Wednesday, August 30, 2017



She rides her white horse to the moon at a wild gallop.
The animal foams and paints scars across the sky with its bloody hooves,
leaving brick-colored stains that can only be seen by astronomers or loved ones
like us.

After a while the beast gives out,
but there are plenty others if one knows where to look,
past the drained arm veins,
to the plump toes perhaps,
or calf muscles,
a neck with its bulging, green cords so delicious.
The needle will always find a way.
I tell her, “You are not who you think you are,” and she cackles,
shatters the mirror with a spoon.

Our girls want to know about the ruckus.
They are clever and crafty just like her,
as stubborn as steel.
When Abby asks, “Who’s that ragdoll lady in there?”
I get a gun and do what I should have done so long ago.

On the first day,
her taunts and slurs are mere toothpick spears.
It’s the shrill screams that boil my skin.
I worry they’ll melt the locks,
my will.

On the second day,
my wife bangs her head against the door, a dozen booming canon bursts
that send her unconscious.

On the third,
she convulses; a saggy, skin-and-bone puppet
shedding streams of sour sweat.
She pees herself and slaps at the puddles and pool.

Fourth day,
she spends groaning, lolling on the cold, tiled floor,
whiter than the clinic’s wide walls.
“Pony,” she moans.  “Give me back my pony.”

On the last day,
the day of release,
I show her a photograph, and when she asks what it is,
I say, “That’s your dead horse.  We killed it, together.”

She cocks her head for one last look.
She bucks against me even as she clings.
Her tears smell clean
while her words
ring sheer but true in my ear.
“This time,” she says, sucking down menthol,
breathing in prayers,
“this time I mean it.”

Monday, August 28, 2017


...Nine times out of ten there’s a look of recognition that will answer the question for you.

…The only person you can make say “Yes” is you.

…I don’t always know what I’m doing here.

…I keep getting it wrong.

…It’s raining today even though there’s not a cloud in the sky.

…Sometimes the person to fear the most is the one you used to trust most.

…When I was young I was quite naïve.  Once, around age seven or so, when it was nearing the end of December, my brother told me a burglar broke into the North Pole, that Santa heard some noise in the giant shed where he kept his toys, and after he turned on the light, the burglar stabbed and killed him.  I was heart-broken.  “That means no more presents for you or anyone,” my brother said.  I went to school and asked my classmates if they’d heard about Santa being murdered.  Turned out I was the only kid that age who still believed in Santa.  Turned out I was teased and ostracized the rest of grade school.

…Sometimes you just have to ask questions.

…If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.

…You either go through metamorphosis or you calcify.

…Sex is an itch you just scratch, but love is the itch so far down that you can’t even reach it with your own hand.

…Butterflies and tsunamis; they’re both nature.

…Smolder is a pretty great word.

…Coagulate is a word that sounds like what it is.  (I think there’s a name for that.)

…Nothing seems to make much sense.  It’s all just Greek to me.

…Maybe I don’t want to know the reason why.

…You only give up your power when you think you don’t have any.

…Flowers are wonderful.  Really fucking wonderful.  Hopeful, too.

…Keep your head down and you’ll be fine.  That’s what they say anyway.

…Who is “They”?

…Even if you don’t think it, don’t feel it, it’s probably a good idea to breathe.

…Someone told me they’re burning me tomorrow.  I hope they were joking.

…I get sloppy when the Cab does its work.

…That’s not me talking; it’s just water in the air pipe.

…There are hardly any trees anymore.  No oxygen.  No air.

…If I die tonight there will be a million things I never said.

…I’m feeling a little threadbare, but at least it’s quiet here.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017



 …I have come to believe that life is a gift and love is the point.

…We all have things we’re dreaming of, it’s just that some people are actually doing something about it.

…I am functioning in a thin space, so it’s good I’m not claustrophobic.

…Everyone has an ache that might be trying to tell them something. 
I'm pretty sure I know what mine is trying to tell me.  I'm pretty sure that I'm pretty sure about this.

…God knows that love can be hard to find, but we can’t give up.

…It’s probably a good idea to rejoice every now and then.

…Sometimes the best thing we can do is to just show up, to be there without expecting anything.

…Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept good news, to accept it without feeling guilty.

…Something I’m actually proud of is being done with abundance.

…Being defined by what you lack shouldn’t be allowed.

…One of life’s most challenging things is to be present and alive in the moment.

…My least favorite road is a one way street.

…Another thing I’ve learned is that it’s impossible to be sad while being around a cooing baby.

…I’ll admit I didn’t know Jerry Lewis was still alive until yesterday.  I’m sorry he passed away.  When I was a kid, my mom would stay up all night watching his telethons.  I never understood what my mom liked and didn’t like, and why or why not.

