Monday, February 28, 2005

The Beauty of an Ellipsis

A most satisfying thing is to drive from Miami to Key West in the dead heat of summer. Traffic can be rough, but not nearly such as it is during the Season. The drive is a special thing in that it cannot be captured or adequately described to someone who has not made it. The Keys are…very dear to me.

A visit to Key West by flight is too a grand thing—I’m sure. But to drive it is to learn something about yourself you didn’t know before embarking. It may be years before you recognize the merest hint of the lesson, but it will be there. I assure you. On that drive you are the beauty of an ellipsis on a two-lane. You are a suggestion of every conceivable possibility, nestled between the Gulf and the Atlantic, stealing into the distance ever toward the end of the States. There is a certain finality about the place, so drink it in and remember it well before deciding when or whether to return from whence you came. And while you are there, sit high above Duval Street, order a dozen oysters, and drink a toast to letting go of whatever it was that sent you there. Gaze across the street at the tourists posing for pictures with the gracious and graceful drag queens. Hit the trendy bars because you must. And then find something off the beaten path and make it your own. You won’t regret it. And slow down and breathe deeper than you think you can. Look for that thing inside you that you never liked and be rid of it. Walk to the pier and swallow the ocean. Take a seat on a crescent moon and smile at a stranger. Go mad if you need to; then give it to the breeze. Pause for as long as it takes you to grasp that you are at the end of the world. The end of the world and it is wonderful.

Embrace the wet night air and decide what you will do with that knowledge. It will be the only time in your life when every possible option is right.

A Thing to Consider

It is one a.m. and I am knee deep in an article for work that was due last Thursday COB. For all my flaws I don’t miss deadlines. And while procrastination takes the majority of my time in real life (leading to the occasional missed engagement), it does not extend to the workplace. It is poor form to not deliver on an expectation. And though I embrace poor form in most every aspect of my existence, doing so in one’s work is unseemly. Circumstances arose that required prioritization; so, hell, I prioritized. Let me tell you I suck at prioritization; but in this instance I chose correctly and did what needed to be done. So no buildings will crumble nor will businesses fail as a result, but a deadline was missed and that ain’t cool in my comic book. But c’est la vie (that’s French for c’est la vie)! The article will be on someone’s desk at 8:00 a.m. I will have met her deadline but not my own. And somehow, I think I’ll sleep just fine.

We got Uncle G. moved out of the apartment and into a storage unit. He can’t sleep in the unit. The contract he signed says so. So that angle is gone. Fuck, I’d be tempted—it has electricity and everything. It’s big enough for a person. And your stuff would already be there so… During the move we spotted a monstrous crane near Belmont University. It was crazy big. It prompted me to launch into a diatribe on how I would love to climb the crane with a backpack full of iced beer and snacks and sit up there all night. I had it all mapped out. During the move it truly seemed like a thing to consider. What the fuck? Am I nineteen? I’ve lost it, I think.

I took Em to the Dollar Store today. Where have I been all my life? That place rocks. Em had $5 to spend and he did so in style. A bow and arrow, an FBI kit, a paddle ball, an airplane, and two water pistols. Five bones plus tax. The place was incredible. They had snacks, Easter candy, flashlights, and paper towels. For a dollar! I turned into a SNL skit—asking how much each item was. Surely it cost more than a dollar. People charge you more than that for an acknowledgment. He had fun and so I had fun.

A late night at Mulligan’s last night. Harp and Jamesons all ‘round. Exceptional music even though Butters was absent. Show me a better Irish pub this side of Dublin and I’ll...I’ll…argue with you until you agree that Mulligan’s is the better of the two.

I am exhausted. Em was a bear this evening. My article is waiting. I need a shave. I have to iron clothes for work. I have visions of The Boy’s soccer practices in my head. I am antsy. I am simply unsettled. But it is Spring training and Baseball looms. I see a squeeze play coming…

You know that crane thing is a thing to consider. Perhaps I’ll put that in my article.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Hanging out at Red Caboose Park Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Pause To A Lapse

And in the middle of speech, she pauses--
cocks her head and says, "Lapse to thunder."
And smiling at me, she continues, as a
light rain taps at the cracked window.

