Friday, April 28, 2023




…Yesterday was a good day to be alive, and today is, too. 


--Tigger: “How do you spell that?”

--Winnie the Pooh: “You don’t spell it, you feel it.”


…"My dear Liv, you are everywhere - in the light against the window, in the bathroom door, on the bed, in the chair. It hurts like hell to see you on the other side of the glass wall. I pray you bond with me. My heart misses you as if I no longer had any skin on my body. That you would embrace me and obtain me in what is you, in your femininity and tenderness. This is a little like hell, almost romantic." 

--Letter from Ingmar Bergman to Liv Ullmann


…It doesn’t take a genius to know what’s going on.


…I’ll split the difference with you, if that works for you.


…Writing instructors always say, “There is no such thing as wasted writing,” but I’m not so sure I believe that. I’ve written many, many miles of crappy stuff and it all seems like a waste.


…“Surround yourself with people who lift you up.” Sounds easier than it is. 


…Essential Tremor…such an odd name. And such an unnerving malady. 


…“My darling (my still) My husband,

I wish I could tell you of my love for you, of my fear, my delight, my pure animal pleasure of you — (with you) — my jealousy, my pride, my anger at you, at times. Most of all my love for you, and whatever love you can dole out to me — I wish I could write about it but I can't. I can only 'boil and bubble' inside and hope you understand how I really feel.

Anyway, I lust for thee.

Your (still) Wife.

P.S.  O'Love, let us never take each other for granted again!

P.P.S.  How about that — 10 years!”

-- Letter from Elizabeth Taylor to Richard Burton days before their divorce


Next thing you know


…April came through. Took her a while, but her final moments have all been sun-filled thus far.


…“There’s a world of shadows that we don’t hear that returns to us through art.” Andrei Tarvosky


…Broken like Valiums and chumps in the rain

That cry and quiver

When a blue horizon is sleeping in the station

With a ticket for a train

Surely mine will deliver me there.”

—Rickie Lee Jones

...I'm always looking for that red light.


 ...I Know the Truth 


I know the truth — give up all other truths!

No need for people anywhere on earth to struggle.

Look — it is evening, look, it is nearly night:

what do you speak of, poets, lovers, generals?

The wind is level now, the earth is wet with dew,

the storm of stars in the sky will turn to quiet.

And soon all of us will sleep under the earth, we

who never let each other sleep above it.

-- Marina Tsvetaeva


…Today’s a good day to be alive. Yesterday will be as well.


Wednesday, April 26, 2023






         I am nine or ten the first time I watch my mother hack a chicken’s head off, blade high, then sprocketed crimson-pink. Headless bird body submerged in a boiling pot. Feathers more easily plucked that way. A life of fluff.

I am nine or ten and just learning how to masturbate, how to make myself feel better, though I never do. 

The chickens seem submissive, as if they know all along that they are doomed for inevitable slaughter. They toddle to the pot so stupidly. Necks bowed for the Queen.

I beat off (what they call it at school) in the craggy woods behind our make-shift trailer home. I come in ropes, yogurt lifelines that no one reaches for. Not even the wind.

My favorite chicken (I name her Melissa) lays double-yolk eggs. A rarity. Miraculous. I tie a yellow ribbon around her neck to save her from bloodshed and it stays there, until it doesn’t. She’s butchered, too.

In the woods, I become a young man or a beast, I don’t know. It’s difficult to separate the two. Puberty has arrived so early, so confusing, a kind of anxious nonsense. I ejaculate in the direction of lichen-tipped boulders, evergreens, Satan and Jesus.

For dinner, my wife makes coconut-encrusted chicken fingers with hot mustard dipping sauce. A chunk gets stuck in my throat as I feel my erection disintegrating. I reach for a glass of water, but choke and never stop choking.

Monday, April 24, 2023




…“I realized early in my adult life that talking—real, honest, substantive conversation—could be superhot, and it didn’t have to result in anybody taking their clothes off for it to be erotic in a lasting way. Very often a good conversation is more memorable than f*^king.” --Lucinda Williams


…When things go south, I always have you.


