Friday, October 29, 2021




—from WHAT I’VE LEARNED, Esquire


You can be a great singer, have great songs, be a great performer—and it still might not happen.


I graduated second in my class in high school. I was in pre-law in college. Then I discovered playing guitar. I finally had to make a phone call to my mom and say, “I’m going to drop out of college, sell everything I have, and move to Nashville.” I said that wincing, expecting a rebuke, but I got “If you don’t do it, you’ll always regret it.”


Everybody forgets it’s your personal relationship with God. Everybody wants to infringe on your personal relationship.


Love is being angry. Love is not talking for a day. Love is getting in each other’s face. Love is accepting that I’m wrong. Love is a 360-degree thing. It’s not linear.


Ego always bores me. So, I’m sure I bore people on occasion.


Sometimes God just walks through the room, and you happen to be standing in it.


—Tim McGraw



Sometimes I don’t think you should leave it to God. I think God has better things to do than get you that job promotion.


Trauma doesn’t go away, it only becomes manageable if we deal with the pain of it.


Growing older gracefully means having a keen curiosity about learning things about the world that you didn’t know yesterday, no matter how many yesterdays you’ve had.


I don’t feel guilty taking pleasure in things anymore. I feel guilty that I didn’t take pleasure more when I was younger.


The best utensil in the kitchen? The wooden spoon.


—Padma Lakshmi

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Monday, October 25, 2021




…In order to do this post, I was all prepared to trek on over to the library or Starbucks when a small miracle happened—the power and internet came back to life after a near 24-hour blackout.

All the hype about a “Bomb Cyclone” ravaging the area turned out to be accurate.


Branches broke free from the trees and landed on our power lines, which then sent them ablaze despite the torrent. I went out to check on the situation, standing under the havoc but slightly left of it when the loudest BANG I’ve ever heard in my life sent me almost reeling backward into a ravine.


The good news is I finished two books during that span, and started a third, “Since I Laid My Burden Down,” by Brontez Purnell which I am loving as much as I did his “100 Boyfriends.”


The other good—no wait, it’s actually great—news is that my new book should be coming out on Wednesday! What, what? Yep, if all goes well. I’ll post about it then.


I also wrote a lot of random stuff while the world was swirling outside my windows last night. Writing by lamplight is kind of fun… 



Damn the Weather


 this weather 

wants me dead

cedar seedlings  

flying sideways like 

copper whiskbrooms 

across the frightened lake 

and all I can do is hope 

the bomb cyclone misses 

you the way I do

it’s a sentimental churning 

of the senses that makes no 

sense given our track record

but I’ll still slip the album 

on the turntable anyway

watch it spin like a reboot 

listen to Lana sing 

All roads that lead to you

as the wind blows us out

the door down the road where 

trees land like cannons and 

mother nature takes her 

meat rare and bloody

Friday, October 22, 2021





        my brother stays busy eating spiders, spiders of every shape and size, hairy critters, gauzy-legged, some escaping, stitching up his nostrils, weaving among his dense nose hair until they bore through both tunnels, feasting on his eyes, laying their eggs in the nests they’ve made of his sockets, so that when I ask him why he raped me, he can look perplexed, instead of stupid or amused.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021






Mother had a hunger that scared me. Her skeleton key-eyes always snooping, her talons constantly clicking like castanets. 

Her teeth crushed glass, her lips strands of prison, razor wire.

The strays who visited got eaten. There would be a bloody toupee on the sofa, a severed nose or penis bobbing in the toilet.

When the men stopped coming by, she made her way to my room, locked the door, and said, “You were never my favorite, but you wouldn’t believe how famished I am.”


Monday, October 18, 2021






I wet the bed on my honeymoon. Laid there in the dank dark, steel-stiff. The stain beneath me spreading like a wet forest fire. A raging drench climbing up my spine, down my shriveled testicles. Sour fish or Gila monsters jumping off my shoulders. The splash enormous. Wicked water, wicked waste everywhere. I stuffed pillows in my mouth to keep from screaming. I jammed fingers and thumbs. The taste was like an empty kerosene can. I puked up blood and guts, more foul foam to swim in. A kraken pulled me under the urine waves. Its tentacles like outlandishly long fingers, with suction cups that ripped off patches of my skin. Its mouth was a tarpit French-kissing me. Its lips tasted briny, like ripe piss and excrement. I held my breath for several years, while the bones of ancient pirates scraped my soles. I held my breath until the woman I lay beside rolled over and shook me dead. But I couldn’t die. I’d become eternal liquid, a jelly fish boy, shivering like the ghost of someone younger who once looked like me. The stained bed sheets waved on the clothesline where mother would hang them so the kids riding the school bus could relish my shame, then kill me each afternoon, right there on the playground, where all the best murders took place.


