Wednesday, March 31, 2021







The birds come

chittering with

their good news

refitting the nest

they’ve been sweating

over for weeks

beaks tweaking the

exact placement

of each twig

and dollop of mud

the way a spinster

shifts yarn upon a loom

fashioning cashmere

shawls for royalty

though there’s

something else beneath

their gaiety and duty

an unspoken code perhaps

or else something simpler

such as the

meaning of life

lifted there in that

unreachable eave

of this house

with its broken bones

and for sale sign

stuck at a slant

on the sun-scorched

front lawn

Monday, March 29, 2021





…Happy Monday.

Already this morning I’ve seen hail, rain, hard snow, and light snow knifing down at an angle.

For some reason, the ducks on the lake like it when the water is freezing. It’s fun to watch them frolic.


I had a convergence of bad dreams last night, all things I tied to various stuff I'd seen or read or will soon be doing. For instance, these two murderous guys were trying to break into my house and I had to run to every door to see if they were locked while also trying to find a weapon. They keep pounding on the doors, shouting, “It’s only I matter of time before we get you!” I even remember wishing I owned a gun. (That was from an episode of How It Really Happened about the two evil convicts (one tied his victim up, stuffed him in a trunk, drove for 30 hours, but would stop every half an hour and beat the shit out of the old guy some more, this after he'd already beat the shit out of him. He eventually cut the guy's arms, legs and head off, then cut his torso in half with a hack saw) guys who escaped from Clinton in upstate NY a couple of years ago. Eeee.... So, no insomnia last evening, just nightmares.


…Ha! I’m pretty good at sending notes to people when something they’ve done or said touches me. Because a friend recommended it, I bought and started “frank: sonnets” by Diane Seuss. I was floored by the writing, even just ten pages in, so I found her on FBK and sent a gushing and encouraging note. Afterward I read her bio and learned that a previous book of hers had won the Pulitzer Prize. Ha! I thought she was a fledgling like me. Silly, boy…


…You should get bonus points for trying. Like, lots of bonus points. It doesn’t even matter what it is you’re trying to do.


…On our last Date Day, we met some ladies in the window seat. My wife asked them to take a few photos of us. Unbeknownst to me, she posted one on FBK calling it a celebration for my new book (number 6!). I got an awful lot of love from that post. It was kind of nice for a change.


…Time to jump on the treadmill. I’ll leave you with my favorite Ocean Vuong poem:


Untitled (Blue, Green, and Brown): oil on canvas: Mark Rothko: 1952

The TV said the planes have hit the buildings.

& I said Yes because you asked me

to stay. Maybe we pray on our knees because god

only listens when we’re this close

to the devil. There is so much I want to tell you.

How my greatest accolade was to walk

across the Brooklyn Bridge

& not think of flight. How we live like water: wetting

a new tongue with no telling

what we’ve been through. They say the sky is blue

but I know it’s black seen through too much distance.

You will always remember what you were doing

when it hurts the most. There is so much

I need to tell you – but I only earned

one life. & I took nothing. Nothing. Like a pair of teeth

at the end. The TV kept saying The planes…

The planes...& I stood waiting in the room

made of broken mockingbirds. Their wings throbbing

into four blurred walls. & you were there.

You were the window.

--Ocean Voung, “Night Sky with Exit”

Friday, March 26, 2021





…I’m actually writing this on a Wednesday, after having woken up at 2am, and it’s a few hours later now, though still pitch black out, and yet I’m feeling happy.

What, what?

Yeah, I actually am. It’s been a while.

A couple of weeks ago, a publisher I really wanted to work with got back to me after nearly a year saying she wanted to put out my newest collection of stories. That itself was a jolt of joy. Then, moments ago, I finished the gruesome task of paginating the manuscript. For the last week, while undertaking the assignment, I sort of hated my writing/stories. It felt derivative and pompous, and I was feeling what Donna Vitucci refers to as the “So what-ness” of writing. Like, why bother? Like, what does it matter?

But then I finished polishing up the manuscript, with the Acknowledgments and Dedication and it felt, well, kind of perfect. Afterward, I even did some twirls in my office while wearing a bathrobe. I saw my reflection in the window glass. I looked stupid, but I didn’t care because I was happy.

Things I Can’t Even Tell Myself will be out in the world next year. My sixth book. Sixth? (Again—What, what?) If you’d told my nine-year-old self I’d someday have published six books in my lifetime, well, I might have believed you (depending on your sincerity), and maybe I would have become a writer way, way earlier, like I should have.

