Thursday, September 15, 2016

A few descriptions people have given of me dancing indiscriminately in bars.

Nascar racer rather a Nascar movie starring Will Ferrell
Bob Hope on a treadmill
A young Samuel Clemens

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

An abbattoir of sorts


More McGuane

I wrote to McGuane. Sent him a couple of poems Dustin and I shanedunked. I hope he writes me back. Here's him discussing the short story, a form I continue to find extremely challenging to write, but great to read:

Are you more drawn to the story form than the novel these days?
I’m a bit bipolar on this one. I do plan to write another novel, but the writing I find most interesting today is in the short story. It’s not even close. The best short stories today are written by people whose interests are literary and artistic, full stop. The form seems impervious to the ulterior motives behind the swollen quality of many serious novels. A level of immediacy, the minimal scaffolding, the prospects for lyric intensity feed the hope that the reader may be a cultivated person.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Poor Bill

“I’m a bit sick & tired of people stepping out to ‘find themselves’ coming up at last with too often, in Cyril Connolly’s exquisitely harsh phrase, ‘a cheap sentimental humanism at someone else’s expense.’”

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Life as a Guard in the Contemporary

Man in a serious limestone polo, crimson moccasins, goes in front of the Rothko gets on his smart phone.

“Mark Rothko? yeah we used to be roommates” — 15 year-old girl overheard in conversation.

Monday, August 08, 2016



Dear Head Coach of Women’s Volleyball at Mercer University,

I like volleyball a lot. What may be beside the point is the fact me and my friend Dustin used to partake in spicy burgers in the beer garden at this pub called the Mash Ton in North Portland on Tuesdays in the summers. His friend Shane (yes, another Shane) one day took a photo using a slow shutter speed — many moons later this photo appeared on a website. It appeared that Dustin’s hand was huge and coming out of his shorts holding an oversized glass of beer. I'm there staring off into space in a Chug Life tanktop perfect for wearing to volleyball practice. It’s true I had no clue. I didn’t know what was going on. All in a good fun, as the kids say. I am 43 years-old. I will be sixty in 17 years. The barmaid at the Mash Ton had what you would call a volleyball player’s build. Blonde, probably six-foot-two. We struck up a friendship on a first-name basis. Sarah was her name.

Tell the girls I am out of a job and I have a big heart. A starter for Mt Hood Community College back in the day tells you I’m sporty (Go Raiders). Until one day number 24 (yours truly) tore his hamstring trying to touch his toes during tip-off. He managed to draw a charge before they pulled him and sent him back to the hotel with a bag of McDonalds in one hand and some ice in the other. He fell asleep watching Quantum Leap with his legs up.

That was 23 years ago.

Today, I remain a sizable entity, who despite an infected cuticle, has good court coverage. I have watched the sport from afar, using binoculars mainly, and I have watched the sport up close where the images of ladies in kneepads blur like hillsides from the window of a train. I know the ins and outs. A picture I rapaciously return to is that of five babes in a crouch with their knees bent. I’m like “here comes the white leathery orb, girls! Extend those arms, Bump!”

Volleyball’s a good sport and this should be a lot of fun.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wallace Shawn talked to Mark Strand

Well, when I read poetry I can’t imagine that what’s in the reader’s head is ever what was in the poet’s head, because there’s usually very little in the poet’s head. 

You mean . . . 

 I mean, I think the reality of the poem is a very ghostly one. It doesn’t try for the kind of concreteness that fiction tries for. It doesn’t ask you to imagine a place in detail; it suggests, it suggests, it suggests again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

from McGuane's The Rescue

He is a big dramatic-looking man, and he was dressed for a wonderful idea he had had the previous evening

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Today's Epitaph

Today, in sun, I must look a hard sixty, not my usual forty-three.
Allan Gurganus

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Perfect sentiment

Who would you want to write your life story? My wife, Rebecca Wilson, because she loves the ongoing comedy and understood my mum and dad. - Geoff Dyer

Friday, July 15, 2016

Couldn't I just tell you

I was walking the other day, actually it was yesterday, no pardon me it was a few minutes ago and I had a deluge of ideas for this story that begins the day after the narrator puts his dog to sleep and these ideas encompass the entire story including how the dog died actually poisoned by his neighbor George, a struggling writer out of bitterness because the narrator had thought George was terrible and should be doing other things with his life and I thought this is so great, but of course I had forgotten not just my papers, but my pocket journal as well and then by the time i got home I thought the whole thing was crap anyways for all the same reasons that Saunder's outlines here:

"And yes – I always say I try not to write with a definite intention, and that is true. But lately it’s occurred to me that one of the reasons I’m so emphatic about that is to counterbalance my very natural tendency to write with a definite (dogmatic) intention, i.e., to know too well where I’m going. It’s sort of an autocorrect I’m doing on myself to counteract what I know is a lazy or preachy tendency, that doomed a lot of my apprentice stories to lying flat on the page."
by the way the fact that the neighbor is named george is just a coincidence.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

McGuane on Brautigan

"Like some widely gifted Rotarian who wants you to come to his town, he seems assured and sincere."

