Milton

Milton, who wrote his epic blind and living in eternal midnight, said Satan was an angel once, and it’s true, though “Satan” was a handle hung on him by the Hebrews, and “Lucifer” came later, when he went all “street,” but he started as Samael, beautiful and proud, first among the teeming Host, Prince of…

Opsimathy

A friend of mine who occasionally takes it upon herself to act as my adversary sends me unusual words as writing prompts. Recently she sent me a list of them and I’ve been working through it with varying degrees of success (though I’m still trying to figure out how to do “catamite” without violating TOU)….

A Man of Many Parts

I am, as they say, a man of many parts (or so I’d have you believe) gentleman and scoundrel, poet and fool, man of faith and reason, lover and fighter and vicious at both, but more than anything I am a man of many parts, like shattered glass, like scattered pieces, a walking game of…

Pointless

And then there was that night I ran into her at The Point Bar and my eyes cast side to side, scanning the bar for signs of her dealer, her pimp, her monster, whoever we rescued her from when we threw her bags in my car and gave her sanctuary and painted targets on ourselves,…

My First Kiss

My first kiss – my first *real* kiss – happened when I was in 8th grade. I was in a school play, playing a Snidely Whiplash-type villain (an omen for sure) with a top hat and a drawn-on twirly mustache. After the play I was standing in the hallway outside the cafetorium when a very…

No Direction Home: Bob Dylan

I try my best to be just like I am, Everybody wants me to be just like them. They say sing while you slave, but I get bored. — Bob Dylan, “Maggie’s Farm” Performing “Mr. Tambourine Man” before an audience in Newcastle, England in the summer of 1966, a young Bob Dylan leans into his…

Slow Jazz and Ghosts

Sometimes I just want to listen to your records with you as you close your eyes and drape one leg over mine and feel the wine warmth flow like magic through your limbs and you nod in time with your memories of every friend and lover who came before me and sat on this well-worn…

Supervision Required

Kent did not need to use his gifts, investigative or otherwise, to determine the owner of the limousine that pulled up to the curb in front of his place of business. Only one man in the city rode in the back of such an ostentatious vehicle. As the driver trotted around to open the door…

Them Sisyphus Blues

Most of my professional life as a writer has been as a critic, a reviewer of other people’s work. I like to believe that I managed to avoid becoming the scum of the earth that many critics are or into which they evolve, but if not then it wasn’t for lack of trying. For one,…

Dandelions

My life is filled with love proven dandelions, fragile and explosive in high wind, scattering and borne aloft and away, as if God the tireless schoolmaster insists with ferrule in hand on flogging the dead horse of the unpredictability of weather and the cruel evanescence of lovers and the vast bulk of His noisy wet…

Everybody Wants to Be Bukowski

My friend J was just fired from her job teaching philosophy at a small Catholic university for not wearing her mortarboard, for defending the rights of prostitutes, for drinking Cuervo in the beds of pickup trucks in the shadow of the Alamo, for kicking out the jams, for taking young guitar players and old professors…

Creator

God didn’t create niggers or spics or chinks or gooks or kikes or dykes or fags or untouchables or deplorables — God created people in Its image, billions of years ago when God made atoms, which eventually made elements, which eventually made stars, which eventually made planets, which eventually made life, which eventually made people,…