Originally published in Sand Hills, Spring 1991

With Just a Splash of Coke

What does one do when the mind works and works? Those times when it simply will not stop? Breakdowns are unseemly and so motherfucking trendy just now. The whiskey helps once and again. Then again it doesn’t really but the thought that it might equals justification. .. Aye, let us justify…

The odd homesickness has taken hold like a brother-in-law. It is making phantom long distance calls and drinking all my booze. And I don’t recall inviting it. Homesick for what I wonder. The trash-lined streets? The full-blown—nearly comical—racial divisions? The close-mindedness? The backwoods, good ol’ boy mentality? I can’t fathom missing what I loathed for decades.

Then again, home is home. And there were niceties along the long way. There was Joe’s Underground, Vallarta’s, Friday’s, The Fox’s Lair. Downtown was emerging and has since thrived. There was a time when I had a crew. The past eight years though, my audience has consisted of two cats.

….Paris let my number slip and I am some kind of pissed. I’ll call you. We’ll go to Switzerland. We’ll bathe in the hot springs and thumb wrestle until dawn. Ever smoke hash in Amsterdam? But she never called. And now I’ve gone the way of Vince Vaughn. My number is posted to the Web; twenty or two hundred young things calling me at all hours of the night. Hey, I hear you’re hot! But what are you gonna do? Yeah, I’m hot, Baby. But I’m really tired and I have to take Emerson to daycare in a couple hours. Are you at least fourteen?....

I’ll help Uncle G. move his stuff to a storage unit on Saturday. It makes me sad that he is sad. Oh but the lessons we learn and then relearn and finally unlearn. Those fucking twenties! Man, were they ever brutal. I’d sooner revisit puberty. In a poodle skirt. And a tube top.

I think it’s time to bury my face in my hands and feign sleep.

I hope I remember to take out my contacts. They aren’t Whoopi Goldberg blue, but they still hurt if you leave them in too long.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dinner with Friends

Did you notice the calm in the air
when I mentioned our affair, complete
with details of seduction and cunnilingus
in the park, your body perspiring in the dark?
My wife pursed her lip, excused herself
and like royalty parted company, finding
composure in the vodka she hides behind the spices.
Your husband rather looked foolish, weeping
in half-eaten pasta and breathing deep.
I thought he might vomit when I mimicked your moan.
And you weren’t much help either
with your false tears and surprised face.

Originally published in Cotton Row Anthology, 1996

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Tavern Owner Posted by Hello

Australia Ruminations #2

You climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and you are reborn.

You join a delightful group and somehow revel in the knowledge that you and your partner are the only Americans. You are teamed with a lesbian couple from England, a younger married couple from England, an older married couple from Scotland, someone who might be Irish, and a mother and daughter team from Sydney. You shed any and everything that is not attached, gear up in a wonderfully atrocious jumpsuit, and go through a practice drill. You check your fear at the gate. You embrace the moment of something new and ascend as you never have. You travel through tunnels of wet, carved stone. You grasp the metal rungs of ladders that shouldn’t be there and hoist yourself, knees quaking, upward. An infant’s whisper from speeding cars and trucks and buses. The very wind of them passing through your hair. And then you queue up. Together you join and celebrate the arc of the structure. At the crest, you take in the beauty of The Rocks, Circular Quay, The Amp Tower, The Sydney Opera House, the entrance to the Pacific; and you kiss the person next to you and you ride the stutter-step of your heartbeat knowing for that one moment in time you have become a living part of the Sydney skyline. Be you a Yank, a Brit, or a Scot in blood you are now an Aussie in spirit. The entirety of your being is a pause.

