Three Stages of Roxy

If only I could remember Roxy now, how she felt the night we met at Chapeau Rouge.  French name, Hungarian bar.  Outside: dewy cobblestones shining under hollow cones of streetlight, hemmed in by one-lane sidewalks.  Inside: a room packed shoulder to shoulder, people clutching pints and blowing streams of smoke into the ceiling fans like howling pack animals.  Gas lamps flicker across the wall dressing, silks of pink and burgundy with raised garlands and gold brocade.  

Read More

Miles Update, January 18th

I'm very excited to report Miles will be officially start working toward his Associates Degree this month.  We're in the process of enrolling him now, and then he's off to the races.

I launched the Quiltstarter site to help raise funds for his tuition, so check it out and consider picking up one of the amazing quilts that Miles makes with his very own hands.  I'll be posting more quilts very soon, including one extraordinary one he made from me from old T-shirts that belonged to my step-father whose no longer of this earth. 

Malibu Seafood


This seaside spot is a vacation spot, a getaway spot, a show-me spot. I came down the 1,000 feet that separates us from sea level to get away from the cloud of heat pushing over from the valley.

A few good swells thump the beach, the traffic on PCH hushes past…  

...husshhh.... russhhh.... thump, ra-thump, thump....

This is damn near paradise, because paradise is never perfect. That's its great secret... it's the secret that paradise desperately wants to whisper in your ear…

...sshhhh... thump, ra-thump...

...but let's face it, we're far too drunk to hear it.

Salted Mexican beer, the good stuff, not that clear bottle garbage. Ahi seared rare and a trollop in a denim suggestion, bare legs and cowboy boots, ambles across the tarmac to the picnic tables. She moves like a baby giraffe. Another couple, stylish and stupid... 97° today and he's wearing a knit cap... she, a trucker's hat.

The Christians compare their satisfaction and the drunk girl teeters by, steadies herself on the guy she met last night. Men hold the babies like commodities, women clutch them like riches. A Shih Tzu sleeps on the back dash of a Chevy and a fat guy walks by ogling his tray mounded with deep-fried seafood like it was a pile of sex.

It's getting too dark to write. Some brave climber wound string lights up the 40 foot palms, but it's not enough, and Dad walks by with extra tartar.  I'll have another beer on the way up the hill. Enough paradise for one day…


Penny Lions

As a child she gazed at the penny lions, slotted metal creatures that disappeared behind hidden folding doors.  The scene was made merry by the bulbs that lined the viewing window, illuminating the arcade:

Eggs glowing warmly, a carnival dream 
with calliope score and 
dashed with kaleidoscope measures, 
a panorama edged by death. 

Soon this stage would become nothing, a dusty relic in the collection of some fantastically wealthy Long Island queen.

The empty field, trampled grass.  
(Nothing and alone)


Ghost House Tulips

A pale bedroom, dry and lifeless
the shell of a brass bed, patina and dust
Scabs of plaster, skeleton lathe.

Mirror at the top of the stairs
a motionless reflection
unchanged since it briefly held 
a frail woman's back 

She was beautiful once,
now she is outside.

The shutters fell from their brackets
long ago, leaving paint less faded 
where once they hung.

The old willow
now too dry to weep
rustles and creaks in a
cold October wind.

Around back, near the cellar door,
now beaten and rotten and hanging agape,
is a flock of tulips,
bulbs she planted with a hope
for recurring joy.


World Changing

In the years that I've been working with kids who are a part of the juvenile crime epidemic in this country I've had the the conversation many times that centers on the big question: What do we do about it?  

And the subtext in every one of those conversations, at least at the beginning, is this: how can we possibly solve a problem as deep and complicated as this one?

I was reading something about the Buddhist idea of the illusion of separateness. Father Gregory Boyle was referencing it in his book as the way that many people cope with the enormity of problems like this: by believing that there is a separateness between us and the constituents of urban gangs.  

Read More