road and strangers are never as friendly as you’d guess.
Last month our walkabout hero robbed a McDonald’s with a dwarf. We left him nearly begging to be shot. Which is one way of saying he’s losing ground in his race to run away from the pain of losing his wife, which was what started this whole antic, lonely cross-country journey. Now, with the money running out and his armor eroded, it may be time to settle down.
The manager here is an obese man who goes by the moniker Hercules. He’s so huge that it’s torture for him to breathe and any time he moves or even leans a little it’s like hearing a vacuum cleaner going full blast.
Herc gives me a test run. He has me make an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, Dirty Martinis and even a Dirty Girl Scout, which, by the grin on his face, would be his trump recipe, yet I nail the concoction with just the right amount of Bailey’s and a dash of crème de menthe. The happy smirk on his face tells me he’s impressed.
“Start now if you want,” Herc says.
There’s that patter of sharp, specific detail that jams us into scene-any-scene-and prepares us for our monthly dose of wild ride. Plot is not the issue in these installments. We’re reading for the sheer joy of these wonderfully unique and character-penetrating details. We’ve long ago given up any sense of linkage… and then a woman walks into the bar.
She looks exactly like my wife, but with red hair.
“Hey there,” she says.
I try to speak but I’ve got rocks in my throat. She takes the center stool at the bar, staring at me, daring me to look away. For a minute we just look at each other. I feel sweat dripping down my ribs. My socks are damp with sweat as well.
“Do I know you?” she finally says.
I swallow and manage to say, “I’m not from around here.”
“Me either.” She smiles and it’s my wife’s smile , the kind she’d give me when she was in the mood for some hanky -panky.
“What’ll it be?” I say, feeling dizzy and out of sorts.
Pattern broken yet again. All this time, it turns out we’ve been building toward this encounter. The Technicolor drops away, and we’re back in Kansas again.
“Hey now, it’s all right,” the woman says, reaching across the counter and clutching my hand which is damp with what I now realize are my own tears. “It’s like they say: Time heals all wounds.”
“You think?”
“There are plenty of fish in the sea,” she says, using her free hand to unbutton her blouse.
“Momma said there’d be days like this.”
“What are you doing?”
She draws my hand across the counter and pushes it inside her bra, purring, “There’s no place like home.”
Yep, it’s Kansas, or rather Nashville, and our protagonist is right back where he began, lamenting and longing in the mundane. They have sex right there on the bar, and it’s fabulous… but is it real? There’s the rub, and there’s the power of this series, that so deftly takes us by the hand one moment, then shoves us off the roller coaster the next. It’s been an amazing ride thus far and now that we’re approaching climax and (hopefully) release, it appears that we’re going to discover it was all connected all along. We were too fully invested in the trees to see the forest. This is a most impressive cycle indeed.

…And (braggart alert once more) here’s the marketing for my upcoming reading at Uppercase Books here in Snohomish:

…I really do feel like a lucky guy.

Friday, September 12, 2014


…It’s Friday and I’ve started the weekend off by getting a ticket for not wearing my seatbelt.  That’s $120 ticket.  Never mind that I’d just come from the grocery store and had gone a mere TWO BLOCKS trying to pull into the gas station when this cop came up behind me.
What the hell?  Go catch some criminals.
Okay, enough ranting.
It’s Friday after all.
Don’t worry.  Be Happy.

…So here were some interesting things people said on Facebook this week:

-Last night's dream was really obvious; I had sex in an elevator and a bodega with Jennifer Lawrence and Robert Pattinson, respectively, of course.
-I don't care for you. Hope that helps to balance things out a bit.
-Poem title (in this morning’s submission reading) “Oh for fucks sake”
-If you become furious with your live-in female lover, make sure you live in South Africa because then you can shoot her a number of times through your shared bathroom door and be forgiven for doing so because she may have been an intruder. Also, if you punch out your fiancé in an elevator, make sure there's no camera available, and you're golden.
-I'm aghast! I just discovered my pants are on backwards. It's after midnite on a Wednesday morning. This is not good....AND suddenly I feel like I need to get my shit together ASAP and start shaving my legs, matching my undies (again), wear SOMETHING other than workout clothes, maybe brush my hair occasionally...
 -Pay money to be alone, to say "I love you" to a brick wall, to kiss that wall, that brick, to kiss nothing at all except air, fucking love that air, don’t think about anyone, think about everyone, think about air because it’s always in front of you, inside of the insides of you--
-Is anyone else going batshit crazy or is it just me?
-It sucks to be old.

