Monday, April 6, 2009

If you somehow still read this blog, you should start reading the sports blog I started:


(I came one letter away from the weekend triple this week)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Quest for the Weekend Triple

The Weekend Triple has eluded me up to now.

The Weekend Triple:

Successful completion, without resorting to any source but my own brain, of the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday New York Times crossword puzzles.

Last weekend was a fruitless effort. Friday found me dazed and weary, and I couldn't crack the southeast corner. On Saturday I rushed out to a strong beginning, got overconfident, and neglected to check my work. One letter was incorrect, a silly mistake. Sunday, with nothing to play for, difficult filler resulted in four wrong letters, a terrible result.

However, I've been knocking on the door for some time. I recently finished the Saturday-Sunday double, and the Friday-Sunday double. It's only a matter of time before the glorious triple is mine.

For context, the Times puzzle gets harder as the week goes on. Monday is the easiest puzzle, and Saturday is the hardest. The Sunday puzzle is larger, but the difficulty level is consistent with a Thursday puzzle. Only the increased volume makes it a touch testier than Thursday. Therefore, Friday and Saturday are the biggest hurdles, and, last weekend notwithstanding, Sunday is usually the easiest of the three.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Masculin Feminin

Dan stepped on the train and saw Lyla, a stranger.

"Didn't we see each other tomorrow?" he asked. "That's two days in a row."

"What do you mean?"

But he couldn't satisfy her with an answer, and she turned away.

The next day, Lyla saw Dan step on again.

"We saw each other yesterday," she said, "do you remember?"

"Is that a joke?"

She couldn't explain herself, and he turned away.

When they saw each other again, many years later, they didn't speak.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What are your 'Government Songs'?

For those of you who don't follow hypothetical games concocted by the pop culture cognoscenti, this one presents the following query:

If we lived in a totalitarian state, and the government mandated that all its citizens wake up to the same song every day, on state radio or television screens or some other universally-viewed device, and fall asleep to a second song every night, and you were granted the right to choose the two songs, what would you pick?

Here are my choices:

Morning - "Hold Me Now" by the Thompson Twins

Evening - "Amie" by Pure Praire League

What are your 'government songs'?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Over that tire sit the one called Chickadee
Known round the way to the steel-fist hickory
Dandelion neck and the thumbtack boots
Dirty pearl gloves and the brandywine suits
Married Lady Crow, she an ugly fine mess
Black as the folds in her crinoline dress
They sulk and she hiss and he drag on the smoke
Coiled like a whip from his turn with the yoke
Hunched like the river man water turned tame
Eyes like the holy man lost to the Name
Scratch in his shoe and a badge from the state
Chances out west and a body in the crate
Angel for his momma gone cotton at her death
Angel didn’t speak though he stumbled at her breath
And don’t he pass nights pickin’ zydeco-song
Purrin’ in the dark like the day ain’t long

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

There's an older brother on the hill
and the little one buried
given in spirit to red summer

Maybe the words came from a film
A blade needs dulling and there's hope
of melodrama in the downcast eyes

But it's beginning to rain
His leather glove drips clay water
and the family doesn't own a tv

My father adjusted the crooked metal
above ours, and I watched Fred Rogers
sing about the anger humming in my ears

When the static gave ground,
I dug fingernails into the piled rug
olive. drab. corrosive. All hail King Friday

On Sundays we drove past signs-
brown as tree trunks, words burnt orange
dividing the cragged Adirondacks

The older brother is past gratitude
for rain that hides his visions
and how they echo the clouds

In black our man makes heavy
purposed strides to the umber hilltop
You can only stall so long

(When 1990’s thief stole the
Oldsmobile Sedan, he made
some distance and surveyed
the back seat:
Props, puppets, a sweater.
Nobody but nobody
is immune when the pangs explode
like impossible starlight in a cave
Mr. Rogers found his car
returned the next morning)

What else is what remains
I can still see my father's profile
unshaven, and the truck's torn vinyl

My hand won't be balm to his shoulder
and it won't be light. It will be a promise
of time, gathered in the fading color.

