Monthly Archives: January 2014

happy, our

Let’s sit facing each other

or side-by-side

and forget the day (or night)

for a little while;

let’s charm each other

with slight exaggerations and

sparkling eyes

while hoping for time to stop


during a long laugh,

denying the clock’s power

to affect our departure point.



the thoughts crept along all day
gnawing at me:
the way I haunt this place
killing time
and a little more of myself
every day;
I put them down in ink
smearing them
as I hurried to record
and destroy,
shoulders aching
from carrying their weight
too long,
forgetting form in order to
rifle them off
and let them bruise the paper
instead of the heart

eternal return

the thing is, all of a sudden, the years have piled up behind you

and you’re sitting there numbly for a second,

not quite feeling sorry for yourself just yet, but a little bewildered,

worrying the possibility of repeating the same processes–

someone cracks a joke, and says, (thank god)

“oh shit, do you remember when?” and for a few minutes

you’re off the hook, but really all you’ve done is push it back,

and maybe down, deeper than before, but

fuck it, keep going and devour yourself again

(practice makes perfect) until you finally

raise your fists and destroy

what’s left

burn it all down

and tip your glass again;

there’s more




Pondering the differences between Having and Happiness;

There’s balanced coverage of what defines both.

I guess it’s all in where you look.

Sometimes I look Within, but time passes quickly when I do.

Amassing evidence and information to tip the scale

between the first two, I wonder if either is mine.

Meanwhile, we’re reading self-help and the true movers

and shakers are helping selves, but not just theirs.

Costello says, “If you want it, take it.”

Another offers, “If you want it, give it.”

Can you spare a quarter?

I’d like to take another look.

A different one.



Photo Credit: <a href=””>dkshots</a&gt; via <a href=””>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;



north and south

On Sundays in Jack of the Wood

There’s an unplugged Irish session.

People just show up and start playing. It’s a hell of a thing,

watching violinists improvise.

They close their eyes and listen intently to each other, hardly moving

before slowly lifting chinrest to jaw, and then the bow moves.

After that, things go quiet in other areas of the world.


I drank Green Man

–from the cask, not the standard delivery, mind you.

Cara from Columbus sat next to me, and told me how

she met Hal on the Appalachian Trail.

“I just decided to do it, one day,” she said. “The AT.”

“I was heading in one direction, and he was headed in another.”

How else do things like that happen?

Cara and Hal moved in the same direction after that.

Neither one knew what was next, but they were looking

for a different place, separately.

They found it together.

“It’s not perfect,” she said, “but nothing is. We love each other.

And we’re figuring it out as we go.”

I looked up above the bottles and saw Jack looking back.

I thought about death and rebirth, and finished my pint.


lovesick drifting

On the way to the Charleston Brewing Company, there was a young man wearing a Carhartt jacket with an Alaskan beard who had an open guitar case and a sign that read “Lovesick Drifter.”
I tossed a five and nodded to him. I knew what the sign meant. He increased his chord progressions into Irish folk as I rounded the corner.

Inside the brewpub, I said, “I’m an IPA man; give me something strong.”


I made quick friends with George
From Seattle.
He told me the 1940s inspiration for Forever Amber, the beer he was enjoying. “Ah, a kindred spirit,” I thought to myself. “This will be a fine night.”

He was wearing a gray Nike Dri-FIT turtleneck underneath an insulated red-and-black checkered flannel. His eyes twinkled as he spoke. Here was a man with stories.

We shook hands and he spoke of Cumulonimbus,
at the Sound Brewery north of Seattle. I wanted to go west again.

He ended up being the owner. The Charleston Brewing Company was for sale in less than a month. “This place,” he gestured, “is great. But there’s not enough money for the hassle.” He talked about staffing difficulties, inventory control, overhead, and much more. I had worked a lot of different jobs over the last two decades, but there were things of which I hadn’t even thought. Still, I couldn’t believe it; I would give up a lot for the opportunity to own a place a fraction that big.

On the other side of George was Joe. Joe was in the restaurant business and had been his whole life. He told me about Kobe beef. “Global warming is a global issue,” he said. He talked about out of print Vonnegut, and asserted that if we don’t change our ways in the next fifty years, we would be extinct. He was appalled that someone lit tap water on fire.

I thought about that quote that tells you what beliefs you have in your 20s, 30s, 40s, and so forth.

Joe argued with George about the viability of natural resources. It was comic, to a point–telling an engineer what’s going on with the planet.