But no regrets. It’s all good. It all worked out.


…It’s started to rain hard now. I can only hear the torrent. The only visible light outside is a small scrim glowing on my neighbor’s deck. It kind of feels like I’m in a tin can with a flock of crows pecking at the label.


…My watch just buzzed me with a note saying, “Off to a great start. Keep crushing it!” Anybody can close their exercise and move rings if they never sleep.

My watch is really pushy, like a drill sergeant or prison warden, but it’s good for me.


…This’ll sound odd, but for the last many years I start to sing the lines, “Love me, love me. Say that you’ll love me. Need me, need me. Say that you need me,” before I get up to pee.” Don’t know why, I just do. Yesterday I went out to eat by myself. I live at least 25 minutes from anywhere, so I always use the restroom five minutes before heading home. I did so, came back, signed the check and as I was walking to the door I heard (over the loudspeakers “Love me, love me…”) so I reflexively turned and headed for the restroom before I caught myself and said, What the hell? I went five minutes ago.


…I don’t know why I was so emotional yesterday, but on the drive home I teared up to almost every country song I heard on the radio.


…It seems to me that it’s pretty easy to make other people happy, even people you’ve never met. If you just take a moment to read what they’ve posted, and then another moment to write an authentic response, you’ll usually make their day, if not their whole week. That’s what I’m going to do after I log this entry.


…There’s a lot of upside to not sleeping, but the downsides are obvious. I’d been looking every place for the book (“We Run the Tides,”) I’d been reading, which I love, and which I was 20 pages from finishing, but could find it nowhere. A little bit ago, I looked a few inches from my right foot and there it was. Yikes. Granted, a piece of paper had partially covered it up, but still, yikes.


…Yesterday’s song was, “Mickey,” by Toni Basil. Before that it was, “Having My Baby,” by Paul Anka. Today’s was “Love in the first Degree,” by Alabama. Yikes, again.


…It’s Friday morning now. I woke up a bit blurry, but feeling grateful. It’s been a good week, maybe the best one since the pandemic began.

I’m feeling hopeful.

I hope you are as well.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Tell someone you love them, and why. Hug them, if you can.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021





                                         The Journal of Regret


Even now, after all these years, I still see you float and bob, doll-like, reluctant yet resolved. 

In the other room, our dog howls your name, though the windows have no answer, and the panes merely tremble in response. 

I sit on the closet floor, every dresser drawer open, surrounded by colored hills of worn cotton, your favorite sweater pressed against my breath. 

          Every time I inhale, I smell flowers and dirt, unbreakable clods of regret with nowhere to bloom. 


Monday, March 22, 2021





Succotash Smile


I’m afraid

a lot of time

but right now

I’d do anything

really I would

if you’d let me

If you’d let me

I’d make love

to your exoskeleton

or your hologram

I don’t care

I’d do it

under a waterfall

or beneath the drip

of rainwater

thick with regrets

or distasteful sludge

I’d do it

if you’d let me

I’d hand-wash

your hair in a

tin basin but

be sure to keep

the bitter soap out

of your eyes while

reading you

the latest poem

I’d make up stories

on the spot

funny ones this time

if you’d let me

It’s been months

and months

since I’ve seen you

though we sleep together

side by side

passing through

the bathroom

dining room

rec room  

living room

like a pair of

dull utensils

but I’d make

love to you

in a blink

if you’d let me

I’d try to catch

your shifting shadow

in starlight

or bar light

even with

broken beer glass

tattooing the soles

of my scrawny feet

I’d lift you up

take you on

the counter

watch the ceiling

and stars

break apart

just for us

if you’d let me




Friday, March 19, 2021




…Ahhh, Friday, how’ve you been? Me, I’ve been making some good changes, and things are looking up. Can you tell?

…Sometimes less really is more.

...One thing I could use more of is confidence. I seem to have left that at the store

…You’ve got to be able to trust the people in your life, otherwise you’re doomed to all kinds of betrayal and deception.

…These days sure are slow. That should be a good thing, except it isn’t when you’re looking forward to something, when you’re ready to see your friends but it’s not quite time.

…I’ve been thinking about forgiveness a lot lately, how you can forgive, yet not forget, the damage done to you.

…One thing that’s certain is I would make a really terrible hermit.

…A best friend is hard to find, and when you do find one, you’ll know how much they mean to you by the way you miss them.

