Friday, June 30, 2023




“’What if I fall?’" 

“Oh, but Darling, what if I fly?” Erin Hanson


 “All I want is a partner who is way out of my league but thinks that I’m way out of their league, and we’ll live together in perfect confused harmony with a dog.” Anna Amann


 “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with a little rain.”  Stephanie Clark


“I got pulled over by the police today. I was apparently his first speeder because when he got to my window he said, ‘I’ve been waiting all day for you.’ I said, ‘I got here as fast as I could.’ He let me go.” Teresa Noonan 


“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” 

~T.S. Eliot


“Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing more beautiful in our material world than the book.” Patti Smith


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E.E. Cummings


“The answer is yes. Yes, I did leap off a sailboat into the Mediterranean.” Lidia Yuknavitch 


“Don't you know all writers ever talk about it is their troubles?” Ernest Hemingway, “A Moveable Feast”


“if u speak to me in the morning & i’m rude, then that’s on u, not me.” Abi Dickson



“You gotta pretend that no one listens. You gotta pretend that you’re just making music for yourself, because when you do something for yourself and only for yourself and it translates to everybody else, that’s like what I think true genius takes its form.”
—Mac Miller



“We live as we dream—alone.” Joseph Conrad


“I think the worst part of living with trauma is the Shame Monster that follows you into every room (especially the rooms inside your head + heart). We gotta destroy shame. Every day we fight it back.” Said Shaiye


“Be still like a mountain…” – Lao Tzu 


In which way 

will I be able to fly 

with the weight of

 these bones?

--Viva Padilla



“I am out with lanterns

looking for myself.”

--Emily Dickison


My love gives me some wax,

so for once instead of words

I work at something real;

I knead until I see emerge

a person, a protagonist;

but I must overwork my wax,

it loses it's resiliency,

comes apart in crumbs.

I take another block;

this work, I think, will be a self;

I can feel it forming, brow

and brain; perhaps it will be me,

perhaps, if I can create myself,

I'll be able to amend myself;

my wax, though, freezes

this time, fissures, splits.

Words or wax, no end

to our self-shaping, our forlorn

awareness at the end of which

is only more awareness.

Was ever truth so malleable?

Arid, inadhesive bits of matter.

What might heal you? Love.

What might make you whole? Love. My love.”

― C.K. Williams, Repair


“Because who hasn't tried to pull their arms from the sleeves of gravity's lead coat? Who doesn't have at least one pair of wax wings out in the garage?” 

― Lucia Perillo, Luck Is Luck: Poems


“Of the many things I love, waiting at the airport for a friend is high among them.” Padraig O Tuama


“You know what sucks? Writing. You know what I love? Writing. You know what I wanna do? Write. You know what I don’t wanna do? Write.” Aiko Hilkinger


“Beth says the quiet part out loud every time. When someone’s rude to you in a restaurant, or cuts you off in the parking lot, Beth says the thing you wish you’d said.” Taylor Sheridan on the character he created for “Yellowstone”

Wednesday, June 28, 2023




…This gave me a pretty good sob…

I actually had half a dozen sobs over it before the day even turned to noon.


…I woke up on my birthday to learn I was $1.69 richer. Yay! More royalties from, THIS IS ME, BEING BRAVE (As you know, I’m only doing this writing thing for the money):

Bequem Publishing sent you $1.69 USD

Note from Bequem Publishing:


author royalties (inc. Kindle)


Transaction Details

Transaction ID

Transaction date
June 25, 2023


$1.69 USD

Don't see the money in your account?
Don't worry -- sometimes it just takes a few minutes for it to show up.

  …My birthday was Monday. I’ve spoken in the past about coming around to appreciate, and even look forward to, that landmark day, So, this time around, when it arrived, I embraced her like an old friend I hadn’t seen in years.


…Speaking of old friends, that photo above is me and my buddy, Jim Cippolla. I was 25, Jim a few years older. We were buyers who had landed in London on our way to Ireland. The airport had lost my luggage (it’s one of the loneliest feelings, watching that carousel do an empty, slow twirl after every other passenger has picked up their luggage but you) and so for the first three days I wore Jim’s clothes (note the super long tie and blousy shirt). Flying to Europe was my second airplane ride ever. I was scared as hell, but completely exhilarated.


...I think you discover how much you mean to someone by how they respond to your birthday, the things they write, how authentic they are. Even if they’re telling you, it’s how they say it. In this case, the show in “Show, don’t tell” is very much in the telling.


…”I hope you have a fantastic day. Sending you a BIG bear hug! You mean the world to me! I miss you, my friend” That’s a “Tell,” but it’s also a big “Show” and I’ll take it.


…Same with this: “Also, happy birthday! Live it up!!! Thank you for being my biggest supporter throughout my life. You mean the world to me!”