To my dark-haired light-eyed L-train pixie with the sun in your mouth the pert flashing lashes and ingenue legs crossed delicately at the ankles- I’m sorry if I stare. It’s a problem ever since I came out wet and wide-eyed gaping at the helpful nurses with their white cleavage that never gave me the chance to cry and I can’t guarantee that in ten years I’ll be attenuated to the faint secondary lines tracing down your slim limbs or the little wrist I imagine encircling with lumbering convex thumb and index while you cradle The New Yorker and raise the toe of one sandaled heel to graze the outside of the worn khaki office pants in slow audacious circles implying a universe of stars and I whisper something in your small clean ear that gives rise to an impish grin spurring sly corners of your lips telegraphing teasing intentions and rolling me over like a train on the flat prairies where Indians hunting buffalo could only watch in fascination or pretend nonchalance at what was about to change them forever but I don’t pretend anything I’m too old for that twenty-five is past the point of feigned composure and I whisper something more that puckers the beginnings of your grin because it’s a little too risqué here in the underground even by your alarmingly liberal tastes and even in the throes a man should take hold of himself but I choose to believe you’re secretly pleased that I’m occasionally beyond such limits and won’t leave for wide-shouldered square-jawed rich-white heroes and think yes, something with an even keel might be worth trying on, something whose tongue wags less when it’s covetous and who might leave you of all people a little pleasantly uncertain because let’s confess, God put us together but gave you the ball and the court, made me something that must repeat a promise not to fall too deep, not to admit a mystic belief in extremes to anyone but myself in dark hours if you’ll only trust there’s some modicum of moderation latent in my chemicals made to regulate these awful salacious whims when they threaten to swamp the poor beach in tsunamis and jag-toothed sharks and with time recede to regular tides overlapping their bounds only once or twice in a blue moon but on balance free of that unreliable word that awful haunting hunting dog I’ve been escaping over months and years that word unreliable my little elfin charm and one day I’ll watch you sunlit silhouetted by our picture window and the whole house translucent transoms and open oriels and when you turn I’ll melt my face to the world’s most benign smile and consult my newspaper or gently correct a child spooning soggy messes onto the covered table playing the good mate like a method actor so forgive me today pixie love if I take the pink lobe of your sweet sugar ear between my teeth just to see the delicious O of your shocked red mouth and make tiny indents you can touch for a fading moment with the whorled tips of reproachful fine fingers.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Dream #12: Indiana

In all the city’s open rooms
where we’d begged
and fought for scraps
the lights reached
a degree of brightness
unfriendly to older eyes

And so I left my girl
and you left yours
to play it straight for a change

My old car, the proven
rusted-gold jalopy
appeared on the outskirts
amid climbing graffiti and darker smoke
that made us glad to drive
west, beneath the big sky

Billowing magnet clouds drew us
past the midwest. We stopped
only once, to rescue a dog-
a staggering starving collie-
before the wide roads and gravid plains
of open earth absolved our speed

His panting head scouted the land
from the broken rear window
and when the last of the gasoline
sputtered to fumes, we found
the perfect spot- a clear rocky stream
and a path to white-veined mountains

Who knew I could build a home
or that you, in functional
plaid dresses, could smile from the
windswept cedar porch and ring
a bell or wring the heavy soil
from my lone pair of jeans?

On all the full-moon nights
we swam naked in the creek
made love on the dry bed
and forgot the hard mornings
of hard faces with stunned desires.
In that place, nothing fades

Our amber-eyed daughter
addressed the hum of the world
with bubbling white laughter
and we named the dog Indiana
for the state of heat and dust
where he'd lain in a pile of bones

What beauty: no more to claim the day,
startled on gray sidewalks,
when thick smiles erupt too sudden
to pretend a strange notion
surging with calm assurance
to the women we clutch

Or my rusted car, sold for scrap
and nameless Indiana
watching an empty road