Mummer’s Farce


God how I wanted to say

The return of the springtime’s lissome prey

The retreating curling clover

And of course hatred as the incandescent king.

I meant well, fear not

Fuck you, said they idiotic, self-righteousness their brand asunder

Brandy down from holy wonder

Ballerina spiders in powerful webs of demonstrative excrescence

Summer bugs have more movements than Bach

Toccatas and Fritattas and Regattas and stirring archetypes

Not gonna help at all when we get to the fire.

Is this worth your while or anyone else’s?

You just had to be so great, didn’t you, just be the queen’s solstice?

I shouldn’t have wanted to speak up

Teeth the wall trapping the ultimate innocence

Silence makes for both the victim and the unassailable.


I missed whatever your soul was last summer.

Just to have the last word in the kingdom of the mummers



I wouldn’t absolve you

The prie-dieu sprinkled with a broken coca-cola shell

Gone already and soon enough love

Ash is the converse

Out of all possible empires the resolve had weakened

Sponge yellow to temples, popes of lightning,

Cried out rabbis standing as if aware at last of tip-toeing serpentines


Pushcart prices up among the small who press

Against shallow panegyrics and connected dinner cars

Angrily scream it all out into your smile and let them march on

God how stupid it all seems, how stupid she seems, how stupid I seem,

How rude is this verminous Chattanooga,

The choo choo of metallic steam on the escape route

I recollect nothing but contempt

And them even more nothing but bitters and dregs.

Pox on the punters.

A good old day, granted the grunters.





(For Kate. Good for the goose, good for the gander.)

Since Mr. Ballard had been on Ativan for a while, not to mention Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil and Wellbutrin, everyone felt uneasy about letting him know that his wife Brenda had been in a disastrous car accident.

It was Chip, Mr. Ballard’s younger brother, who finally texted about it: “Shit. Bro. Sorry 2 tell U, but Brenda was in an accident. Flipped the Explorer off US 1. Fucking American cars! Try not 2 lose Ur shit over this, ok? She’s DOA. Be strong.”

Other men might have taken a while to process this, might have felt disbelief, might have left their gaze drift about in confused aimlessness. Not Mr. Ballard. He understood at once, and pictured the car as a burning hulk by the side of the highway, and Brenda twisted somewhere in that flaming vehicular prison, and the hopeless ambulance ride as the EMTs gave up on the corpse. Mr. Ballard sobbed with sudden, wild abandonment, like he had sobbed at the beginning of Pixar’s “Up,” or at the end of Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” or throughout most of Pixar’s “Toy Story 3.”

Continue reading “A TALE OF FIVE MINUTES”




(Continued from Part 1)

Leland Granger was a lean man with somewhat aristocratic airs and a graying mustache that curved around a sardonic smile. That smile was on glistening display as he rode into Thirsty Gulch in his chestnut saddlebred, and it extended even further as Granger inspected the outside of Paw Jenkins’ cabin, which, if the strict truth be told, was in need of much repair.

“Cozy little secluded state, Hank! Makes it hard for old friends to track you down.”

“That is one of its many admirable qualities.” Paw Jenkins laughed as he walked down the porch steps to greet the visitor. “Come here, Leland, you son-of-a-snake, and let me shake your double-dealing hand!”

Continue reading “THIS LAND CAN BE QUITE UNFORGIVING (Part 2)”




Paw Jenkins still made some money ranging and bounty hunting on Merokee Plains, but of late he had slowed down and was more into stealing horses and skinning anything unfortunate enough to have fur. This gave him more time to think of Bolo and Mellie, the children he kept on his cabin by Thirsty Gulch. The cabin was all crooked logs that leaned over the ravine just like Paw Jenkins leaned over Mellie and Bolo after a night of gin-guzzling to say:

“Don’t you all cry and moan. That’s how the wolves know to get you.”

Continue reading “THIS LAND CAN BE QUITE UNFORGIVING (Part 1)”




“He applied and was chosen for an unpaid post at the library. He found the place too dusty for his lungs and asked for an ever longer series of sick leaves (…) After he repeatedly failed to report for work, showing up one day a year or less, even his unusually tolerant employers dismissed him, five years after he had first been taken on.” – Alain de Botton, “How Proust Can Change Your Life.”

Francine was merrily whistling “Frere Jacques” and dusting off the backs of the many weighty manuscripts contained within the Bibliotheque Mazarine, (23 Quai de Conti, Paris, France.) She had gone up a very long ladder to pay particular attention to a high shelf containing Madame de Salacieux’s “Les Liasons Excitantes, Tomes I-LXIX,” so naturally she became alarmed when the ladder began to shake.

Continue reading “MARCEL GOES TO WORK”




Nancy said to Frank, “Sweetie, I feel like ice cream. Oooh, mint ice cream! Want to share with me?”

Frank kissed Nancy’s belly bump and said: “Aaaah, I see the cravings are starting. Mint ice cream? Sounds like a trip to the fridge.”

He jumped out of bed, nearly stepping on Pom Pom. The little orange Pomeranian ran busily between Frank’s loafers, intent on making him trip on the way to the kitchen. Frank opened the refrigerator’s door, peered in, frowned. “I don’t see it. We don’t have that.”

Continue reading “CRAVINGS”



Viviana sat on the rocking chair in the living room, holding a Vogue from 1978, Farrah Fawcett beaming aggressively angelical blondness from the cover. That had been the year of Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy and the Vampire of Sacramento, but also there had been “Dallas” and “Grease” and “The Love Boat,” so Viviana though of 1978 fondly. Later, she planned to think of 1985 fondly, and 1982 and 1973 and 1996. There were lots and lots of Vogues blossoming around the rocking chair, a whole garden of Vogues.

But then there were a series of loud knocks at the door so Viviana leapt out of the chair excitedly and dropped the Vogue to the floor. She had some idea who it would be. He’d been gone so long, she could hardly wait for him to come back.

Continue reading “THE GOOD NEWS”