…This is day 17 without a drop of alcohol. Drip, drip, drip.


…This has been stuck in my head since Monday morning:


…If I could travel back in time 54 years, I wonder what I’d do differently, and how that would change everything that came afterwards. I mean, what would I even write about?


…Book number six, Things I Can’t Even Tell Myself, is due out within a month. What, what?


…If I could be as cool as Harrison Ford is when I’m 80, I’d take it in a heartbeat.


…I love Forensic Files and Dateline. On an episode of the latter the other night, I was convinced (along with the jury) that this couple was guilty of a brutal murder. They most certainly would have been convicted if, at the last minute, a witness hadn’t come forward to prove otherwise. I felt terrible afterwards. I still feel bad. I would have sent two innocent people to prison for life. It really rocked my way of thinking, about what it should require to find someone guilty.


…I used to despise them, but now I’ve come around to loving crows. They’re fascinating and my fourth favorite animal.


…One of the best things about spending a lot of time alone is you can have a raucous mini concert in your office whenever the fuck you want, as loud as you want.


…It’s a wonder outside this window. It’s sunny and beautiful, and a good day to be alive.

Monday, June 26, 2023




“This whole submarine thing was kind of my breaking point, with moral scolds in every direction -- do you feel TOO BAD about the submarine? Do you NOT FEEL BAD ENOUGH? Are you being too mean? Not mean enough? It all feels just unbearably bad faith and built on air. Your opinion of dead submarine billionaires has no bearing on actual real-world politics or your ability to have actual human empathy in everyday life. Many lovely people I know personally cared a whole lot and many cared not a whit. Vice Versa, too. Your (and my!) emotional reaction to an artificially boosted event that affects a very minor sub-set of people isn't a good marker for your moral or political or ethical compass and it's weird to think it is, which is why I'm not judging anyone in any direction. I am glad the whole submarine thing is over because it was a projection magnet, and a particularly nasty one at that.” Letty Ann Trent


“It’s a horrifying and disgusting contrast,” Judith Sunderland, associate director for Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia division, said of the reaction to the disparity of the lost submersible and capsized boat carrying Myanmar refugees.  “The willingness to allow certain people to die while every effort is made to save others ... it’s a, you know, really dark reflection on humanity. Far more coverage was given to the submersible than about the migrant boat, yet, it’s 100 times as many people (plus 500) who are feared to have lost their lives than those five in the sub. These refugees were forced to flee their homes, they were simply looking for safety. They weren’t seeking an underwater museum tour.”


On one vessel, five people died on a very expensive excursion that was supposed to return them to the lives they knew. On the other, perhaps 500 people died just days earlier on a squalid and perilous voyage, fleeing poverty and violence in search of new lives.

Aboard the Titan were three wealthy businessmen — a white American, a white Briton and a Pakistani-British magnate — along with the billionaire’s 19-year-old son and a white French deep-sea explorer. Those on the fishing boat — as many as 750, officials have estimated, with barely 100 survivors — were migrants primarily from South Asia and the Middle East, trying to reach Europe.

“We saw how some lives are valued and some are not,” Judith Sunderland



“Life, I’ve learned, is never fair. If people teach anything in school, that should be it.” Nicholas Sparks


“If slavery had been abolished, I, too, could have married the man of my choice; I could have had a home shielded by the laws.” Harriet Ann Jacobs


“I couldn’t understand why he was home all day, when Mama had to go out working. I was ashamed of him for that and, in a deeper way, for being what had led to our imprisonment, that is, for being so unalterably Japanese.” Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston


“At any given moment, public opinion is a chaos of superstition, misinformation and prejudice.” Gore Vidal


“The worst thing about that kind of prejudice is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds your self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough.” Nina Simone


“’It’s so unfair,’ said Bruno. ‘I don’t see why I have to be stuck over here on this side of the fence where there’s no one to talk to and no one to play with and you get to have dozens of friends and are probably playing for hours every day. I’ll have to speak to Father about it.” John Boyle, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas"


“The air is the only place free from prejudice.” Bessie Coleman


“There are days when the close attention I must give to details chafes my spirit, and the thought that I must spend hours reading a few chapters, while in the world other girls are laughing and singing and dancing, makes me rebellious; but soon I recover my buoyancy and laugh the discontent out of my heart.” Helen Keller


“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” Hafiz

Friday, June 23, 2023






Tethered to Nothing


I am three funeral days beyond forgiveness. 

On the walk home, crows follow overhead, cawing harshly, their plumage motor oil-black, wise birds who are known to mourn their dead brethren. 

It’s a mile and a half from school, then a bend under Dad’s barbwire fence to our trailer plopped down like a puce-colored stone on a craggy hill.

