The Mower

Photo by Echo Grid.

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found   
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,   
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.   
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world   

the rest “The Mower”


“Bang. You’re dead.”

On this day, when I was five years old, just a couple towns over in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, Herbie Hancock was recording this masterpiece.

Freddie Hubbard’s solo on the title track is a career.

Woman making a funny face.
Photo by Maria Lysenko.


I called her beautiful, although I don’t believe she heard it.
But others did, and so began, a little trial with a verdict.

Please demonstrate you understand her journey and her dreams.
And did you consult this 12 point list of all that beauty means?

I was called out I must admit, I spoke before I thought.
I stand corrected once again, as often as is not.

I hemmed, I hawed, I dropped my gaze, I was really on the spot.
Let me re-phrase, I begged the court, I meant to say, “She’s hot.”


First Paragraph:

“After all,” said the Duchess vaguely, “there are certain things you can’t get away from. Right and wrong, good conduct and moral rectitude, have certain well-defined limits.”

—Saki, from Reginald at the Theatre, The Best of Saki

Well gang, I guess it’s time I confess that I’ve been posting these last few months from my cell in a remote Russian gulag.

I finally received a second pillow for good behavior.

I’ve been told I can hang a painting after the next security check.

First Paragraph:

There was once a. boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself—not just sometimes, but always.

—Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Treats received today from my good friend Will Leathem. I read them immediately.

Books can have so many lives. I wonder where this one has been.

We live in an age when you say casually to somebody ‘What’s the story on that?’ and they can run to the computer and tell you within five seconds. That’s fine, but sometimes I’d just as soon continue wondering. We have a deficit of wonder right now.

∽ Tom Waits

Recent Arrivals – March 2021

All these acquisitions, and any that aren’t here but on the way, are justified by the fact that…I wanted them.

If you listen to Louis Armstrong from 1929, you will never hear anything better than that…You will never hear anything more free than that.

∽ Steve Lacy
Photo by Jeremy Lapak.

For my running and rowing friends.

There was a moment in which he knew he could not go on. He had begun at the wrong pace, another and better man’s pace, had seen the man come almost at once to the top of his strength, hitting his stride without effort, unlimbering and lining out and away. And like a fool he had taken up the bait, whole and at once, had allowed himself to be run into the ground. In the next instant his lungs should burst, for now they were burning with pain and the pain had crowded out the last and least element of his breath, and he should stumble and fall. But the moment passed. The moment passed, and the next and the next, and he was running still, and still he could see the dark shape of the man running away in the swirling mist, like a motionless shadow. And he held on to the shadow and ran beyond his pain.

—N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn

First Paragraph:

Dypaloh. There was a house made of dawn. It was made of pollen and of rain, and the land was very old and everlasting. There were many colors on the hills, and the plain was bright with different-colored clays and sands. Red and blue and spotted horses grazed in the plain, and there was a dark wilderness on the mountains beyond. The land was still and strong. It was beautiful all around.

—N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn

Joan Didion
Joan Didion in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in April 1967. Photo by Ted Streshinsky.

One of the sexiest faces I’ve ever seen.

I imagine her attention falling to me, just for a moment, in this crowd, out on the street. I feel her size me up, a knowing critical gaze. Is she instantly writing my story behind those eyes?

She finds me…acceptable.

It’s enough.

Currently re-reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti (1919-2021)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, champion of Beat Generation writers passed away this week at 101 years of age.

Here’s the last line of “I Am Waiting” from A Coney Island of the Mind (1958.)

“…and I am awaiting perpetually and forever a renaissance of wonder.”


The Final Sentence contains some riches. It’s handy if you are looking for something you’ve already read. but beware of spoilers. Use the search feature instead of browsing. Or not.

“You spend too much time reading, Spenser. You know more stuff that don’t make you money than anybody I know.”

∽ Robert B. Parker
Me and brother Dave.
Me with my brother Dave in Palm Springs, CA, February 2020.

The Coneheads never left. They’ve been hiding out in SoCal for decades.

Brown hawk in flight.
Photo by Molly Wright.

There is a kind of life that is peculiar to the land in summer—a wariness, a seasonal equation of well-being and alertness. Road runners take on the shape of motion itself, urgent and angular, or else they are like the gnarled, uncovered roots of ancient, stunted trees, some ordinary ruse of the land itself, immovable and forever there. And quail, at evening, just failing to suggest the waddle of too much weight, take cover with scarcely any talent for alarm, and spread their wings to the ground; and if then they are made to take flight, the imminence of no danger on earth can be more apparent; they explode away like a shot, and there is nothing but the dying whistle and streak of their going. Frequently in the sun there are pairs of white and russet hawks soaring to the hunt. And when one falls off and alights, there will be a death in the land, for it has come down to place itself like a destiny between its prey and the burrow from which its prey has come; and then the other, the killer hawk, turns around in the sky and breaks its glide and dives. It is said that hawks, when they have nothing to fear in the open land, dance upon the warm carnage of their kills. In the highest heat of the day, rattlesnakes lie outstretched upon the dunes, as if the sun had wound them out and lain upon them like a line of fire, or, knowing of some vibrant presence in the air, they writhe away in the agony of time. And of their own accord they go at sundown into the earth, hopelessly, as if to some unimaginable reckoning in the underworld. Coyotes have the gift of being seldom seen; they keep to the edge of vision and beyond, loping in and out of cover on the plains and highlands. And at night, when the whole world belongs to them, they parley at the river with the dogs, their higher, sharper voices full of authority and rebuke. They are an old council of clowns, and they are listened to.

—N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn


Gourd Kashaka.

Dear ((name)),

Congratulations on your successful campaign to become a U.S Senator/Congressperson.

As you know from your introductory information packet, before you will be allowed to propose any legislation, post to social media, or be interviewed by any journalists or … the rest “Benchmark”