…In Cinema class I learned that France considers Jerry Lewis one of the greatest actors of all time.  That’s another think I couldn’t quite understand.

…I am a big fan of anyone who tries their hand at writing poetry, even if their poems suck.

...My car had issues the other day.  It would only go 40 mph on the freeway and I didn’t know where my safety flashers were.  People behind me were not happy.  I didn’t blame them.  I’m going to try to be more tolerant of slow drivers from now on.  You never know.

…The first song playing in my loaner car was “Love Hurts.”  “Jeremy” was the second.  Hmmm.

…I saw a bumper sticker that said DRIVER CARRIES NO CASH.  HE’S MARRIED and another that said IF YOU’RE GOING TO RIDE MY ASS, AT LEAST PULL MY HAIR.  That made me smile.

…Nobody gets to own the sunset, yet it’s quite beautiful.  The point is it’s there and we can enjoy it if we choose to.

…One thing I’ve learned is never say never.

…I’ve seen a lot of long shadows this week.

…I’m not a Fix-it guy, but I’ll stand with you.

Monday, August 21, 2017


…I haven’t actually looked, but I think there’s still a lot of candy left in this piñata, so go ahead and beat me.

…Ten miles is a lot different depending on how you get there.

…If there was a solar eclipse every year, do you think people would even care?

…There were a lot of snakes around our house when I was a kid.  All kinds… I found a blue-tailed racer once and kept him as a pet in an empty Folgers Coffee can with air holes in the plastic lid.  I named him Louie.  One day I came home and my father was not happy.  No, not at all.  Louie had somehow gotten loose and was found dangling around a water pipe above the work bench where my dad tooled leather.  He used one of those belts on me that day, but it didn’t hurt all that much.  I still suspect my brother let Louie loose.

…I think sunsets top sunrises.  The ones here are always shades of plum and pink, soft ribbons of color.

…“When it rains, it pours.”—Not always.

…I wonder what dogs dream about.

…Sometimes I think my mind is trying to tell me something.

…A sabbatical is a good thing, a hiatus not so much.

…My office always smells good.  I tear the cologne strips out of magazines and open them up.  It’s pretty effective.

…My office is currently a pig sty, which says something about my state of mind.

…Yesterday, a half block up from the bank, there was a group of young men standing under a large American flag with a sign that read: STAND UP FOR TRUMP!  STOP HERE.  They’re probably the same guys who drive their car, and sometimes even their boat, with a confederate flag sticking out of it.

…When I was a teenager, I had long hair.  Not really long, but long.  My dad called me Sally or Flower Child.  It never offended me.  I kind of liked it.

…Some things I can’t handle are: a child in fear, a child crying when it’s being disciplined, a child in pain.  Basically I can’t handle anything with a child being unhappy.

…Every child is made of love, made of gold, made of diamonds.

…Songs that were stuck in my head at some point while picking blueberries Saturday included “Body Like A Back Road” and “Mercy,” both country songs at the end of each other’s spectrum.

…I don’t know what I’d do without music, but if I had to choose between being deaf or blind, I’d have to go with deaf.

…I think single moms are heroes.

…“If I were any better, I’d be twins.”  That’s something I’ve never said.

…I’m not good at fixing things and I’m perfectly fine with that.

…Italian is such a fun language.  If I was Italian, I’m pretty sure I’d talk to myself when I was alone.  Pretty sure I’d be smiling a lot more, too.  Pretty sure I’d be fatter.

…I’m pretty sure this is going to be an interesting week.  Pretty sure it’s going to be one of those rollercoasters where you scream and try not to throw up on yourself doing the alley oops.

…It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

Friday, August 18, 2017


I Would Have Loved You Anyway

In the end,
there is nothing left to scrape or pick at,
no detritus,
empty apple crates or
discarded cores.
Yet time unwinds without prejudice
and so your fruit puckered
and wilted,
the ages wearing on your
wounded pride,
you an old woman sooner than later,
never one for apologies or regrets
and certainly not now.

But I would have loved you anyway,
in spite of the lava you flung,
the fumes you made me suck
and the picture windows you shattered.
I would have loved you
if you’d just once said
you needed me.


Your mother and I
loved the pitch dark
and once we tripped over spools of barbed wire
on the way to a coronation.
But you
prefer clean slates and light
while I
have run out of wisdom.

On stage now,
some kid quotes Dylan
wearing a wire headset.
Beside him, you pose upon a Styrofoam stage,
your bare parts peppered with glitter.
Your arm goes wild waving
and I notice, not for the first time,
how you have her hands,
the same skinny fingers.
Even your eyes from this distance
have a similar gloss.

There aren’t many ballads,
but by midnight one comes on
and then I take you from him,
leading the way with your waist.