I skip the house, open the barn door instead, spy the rafters. Both the ladder and makeshift noose are gone, same as Dad. Gnats swirl in a cone of sunlight while the air smells like chaff and regret.

Irene, our milk cow, bellows as if in heat or ready to deliver a calf. Her tail swishes horseflies, her jaws working sideways on some sprigs of hay. She’ll need milking soon enough.

I’ll be ten in two days, but I’m not sure if I want to be inching that close to becoming a man. I read poetry, wear my feathered hair long, so I get called both Faggot and Hick. More than one kid has told me Dad hung himself because he couldn’t stand the sight of me anymore.

Who’s to know what’s true? He was a complex man, somber and silent, like a stack of rusted beer cans with too many secrets. If he ever said he loved me, I don’t recall it, though Mother swears he did more than once. Again, the truth is a slippery bar of soap.

Tonight, some men are supposed to bounce around on the moon. If I make it till then, I aim to climb a tree and watch, imagining myself out there with them, floating in space, tethered to nothing.  


Wednesday, June 21, 2023



…Happy Wednesday.

I think yesterday was considered the first day or summer, though it rained here. Soon enough, though, the sun is coming, and I’m ready for her.




…The cost of ignorance and intolerance…

Target’s market cap has fallen over $15.7 billion since backlash to its decisions surrounding LGBTQ Pride merchandise. 

Bud Light maker Anheuser-Busch InBev lost $27 billion in market value in the wake of its star-crossed partnership with Dylan Mulvaney. Modelo has now overtaken Bud Light as the number one selling beer in America. 


…Every day, on average, 316 people in America are shot and murdered.


…America has the highest gun ownership in the world and the highest gun deaths in the world, four times higher than Yemen which also has the second highest gun ownership.

In America, there are 1.25 guns for every man, woman and child. 


…As of Tuesday morning, the average cost of regular gas in Washington state was $4.912 gallon, the highest in the entire country, topping CA ($4.868), HI ($4.733) and OR ($4.562)


…Seattle police have been barred from making graffiti-related arrest after a federal judge issued an injunction claiming the law violates their First and 14th amendment rights. This, even though the city of Seattle spends $3.7 million a year on graffiti removal, some of which says F*CK THE POLICE over the I-5 and 405 bridges.


…Even after two impeachments, two indictments, the January 6th insurrection, and a guilty verdict of tax evasion, Washingtonians supporting the re-election of Donald Trump remains exactly as it was—at 36%--during the 2020 presidential election.


…Fentanyl overdoes kill 150 Americans every day.


…Despite the ubiquitous appearance of Tesla’s on the roadway, electric vehicles still only account for 1% of all automobiles sold in the U.S.


…Black women are three times more likely to die from complications while giving birth than are white women.


…According to the Department of Justice, as many as 17,000 people are sex trafficked each year, with net profits nearing $100 billion. Victims of sex trafficking are typically 71% women and 51% children.


…According to the New York Times, 32% of Amazon’s hourly workers are White, 8% Asian and 60% Black. At lower-level management, 46% are White, 435 Asian and only 11% are Black. At the “Executive” level, 74% are White, 19% Asian and only 7% are Black. 


…80% of all Americans say they believe in miracles, and I would be one of them.

Monday, June 19, 2023




…Happy belated Father’s Day. If you’re a dad, or have a dad, or are a parent, I hope it was a joy-filled day for you.

Parenting—finding that tricky balance between friendship and discipline—is never easy in certain moments, but in so many others it’s nothing but sure bliss.

If you’re not a parent yet, get started on that tonight…

...Happy Juneteenth as well. Dig in. Learn a little.


…Here’s a marsala stew of things I like to start the week off…



…A man never stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child.” K. Pythagoras


“Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” Carl Sagan


“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.” Cormac McCarthy


In Matters of Love


Yours is an ox’s heart —

slow, determined, but

strong enough to move

any load as far as needed

with a perfect knowing of

moment and place and how

it is you mean to let go

--Sam Rasnake


“That contempt of urban culture for half the country. I feel like I’m an ambassador between these worlds, trying to explain that if you want to have a conversation you don’t start it with the words, ‘You idiot.’” Barbara Kingsolver


“Writing is a delicious agony.” Gwendolyn Brooks


“Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks – write what you must.” Carl Phillips


“Is there a direction home that doesn’t point backward?” Paul Chan


“I can't imagine anything good about being blind and lame at the same time but, still at my age, I've seen about all that life has to dish out. I know to separate the wheat from the chaff, and let the small stuff fall away.” David Lynch


“The mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit.” Kurt Vonnegut



“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.” Rilke


“Poetry is whatever you pray to, and then also for.” Kerry Giangrande


What We Carry / Dorianne Laux


“Someone spoke to me last night,

told me the truth. Just a few words,

but I recognized it.

