Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Kitchen

by Donald Hall

In June’s high light she stood at the sink
            With a glass of wine,
And listened for the bobolink,
And crushed garlic in late sunshine.
I watched her cooking, from my chair.
            She pressed her lips
Together, reached for kitchenware,
And tasted sauce from her fingertips.
“It’s ready now. Come on,” she said.
            “You light the candle.”
We ate, and talked, and went to bed,
And slept. It was a miracle.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Everybody leaves

What am I waiting for? Nothing. Who am I waiting for? No one.

I'm very close to a goal I set last year. So close. And yet I can't see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I just see the tunnel. Darkened and endless. I'm in it trying to decide to go forward, sometimes wanting to go backward. (Usually wanting to go backward.) (God, I want to go back.)

I'm talking to myself. The only person who will listen, I reckon. Everybody leaves.

Everybody leaves.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Please forgive me

I'm teaching myself how to play the banjo. If I can be honest for a minute, considering I'm talking to myself here having run off all my friends, I'm searching for a place in the world. These last few years have been very confusing for me and I've recently found myself lost. Adrift. Floating. I need something. This is my message in a bottle. I wonder if the right people will see it

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I made a commitment at the beginning of this year to compile enough new poems to be published in a book of poetry. It's August and I've only written ten poems. Ten good poems. So I'm considering submitting a few of them to some literary magazines. Because honestly that's how you do it. My chances of getting an entire book published is low if I haven't had a single publication. I'm also don't hold an MFA in Creative Writing, nor do I teach at a college in some pastoral university at the foot of a beautiful mountain. Strike and strike.

I will get this book published. I will.

I also need a title.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


This time it's a sinus infection. My eyes have been bloodshot for a week. I finally slept most of the night last night. I'm beginning to feel like myself. Whatever.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Don't look at my book!

I'm currently reading Nabokov's Lolita. Today I am taking the train into the city for an appointment, but I'm apprehensive about bringing that book. It's creepy, right? A middle aged man alone reading Lolita on a train. I can't do it. This is a normal line of thought, right? I'm taking a different book. One that won't make me look like Humbert Humbert.

Monday, July 6, 2015

What's the fucking point?What

I got a surprising text from an old high school friend the other day. One of our close friends from high school died last week. His name was Joe and he died of an apparent drug overdose. I hadn't seen Joe since high school, but he lived across the street from me. We grew up together. He was a good person. And now he's dead. "Found in his apartment dead of an apparent drug overdose."

No one told me that life starts taking shit away when we get older. Parents, friends, passion, muscle, hair. I'm fat and frustrated and now people I rode bikes with as a child are dying. I'm not ready for this. I'm not emotionally equipped to handle this reality.

Are we just supposed accept things as they happen? Where the fuck do I lodge a goddammed complaint? Because I got complaints, man. A lot of fucking complaints.

Joe was funny. He made me laugh. All my memories of him are funny. I wonder what people will think of me when I die. Will my son think I was good dad?

Friday, June 26, 2015


Today is the sixteenth anniversary of my marriage to my beautiful, lovely wife. It's also the day when the United States of America decided to make marriage legal for all people regardless of gender. I am honored to share this new historic anniversary with such an important event in our nation's history. And the reason is simple: Love Wins. Always.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


by Howard Nemerov

Unable to get into the Monet show,
Too many people there, too many cars,
We spent the Sunday morning at Bowl Pond
A mile from the Museum, where no one was,
And walked an hour or so around the rim
Beside five acres of flowering waterlilies
Lifting three feet above their floating pads
Huge yellow flowers heavy on bending stems
In various phases of array and disarray
Of Petals packed, unfolded, opening to show
The meaty orange centers that become,
When the ruined flags fall away, green shower heads
Spilling their wealth of seed at summer’s end
Into the filthy water among small fish
Mud-colored and duck moving explorative
Through jungle pathways opened among the fronds
Upon whose surface water drops behave
Like mercury, collecting in heavy silver coins
Instead of bubbles; some few redwinged blackbirds
Whistling above all this once in a while,
The silence else unbroken all about.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Steven Universe is incredible.

Somewhere between trying to get all the meals prepared and making sure there's clean laundry for James to wear to school we eased up on our TV rules. There's a lot of opinions out there about TV and how bad it is for children. In general, pretty much everything is bad for children. Beware the opinions of the internet. I grew up on TV and I turned out awesome! Anyway, Cartoon Network is James' choice of viewing. One of the shows he likes is Steven Universe. So, if James is watching it then Daddy's watching it, too. And I have been continuously pleased with the subject matter and themes touched on in this show. It's so poignant sometimes. Not like the violent Tom and Jerry I grew up watching.

Friday, June 12, 2015


I like the idea of keeping notebooks. I keep a notebook in my bag all the time and jot down tibits of ideas. Good lines. Funny observations. Sometimes they grow into something bigger. Sometimes the seed never takes. But I like the idea of having a notebook to scrawl in. Just in case. Maybe someday my grandchildren will gather them up and look through them like I was some mystical man who journeyed to Virginia from Illinois. Lover of Chicago food. Author of poetry. Player of video games. Lover of skin and lips. I'm pretty sure that last part will be apparent in the notebooks they find.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Currently hooked on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Funny yes. But there's something about it that feels so normal. People (who just happen to be famous) talking about whatever. It makes me want to find someone to take to get coffee.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Music Appreciation: Tanlines

Camping II

I haven't camped much in the rain. Always been lucky that way. Not this time. For the five days we spent on the mountain it rained for 3 1/2 of them. When it rains all other planned activities get scrapped. The only activity we cared about was staying dry. And even though it rained a lot, we still managed to have fun. James remained as upbeat as ever even though we had to wear winter hats to bed and he developed a cough/cold. The last day was beautiful and I set up my new hammock. I wish I could have laid in that thing for five days, but one day is better than no days.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My son's first camping trip. Part I

Five years ago we drove up into the mountains of Shenandoah National Park and haven't been back since. Reason: James. Before becoming parents we camped several times a year. But in a few days we are going back in and it will be our son's very first camping experience. We bought a fancy new tent, a fancy new bike rack, and fancy new sleeping bags. I'm very excited to experience the wilderness through the eyes of my son. I truly hope this is the start of his love for camping. Rain is in the forecast for part of the week. Typical weather at the top of a mountain. Memories of Yellowstone... The Sun beating down one minute and snow the next. It was magnificent. As if the normal rules of nature did not exist or were somewhat skewed. This weekend we shop for camping food. My favorite part of any camping trip. (re: Cheetos)