“You’re thinking about her,” you spit.
“Even on my night, it’s all about her.”
The song says love can be a torture chamber.
The singer cautions me, “You’re going to get
what you give.”


Living Arrangement

Here I am again,
bloody hands and bleeding mouth,
eating raw venison,
or maybe it’s duck liver.
Whatever meat it might be
you should know that I was starving and
grabbed the first thing in the fridge,
realizing too late that it was yours,
but of course,
I’ll pay you back,
maybe buy you dinner,
like on a date,
that is,
if you’re up for it,
because I know this whole living arrangement is supposed to be
platonic but, hey, what?
Wait, what?
You’ve labeled this container?
Yeah, that’s your handwriting.
Michael J.
As in, Michael J., your last boyfriend?
The one that supposedly moved to Europe?
The guy you continually curse?
No, no, no.
Oh my God,
I think I’m going to be sick.
I am sick.
You’re sick.
Look at this is mess we’re in.
Maybe we deserve each other after all.
What do you think?
Still up for that dinner?
We don’t have to call it a date.


She lived on faith
that the dead could not
get even.

And still sleep became an angry ocean,
jeers and slapping waves,
dirty sea foam spilling across the bare-bellied

Overhead a cluster of gulls hovered,
halting their search for prey
to watch
her row the boat against the tide,
miles out into the midst of the wicked water
where she first said a prayer
before dumping his body


Wednesday, August 16, 2017


…You can’t judge a book by its cover, but I'm telling you, you can almost always judge a story by its title.

…There’s a hole in the ceiling where the rain comes in, yet the sun can’t seem to find it.

…I’d like to laugh more.

…Do you ever wonder what would have happened if Lincoln or Kennedy hadn’t been assassinated?  I do.

…I saw this really cute, tiny chipmunk the other day.  I’d forgotten how adorable they are.

…I wonder what God’s thinking about right now. 

…Several years back I listened to the entire Old Testament on cd’s in my car.  The cast was all African American.  Now, when I picture God, he’s Hattian with a deep baritone voice.  He often sounds agitated.

…When I was really young, around seven or so, one of my brothers dared me to shoplift and I did.  I stole a bazooka squirt gun.  I still feel guilty about that, yet at the time I really enjoyed the thrill of stealing.

…It’s pretty pathetic, but for a long time, when I was very young, the wind was my best friend.

…There’s not a soul out on the lake right now.  That’s pretty unusual.  I might swim across it this afternoon.

…“In between the moon and you, the angels get a better view of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.”—that’s one of my favorite lyrics.  This too--“I will follow you into the dark.”

…If you really think about it, sleep is a strange thing.  I wonder what it would be like if we didn’t have to sleep.

…If you repeatedly butt dial someone’s number, is that fate’s way of telling you that you should call them for real?

…Scott McClanahan’s new novel, “The Sarah Book” is pretty terrific.  Read it if you can, but be forewarned that it’s gritty.  I like the name, McClanahan.  It’s fun to say and there’s a lot of alliteration in it.  (A lot of alliteration is a lot of alliteration.)

…If you can, you should watch “Ozark” on Netflix.  It has Jason Bateman and Laura Linney in it, and it’s terrific and unusual.

…There were a lot of places in India that people with leprosy could go, but they went to Mother Theresa instead because she wasn’t afraid to touch them with her bare hands.  That says a lot, if you think about it.

…It’s tragic when your heroes let you down, but it’s important to realize they’re just human after all.

…What if I turn into Truman Capote and never write another thing?  That’s a terrifying notion.

…I took a novel writing class once.  The instructor said she doesn’t believe in writer’s block, that it’s just plain laziness.  I think she’s right, but still…

…I’m a little shocked (is it possible to be “a little” shocked?) that Brett Easton Ellis gets his books published.  They’re fascinating, but utterly gruesome.

…I think it’s important to have opinions.  I have a lot of them.  I just wish I wasn’t so cynical sometimes.

…Late in life, my father was prone to sentimentality that he never expressed early on.  He would cry quite easily at touching things.  I think I’m becoming him.

…They say letting go is the hardest part, and I think they’re right, whoever they are.

…I never realized how random I can be.  Not sure if that’s a good thing—my being random.

…I think my computer is trying to tell me something, but I’m not sure what it is.

…The problem with country songs today is they’re too catchy--in the same way popcorn chaff gets stuck between your molars, country songs get stuck in your head.  For days, they do.

…There was a time when I wanted to be a lawyer.  I’m really glad that never happened.  Pretty sure I would have sucked at it.  Pretty sure I would be miserable.

…The end of a story is as important as the start of it, if not more so.  That’s what I’m thinking anyway.
...We should all be completely honest, yet, if we were, wouldn't that be trouble?
...Let's just try some honesty and see how it goes.

Monday, August 14, 2017


…Hey Monday.  I’m ready for you.

