Friday, June 27, 2014

Orchid Explosion


June, 1986:

She was wearing a yellow rainslicker. It wasn't raining. Perhaps it had just stopped. Red lipstick, red boots. Nothing else. Nothing. Big brown eyes, and hair in brown ringlets. Among her likes were "rollerskating in the rain." Seriously. And this was written without a hint of cliche.

I hid them in the woods behind the backyard.

There was an old crate, resting on leaves and branches, turned on its side. It was big enough to sit in.  A perfect clubhouse. The wood at the bottom was slightly rotted, owing to the damp soil beneath.

It was for this reason that I had to use the plastic bags. I would carefully wrap each magazine in its own clear plastic Ziploc bag, like a giant version of the clear sleeves we used to preserve baseball cards.  The ones that had to be kept in mint condition, the McGwire Olympic Team card, the Ripken and DiMaggio rookie cards, and my collection of Don Mattingly cards, valuable not because they were rookies, but because it was Donnie Baseball.

They were all Playboys. That's the only of this sort of magazine I knew existed, because that's the only one my Dad had.

His hiding spot - buried in the middle of a stack of Popular Science, National Geographic, and Scientific American that rested on the back of his toilet- was elegantly brilliant, albeit flawed. Hidden in plain sight sure seemed smart. But in the end, a good part of his collection had been smuggled out, wrapped in plastic, and tucked underneath my wooden crate of a hideout in the woods.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

On Poetry - Mr. Mojo Risin'

Listen, real poetry doesn't say anything; it just ticks off the possibilities. 
Opens all doors. You can walk through anyone that suits you.

There are things known and there are things unknown
and in between are the doors.

                                                                                        ― Jim Morrison

Thursday, June 19, 2014

But I Would Not Feel So All Alone...

People either get you or they don't. 

Like in this book I just finished, the woman the main character falls in love with describes listening to Bob Dylan as being "like a kid standing at the window watching the rain."

Later, he mentions Dylan to another woman he is with. She doesn't know him. So he starts to tell her, "He's like, standing at the window, watching the rain," but then he drops it. I imagine his voice trailing off as he sighs deeply: "He's a singer with a rough voice."

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Out of Phase

(Midlife) Crisis is when the you that you are doesn't line up with the you that you thought you were.

Ain't no sports car gonna fix that.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Life's Funny

It's so funny that as I sit there paralyzed, worried that I am going to do something that takes apart my world, it splits apart before my eyes. Imploding from the inside out, everything that used to be me, collapses into fine shards of broken glass. It's not haha funny, of course, but funny, strange. You know what? It's not even strange. Just sad. Just cruel.

And after this long, there is no hope of getting unbroken. None. Eggshell everywhere. Like Humpty Dumpty.

* * *

Held down underwater in the town pool. No one else is there, and the water's cold. I stretch out my arms and legs, to get away, to surface, to live. But everywhichway I swim, I push myself deeper down. How is this possible?!? What to do, but laugh? But underwater, it doesn't even sound like laughter. And at any rate, why am I even laughing? None of it is funny. Not to mention that it makes it harder to breathe.

* * *
How is this fair?

"Life isn't fair." That's what my Mom always used to tell me. But I know she didn't mean like this. She couldn't have.

No fair.

On Short Shorts, Writing Flash Fiction

"In the short short the very idea of character seems to lose its significance, seems in fact to drop out of sight. We see human figures in a momentary flash. We see them in fleeting profile. We see them in archetypal climaxes which define their mode of existence. Situation tends to replace character, representative condition to replace individuality."

                                                                                          - Irving Howe, Short Shorts

Load Up, Engage Your Hips, and Swing Violently (Flash Fiction)

We got to the stadium early enough for batting practice.

He carried our mitts, one inside the other. As we walked inside, I put my hand around his shoulder.

Our seats were in left field. My son stood, shifting back and forth on the balls of his feet.

The baseball was hit on a line, a laser beam that carried over the fence, smacked into the facade, and bounced into the section above us. And he was off, bounding up two steps at a time. He ducked under a seat, and emerged holding the ball in his hand. He held it up over his head, a huge smile on his face.

At home, only a day earlier, I had walked towards him. He walked away and sulked. "I hate you Dad."

An attempt at micro-fiction, AKA"flash fiction," a form of ultra-short story, described here and here and here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Here and There (Flash Fiction)

Here and There

His iPhone on the counter makes that blip-blop sound. A new Facebook comment or Like.

They sit on the couch, a few feet away from each other, but in different universes.

The kids' lunches still have to be made. Ziploc baggies of red grapes. And peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches.

An attempt at micro-fiction, AKA"flash fiction," a form of ultra-short story, described here and here and here.

Our Last Midnight Snack (Flash Fiction)

Our Last Midnight Snack

I remember the sound of my pajama feet padding on the linoleum floor. The house was dark, but the kitchen light was on.

It was the night that my brother left us.