…It’s a helpless feeling when someone you love is hurting and there’s nothing you can do about it.

…A lot of times, social media is a farce. It’s rare to read something genuine that’s really just meant to manipulate you somehow. And still, like a fool, I go there…

…Last night, I dreamt of the infinity pool. It was divine.

…Planking is a good way to get to know your carpet better.

…In the last few weeks, I’ve read some spellbinding books and have seen the five films I most wanted to see: I Care A Lot, Nomadland, Minari, Judas and the Black Messiah, A Promising Young Woman. Loved them all for different reasons.

…The two people in this world who make me laugh the most, and the hardest: my best friend and my daughter.

…I never kept a diary when I was younger because I assumed my brothers would find it and then the gig would be up. So, thoughts just floated around in my head, like the scummy foam on top of unclean swimming pools. And now, here they are...

…What is it with these female bots on Words With Friends always trying to get me to invest in Bitcoin? Does that sort of thing really work?

…Also, every day for the last few weeks, I’ve received an email for a product that wants to “increase (my) manhood by up to 67 percent!” On top of that are the emails with photos of “Beautiful Russian women who want to meet and have sex with (me).”

…It’s not a lot of fun, these days, being male, being white, being heterosexual. I mean, you can’t help what you are, can you?

…I’m about halfway through “Girls.” So far someone’s had sex in every episode but one. It’s not necessarily gratuitous, but maybe superfluous. I think the art I appreciate most is where the characters are flawed, differentiated and fully-formed. I might not always like them, or root for them, but my gratitude for them is always there. That’s how I feel about every person in “Girls.”

…Nobody said life was fair. Like, not one person said that.

…Last night I wrote another chapter for the novel that’s sulking in my head. A new character moved into the care center, taking Esther’s old room after she died. He’s surly and swears an awful lot. I might like him even more than I like Pearl. Hmmm.

…I know I’m opinionated, but geez, people on FBK…

…My parents never saw the place I live in now, even though I invited them regularly. On the phone my dad would always guilt me about visiting them, though I did a fair amount. One thing he’d always say, which I hated, was, “It’s okay. You’ll come see me when I’m dead.” About that, he was correct.

…If you have a dog, your day is always going to be better than if you didn’t.

…I’m reading this thin little book that has received ten times more hype than it deserves, ten times more hype than all of the other books I’ve read this year (33 so far), which are all better. I just don’t get how the hype machinery works.

…It feels good to say, “I love you,” when you really mean it. It feels even better to have it said to you in the same manner.

…Even though nothing interesting ever comes anymore, it’s still a bit sad to open the mailbox and find it empty.

…People say bacon makes everything better, but it doesn’t do a thing to make death less awful.

…I guess I’ll leave you now, unless you left me first.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021




                                           Fragile Like a Bomb


You tell yourself that you’re not fragile, or if you are, you’re fragile like a bomb, because you hear the timer ticking inside you, clicking like teeth, the cadence a little too precise and insistent when you see X at the fence line, far out in right field, and the girl he’s with is wearing your sister’s crocheted cardigan with sunflower designs, your sister who is eleven, two years older than you, two years younger than X, X who is now mauling your sister in broad daylight, during recess, with the rest of the kids massed on the blacktop playing tetherball or four square, their voices a clash of cackles and laughter, vocal explosions that put you even more on edge, but none of the other kids are alert to what’s happening on the baseball field, the daytime raping, and so without knowing how they do it, your legs start functioning in hyper drive and you’re nearly flying, though grounded, like a panicked roadrunner, and by the time you reach them X’s pants are slumped around his ankles, his pearly white ass bouncing in the air as he pumps over your sister, and she could be crying or moaning, you can’t tell which, but it doesn’t matter because the fuse inside you has been lit and, no, you’re not fragile at all, you’re not a Pussy like your dad says when he slaps your face and yanks your hair and says, “Suck it”, no, you’re a bomb being detonated, your fists shrapnel slamming into X’s bucket head, then his stupid, upturned, startled face, which is  nothing but bread dough against your hot metal fists, fists that can’t stop inflicting carnage even after a throng has surrounded you and Mr. M is pulling you off X, who is no longer moving, and when Mr. M spits out, “What the hell?” you say, “He was raping my sister,” but when you look, she’s gone, never was, and it’s just the pulp of the other boy on the ground, blood sprayed on brown grass and the cyclone fence, you listening to see if the ticking has stopped, or if it’s merely faltered again. 


