Tuesday, September 30, 2014


A small animal walks across the lot at dawn. It could be anything until the sun comes up–why be a cat? Because he is happy with who he is. Meow, he declares, although upon closer examination it sounds more like Woof. Yes, he is a dog, trying his best to be a cat. Or perhaps he is neither. He does look a little like Bill, the animal lover, in a smart black coat.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

I knew that Joseph Conrad’s 
real name wasn’t “Joseph.” 
Imagine my surprise, I told 
the policeman, when I 
discovered it was Józef.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

from MAKE IT TOO WAVY (2007)

TV Guide: April 7, 1956

Saturday, April 7th, was a particularly good day for Mighty Mouse. On this day in history, Mighty Mouse swooped down to the aid of a wagon full of helpless mice who were about to be attacked by a bloody thirsty Indian tribe. Soon after that, however, a baby seal rescued his friends (a big dog and a little puppy) from a menacing goat. And just moment or two later, Mr. and Mrs. J. Harrington Rooster announced that they are expecting a ‘blessed event’–probably a baby. 

Mighty Mouse was quite pleased to save a wagon full of helpless mice from bloody-thirsty Indians, but he was rather sad that people didn’t have much of a chance to congratulate him for rescuing a wagon filled with helpless mice before everyone was off to watch the baby seal rescue a big dog and a little puppy and Mr. and Mrs. J. Harrington Rooster announce their blessed event, probably a baby. And that’s not all: there was a pig who is having an adventure in the Swiss Alps that very day! Everyone was excited about that! How often can you see a pig having an adventure in the Swiss Alps? Hooray for the pig and his adventure (in the Swiss Alps!)

“Where did everyone go?” Mighty Mouse thought to himself. The prairie whispered nothing to him, there was nobody in the wagon, and the world suddenly seems like a strange and cold place to Mighty Mouse. He may be a mighty mouse–no one will disagree with that–but after all is said and done, he is also a lonely, bitter mouse.

from MAKE IT WAVY (2006)

To Emily Goldstein

Whenever I am in a large crowd, I always imagine 
someone will come out of the crowd and take me 
by the hand and say: “I am here to take you home.”

Sometimes it is a man who is well-dressed.

Sometimes it is a woman who is well-dressed.

Sometimes I can’t tell if it is a man or a woman 
and whether or not he or she is or is not well-dressed.

Just like the celebrities who are shopping and wearing 
sweat suits and looking really angry at the photographer 
as he snaps their photo. No matter: 

I always feel better when they walk out of the crowd 
and come to me and say, “I am here,” and then, 
“to take you home.”

Once it was a little boy in a huge bathing suit.

from OCTOBER (2004)

There must have been fifteen people outside the post office on Saturday morning and they were all wearing black and a few had flowers and there were several small children, blond and happy and playing with ribbons near the concrete park bench.

Since they were all wearing black it seemed as though things might get very serious but they never did.

A few of them laughed when the leaf blowers started up. Leaf blowers and funerals just seem like a terrible combination along the sidewalk outside the post office just a few steps away. People walked by eating tacos and staring sometimes at everyone wearing black with flowers in their hands right outside the post office.

Finally a woman arrived who everyone knew and loved, wearing a silver dress. She laughed and giggled and the leaf blower was louder than ever.

The sherbert store opened up. The perfume store was closed, probably for good. The old people stopped and watched and the leaf blower was just plain old too loud. In a silver dress she pressed her head onto the shoulder of the man next to her. She rested her hand on the small of his back. She stood giggling, shy, and attentive. If her mother were there, she would have given her a kiss. She would have remembered that.

She would make a beautiful bride. 

She is a beautiful bride.

from FRED (1998)



fred decided to buy flowers. He bought 
three orange carnations and one pink carnation 
and then couldn’t decide to whether or not 


to buy irises or babybreath with the carnations. 
Neither seemed right, and the worst thing 
in the world, fred told me later, is


to buy flowers that you don’t need 
for reasons you can’t figure out. 


Just as fred begin to say this, a shudder 
ran down my spine. I was looking at 
the church across the street and 
reading a magazine. 


“To excite enthusiasm, a design must 
suggest pace and gesture, evoke 
a moving body; it must be alive,” said 


Christian Dior in 1986 while a woman 
in an ad held a flower pot filled with
one really big crystanthemum. 
She was laughing while people ran by 
her but she really looked scared 
to death I told fred. 
fred agreed and didn’t buy 
a single flower. 


On the way out, fred stole 
a box of candles.

from BEE STINGS (2009)


“Come to Gath!” the Philistines once said. “It is quite charming and recherché and there is much to do there that you will find diverting and enriching!”

“Come to Gath!” once said the Philistines. “It is one of our five principle cities. You will be enchanted and charmed. Peerless Gath! There is no equal to the peerless Gath!”

Those who listened responded with incredulity, and rightly so. Hence the old adage:

“Do not believe the Philistines who entreat you partake in Gath with false renderings of Gath.”

And with it, Gath was swallowed up like a marzipan trifle, circa 400 AD or so. 

The truth? Gath: butt-ugly.