…“Would you like a hug?” is probably the best thing you can ever be asked.


…Finland was again rated the happiest country in the world.  I need to go there. I need to learn sisu.


…I’ve got this book entitled “Be Calm” staring me right in the eyes, like right here on my desk, yet I’m anything but that.


…Last night, I dreamt I lost Lucy again. It’s horrible when dreams become reality.


…I know I come across as a sad sack, or a sad clown, as my son calls himself, but I’m happy much of the time. And always, I’m grateful for everything.


…If you could know when you were going to die, would you want to know? I think I would. I’m ready for that answer.


...The only thing up at 3 am is me, the wind and the swaying evergreens, though you can only hear them through the panes. 


…If I could have one superpower, it would be to melt down all the guns in the world.


…Once you get a taste of heaven, it’s hard to want anything else.


…Time keeps on slipping into the future, and that’s okay because that’s how life works, right?


…“Silence has the largest ear.” Lan Lan


…I’m always going to root for the underdog, and I hope you do, too.


Come Monday, it’ll be all right.


…I’ve had to do a lot of ruminating on the notion of privilege. To be honest, at first, I didn’t quite get it. I thought, if you worked really hard and happened to gain from that, it was rightfully yours. But now I understand it more clearly. Do I need to remind myself how privileged I am? Oh, yeah, all the time. 


…I’ve seen so much rain. What a lucky F*^k I am, right?


…Blogspot now has censors. Some of my posts come with warnings or they’re not posted at all because of the word choice I’ve employed.

Every single day, I’m astounded by how puritanical America has become. Ban books but buy as many guns as you want? I mean, WTFF?


…I’ll just keep on missing, and I’ll be true to that.


…No matter what anyone says, today’s country music is really just 70’s pop. Thank God for that.


…What I often wonder: How am I still alive, and John’s not? 


…Everybody has a tipping point.


…Striated, still, and more.


…For some reason, my mother became a huge Mariner fan late in life. I never even liked baseball. But now I’m an M’s fan. What that means is something I should take to my therapist.


…Blonde or gray? I’ll believe whatever you say.


“He wrote me: ‘I will have spent my life trying to understand the function of remembering, which is not the opposite of forgetting, but rather its lining.” Chris Marker


….Walt: I thought you were afraid of heights.

Travis: I’m not afraid of heights. I’m afraid of fallin’. Paris, Texas


…”Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.” - Rumi


… “It Was Like This: You Were Happy”


It doesn’t matter what they will make of you

or your days: they will be wrong,

they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,

all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,

you slept, you awakened.

Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.” 

– Jane Hirshfield


…“When you hit a wall – of your own imagined limitations – just kick it in.” Sam Shepard


“True love can never be described in words nor can the depth of love ever be expressed. True love is something beyond our understanding, it is difficult to explain and understand, but we can definitely talk about what love is not. When we say we love somebody we become jealous, we don’t want to share. we become possessive, these are negative traits and this is not love.

Love is something that elevates you, love is something that takes you beyond the physical, it is something that opens yourself up and you can only experience a certain aspect of that love when you yourself completely open up.” -Krishnamurti


…“You have to know how to look even when you don’t know what you’re looking for.” Roberto Bolano


…“You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you." James Baldwin


"I wrote to Picasso once: I did not receive a reply. I saw Picasso at a party or an opening or something crowded and awful in New York. I spoke to him. I repeated what I had written in my letter: How do we do it? What do we do when the images and the words do not come forth? How do we survive? How do we remain artists? He looked at me with those glorious eyes, snapped back that shiny, bald head and told me that we are not artists; we do not concern ourselves with 'art.' We are workmen, day laborers--who happen to work with paints and clay and actors, and curtains part on occasion to display what we do. Tell the truth, he said. As you know it. Art may happen; it may not. We are not owed its presence. His point was made." --Tennessee Williams interview with James Grissom, 1982