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The soil spoke, at that thing in the wood's bidding


·      to thrive on an ambience that can't be beat!
·      to feel good!
·      to travel vicariously myself
·      to think living at a hotel is great!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Flaming American at BMA

"His model for Flaming American was a swimmer from Yale whom Hartley met
when staying with the young man's aunt and uncle during the summer of 1939."

Friday, July 08, 2016

6th of July Dunkfest, Baltimore

sponsored by Love and the Eye by the (inestimably) classy Laura Newbern

Saturday, July 02, 2016

The White Alb

Manzarek ate a hardboiled egg. - Joan Didion

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hangover haiku

I am a wienie
had to make a martini
and now I'm sorted.

Friday, May 13, 2016

My Secret History

A cyclist went past and cleared his throat and spat a squirt of red betel juice at us, just missing Eden's dress. Eden did not see it as hostility. The man was just a bumpkin on a bike."
- Paul Theroux

Friday, May 06, 2016

I just googled our names and this came up

"those bodacious dudes have an excellent time playing games with death"


"by the end the only thing I wanted to know was how Wordsworth was going to help that poor soul with his asshole"

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

News from nowhere

Bit scary not having my team of poets to back me up on this one, Marty. Just me and the Chilean anti-poet and my indefatigable sloth.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A great image

Sometimes I think of my dad in the summer. He’s in the backyard sitting under the small leaf maple tree eating a hot dog with sauerkraut and watching the hummingbirds. They buzz across the suburban lawn shining in the sparkle of the sprinkler’s rainbow mist.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

Translated a bit of Geoff

Canterbury Tales

When in April the kind showers fall
grooming March who was parched to the root and all,
filling every vein with the liquor and the power
to inject life therein and grow many flowers.
Zephyr, too gassy and bloated for words, blows
heathen gusts into every husk, every rusted heath,
while the tender crops, and the young sun,
middle-aged scum, sleeps —
and wired warblers
on through
the night with dead eyes open-wide.
(Coaxed by nature, we rampage lightly)
men and women-folk alike, palm-reading pilgrims,
reed-playing palmers, we long to go on long pilgrimages
to seek out new Strands and pay respect
to the old shrines well-known in distant lands,
from every shire's end
of England to Canterbury we go,
to find the great leader
and bliss-out our souls.

Friday, February 05, 2016

For Monday

Read "Bartleby the Scrivener" by Herman Melville. Pace yourself it's a long one. Also, it's kind of funny, so don't forget to laugh.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

1 story called 8 different things

Humdinger's Unite
Bobby Went Down to The Sea
63 Blue House
Sitwell's Getting Better
Getting Better
Redemption Story

One Life to Live

I'm sure there's more.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Friday, January 01, 2016


Carla Davidson writes, “That eighteenth-century British curmudgeon Dr. Samuel Johnson once remarked, ‘I would rather see a portrait of a dog that I know than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world.’

A hundred years later an American who shared this sentiment, Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (1844-1934), began painting the daily life of some very humanoid canines, an artistic subspecialty that was preceded by a string of careers. In the upstate New York town of Antwerp, Coolidge worked, almost simultaneously, as a druggist, painter of street signs and house numbers, and founder of the first newspaper and earliest bank all within the years between 1868 and 1872. It was after a trip to Europe in 1873 that he turned up in Rochester, New York, as the portraitist of dogs whose life-style mirrored the successful middle-class humans of his time. Coolidge’s first customers were cigar companies, who printed copies of his paintings for giveaways. His fortunes rose when he signed a contract with the printers Brown & Bigelow, who turned out hundreds of thousands of copies of his dog-genre subjects as advertising posters, calendars, and prints. “Coolidge’s poker-faced style is still engaging today. His dogs fit with amazing ease into such human male phenomena as the all-night card game, the commuter train, and the ball park. His details of expression, clothing, and furniture are precise.

Uncannily, the earnest animals resemble people we all know, causing distinctions of race, breed, and color to vanish and evoking the sentiment on an old Maryland gravestone: MAJOR Born a Dog Died a Gentleman” (“A Man’s Life,” American Heritage, February 1973, p. 56).