And too soon, you cross and descend. You shed the jumpsuit, say goodbye to your group, and you leave. Your exit is as anticlimactic as you would hope. And hand in hand, you take to the street, turn the corner, and find the perfect pub. You grab a table outside and finally let go of your breath. And when the beer comes it is cold and tastes like everything wonderful you ever knew.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Theory of Relativity and Biggie Smalls or Why I Don’t Teach

Many years ago I decided I would get off my apathetic ass and teach high school. I made arrangements with my employer that allowed me to take two Education courses at night and fulfill a weekly observation requirement. I’d had my Bachelors for a long while and was doing exactly the same thing I’d done while earning it—working at a dead-end, soul-depleting job. This was a big step for me. I had made a decision. Decision-making was not something my family was very good at and I had made one. I would fulfill my Education course requirements and teach English at a local high school.

Well a funny thing happened on the way to a career choice. In 1996, Augusta College’s (now Augusta State University) Education department consisted of the most unadulteratedly arrogant group of people outside of my stereotyped perception of all Ivy League schools. Theirs was not to turn out educators but to feed their own sad egos. That was problem number one. Next, in the course of taking my first two classes, I learned that all senior high school text books were written at a 6th grade reading level. And no one seemed to have a problem with that. On top of that, those courses had nothing to do with educating. They were merely exercises in how not to be confrontational or offensive. In short, they were about how to be ineffective as possible. The final block that collapsed my Jenga tower was the time I spent “observing” a living breathing classroom full of our Up and Comers. I observed an AP class over several weeks. That means a class of “smart kids.” They were anything but. A teacher would have had better luck discussing Nietzsche with Corky (“Becca, I just don’t get this Ubermensch stuff!”) or explaining the Theory of Relativity to an as yet undead Biggie Smalls (“So bullets move fast, right?”) than with teaching those kids anything. They were undisciplined, self-absorbed, generally unappealing kids living out a sense of entitlement. In short, they would have fit nicely on the Augusta College Education department faculty.

Call it a shortcoming or an example of my own arrogance, but I can say with a clear conscience that I made the right decision to bail after completing one of those two classes. The public school system as I experienced it is unsalvageable. I wish I were deluded enough to think otherwise. But I'm not. Upon learning of my decision to abandon the teaching track, a close friend hit me with the clichéd line of “Well, if you can reach just one student, then you have really made a difference.” I lost it. If I ever, ever, become the type of person to be contented or comforted by the premise of helping one student while hundreds others flounder, then my days as a caring, (self-described) decent human being are over. Close the garage door and disconnect the carbon monoxide detector. It’s over. My time is better spent outside the structural and disciplinary limitations of our school system—a system intent on failure. It is better spent imparting what I know of Hemingway, Steinbeck, Twain, Welty, and Porter to my son or to a confidant in casual conversation. Don’t misunderstand. I am not entirely foolish and I am capable of doing the math. One is better than None in terms of helping. I know. But in the context of a mammoth, organized commitment to educate the masses, being a slot in that bureaucratic roulette wheel is about as appealing as...well as teaching the Theory of Relativity to an undead Biggie Smalls.

And, besides that, I wouldn’t know a Gerund if it rode the coattails of an intransitive verb to my house and bit me on the ass. I doubt you’d want me to teach your child anything.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Rocky Raccoon Has Shin Splints