…“In Los Angeles, you can get by without your honor, but not without your car.” Pauline Kael


…"The only safe thing is to take a chance."  Elaine May


…“That’s what’s so gorgeous about humanity. It doesn’t matter how bleak our daily lives are, we still fight for the light. I think that’s our divinity. We lean into love, even in the most hideous circumstances. We manage to hope.”--Mary Karr


…“I wasn’t arrogant or confident. I was desperate. I had to succeed at acting because nothing else was possible.” Marlon Brando


…“I think it is all a matter of love; the more you love a memory the stronger and stranger it becomes.” Vladimir Nabokov


"Certainly, after Michael’s death it became clear that I wouldn’t kill myself to save my life. At that point I realized that the main thing a parent has to do is stay alive. It doesn’t matter how rotten you are, or if you fail. A failed parent is better than a dead parent. A failed parent at least gives you someone to rail against. A former army psychiatrist said something that struck me. He said that there are people who will kill themselves no matter what, and there are people who won’t do it no matter what. There are people who can go through an endless level of psychological pain, and still they will not kill themselves. I want to be that last person."--Louise Erdrich 

Friday, April 21, 2023




Thirty Miles Out


My older brothers were studs, and I was not. I was a mantis. Milquetoast. A tall-drink-of-water, as my dad labeled me. Or “Sally,” as he chose me to call me for a spell when I grew my hair out long.

But I tried to follow in my brothers' footsteps. I wrestled at 127 pounds. Gangly, and hard to pin, I won two matches.

Then I tried out for football, did summer camp, pressing the $110 worth of berry-stained bills into the coach’s hands, watching him gaze at the burgundy blotches while smiling, oddly proud. 

After one grueling practice, on a scorched afternoon, I drove to A&W for a root beer float. Took it in my beatdown Pontiac Catalina. In the lot. Alone. 

In the space next to mine, an old guy in a pickup leaned across his seat. French-kissed some girl. Kept on going. All tongue and slobber. 

She might have been nine or ten. She might have been his daughter, or someone else altogether.

Her eyes were closed, but his were awestruck—open. Like a crack of black lightning. Like a pleased owl feasting on a slaughtered deer mouse. 

I drove away without even half-finishing that float. I drove and got lost, thirty miles out from home. 

That was years and years ago, but most days, I’m still driving. Most days, I’m still lost. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023






If I’m dying

If we’re all dying

If the ground shudders, the panes, roof, floor, my fingers

If everything trembles this much, God help us

If God becomes a politician

If God is merely a wizard behind a sheet

If God could just obliterate gun-lust

If guns were Banksy flowers instead

If flowers bloomed and bloomed and never died

If I could do things over again

If I’d seen The Bee Gees

If Wally hadn’t grabbed my collar

If I’d had more children

If I hadn’t drunk the entire jug of company Kool-Aid

If the walls could talk

If puppies could talk instead of getting sick and dying

If gay or they didn’t matter to anyone else but them

If no one was ever allowed to hurt a child in any manner

If my dad hadn’t fancied belts so much

If my mother would only leave me alone for once

If Lucy was still here, conked out, chasing rabbits in a faraway field 

If being lonely wasn’t so lonely and pathetic

If there were better metaphors for lonely

If if was a different word

If I’m dying

If we’re all dying, it seems reasonable and equitable

If I wasn’t writing this, chances are I’d be dead already

Monday, April 17, 2023





Thirty-four Ounces



--First, let me ask you, are you presently anxious?

--Of course, I am. I am all the time.

--What about?

--If I knew, I don’t think I’d be anxious.

--Are you being a Smart Ass now?

--I’m not smart enough to be a Smart Ass.

--That’s exactly the kind of thing a Smart Ass always says.


--You realize that this is just to get us started, right? Finding out what the real, root issue is?

--When a person has this many problems, they’re like potatoes buried in dirt, it’s easy to dig one up. 

--That also sounds sort of Smart Ass to me. Do you even want help?

--Hey, no, look, I’m sorry. Truly. 