Joe asked us to rank our favorite words phonetically. His were “transmontane and pep.” He emphasized pep. I took a drink or several, and then offered mine: “Loquacious and inebriated.”
George laughed, rubbed his index and middle finger against his thumb, and said “Benjamin Franklin.”

Somehow mixed drinks came up, and I said, somewhat panicked, “I’ve never had an Old-Fashioned!” George said that he hadn’t either. Josh the bartender smiled, and said, “May I make you gentlemen one?” George said, “On me!” And that was that. When the drinks were ready, I said, “Don Draper, motherfucker!” Down the drinks went. That round, a few more rounds.


After a while, the crowd thinned, and we ran low on laughs. We paid our tabs. George showed me around the property, offering his vision for what might happen to the business once he sold. I was heavy-hearted, but more in awe that such a thing was created, made complete, and sacrificed.

We said goodbyes, and I stepped outside. The city was empty, even for a Monday.


“Content is king,” I thought to myself as I walked through those vampire streets.

around the corner

I went to the grocery store and Wendy’s before picking up my wings and fries. I was five minutes from home.

The Geländewagen in front of me was silver. I remember thinking, “There are two of these in town?” The other one was parked behind either a pharmacy or a chiropractor’s office downtown–it was hard to know which.

It was a G550. I thought, “How much does someone have to make to buy one of these? What would a payment look like?” It was the silver that all Mercedes in the holiday commercials were colored. “$85,000,” I thought. “They start at $85K.” I was wrong. That model starts at $101,000.

We approached the first stop sign, and I thought, “I picked up the food just in time. Traffic is starting to suck.”

The g-wagon increased its distance, so I checked my speedometer. I was going about five under. At the second sign, there was a little more traffic going my and g-wagon’s way, so we sat for a few seconds. He pulled out, and I looked back to see if any traffic was coming as I drifted up to the sign. Nobody. I eased down on the accelerator. I was thinking about which bag I would grab first when I parked in front of the house.

I started thinking about sitting on the couch, and smiling, and laughing. The G550 had started to round the curve ahead. Then, there was too much red light facing me. I didn’t understand what was happening. I looked left. The headlights of two cars gained and lost intensity as they passed me. Still there was red light facing me. I didn’t know why.

The Mercedes was stopped, and its brake lights were strong. “LED, maybe?” I thought, and then pushed down my brake pedal, hard. He was stopped, and I was going to hit him.
I was moving too fast. Those red lights were coming at me too fast. “He’s stopped. Completely stopped, and you’re going to hit him, ” I thought. I looked right. There wasn’t anywhere to go. I was moving toward the red light too fast, and there was nowhere to go. I pushed my foot down harder. The front end started to dip. That inexplicable feeling of my vehicle’s rear end starting to lift consumed me.

The red lights were too bright.
I felt my brakes reach their limit, and I started to picture the rear of that silver Mercedes caved in, my airbags deploying as metal reshaped and twisted. The red was too bright.
I gripped the steering wheel and felt my arms grow hot with blood. I turned the wheel to the right, and felt a distant impact as the front of my Acura pushed into the G550’s bumper.

I saw four flashes of tan and brown. One on our left, three on our right. Deer. Goddamn deer. Of course. The Mercedes had reached a full stop, and I had not. I didn’t text while driving, and I hadn’t had a drop to drink, and I was two blocks from home, and I couldn’t stop.

Then, I was still. No airbags deployed. The Mercedes didn’t move. I heard a thump, and I knew we had collided. I took a breath that lasted for too long. I signaled a right turn and pulled off the main road. The silver Mercedes did the same. I looked at his bumper from my driver’s seat. I saw a discoloration–it was a crack. “Christ,” I thought. “This is going to run me.”

adverse conveyance


Greetings from a gray mountain town. The only reason it’s gray is because it’s raining.The buildings are a little dull. Lights radiate oddly; their halos offer assurance of something north of sorrow, but shy of hope.

In the wood and stone of a favorite haunt, the pint is just right. In here, people’s spirits are only slightly damp. There’s a midafternoon quiet, but somewhere deep down, people want to cheer up. They’re waiting for something.

We all are.

We brought our feelings in here with us, and we’re not quite sure where to leave them. Or how we can change them. We’d like to accommodate the underlying optimism of this folk music, but it’s so hard, this time of year.

There are a lot of paths converging.

A hard year is dragging behind us.