The whiskey is going down as it should. Warm and about right. I haven’t had my hair cut since before Australia and I look ridiculous yet feel more like me than I do with the silly cut I usually get. I look like Joey from Blossom with a hint of recede. A great look if ever there was. Life is an argument at the moment and it is a tired and cold and rainy night in Nashville. Em sleeps finally and is entirely covered with stuffed animals. He is a scene from ET. I need to run for a year. Take off for the Keys. See if my shin splints allow me a mile marker past Homestead. O’ let me hobble as far as Islamorada—please. I’m homesick of late—for a place I gave away long ago. I was never happy there, yet it was and is still home. Change was always hard for me. I could use a dose of something familiar. What I wouldn’t give to walk into the Fox’s Lair tonight and see Roger play any one of the 2,000 songs on his playlist. There were nights when I’d walk in and he would stop whatever he was playing and launch into an eerily perfect version of Rocky Raccoon just for me. Significant to me for purely adolescent reasons. And how pleased I would be to walk into the Bar at Friday’s (three deep on three sides) and watch as a cold, cold draught materialized in my hand, a knowing wink from Todd the bartender. And I’m homesick for the people I depended upon for unconditional… accessibility for lack of a better word. It is raining harder now. The house is dark. It will rain through tomorrow so says the boyish weatherman. That’s ok. For now, I like a dark house and the sound the rain makes hitting the roof and windows. And I like it when the whiskey goes down as it should. Warm and about right.

Friday, February 18, 2005


...and a lullaby breeze sweeps me on my way, alone,
content,the taste of her embedded in memory, as
a traffic of leaves swirls in front of me.

Originally published in Sand Hills, Spring 1991

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Nashville Rocks! I Kid You Not

I love Kid Rock. I really do. Now I can envision the Cosmos staggering to a pause, filtering those words for sarcasm. But they contain none. Kid Rock Rocks! The guy, by all accounts, should have faded into MC Hammerdom long before 1998’s Devil Without a Cause sold its ten millionth copy. But no! Cat Daddy came right back and sold four million copies of his follow-up. And then he did the unthinkable—he successfully crossed over and linked himself to Nashville. Not an easy chore. And he became a sincere and close friend to Hank Williams, Jr. The two taped a memorable Crossroads for CMT in December of 2001. Since then, Kid has been in town several times. Rumor had it that he and Hank would take private jets around the country to restaurants and clubs they favored. Occasionally Pamela Anderson would accompany them. Kid and Pam were in town for the Country Music “Flameworthy Awards” a couple years ago and got into a tabloid-worthy spat at one of Nashville’s Pretty People Places. Think about it, even during creative lulls, Kid is in the news.

This week is no exception. Kid was in town Tuesday for legend Merle Kilgore’s funeral services at the Ryman where he sang and played guitar. By Wednesday at 7 am, he had allegedly punched a DJ at one of our strip clubs, eluded Nashville’s finest by going to another strip club, avoided a possible DUI by signing an autograph (resulting in the firing of a Vanderbilt University police officer), was finally arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge, and was freed on $3,000.00 bail. One of the arresting officers held Kid’s hat while Kid was processed—both of them grinning and laughing like old friends. And I think that’s what gets me about Kid. The guy is likable. He passes my “I’d like to have a beer with him” measure of a person. That arguably could include 99.9% of the world’s population (Oral Roberts still pisses me off) but realistically speaks to a far lower percentage. During every interview of his that I’ve seen or read, the guy looks to be having a good time. I admire that. He doesn’t seem to sweat the small shit. That’s a task I’ve yet to master. People who have mastered it intrigue me mightily. Again, look at this fucker. By all rights he should be doing jello shots and drinking cheap margaritas out of a cracked Solo cup from the steps of his trailer. But he’s not. He’s traveling the world and having fun. Hell, he’s getting paid big to travel and have fun. I admire that. And while he could go toe to toe with Shrek in a beauty contest he consistently dates beautiful women. I like that. He started out as a Michigan DJ; but he has gone on to sell a gazillion records, has been in mainstream films, and last Tuesday sang a tribute at Merle Kilgore’s funeral. I love that. The guy is charming in all the ways he shouldn’t be. I like him for reasons even I don’t fully understand. Lest we forget, Kid got to be Kid by being irreverent and rowdy. He crossed over being irreverent, rowdy, and surprisingly talented. He maintains a fan base of sorts by being just that: irreverent, rowdy, talented, and likable. So he punched a strip club DJ. Not cool, to be sure. But hey, it was a strip club DJ. The guy will walk away with some money and a story to tell. And who’s to say Kid didn’t take a shot to the snout back in his own DJ days? Let’s call it a character builder and move on. Kid, fight your way back to Nashville anytime—this town’s lousy with strip club DJs. In the meantime…I'm packing up my game and I'm a head out west where real women come equipped with scripts and fake breasts…I wanna be a Cowboy baby!