--What then?

--You know, well, if you can figure out how to stop the shaking, and if you could help me smell a flower, even one, I’d be very grateful.

--Ahh, now, that’s better.  Thank you for being submissive, for once.


--So, I see you’re on Lexapro and that you’re seeing a therapist…

--I’m on everything, and everything’s on me. But I’m not a victim.

--Sounds like you might be, or that you think you might be.

--I just need help.

--Ha. Don’t we all?

--But isn’t that your job, I mean, like to help people? To help me?

--Not if you don’t really want to be helped. Let me ask you, do you? Do you genuinely want to get better?

--I don’t know. I mean, maybe I think I do. 

--You think?

--I also think I might just want to die.

--That’s what I thought. It doesn’t take a genius— 


--Forget it. Let’s pick this up next week. In the meantime, be sure to drink lots of fluids. Hydration is very underrated.  Thirty-four ounces a day is the minimum.


--It could trigger a turn-around.


--And if you end up posing a risk to yourself, be sure to take five deep breaths before calling 911.


--Write that down—911

Friday, April 14, 2023




…I’ve never watched my hands this much. It’s like staring into a vortex.


…“I’m always here for you,” may sound trite, but it’s still awfully nice to hear.


…Almost always it’s the simple things, not the grand ones, which usually end up being the best.


…This day…


…It's easy to feel like a train wreck when you actually are one.  


Reasons for living never come cheap.


…Seems like there are two choices at this point: Get old and embrace it, or; Don’t, and be horrified.


…I’ve never seen a dog, even an ugly one, that didn’t make me happy. Same with a baby or toddler.


…It’s tough being nine-years-old when you’re trapped in a sixty-two-year-old body and brain.


…What does it mean when your fingernails become striated? Oh, yeah, that.


…I wonder what Jesus is up to today. 


…Sometimes negative space tells you all you need to know.


…Sometimes having friends who know enough, and are kind enough, to look away while you’re spilling all over yourself, says everything.


Show don’t tell is always the correct route.


…My aim is to pray more. So far, I’ve got some work to do, but I’m getting there.


…I’m pretty sure I miss certain people more than they miss me. And that’s okay.


…I wonder if there’s an app that’s just kids belly-laughing. That’d be nice to hear about now. 


…Things (and such) that I’m not a fan of—yardwork, automotive stuff, hunting or anything to do with guns, cottage cheese, Putin, tomatoes, men telling women what they can or can’t do with their bodies, math, computer problems, Satan.


…The lake looks like a headstone right now, but without an inscription. And still it’s beautiful, pristine even. 


I wish I had a river I could sail away on.


…Friday used to mean something totally different. Monday, too.


…Whoever said, “High School never ends,” was very astute.


…Being able to share your ugliness with someone requires a lot of bravery on your part, and trust on the part of the person receiving it. That shouldn’t be such a hard thing, yet it is, it is, it is. 


…My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Marshall, was sort of a MILF back in the day, with gray-streaked, long black hair. But she could be mean. Once she slapped me. Another time she threw a chalkboard eraser that smacked me in the face. This all happened in front our entire class. I remember those moments vividly, though I can’t, for the life of me, recall what I did to deserve them.


…One of the best things that came of the pandemic was John Krasinski’s show SomeGoodNews, which was a feature that only reported happy happenings. I loved it. He eventually sold the concept to some studio, got ostracized for doing so, but where the hell is that show now? I could use SomeGoodNews. I think we all could.  


...My fingers keep divining, though they’ve never asked for permission to do so.


Ain’t too proud to beg


...What I don’t have an answer for, no matter who asks it, is, “So what is it that makes you so anxious?”


…If Lucy was here...


…My watch is awfully bossy, but sometimes I like being a knocked around a bit. 


…I might sound shaky, but I’m doing okay, and okay is kind of close to good, right?


