Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Miss Larry Brown

I wonder what it would have been like to have a beer with Larry Brown. You know good and Goddamn well that Joe-writin’ sonofabitch was more real than you or I either one could hope to be. You know he was.

I wonder. Driving around in that pickup. Fishing cold beers from the floor cooler. Or sitting on barstools at the Paradise Inn or wherever. Him looking like any other wiry Southern boy you ever saw. Only he could bring a man to crocodile tears with a couple sentences about an old man rocking a baby on a porch.

I met him once. I did. He was kind and elusive and uncomfortable in his coat and tie. Didn’t make much eye contact when he signed my copy of his book. And hell, I wanted to cry right there on the spot just knowing the words he had bottled up in him.

That’s about the highest compliment I can pay a man.

Spring (in Three Parts)

Fucking Spring, Man. In one fell swoop, you—only—eclipse a season-long funk. Oh, I’m still slow rising from Winter’s coma. But already my lungs expand with visions of open-mouth kisses and sundresses. Women of all ages bloom on every tree, drift suggestively down streams of subconscious, light upon my shoulders, chest, and back in drizzled sweet showers. From my forehead I push back long and damp thinning hair with palms singing of potential potential. Yet no one sings, laughs, cries to me as do you.

And your ladies. Ever your ladies. From this porch lovingly lined with bourbon, books, and cigar smoke, I see rippled puddles from whence they’ve stepped. And, Sweet, I’ve no doubt inside lie dainty wet footsteps having been padded gentle to ease for once and all last season’s coma.

To rise.

It’s like when Ol’ Townes built that houseboat in Heaven. I dare you to command a better image. Be you drunkard or no. You can’t do it. And I can’t do it.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll quit trying.


And now (all thankful and shit) the weather is conducive to my vices. Whiskey and cigars on the front porch.

I feel, suddenly, as if I’ve returned home.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Pleasant is underrated. Take this night. Just shy of the witching hour it is not sublime. Not breath-catching or particularly jarring. But. The breeze is strong and audible. Fall is moving in piecemeal—patient and courteous. The leaves, it seems, know in their veins, their souls, that their change is less than 48 hours coming. Their dance upon bending branches is a thing to behold. They hold to the bend. They immerse themselves, rubbing against one another in a celebration of a season well spent. It is pleasant. I feel nearly guilty bearing witness to what seems a private moment. I am a voyeur on my own shrine of porch. They share, I tell myself, bittersweet farewells. And like reverse butterflies they are destined to a death of brilliance. Of blood reds and heaven hues. The colors of fall. They know that in the stead of flight, they one by one will drift and feather to light upon a brittling ground. And their blanket will awe. The dance is not a resignation but a revelation. The acquiescence is noble and proud. It is beautiful in a way things nearly never are. A better man, perhaps, would avert his eyes. But we take our pleasures and magic wherever we can find them. And the hours before true fall are indeed magical.

I am too selfish to not watch.

Monday, October 04, 2010


“No offense,” I said to the three foot Praying Mantis who’d taken over my section of the porch. “But you guys creep me the fuck out. Please leave now.” And from there I urged the arrogant little alien on her way.

Yeah, those things just get to my quick. Like tomatoes or Rosie O’Donell. I think maybe it’s because they appear so self-assured and seem smarter than me. Just look at one of those fuckers close and if you doubt for a moment they are plotting to overthrow the world then you are dumb as a bag of hair. I suppose it could be they’re just looking for their next dinner date—wondering all pouty why they are so often lonely. But I think there’s more to it. Like maybe they are on the secret scout team; telepathing our comings and goings to Xbox or Ramadan, or whoever the fuck is in charge out there. I mean they look like every alien autopsy photo I’ve ever seen. Could be more sinister even than that.

Granted, they’ve never done wrong by me (other than looking like they do). But I’ll be Goddamned if they’d share my lunch counter. I don’t mean to sound all bigoty. I don’t. It’s just they make my skin feel all inside out. And, really, they shouldn’t be eating their men. That doesn’t do much to curb my attitude, you know. I’ve known regular women that do that and I know to stay clear. Like I do with tomatoes and Rosie O’Donnell.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Street Parking

I have a neighbor who parks his truck on the street in front of my house. The neighbor and his teenage son, I can't tell whether they are rude or just aloof. They likely do not know either. What they must know, however, is that, like me, they also have street in front of their house. That area seems to me a much more natural home for the truck. It's not so much the truck sitting in front of my house that frustrates me as it is the neighbor who thinks the thing to do is park it there. It is a common courtesy thing--or, rather, a lack thereof. It simply would not occur to me to park my Jeep in front someone else's house. I would not have to consider whether it was rude, inappropriate, or bothersome. Because I would not do it. This is not to suggest I am not an asshole. Of course I am. Just not the type of asshole to park my vehicle in front of someone else's house. I'm more the type who sits around and bitches about the asshole who is.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


