Category Archives: The Bad

In the tempest

Lightening over the Siskiyou

I watched a thunderhead build momentum over the Siskiyou mountains all day on Thursday. Up and up it went, 20,000, 30,000 feet into the sky, white, billowy protrusions folding and unfolding from its anvil base along a column that seemed to stretch from the earth to the high heavens.

The gleaming-white column softened and turned pink and then peach and then salmon in the glow of the setting sun. I drove along the upper Rogue River trying to think about fish and fat salmonflies, but my mind was on that cloud and its ominous intentions.

Continue reading In the tempest

Grief at Thirty Thousand Feet

Sadness leaks in like the cold. You bundle up, prepared for it. Ready for the onslaught. But it comes in wisps – icy fingers that make you shiver at first. Then you choke as they tighten around your throat.

I stare at the text message, the orange glow of my phone in the dark of a strange hotel room in the middle of the country. I can’t read the letters on the screen, but the message has pierced the sleepy shrouds, the covers over me on the bed, the t-shirt I’m wearing, the skin of my chest and my heart. Continue reading Grief at Thirty Thousand Feet

Seven Billion Lonely People

Top of the Rock – New York City

I got up and read the news like everyone else did. I stumbled towards the toilet realizing in a wash of feelings, that another bright light had gone out of the world while I slept.

I felt a little lonelier than I had when I had gone to sleep the night before.

Anthony, Kate, Robin, my uncle Peter, so many other bright lights gone away leaving the night sky a little colder for the lack of their bright lights in it.

We are so damn lonely, we make it thirty two years, fifty five years, sixty one years, and we can’t make it another day. It compiles in remarkable abundance in some pit within us until it consumes us.  Continue reading Seven Billion Lonely People

Sex-ism

I’m not a great feminist like I’m not a great father.

But I try.

I don’t like the word ally, even though I understand it and want to be what it implies.

What I am is male. A white male, in fact, living at the height of my species’ dominance and the pinnacle of my sexs’ power.

Entitlement isn’t a concept or a designation you either fall into or you don’t, if you’re white, male and living in America, you’re entitled.

Here I am, writing about myself. When what I intended to write about was women. Continue reading Sex-ism

Art in a time of darkness

marvel-dc-and-the-art-of-darkness-8I have been frustrated for a long time.

As long as I can remember, in fact.

In my youth, I listened to angry music to feel something.

In my early 20s, I rebelled against the politics of the evangelical conservatism I was raised in.

In my 30s, I was too tired to remember what I was frustrated by, but it was there underneath the surface and in the music I listened to with my headphones in the garage on Saturdays when I had a few minutes to myself.

Now I’m in my 40s, and the frustration is out in the open, where I wear it plainly.  Continue reading Art in a time of darkness

The Lucky Hat

I went for a walk at half time and smoked a cigar.

It wasn’t a victory cigar.

It was a cigar of reflection.

I kept telling myself it’s only a game. It’s only a game. It’s only a game.

When I was good and cold, I walked back into my neighbors’ house to take a peek into that crystal ball and see what the future held.

The future still looks bleak.

It looks big and physical. Not pretty, just tough and gritty and textbook playbook. The way football has been played for more than a century.

Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Continue reading The Lucky Hat

Death of a small woodland animal

http://www.mcglinch.com/blog/2007/06/request-doodle-dead-squirrel-ascending.html

The screams started as I sat down to write in the three-season room off the back of our new rental house.

It was lower in tone than a cicada, but it had that constant humming quality to it that made it unbearable, like a low-grade headache.

I scanned the yard to see if I could spot where the sound was coming from, but I didn’t notice anything.

It continued for several minutes and then fell silent.

There was noticeable relief when it ended. I felt physically better somehow.

I cracked my knuckles and went to work on a short story that I was struggling to end shortly.

Continue reading Death of a small woodland animal

Losing the Scent

http://www.nexos.com.mx/?p=15393

I’ve always joked with people that if I were to develop a life-threatening allergy to seafood, I would settle my affairs, go to my kitchen and whip up a batch of bouillabaisse the likes of which the world has never seen before, pour myself a big glass of some fine, French wine and enjoy a divine last meal.

When I went vegetarian for four years during my early 30s, I couldn’t give up seafood, such is my love for the bounty of the oceans.

I learned to cook from watching my grandmothers and my mother work their magic in their respective kitchens over my lifetime. Through their bloodlines flowed thousands of years of shared knowledge. I loved the way they knew where in the cooking process they were by the smells and the colors or the feel. Cooking was a sensory experience, it wasn’t book learning.

Continue reading Losing the Scent

Bloody Moon

Bloody moon scared me to death as a kid
along with nuclear war and apartheid

Or maybe I hated the idea instead, like
the Rapture and being left behind

Four fears and an apocalypse to keep me
awake all night and praying for a soul

All of the signs and then some to dwell on
For Sunday mornings and Sunday’s school

Israel and promises too numerous to keep
let alone remember or even understand

My world in a prophecy, life shortened
all hope in the hereafter, the after life

After everything else there is tomorrow
but you never really know until then

Until after the stars fall from your skies
and the moon turns red, red like blood