What Masculinity Looked Like

Masculinity is a freighted word. I can’t conjure those five syllables without calling to mind certain classic images of maleness. It’s like there’s a memory chip in my brain that serves up the same old picture, even when I change the search terms. The same phenomenon is true, I think, for all kinds of deep-seated … Continue reading What Masculinity Looked Like

A Mother’s Cancer, In a Poem

A Meeting, Eventually It was a taking-away for you— eight years of Providence slow unfolding— like cloud-shadows passing over low, green fields— as the obedient soul yields to its story’s ending. Perhaps I shall yield as well at a point I cannot foretell— though you may see an altered course: a truck weaving up the … Continue reading A Mother’s Cancer, In a Poem

A Poem About the Early Crocus

Early Flowers Pale purple crocuses crowd beneath the apple tree by the stone foundation warmed by a mid-March sun. April, I know, brings Spring but also snow, feather-flaked and heavy, bends the creeping rose low to the garden’s cheek. If the cold should come again, will the huddled crocus, mustering crowd of luminous stem and … Continue reading A Poem About the Early Crocus

Brutalized Souls and the Epidemic of PTSD

Details about the crime were all too familiar. On April 23rd, a young man in Sunnyvale, CA, steered his car into a group of pedestrians. Eight people were injured, three of them from one “south Asian” family. A 13-year-old girl was left in a coma, fighting for her life. Before long, reports emerged that the … Continue reading Brutalized Souls and the Epidemic of PTSD

What Those Chickadees Are Really Saying

Writing, for me, is like lucid dreaming. I can get so lost in my imaginary world that my realities become inverted: My desk and laptop drift into a kind of haze, while the world I'm writing about becomes vividly present. It's kind of cool, really, and when I'm in a groove like that, I hate … Continue reading What Those Chickadees Are Really Saying

A Tiny Poem About a Tiny Purple Plant

With spring here, I figured I'd post another short poem—this one about a tiny purple plant. To Lithops Optica cv Rubra Merely two turgid leaves of purple— more haiku than sonnet. Yet, like Caesar’s Tyrian robe, there is grandeur in you.   Note: The Lithops optica cv rubra is a south African plant no larger … Continue reading A Tiny Poem About a Tiny Purple Plant

Paycheck Madness and the Shining City on the Hill

The things you learn on Twitter. A couple of weeks ago, Robert Reich, Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton and notable Twitter gadfly, tweeted that “Wall Street bonuses totaled $27.5 billion last year, which is more than 3 times the combined annual earnings of all American workers employed full-time at the federal minimum wage.” Now … Continue reading Paycheck Madness and the Shining City on the Hill

Living Life in the Low Beams

The final chapter of my book Midpoint: Manhood, Midlife, and Prostate Cancer, ends with my nervously checking the results of my first post-surgery PSA test. The news that day was good—none of the antigen was detectable in my blood, which indicated that, for then at least, the cancer was beat back. Since then, I've lived … Continue reading Living Life in the Low Beams

What Equestrians Learn Early About Succeeding in Life

To be honest, I wasn’t enthusiastic when my daughter’s riding instructor convinced us to let her compete in horse shows. Having grown up a middle-class kid in Colorado, I was suspicious of the whole East Coast horse show scene. It all seemed too focused on who had the fanciest horse and where did you buy … Continue reading What Equestrians Learn Early About Succeeding in Life

A Poem About a Huge Toad

So...I've never posted any poetry on this blog before. But before I turned to nonfiction and, more recently, fiction, I wrote a ton of poetry. Animals are one of my primary subjects since they seem so immune to the stressors that plague humans. I figure every now and then I'll post one of my shorter … Continue reading A Poem About a Huge Toad