I remember rubbing my eyes, squinting up at him. "What are you doing?," I asked.

He just grinned, opened the freezer, and scooped out the Breyers mint chocolate chip into two glass dishes. He lifted me onto the stool and placed a spoon in my chubby fingers. We sat next to each other, eating silently. And afterwards, he carried me back up to bed. Like a sack of potatoes.

A first attempt at micro-fiction, AKA"flash fiction," a form of ultra-short story, described here and here and here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Art, Music and Poetry

The best musicians transpose consciousness into sound; painters do the same for color and shape.

― Haruki Murakami

"Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen."

                                                                                          ― Leonardo da Vinci



Saturday, June 14, 2014

How Do You Take It?

"How do you take it?" she asked.

I wanted to say, "Black." "I take my coffee black."

    Like that line from the movie Airplane. The one where the little girl says she likes her coffee black.  Like her men.

    Or like that hypnotizing Ella Fitzgerald jazz-blues number. Where she's feeling alone on a Monday: I'm feeling mighty lonesome/ Haven't slept a wink/ I walk the floor and watch the door/ And in between I drink.

    Or - pardoning the transition from soulful Music with a capital M to something else entirely - that bee-boppy Squeeze song.  Where he's wistful for those days of drinking coffee in bed. Black coffee, of course: With lips full of passion and coffee in bed.

    (Are all songs about black coffee about goodbyes?)

Or if I could tolerate bitterness better, I could cooly say, like Neil Gaiman, "Black as night, sweet as sin." 

    I thought about that. 
   That would be a pretty bad-ass order. 

   I would deliver it like Clint Eastwood. Intensely. With a gravely voice, squinting my eyes.  The Barista would be looking at me, and I'd gaze directly into her eyes. She'd just look away with a coy half-smile.

But I didn't say that.

Because, the truth is, I just don't take my coffee black.

I'm more of a light and sweet guy. Which - unfortunately for me - is not very tough sounding. But, I mean, what are you going to do? Drink bitter coffee?

"Light and sweet, please."

So You Want To Be a Writer?

"if it doesn’t come bursting out of you

in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of

then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife

or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,

don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,

and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was."
-- Charles Bukowski

Moon Watching - Dripping With Honey

I gazed up at the night sky
The moon was the sun
A fresh dawn cocooned within the night

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Poolside 1.0

The two towels are lined up, end to end.  Mine, the All American special, its reds, whites, and blues, sun-soaked and faded.  Hers, black with pristine orange and yellow stripes.

I sigh, and roll onto my back, both hands resting on my stomach. And just as I was beginning to give into a lazy drowsiness, she changes directions and goes skipping off in the other direction.

She shifts onto her belly, pops up, and starts to run towards the pool. Her water-slicked hair bounces over her shoulders, and I hear the bottoms of her feet alternating against the ground. Left behind: one rumpled towel. And me.

Inside of a second later, I'm up. The cement looks harmless enough, but I know better. Baked by the sun all day long, it was now fire roasted. So hot that my little bare feet could only handle it for so long.

I hop from the hot cement to a nearby towel and then to a shallow puddle of water, lukewarm islands where I gather myself, before dashing back onto the cement. I zigzag from "Ooh" "eeh" "hot-hot" to brief pauses of "Aahh," until I reach the edge of the pool and slip into the cool water.

I plunge underneath, a trail of little bubbles floating up up up.  She is opposite me. Already under the water. Waving her arms and legs, in slow motion blue.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Haruki Murakami - Interview Snippet - On Writing

When I start to write, I don’t have any plan at all. I just wait for the story to come. I don’t choose what kind of story it is or what’s going to happen. I just wait. Norwegian Wood is a different thing, because I decided to write in a realistic style. But basically, I cannot choose.

But do you choose the voice that it’s told in, that deadpan, easy-to-follow voice? Do you choose that?

I get some images and I connect one piece to another. That’s the story line. Then I explain the story line to the reader. You should be very kind when you explain something. If you think, It’s okay; I know that, it’s a very arrogant thing. Easy words and good metaphors; good allegory. So that’s what I do. I explain very carefully and clearly.

Does that come naturally for you?

I’m not intelligent. I’m not arrogant. I’m just like the people who read my books. I used to have a jazz club, and I made the cocktails and I made the sandwiches. I didn’t want to become a writer—it just happened. It’s a kind of gift, you know, from the heavens. So I think I should be very humble.

Friday, June 6, 2014


slowly. & also all at once.
at the same time. & it becomes a part of me.
and -
and -
- & then, on and on and on.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Curves snapped straight, into lines.
Crossed over, criss-crossed, crossed up.
The layers spin off and collide. They touch and explode.

Built up and taken apart. And back again.
Square angles break into circles upon circles.
A pebble in a pond.

In the mirror.
The shapes repeat.

In the mirror.
An empty frame returns my gaze.

Setting Images to Words: Dark Skies

"The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night."   
                                                                                                            - Haruki Murakami