…“Tag, you’re It,” said no one over twelve. Tag, you’re It.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023




Luna & Me


I can’t tell who is more anxious, the moon or me.  Luna’s going through the motions, the wood chipper, menopause, and her hot streaks make me shiver, though I don’t usually need a reason.  You know you’re loved when the wire goes dead.  When I die, I’m leaving everything behind.  My guilt I’ll give to charity.

Monday, April 10, 2023





I blister the pitcher of bloody mary’s all over the restaurant table, waiter coming over unstable, me unstable, life unstable  The things we spill have so much to tell us, like a hand of tarot cards, one with a throne, the other a guillotine  It takes just a minute to wipe up the mess, “It’s only water anyway,” but all I see is the red droplets he missed, staring at me like a hydra or a gang of angry carpenter ants.

Friday, April 7, 2023



…It turns out that trying to stay alive can end up being awfully expensive.


…The other day, I told my best friend that I’d probably die if I stopped writing. It came across very melodramatic, but it was still a true, and authentic, declaration.


…Genius is an over-used word. I won’t say that Lana Del Rey is a genius, but she’s pretty effing close. Just listen to “The Grants” or "Mariner’s Apartment Complex,” or all of “Norman F***ing Rockwell.”


…What am I so afraid of? I really wish I knew.


…Thank God for poetry. It’s saved me so many times.


…I wrote and wrote and wrote yesterday. Each piece was as dark, or darker, than the next. You can call me Nick Drake, if you’d like. Or you can call me Betty, and I’ll call you Al.


…I wonder if other people prioritize safety, feeling safe with someone, as much as I do.


…Sometimes, sitting in traffic, I wonder where all those people are going, what they’re worrying about, what their lives are like at that exact moment. We’re just strangers in cars, but still I wonder.


…Some people can say, “I love you,” so easily and actually mean it, but some can’t say it at all, though they really do mean it.


…You get to a point in your life where about all you feel is gratitude. Older and wiser is definitely a real thing.


…Other than, “She Had Me at Heads Carolina,” this is the song I’ve most had stuck in my head of late:


Be calm. Be calm. Be calm.


…Yesterday I watched the rain for hours.


...Having too much of everything can often feel like having nothing at all.


…“I’d like to explore the possibility that you can live with this.”


...No one wants to feel pitiful, even if they are.

…Loneliness is a kind of brutal torture. And the thing is, there’s no one to blame but yourself.


…“Do you believe you pose a present danger to yourself?”


…I always wonder if happy people are genuinely happy. I’m really glad they seem that way, and I’m envious, but still I wonder.


…My fingers always seem to want more than they have, twitching like jelly fish for something just out of reach.


…If Jesus ends up not being real, I’m not really sure how God can forgive him.


…But I will say (again), that without forgiveness, we’d all be fucked. 


…I’m not sure if it’s so good to sit with your own thoughts this long.


…“If that was a fifth, we’d all be fucking drunk.” Your Honor


…It’s incredible the things we can take for granted, like the simple smell of perfume on skin.


…I suppose there are better, healthier things, to think about, but I can’t always control where my disobedient mind scurries to.


…I often find myself wondering what Jesus thinks of everything that’s going on. But then I realize, he knew the plot all along.


…Patience isn’t inaction, but it’s just as annoying and difficult.


…Some parents defy logic and convention, and never die. For instance, mine are right here, slightly off in a corner, watching me type these words.


…When I was seven or eight, my mother staged a runaway. It was snowing, windy wet sheets of slush. We walked a few frigid miles until my father drove up, flashing his brights, drunker than a scarecrow. If I’d had more sense, I would have run that night, and never stopped running.


…Every time I sleep in Lucy’s room, I think I hear her scratching herself. It’s incredible how real that sounds.


…“We all have our shit.”--Karen Stefano. She’s right. Yep.


…I think there are some things you just don’t want to know and that it’s wise to not want to know them. But then that’s just one opinion.


…It’s going to rain this weekend. It’s going to be gray gray gray. But I’m going to soak it all up nonetheless.


…Be well. Tell someone you love them, if you really mean it, and look them straight in the eye.