Wednesday, October 13, 2021





I Don’t Think I Told You

        about that hole in the back yard, the stubborn loamy clay, the way it fought to stay buried and unburdened beneath the lawn, how I threw my back out and then wrenched my neck, me with toddler-soft palms, approaching the job with deference, but workmanlike, huffing gritty air, chucking shovel loads, ignoring the root odor, ignoring the sting of blisters, and the stray rabbit and crows who’d come to eavesdrop, not letting up one bit even as I dropped you in the hole, covering it with clods of unforgiving soil, slapping the blade for compression, saying goodbye I’ll see you soon, you who was more dear to me than any friend, and surely not a dog at all.

Monday, October 11, 2021







I want a 

   walk that

keeps its promise 

   daffodils preening 

swallows swirling 

   the sun unleashed 

everything dappled

   drowning in gold 

me clutching 

   your hand 

as we skip 

   through this season 

right on in

   to the next

Friday, October 8, 2021



 …This is an older story, one that won a prize and some money, even though I had a typo in the first sentence, and another later on. (God, there are few things I hate more than typos, but I do love this story, and also Jeanie, of course.)



          When the fire burned down our garage my sister could only ask about the waterbed.  “You can’t burn a waterbed, can you?” she asked, her goggle eyes big as pucks.

         She was mine alone to love, like a strange painting or the neighbor’s lonesome cat.  Our father was always away and our mother, well, she didn’t care for retards.

         The man who interviewed me didn’t work for the fire department and I could tell he thought I was the culprit because he charged forth in hot pursuit of a motive.  I could have given him plenty.

         The smell of a fire gets on something; it bores in and can’t ever really be removed.  Rank skunk spray you can get rid of, but fire, it smolders in the fabric forever.

         Jeanie was sis’s name but we changed it up, always with the letter J though: Jezebel, Janine, Jacqui, Junebug.  She rather enjoyed the idea that she could become so many different people so easily.

         When my mother was at Mr. Taylor’s house comparing bird watching stories, Jeanie liked nothing more than to sneak up to my parent’s bedroom and flop about on the waterbed.  She became a mermaid on that thing, so happy.  A queen being ferried betwixt regal landscapes.  A damsel on a raft.  A silly girl, not so smart, who at least knew how to swim.

         When our parents divorced the first thing to go besides Pop was that waterbed.  Mother stabbed it to death with an ice pick and later the carpet man spent the better part of a day fixing things, flooring-wise.  He even carried the rubber matt out to the garage like some defeated sea creature slung over his shoulders.

         I buried it and it’s in a safe place now.  Jeanie and I step over it every morning on our way to school, me to mine and Jeanie to her special one.  I tell her someday she’ll swim again and, as she smiles, I think she believes me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021





the dead of winter



and now

   the cruel chill arrives

blooms in my bones 

   in my everything 

taking tree after 

   unsuspecting tree down 

its weight like a 

   glacial layer cake 

the world made 

   of white bricks 

the largest one 

   coming ajar/falling

crushing us 

   on the couch 

where we wove 

   our silence 

in a maligned knot 

   death no longer

a stranger

   but rather a 

sweet kindness 

   that spares us both

from having to say 

   I’m leaving you


Monday, October 4, 2021




…Happy Monday. 

I’m headed to Canada for the first time in over 2 years. Hopefully the border folks will be kind.

What are your plans for the week?


…A few days ago, I had this very short piece up in the fifth-year anniversary issue of GHOST PARACHUTE, one of my very favorite magazines:


It received a nice reception, and comments for which I very grateful:


--Oh Good Lord, this is just amazing.

--stunned, and stunning.

--Whoa--what a poem.

--You've really done something here - excellent!!

--Oh, yeah.

--That ending hits hard. In a good way. Great piece.

--You never fail to astonish me, my brilliant friend.

--Stunning, Len!


--damn, What a powerfully heart wrenching piece, Len

--Len, that is incredible.



Friday, October 1, 2021



…Happy Friday and weekend. What have you got planned? Me, I’m going to see the Sopranos sequel today. Last week I saw “Dear Evan Hansen,” and though the critics mostly scalded the film, I loved it. Ben Platt is astonishing, both his vocals and his acting. It was good for five sobs. Go see it and let me know what you think. 


…Here are some things I like for the start of a new month:



                           Why Bother?



Because right now, there is         someone


out there with


a wound                                     in the exact shape


                                                  of your words.



--Sean Thomas Dougherty



  Love is apart from all things.

Desire and excitement are nothing beside it.

It is not the body that finds love.

What leads us there is the body.

What is not love provokes it.

What is not love quenches it.

Love lays hold of everything we know.

    -from "The Great Fires," Jack Gilbert


 Night Song

Among rocks, I am the loose one,

among arrows, I am the heart,

among daughters, I am the recluse,

among sons, the one who dies young.

Among answers, I am the question,

between lovers, I am the sword,

among scars, I am the fresh wound,

among confetti, the black flag.

Among shoes, I am the one with the pebble,

among days, the one that never comes,

among the bones you find on the beach

the one that sings was mine.

    -Lisel Mueller