…It actually rained here yesterday, the first time in 62 days.  It’s strange how you can despise something, then when it’s gone for a long time, you welcome it back with open arms.

…I’m feeling okay, like maybe I can write again.  The stone has rolled away.  My aim is to create all day and to appreciate being able to do so.

…I have a lot of flaws.  One is I’m not very good at sharing my bad things, the shame things.  I’m going to work on changing that.

…My dog, Lucy, is curled up under my chair.  It’s pretty adorable how loyal dogs are, how much they can love a human unconditionally.  It’s love in a different sphere.

…I need to stop thinking about mortality, although it’s helped me get busy figuring things out.

…I used to feel awkward and embarrassed to tell people I was a writer.  I’m not anymore.  It’s interesting, though, that when I tell them now, eighty percent of the people reply with, “I’m going to write a book someday.”  Everyone thinks they can write a book.  Not a chance.  It’s fucking hard.

…I’ve seen a lot of deer lately.  It always makes me happy.  They are so svelte and serene, languid.  Most of them have been really tame.  They move slowly and I’m able to chat them up.  They seem to hear what I’m saying.  I know how weird that sounds, but if you were there you’d understand.

…In high school, I was so shy I would eat lunch in the back of the library by the poetry section.

…When I was in the corporate world, everyone who knew me didn’t really know me at all.  They thought I was an extrovert, this guy who was comfortable in crowds, who was a great public speaker, who had a lot going for him.  It’s funny how wrong people can be.

…When I think about how old I am I never think I’m as old as I am.  Most of the time, in my head, I’m either nine or sixteen.  Sixteen is better than nine.  Trust me on that.

…There was a guy I worked with who had pool water blue eyes.  I once told him, “You have beautiful eyes.”  He looked at me like I was insane or someone to be feared.  It was very awkward.  Sometimes you need to keep the truth to yourself.  But the problem is I do that a lot.

…Most of the time I feel very lucky, fortunate and blessed.

…I worry about strange things, like the drug violence in Mexico, like the 30 children in India who died last week in hospitals because there wasn’t enough oxygen.  It’s probably unhealthy to worry about things I can’t affect.

…My mother was a complicated woman.  I hate how much she still lives in me, yet in a lot of ways she made me a better person.

…I used to believe “there’s a reason for everything” but not so much anymore.

…Sometimes you need to take a second look at things, and look very closely, even if it hurts.

…The one thing about God that always troubled me was where did God come from?

…My neighbor is building a shed that’s as big as a house.  Truly, it is.  Guys and their sheds/garages…  I’d like to build a big bookstore in my back yard.

…I think the worst thing about people is their ego.  It’s rare to meet someone who’s truly selfless.  My ego is a boulder I keep trying to toss over my shoulder, but it’s too heavy.

…Sometimes when I’m in my car I turn the stereo (is it still called stereo?) up as loud as it can go and sing along, shouting.  When I’m really angry, my go-to song is “Pocket Full Of Shells” by Rage Against The Machine.  Give it a listen.

…My big question about God is, if he is all-knowing, then didn’t he know Adam and Eve would sin, and if he did, what is all this other shit about?

…Once you realize there’s no going back, you have to try very hard to hold steady.

…The Hold Steady is the name of a band I was really into a couple of years ago.  Give them a listen.

…I sometimes think about Helen Keller and wonder how she did it.  What an incredibly strong person.

…I know I’m rambling here, but it feels kind of good.  You should try it yourself sometime.

…One of my favorite moments was when my son was young and saw a double rainbow.  He was pointing and bouncing up and down on the grass shouting, “Double rainbow!  Double rainbow!”  I don’t want to lose that childlike sense of wonder.

…One of my least favorite expressions is, “I’m just killing time.”  No one should kill time.

…When I grow up, I want to be authentically happy.  I’d like to know what that is.

…”Reasons for living, never come cheap…”  That’s a Duncan Sheik lyric.  It plays in my head often.  Same as, “I am barely breathing…”

…About his second album, my old Admin said, “Duncan has sunken.”  I thought was pretty funny and clever, yet also sad.

…”People should smile more…”  That’s a lyric from Newton Faulkner.  He’s definitely right about that.  Let’s try it.

…It’s a little alarming how much music means to me.

…”I am ready to say goodbye.”  That’s never something anyone wants to hear.

…”I really miss you.”  That’s something everyone wants to hear at some point.

…Sometimes I think I’m too easily fascinated.   

…I try to pay attention, but I could probably be better at it.

…From now on, I’m going to stop and smell the roses wherever they’re growing, even if I get stuck by a couple of thorns.

…It’s time for me to get busy.  Have I ever told you how grateful I am that you read my scribbles, whoever you are?  I am.  Grateful.  For you.