Yeah, I know, but how could I not?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Class Act

In response to another recent lesson in “Class Act from Daddy’s Perspective,” Em told me We don’t say Goddamn, Daddy. That makes me angry and sad. He also thought it might do me some good to sit in time-out. I asked him if he was out of his Goddamn mind. No, actually, I sided with him—if only because I had imparted that wisdom to him but a mere couple weeks prior. He had used the word in perfect context. Context (as with Timing) is rarely mastered by folks my own age, much less by three-year-olds. So, I’m thinking Cool. My Boy is mastering Context! But, again, he’s three. I figure I can’t have him running around Temple Playschool going, Goddamnit, Brian! If you step on my puzzle again I’m going to whip your ass! I mean, even if it is justified, Ms. Edna and Ms. Janice might not like it. So, I explained to him that it really isn’t a nice word but that sometimes adults use it and I shouldn’t use it and I don’t want him using it and yadablahyadablahyada. I know the word is terribly offensive to some—particularly here in the South. But I like it. I’ve always liked it. The way it rolls effortlessly off the tongue. The way it can express joy as well as rage; agitation as well as relief; astonishment as well disinterest. It offers the whole package. But I make every attempt to stay keenly aware of my surroundings; and in doing so I try to maintain at least a slight sense of social decorum. That means that even though I am an ass a good amount of the time and spend a great part of my day trying to amuse myself, I don’t go out of my way to offend unsuspecting folk. However, if you are in my ever-shrinking circle, you’ll know I walk a tremendously fine line. Be that as it may, Em knows that saying Goddamn isn’t the wisest choice for either of us. He called me out and rightly so. He’s got some aging to do before he fully understands the complexities of who and who not to offend; of when and when not to be entirely inappropriate; of self-censoring and self-preservation. He’s a bright and considerate one. He’ll figure it out, with or without continued lessons from me. Until then, we’ve reached an accord. I’ll tone it down as best I can. And he’ll refrain completely—at least until Brian steps on his Goddamn puzzle.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Odds & Ends

The Boy had his stitches removed yesterday morning. The scarring should be minimal. Saint Thomas did a very nice job. While we were at the hospital, Em reminded me that he is not one hundred percent potty-trained.

Today is Geoff’s birthday. If there is anything worse than Valentine’s Day it is having your birthday fall on it.

I’ve read the first two stories in William Gay’s I Hate to See that Evening Sun Go Down. Simply remarkable.

Aunt Rhonda sent Em some foldin’ money for the holiday.

The sun just came out.

My stomach is growling. It sounds like the Hamburglar is camped out in there.

I’m still reeling from last Thursday’s Gillian Welch and David Rawlings show at The Station Inn. One of the top ten shows I’ve seen. Worthy of an entry all its own.

L. and I went to Antonio’s for dinner last night.

I gave up sweets and chips for Lent and I’m not even Catholic.

Was anyone besides me shocked that Brian Wilson didn’t fall over during the finale on last night’s Grammy Awards?

And hearing Jack White say “Yes Ma’am” to Loretta Lynn was just wonderful.

I haven’t had time to read the Sunday paper. Nor last Sunday’s.