…And here are a few other things I like for the weekend:

“Don't allow yourself to be intimidated! There is more than one road to joy.”  - Writing in "The Paradox of Love" Pascal Bruckner
"Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.” D.H. Lawrence
 "Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know why I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved." Will Rogers

"Life on the open road is be alone, to have few needs, to be unknown, everywhere a foreigner and at home, and to walk grandly and solitarily in conquest of the world." Isabelle Eberhardt

"Everybody takes everybody for granted."  Joshua Ferris

Wednesday, September 10, 2014



Riming the volcano of garbage are vultures—fifty or more, their black plumage inky in the smoldering sun.  Big as toddlers, they cock their crocked necks as if they know my thoughts, but they do not, no one does.
Last week my son fought one of these evil birds.  Marco had discovered an uneaten sandwich in the heap when the creature swooped down.  Thank God Marco had the bent-up umbrella he always carries, sometimes using it as a bat (“Look, Papa, I’m A Rod!”), a dancing cane, (“I’m smooth like your favorite, Gene Kelly!”), a golf club (“Now I’m Chi Chi Rodriguez.  How do you like those apples, Papa?”)  I watched him beat the bird, heard their tangled screaming.  We were in the middle of sorting recyclables from other’s people’s discarded waste.  My wife implored me to intervene, but I knew that would only make Marco soft, and soft does not survive here.
We used to live inside the dump, among the maggots and rats, until the missionaries came.  Now we have rows of tin boxes to make our homes.  Still, a narrow, dirt road is all that separates our make-shift town from the dump.
Miles below sits Puerto Vallarta.  At night, she shimmers, a bejeweled gown.  A cruise ship glows with its windows white as American teeth.
When I was young like Marco, I often plotted an escape.  Now that I am wiser, I watch my family sleeping and feel embarrassed to be this rich. 

                                                                    The Hater’s Club

            At the ice cream store, a kid is staring at me with chocolate melt running down his lips and chin, mouth hanging open like a grotesque trapdoor.  His eyes are huge, bark-brown olives.  Worst of all, he hasn’t blinked once.
            I study my napkin for a solid two minutes.  Looking up, I see the kid’s expression hasn’t changed a bit.
            His head is oversized, a boulder atop his spindly neck and arms.  I imagine taking a baseball bat and swinging, hearing his cranium crack.  
            I read the sign that lists flavors and prices.  I look at my fingers and notice there’s gray gunk under most of the nails.
When I turn back around, I see that ice cream’s pooled around the kid’s neck, but he’s still ogling me the same way.
            I think; Okay, let’s do this. 
I stare back.  I do it until my pupils dry out and sting.
            He still hasn’t blinked.
            I sneer.
            I wiggle my eyes.
            I go cross-eyed till I’m dizzy. 
            I stick out my tongue
            I flip him off.
            He just stares. 
It’s starting to get monumentally creepy.
            His mom must be constipated, because she’s been in the can a while.
The Asian guy behind the counter helps in the sherbet section. 
I need someone to see this-- the bizarre kid who won’t stop staring.
            Oh, wait.  What?
            I’ve been so distracted by the gawking going on that I haven’t realized until now that he resembles a guy from high school named Oliver Pratt. 
            Oliver and I were in the same Hater’s Club: he hated me and I loathed him.  That wouldn’t have mattered, but one day while I was in the restroom, Oliver and his buddies jumped me, then stole my pants and underwear.
            After that, I bought a voodoo doll that resembled him, with its twiggy cloth limbs and a puffy, hacky sack pouch for a head.  I stuck a hundred needles through that ragdoll, concentrating, imagining I possessed supernatural intuition, a sixth sense that could make the pins real, puncturing Oliver’s pupils, neck, testicles.
            Two days later, Oliver was horsing around on a department store escalator, fell off, and plunged through a cosmetic counter made of glass.  He bled to death before they’d even removed all of the shards.
            Looking hard at the kid now, avoiding his goggle eyes but taking in the other features, I see how he’s an identical version of Oliver Pratt.
This guy is Oliver.
I know it.
I’ve got good intuition.  It’s what caused all this in the first place.
            When the boy’s mom finally comes out, she says, “Oh, Ollie!  Look at the mess you’ve made.”
            Each night and every morning, I wake with pinprick sensations against my skin.  I know they’re needles ready to be turned into broken blades of glass. 
I stop sleeping.  I hardly eat.  I see Oliver’s likeness everywhere.
Something tells me he’s going to get his revenge, and soon. 

I know these things.