Friday, September 19, 2014


Because Donald Pleasence has a name that is so much like “pleasant” I always imagined that people had a warm feeling when they were in his presence. Nevertheless, he was married four times, starred in LOOK BACK IN ANGER, and played Lucifer in THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD. When he died, he was cremated. It was pleasant.


My favorite year for yearbooks is 1971. On page 142, there is a row of three girls with blond hair and white blouses. I like the one in the middle the best. Her hair is the straightest, and her left eye is funny, and so special.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


In 1956, I was nothing. In 1957, I was born, and saw my first zero.  As a little boy, I drew a zero as best I could, but it ended up being a small pink smile. As a young man, I drank champagne, and thousands of zeroes tickled my nose and vanished. As an old man, I watched Iggy Pop on TV and said HA! and felt nothing. Yet by the end, nothing and zero became the same thing, and I felt the small pink smile disappear onto my face. Are there zeroes in space? Yes, there are so many that you can count them, if you want. And you do want to. Zeroes, I want you. I wish it was 1958.

Pattie hangs promises by 
wooden clothespin.

Pattie hangs promises by 
wooden clothespin not to dry.

Pattie hangs promises by 
wooden clothespin to 
feel the breeze.

Pattie feels the breeze. 
Not the promises. 
Pattie feels. 
Not promises.

Promises is just is 
and hangs there 
and sometimes 
blows off.

The wind says WHOOSH 
and there they go. Pattie says: 

WOW but she meant it, and 
what happened next was 
scarcely a surprise.

If you want your life to seem more like butterscotch, use one cup of light brown sugar rather than one half cup of granulated sugar and one half cup of light brown sugar. 

Monday, September 15, 2014


Would you like for me to make you breakfast? Let’s go ice skating. Would you like to buy a new dress? I think you are quite brilliant. Would you like for me to make you lunch? Let’s find a tomato. Can I cut up a few apples for you? Here’s a tomato. I washed the sheets and they should be cool if you want to take a nap. That’s a nice song, where did it come from? There’s another tomato. I washed them for you. Let me do that for you. Let me also do this for you. And that. Would you like for me to make dinner for you? Let’s lock the door and hide. Steak is always nice, it feels old fashioned. Inside. Feel my heart beating. Steak it is then. What’s your favorite color? With tomatoes. Do you think French Poodles are funny?  Or loud? Where are you going? Must you go? Listen to those dogs bark. Man oh man. Must you go? Let’s sing a song. first. Did you fall asleep? You’re quite a tomato. You can’t hear me, can you? What must I do next? Is there anything I can do at all?


It was a beautiful old brick white building with two stories and a patio on the second floor with filigreed railing and brick-colored tile and wrought iron chairs where we could sit and drink Lambrusco and talk about what the city was like thirty years ago when we used to live here before this restaurant even existed (I think it was a head shop back then) how we might laugh and perhaps drink even too much (Lambrusco)! but for the fact that this restaurant closed ten years ago and now is a pile of rubble at our feet which we walked quickly through as we felt the presence of hoodlums behind us and they were gaining on us although they were not real hoodlums, they were just a fond memory of hoodlums, wearing black, after all these years, wanting us again.

“I thought of you tonight when I was eating ramen noodles” she said. “But I never eat ramen noodles” I said. “And because you don’t,” she said, “I thought of you.”

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


I like the way you nibble on my ear like a spider does right before it rains and you walk into the web in the rain and say YUCK and we are so in love that the sun comes out and the spider web bursts into flames due to sunshine but the spider is safe and far away by then inside your suitcase in Mexico while you are by the pool in Mexico stirring a piña colada with the thumb that says EEK that you bought in a novelty store in Paris, you said, I bought it in Paris, but we never went to Paris, I said, it was just a small, warm town in Florida.

Thursday, September 04, 2014


Just like you don’t look forward to all movies, you don’t look forward to all headaches, but I am looking forward to this one. I imagine myself with this headache, lying down in a peach-colored room and saying “I will never get up again” and then you saying “Yes, you will” and then me saying “No sir, I will not” and then you say something unrelated to my getting up, and then you saying about my getting up: “Yes you will, Baby.”

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I have noticed that there are no more welcome mats in the world. I believe that perhaps there was a ban imposed some years ago. It was probably the same day that a celebrity died, perhaps the day Martha Graham died, and everyone was thinking about her contribution to the world of modern dance, which was significant, and no one noticed the article about welcome mats at the bottom of the page, saying, “There are no more welcome mats in the world” next to the article about the Taiwan Unicorn Hibiscus, which is such a lively, inviting flower, and inside of it, you see four tiny dancers, little white ghost dancers, dancing their hearts out.

What I collected in my photo album: 1) a photograph of Greta Garbo sitting in a chair next to a lion. 2) A bottle of Côtes de Gascogne Rosé 3) a photograph of a 1978 Miller-Meteor Hearse 4) a drawing of Swift Premium All Beef Hamburger Patties in a can 6) A photograph of a 1975 AMC Pacer driving over the train of a blonde woman’s dress (with the word “Jean Charles” in it)  7) a photograph of a baby in a christening dress being held upright by her mother wearing a black rug over her body–

So here are my thoughts: why?

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