I doubt I missed anything.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Australia Ruminations #1

In Sydney they say wonderfully cool things like “No Worries, Mate!” Even when they throw you out of a pub for falling asleep sitting straight up while you are supposed to be guarding $2,000.00 worth of your own photo equipment and your wife is engaged in a drunken conversation with a heartbroken bloke from Queensland in a part of the pub you can’t see, they are kind. They don’t shake the shit out of you and say “Hey, shithead. No sleeping in the pub. Get the fuck out!” Nope. They gently tap your shoulder and say something along the lines of “Time to move on, Mate!” And when you apologize and shake off the jetlag and booze and look around genuinely shocked that your wife isn’t sleeping across the hightop from you, they repeat what has since become my mantra: “No worries, Mate!” And they seem to mean it. Simply delightful people. Take me back. I’ve only begun to doze.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

the end of something, were it only

and i think it was there beneath
that salmon-colored sky
when all the world was a fish
that the lure of longitude (or
was it latitude) drew me to you.
it was there beneath skyfire
in the silence of the longest moment
in the hum of that very silence
in the deafening scream of that
veritable silence within the crags,
crannies, and nooks, the western expanse
of expanse, and confused economy that
i lost and again found my place. and it
was then, precisely, that i ceased and
you ceased and in an envelope of sky
our fates were sealed in the unlikely
beauty of the end and lovely hum of it

originally published in Cotton Row Anthology II, 1997

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

a death



by the

Monday, February 07, 2005

What We Are Up Against

Three plays into the game last night, The Boy took a header into the coffee table. My eyes were locked onto his as he hit. It was a horrific slow motion, Sam Peckinpah moment that simply won’t leave me. Ten delicate stitches later and he’s on the mend. The blood loss was minimal for such a deep cut, but it was a terrible thing to look at. His tears stopped before we left the house for the emergency room and he was adamant about seeing himself in the mirror. As we worked to get our emotions in check—the worst thing we could have done was let him sense how torn up we were—we agreed to let him look. It was the right thing to do. A man in the making needs to know what he’s up against; and he needs to know that those taking care of him are convinced of their own competence—whether or not it is with feigned confidence.

In the big scheme it is a minor thing, of course. There is no question. But to comfort and calm the thing you love more than life; to secure his hands and head while a good doctor cleans, injects, and sutures a wound for which you’ve accepted blame, responsibility, there is nothing more important. His pain was my own. What was most upsetting is that I was not able to absorb his discomfort completely. But I suspect we can never do that. I can live it, duplicate it; but I’m not allowed to claim it. And I find that immeasurably unfair.

And while I recognize my penchant for melodrama, it has no place here. The story is thus: The Boy hit his head; he got his head fixed; he is doing very well. This happens to thousands of kids every single day. But, you know, I wish it hadn’t happened to mine. An arm’s length away from being able to break his fall and I couldn’t do it. But I did get to scoop him up and hold him immediately; I got to hold his hands while they fixed him. I got to be his daddy. That becomes a little more painful and a little more rewarding each day.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Loss and Regret Most Likely

I saw Million Dollar Baby last night. Spectacular, truly, in most every way. I was similarly moved a couple years ago when I read FX Toole’s Rope Burns (his words have been deftly adapted). The performances are subtle, nuanced—perfected. The score is slight and haunting. Simplicity was never so complex.

On the subject, I am convinced I will someday pen the ultimate script. It will be about loss and regret most likely. There will be booze and women and books and music and heartache. My script will be the bastard stepchild of Charles Bukowski, Sam Shepherd, Raymond Carver, Ernest Hemingway, Larry Brown, Harry Crews, William Matthews, Barry Hannah, Lucinda Williams, Wislawa Szymborska, and all the other brilliant people who are sleeping or dead. (Chekhov, Spalding Gray, Eudora Welty). It will make you feel. It will make me feel.

There will be awards. At the biggest afterparty, the Hoodoo Gurus will frenzy my crowd of friends with an updated version of What’s My Scene? And Sam Cooke will smooth on down from his mansion in the clouds and serenade us with Bring it on Home. And the North Mississippi Allstars will back up Mickey Newbury who will Just Drop in. And the night will end and recommence with pipers easing into and out of Amazing Grace.