I knew I should make myself get up,

write it down, but it was late…

Now, I remember only the flavor –

not like food, sweet or sharp.

More like a fine powder, like dust.”


You meet saints everywhere. They can be anywhere. They are people behaving decently in an indecent society. ~Kurt Vonnegut


“Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” Elliott Erwitt


“Each word, as someone once wrote, contains the universe.

The visible carries all the invisible on its back.

Tonight...what moves in the long-limbed grasses, what touches me

As though I didn’t exist?...

A word I don’t know yet, a little word, containing infinity...”  --Charles Wright


“If we’re going to solve the problems of the world, we have to learn how to talk to one another. Poetry is the language at its essence. It’s the bones and the skeleton of the language. It teaches you, if nothing else, how to choose your words.” – Rita Dove


“Block the opening;

Shut the doors.

Blunt the sharpness;

Untangle knots;

Soften the glare;

Let your wheels move only along old ruts.

This is known as mysterious sameness.

Hence you cannot get close to it, 

nor can you keep it at arm’s length”

--Lao Tzu


“’Do better’ is my love language.” Jennifer Anrea


“The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.” Werner Herzog


“The difference between pessimism and optimism is constructing a good ending.” Barbara Kingsolver

Friday, June 16, 2023




This is Me Now



My legs have lost it, giving themselves up like snitches, useless stilts that might as well be stacked in a corner or attic. Just ask my Bestie. He couldn’t even hoist me waist-high once I’d tumbled. Ask the tile, the curb, the curtains I almost yanked free of their rings. That’s what it’s like to be me now, my penmanship a leaky ship, runny shit, fingers stitching themselves with static electricity. This is me now. A hairless vole. A boney bitch with a hitch in the knees, Pinocchio backward feet, dialysis stuck in neutral, wondering if this really is me now, and if so, who will love me? 

Wednesday, June 14, 2023




…Happy Wednesday, Kitty Kats. How about I try very hard not to throw up and you try very hard to have a grand day?


…Today, alas, I am going to practice Ann Lamott’s advice and go “bird by bird” organizing all of my undocumented stories and poems. I’m thinking it will take three weeks tops, but I should feel awfully good whenever I’m finally finished, provided I don’t vomit on any pages…


…And here are some (new) things I like midweek:



“Christians can be very hard to love sometimes. I don’t know how Jesus does it.” Bono


“Put your soul in the palm of my hand for me to look at, like a crystal jewel. I'll sketch it in words...” Yasunari Kawabata


 “You know, sometimes I think I was either born too early or too late for my life.” Guillermo del Toro


“Usually when you just try to do the little things, big things happen.” Rick Rizzs


“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” Crazy Horse


“Karma has a lot of names.” Jimmy Dean


“And courage to me meant ploughing through that dull gray mist that comes down on life—not only over-riding people and circumstances but over-riding the bleakness of living. A sort of insistence on the value of life and the worth of transient things.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald


“I have a theory that the moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. 

I have tried this experiment a thousand times and I have never been disappointed. The more I look at a thing, the more I see in it, and the more I see in it, the more I want to see. It is like peeling an onion. There is always another layer, and another, and another. And each layer is more beautiful than the last.

This is the way I look at the world. I don't see it as a collection of objects, but as a vast and mysterious organism. I see the beauty in the smallest things, and I find wonder in the most ordinary events. I am always looking for the hidden meaning, the secret message. I am always trying to understand the mystery of life.

I know that I will never understand everything, but that doesn't stop me from trying. I am content to live in the mystery, to be surrounded by the unknown. I am content to be a seeker, a pilgrim, a traveler on the road to nowhere.” 

~Henry Miller


“Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death—ought to decide, indeed, to earn one's death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.

One must negotiate this passage as nobly as possible, for the sake of those who are coming after us. ~James Baldwin


"You'll miss the mundane walk from the post office to the store to the house--the dog greeting you; the neighbors waving; the breeze on your face. You'll miss the slow woman who disrupted your pace. You won't know this until the walk is difficult or impossible. There is something to loving the mundane. Be awake and alive and present, because this is your own great and gilded age, and it's going to slip away with brutal swiftness. People pay small fortunes to see a whale for three seconds or an eagle fly ahead, but they race through their one and only life. I'm fairly positive that I'll regret my stupidity the most in my final moment of awareness." James Grissom


“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” - Jack Kerouac


“When you’re writing, you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don’t want to know, what you don’t want to find out. But something forces you to anyway.” – James Baldwin


If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry. ~Ernest Hemingway


"I hate endings. Just detest them. Beginnings are definitely the most exciting, middles are perplexing and endings are a disaster. … The temptation towards resolution, towards wrapping up the package, seems to me a terrible trap. Why not be more honest with the moment? The most authentic endings are the ones which are already revolving towards another beginning. That’s genius." -Sam Shepard