Monday, March 15, 2021







                                           fish out of water


today / I’m feeling / far left / of the dial / looking for / a place to fall / and no / it’s not pretty / at all / it’s just another / botched abortion / so I’m absentmindedly / high-fiving my mom / again / her ghost is / such a creeper / a bag of dead pulp / sitting fat and happy / on my chest / smiling through the / smoke and ash / the air tastes prophetic / and profane / so depressive / and unreasonable / every tree I see / keeps asking / if I’m lost / where I’m going / now that’s / an open book / for you / I’ve got no / illusion of contact / my instincts are unglued / gills slit / and swelling / it’s a problematic / catch and release / squirming on the dock / waiting for the sun / to ripen / make me dinner / different / or dead


Friday, March 12, 2021





                                  somebody call a nurse



I used to be / pre-packaged / for dying / just a stick of / embalmed jerky / now I don’t know / what I don’t know / now it’s purely supposition / a French exit / lying flat-backed / on a rickety gurney / wondering if we could / trade in our tracksuits / for a flank / of new skin / could we request / new flesh / tell the walls to / hold their tonsils / a little tighter / a little more stringent / I don’t know / how I’m supposed to answer / what you never ask / it’s as if I’m your / lover’s shredded ghost / hovering inside a chimney / waiting for the sweep / though I spent yesterday / performing a faulty exorcism / on myself / choking in a / claustrophobic broom closet / wishing I wasn’t / anaphylactic / but praying / something bladed / was stuck / in my throat / nice and tight / serrated and sharp / if you wanted / I’d refund your mercy / be the float for / your most garish parade / you could ride / me through town / blame my mother or / just accuse me / wave down a hearse / or else forget / I was ever / on your mind / that one time / that one year / that false day / when you were a virgin / and I felt like / I might be / one, too 


Wednesday, March 10, 2021





…Hey, how’s your Wednesday? Foggy? Fabulous? Spell-bounding?

I hope it’s a bit of all of those.

I’m rooting for you.



…On Saturday, I watched the NYTW Gala Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Rent; Rent being my second favorite musical ever. I had chills and got in a couple of good sobs, plus I stood and gave three separate standing ovations to the screen during the performance.


…Believe it or not, there’s recently been a lot to be hopeful about, with regard to COVID and the pandemic. Really, there has. No, seriously. I’m not kidding.

It seems an ungodly long time coming, right? But I think we’re finally starting to turn the corner.

What’s also amazing to note, is that it was exactly a year ago, yesterday, when the CDC first used the word “Pandemic,” and on March 9, 2020 only 28 (TWENTY-EIGHT) Americans had died from the virus at that point.

That was only a year ago. One year…What does a year even feel like anymore? You tell me.

This article is sobering, but yet again, it’s something that makes me hopeful in light of where we are now, in light of what each of us have been through this last    y    e    a     r    :


…Here are some other things I’ve recently heard, or read, or saw, that I like mid-week, and that I thought you might appreciate as well…


…“I just didn’t want my sailboat parked in the driveway when I died.” Swankie, Nomadland


…“Life’s too short to keep secrets.” Bailey K.


…“I’ve returned, so vividly, at times, to that little girl I think maybe I once was.”—Kim Chinquee, Snowdog (An amazing story collection.)


…“What are secret but things we want to forget?” Cherie Jones, How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House


…"I never liked myself: a love story." 

…"There is a large part of me that wants to see me dead."

 –Melissa Broder, So Sad Today (My favorite essay collection, ever.)


…“I can’t escape the ways I love you, and you know what? I don’t want to.” Billie Eilish, The World’s a Little Blurry


…“Psychopath’s are very attractive people.” Rosamund Pike, I Care A Lot


…I love this:


"There are two types of people in this world: those who do what they say they're going to do, and everyone else." -Anthony Bourdain


Move, and the way will open.” Zen Proverb 


Aside from the fact that she’s totally adorable here, there’s a lot of universal wisdom in this, and I love how her eyes dance as she thinks:


…"If you get—give. If you learn—teach." Maya Angelou


…"I don't think I have a great gift. It isn't just talent. You have to have something else. You have to have a kind of nerve. It's mostly a lot of nerve, and a lot of very, very hard work." –Georgia O'Keeffe


…“In love there are two things: bodies and words.” Joyce Carol Oates


“Remember, you alone get to choose what matters and what doesn’t. The meaning of everything in your life has precisely the meaning you give it.” –Marc and Angel Chernoff, Hack Life