And when the party is done and the royalty checks begin, I will have a home in Santa Barbara; and with a cup of black coffee I’ll watch the sunrise, a Chocolate Lab running his owner down the beach, just West of my vision; and I’ll have a home in Islamorada—my jewel—where I’ll spend my days fishing and my nights embracing a sunset that makes me weep with its perfection. I will bathe in its glow.

But until then, I’ll go see Million Dollar Baby; I’ll rent Raging Bull; I’ll think about The Apartment and Philadelphia Story and Harvey and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And I will love them each for being unique and special, pilfering just as much as I need to sire that ultimate script. The one that will secure my happiness.

Cut to black.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Em Dream

Em had a dream the other night in which a great big spider carried a dog to the sky and the cat was watching. He seemed o.k. with it but it pretty much fucked me up for the rest of the day.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Plenty of Time for Portland

Ken calls on Sunday night. He’s throwing a Super Bowl party this weekend and wants me to fly out for it on Friday. He talks in his happy Ken cadence as he logs onto Travelocity and prices flights. “Aww, Dude, we can do this. Under $500. That’s it, I’m booking the flight and you’re gonna come out here and party with us. I got thirty people coming over. That’s it. We’re gonna do it.” I wish I could put into words how much I would love to do just that. Put it all aside, get on that plane Friday morning, and go see one of the best friends I’ve ever had. And I love Portland. There are brew pubs, music, good food, great company. I’d finally get to meet Baby Ava who is one year old now. I’d get to watch the Super Bowl with people! But, sadly, I am on the wrong end of the pendulum swing this week. I’m back to worrying about everything and taking a break from living. I would have to arrange Em care for Friday and Monday. Liz is moving to a new store and new hours next week. $500 is a fortune to me right now. I could never let Ken front my ticket. I don’t want to spend two vacation days this early in the year. And…And…And. It’s a shame really. Seeing Ken, Paige, and Ava would give me a much needed recharge. I know that. And I know that my reasons for not going all have workable solutions. But it seems that being spontaneous takes so much Goddamn planning these days. That kind of takes the smile out of it.

And yet it occurs to me that only I could take a heartfelt invitation and turn it into a negative. O’ for the love of self-revelation. This is one of those things I’ve sincerely worked on for years now. And with minor setbacks (see above), I’ve made tremendous progress. I’m glad to have a friend who would even suggest such a weekend. And next year, you can bet I will go to his Super Bowl party. This year, though, I’m going to grill some bratwurst, ice down some beer, and watch the game with an enthused Emerson who will leap to his feet as he did all season long, raise his arms high above his head and scream, “GO, BAAAABBBBBYYYYY!!! Right, Daddy?” There’s really no better way to spend Super Bowl Sunday. There’s plenty of time for spontaneity. And there’s plenty of time for Portland. Right, Daddy? Right!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


One of my resolutions this year is to make time to read at least one book a month. So far I am one month behind. I am fifteen pages into This Thing Don’t Lead to Heaven by Harry Crews, Copyright 1970. It is a beautifully tattered first edition hardback. I have no less than one hundred books awaiting their turns, impatient and brooding.

I have had a subscription to Playboy since I was fourteen years old. The first thing I do is see who the interview is; the second, see who wrote that month’s fiction; the third, read the Playboy Advisor.

Those weren’t always the first, second, and third things I’d do.

Robert Earl Keen’s Mariano is playing on my stereo.

I’m too vain to get braces and too vain not to.

The coolest thing I did last year was climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

It bothers me that so many clichés are accurate. For instance, there really aren’t enough hours in the day.

Gringo Honeymoon is playing now.

Huckleberry Finn is probably the best American novel ever written, but my favorite is The Sun Also Rises, hands down. Best English novel? Great Expectations.

I went to Fenway Park last summer. I nearly forgot. Sorry Sydney, we have a tie.

I’m ready for spring.