Saturday, January 31, 2009


Barren city street.
Lamplit, lean, coyote waits.
We are lonely, proud.

“Who knows what true loneliness is - not the conventional word but the naked terror? To the lonely themselves it wears a mask. The most miserable outcast hugs some memory or some illusion.”

-Joseph Conrad

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I may not be promoting religious understanding with this one, but I'm fascinated.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I need some help here, Freud.

Last night I dreamed my contact lens had stretched to the size (and shape) of a breast, complete with elephantine nipple. I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to get it into my eye.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thank You, Jimmy (for this Beginning, an End.)

This past Saturday, I and ten other Class of '94 churchmates gathered in Hollywood for a funeral. As far as funerals go, it was more of a celebration than a mourning, with soul music and a jaw-dropping rendition of Toccata from Symphony No. 5, by Charles-Marie Widor, played on the pipe organ—but that's not what I'm here to write about. The man we gathered to celebrate was Jimmy, the husband of our class lead, Susan.

It's been fourteen years
now since our class graduated, eighteen or more since most of us met. We are married, we are single, we have children or we don't. We are artists, writers, teachers, managers, computer gurus. We have grown older, fatter, balder, more wrinkled. But at heart we are still the same people we used to be. These are some of the most admirable people I know: kind, pure-hearted, intelligent, true, funny as heck. We're still friends, and we still laugh the way we used to, even at a funeral.

Our bonds were cemented with Susan's burnt brownies and Josh's jello shots. They were built with plastic forks and dewed toilet paper, all-night campfires, Chili Pepper-esque socks, hugs, prayers, the sand between our toes. They were built at beaches, lakes, mountain retreats—and most of all, in the home of Jimmy and Susan.

I remember one night,
Susan told me at the funeral, our house was toilet papered three times. Jimmy loved to give you guys a hard time. He'd shout out the window "We're going to call your parents!" and watch you scatter. At our gatherings, Jimmy was often at the periphery, almost overlooked.
It's not until now, looking back, that I realize the gift Jimmy gave to us: he gave us his home, he gave us Susan. And these were no small things.

When I spoke to Jimmy, I was often surprised at how much he knew about me, how much he remembered. At his funeral, many talked about how he loved to talk to people. He died of cancer, and a couple months before he died, he told my sister he'd like me to come see him, that he wanted me to bring my photographs, to read him one of my stories. I never did. I wasn't sure what to say to a dying man—
How are you? I'm sorry? It's been nice knowing you? Add to this that I wasn't sure what to bring. My photographs seemed too paltry, my writings too sad.

I wish now that I had gone to see him anyway. It might be said that he doesn't care anymore, and I know it's true. But more than my own awkward stutterings, I'd like to know what he would have said. I don't think I'm romanticizing when I say I'm sure it would have been wise, sincere. And that (again) in my fear, I am the one who ultimately missed out.

I did finally figure out what to bring him. It's a broadside of a prose poem and linocut I printed at UCR on the Asbern printing press. I'll post it here.

...And thank you, Jimmy.