Thursday, October 29, 2020


This pleasant paralysis grows by the day.  Will you come see me entirely fossilized?

Like George Herbert Walker, I'll do a parachute drop on my 80th, with one small difference --  I'll be encased in bubble wrap, unseen within a pine pallet slid off the ramp of the mighty C-130 Hercules.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


Concluding Unscientific Postscript

"Priestess" rhymes with "tristesse."  Adieu priestess; bonjour tristesse.


The Drawbridge and the Moat

A long-haired hippie girl sits on a patch of summer grass, in uniform -- sandals, tattered jeans, gold bangles and multicolored tunic.

She shakes her mane out of anxiety triggered by the gaze of a boy whom she desires.  She does not make eye contact with him.  About an hour later, she shakes her mane out of anxiety triggered by the gaze of a boy whom she finds repulsive.  She does not make eye contact with him.

Introspection equal to the moment is not to be found in the heart of either boy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020


I will place on your lips a balm made of Lourdes water, and dried strawberries, and lemon oil.  Strange to say, it will ease your mind, and your sleep will be sound.  It will be an unction, but not an extreme one - one that gives cause for fear.

Monday, October 19, 2020


Christopher Hitchens Said

That everyone chooses his own regrets.  My mother, for example, regretted on some level that she did not marry another man, a particular man, a very handsome man, a man whose name I knew, because he was more successful than my father.  If she had married him, no doubt she would have had other regrets.

Sunday, October 18, 2020


"If only I could molt," I said.  If I could unzip this rubbery carapace from the inside out, emerging as someone else.  Freddie Sayers.  James Spader.  Rod Laver.  Duke Ellington.

Another sort of molting.  Some hospice workers say that a puff of smoke or fog rises up from the newly-lifeless corpse.  It quickly dissipates, by all accounts that I have counted.

Saturday, October 17, 2020


The hiss of a steady overnight rain that could be mistaken for the hiss of a broken radiator.  But workable conditions on the Grand Banks this morning, with winds under 25 knots and seas under five feet.   The shift to the NNW portends worse to come this winter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020


Betelgeuse and Orion's belt, fading in the Southwest at sunrise.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020


Louise Gluck, Our New Nobel Laureate

She raises the question what is left when the physical scaffolding of a life begins to rot away.  Did even the poems of her youth foreshadow this?

"A taking of inventory" might be one answer.  And the inventory might not be of anything that is particularly important, but rather of memories and of data points, all of equal weight or weightlessness.  Clive James reduced his own such inventory to a poem written in anticipation of death.  It included the fact that the oil in Hitler's panzers froze solid before Moscow.

In perhaps the most poetic of all movies, Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire," Bruno Ganz' guardian angel comes upon a middle-aged man who has crashed his motorbike in a collision with a Mercedes.  He is bleeding out on the sidewalk.  He recites in German an inventory of places -- "Tristan da Cunha ... the Mississippi Delta ..."  As if it would be impossible for him to expire until the inventory was complete.


There Are Two Discrete Reasons

Reasons why one may kill oneself.  The first is that life has become simply intolerable.  That is not a choice, it's a compulsion in the moment.

The second is a co-optation, a wresting from God of the choice of time and place.  But a philosopher might say that in this case it was God's plan all along for you to choose, and also to make that particular choice.  The arrow of the Lord will find its Maker's mark.

Sunday, October 11, 2020



There is a big man in a vested suit and a bowler hat.  An old-fashioned man.  He tells me, quietly, to leave quietly, and right away.

"I'm sorry for everything I done done" I tell him, ungrammatically.  (Yet another reason to feel bottomless remorse.)  What good could wait for me outside?

Saturday, October 10, 2020


Actually Simon (Paul Simon) said, decades ago:

And maybe you'll find a love

That you discover accidentally,

That falls against you gently

As a pickpocket brushes your thigh...

Further to fly!

Effortless music from the Cameroons,

The spinning darkness of her hair,

Conversations in a crowded room going nowhere.

The Open Palm of Desire wants everything,

It wants everything.

It wants the soil as soft as summer

And the strength to push like spring.

That's what is missing in COVID times, about which no one is talking.  That threadbare possibility.

Monday, October 5, 2020