I'm willing to bet Todd Snider is the coolest and most laid back of the people I admire. I bet he's the same guy offstage as on. In spite of the occasional crazy eyes he has a kind vibe about him. I suspect he may be one of the few who truly is a to each his own kind of guy. I bet we've got that in common. And fuck, he lives just over the river. It'd be easy enough to meet him. But I got to respect that Nashville thing we've got going on. It's part of what makes it so great here. But it's tempting because I know he's righteous.

In my mind it goes like this:

Todd, let's go rob a bank. I'm serious.

Well, see, I don't know if that's the best idea, but if you want to go rob a bank, I could meet up with you later. Grab some food. Some wine. (Pause) Good luck, Brother.

And I know he's like that. Just laid back and cool and decent.

And that's kind of why I'd like to rob a bank with him.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Lunch With Tom

I wonder if Tom Waits would be scary. Like over lunch or somesuch say.

"Mr. Waits, wou...."
"Call me Tom, please," his voice gargled gravel.
"Tom, would you pass the salt please?"
He'd look through your soul then. Burn your eyes with his. And nonplussed and curt he'd say, "You don't need salt. Use pepper if you have to."
One of you would say, "Yes, Mr. Waits. I mean Tom." But the other you would either say, "Just pass the fucking salt, Tom!" or reach across him and pick it up yourself.

That'd be two ways to earn Tom Waits' respect. Even if he was scary. Say over lunch or somesuch.

Duck Ponds and Silver Rings

On the stone wall of the duck pond we sat. My friend with her slender feet and toes treading air just above the suspect water. She has good feet my friend. Each toe slight and aching for a slim silver ring to be placed upon it. Ducks here and there gave way to hooligan Canadian Geese, arrogant and hungover. Some with downy and superior punk bills clearly from biting some other unsuspecting water fowl on the ass. Some simply looked disheveled as though having just rolled out of bed. Schools, pods, gaggles of them approached us, strutting more so than swimming. We fed them chewed gum and cigarette butts which, true to their parasitic nature, they took. Some floated watching us. Some turned, shat in the water, and ebbed away. We gave them names and conversed for them. All slow geese in the special ed sense. Some cursed and smoked and drank. Others unable to do more than drift. My friend waved her toes at a particularly blank-eyed fucker, called, "Here Kitty, Kitty!" Brave and stupid, he made a play for a toe, meaning to have it. Laughter and retreat. Then another wave and call of "Here Kitty, Kitty!".... Time passed as time always will and soon we walked with friendly space between us past pretty college people and car after car ebbing everywhere and nowhere. It was a good walk. During lulls in conversation I imagined the sound of slim silver rings on slim young toes rubbing lightly together with each deliberate step we took.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So Close at The Open House

Next to you at the Open House is a woman. Though seated you can tell she is tall. Taller than you like. Her hair is curly and soft brown while you prefer long, straight, and raven. Her eyes are large almonds both in shape and color. Perfect only if they were blue or green or pure brown. Her chest wears a late summer tan showing above a simple white blouse, the hint of cleavage tasteful. You do not notice this, of course, as this is third grade Open House and the parents of your child's friends might see you do so. You do notice, however, the woman's nose and cheekbones as she speaks to the other parents in a confident voice about the PTO. They are magnificent and anchor what you now see is a face so beautiful you might rethink every preference you've ever had. The nose is small, perfectly sculpted, dimpled just above the tip and on both sides. A symmetrical masterpiece. Her cheekbones, the skin a little flushed from public speaking, are high as heaven and nearly make you forget the tanned cleavage you did not notice. Suddenly you want this woman like you've never wanted another. Need her like you need water. Air. Something to believe in. You think how you could love this woman, this vision with almond eyes and cheekbones on high. How you could finish raising your children together. Make love beneath the sound of an Islamorada sunset. Travel to Greece in your middle age. Take walks together when you both grow old. You trace these thoughts down the length of a tan, toned arm, pause on the delicate pivot of her wrist, continue to long delicate fingers on one of which rests a simple band of gold and a blinding rock the size of Rhode Island. You move a little in your seat, smooth your little boy cargo shorts, shift your ample belly, and think in your nonplussed manner, "Ah Fuck, I almost had her."