Gas lamps lined the street lifting their warmth out into the world to stave off the night. Their flickering orange reflected in the puddles along the curb and the cobble still shiny with rain long gone. A storm had passed. Leaves now settled in clumps along the gutters and at the feet of a slumped musician folded forward on a stoop. The curve of his instrument’s dark case towered above him, concealing an elegant bass within.
Brownstones framed the scene extending stoops from hidden entryways. A newspaper fat with rain hung over a wrought-iron rail, the upside-down words “Congress Overrides Veto of Taft-Hartley” visible even in the obscurity of predawn. A five-and-dime, closed for business until morning, hosted a shadowy window display advertising dry shampoo and...
August 6th, 2018
wind howls through trees round
corners shaking bushes windows eaves
lightning fractures night and all
you locked up in memory too fragile
to be handled comes tumbling out
July 26th, 2018
Chris Chisholm’s suit jacket landed beside his foot in a black pinstriped heap. He studied his fragmented reflection in a mosaic of mirrors, raised his eyebrows and his glass and said, “A toast!”
There was only one other person within view, within earshot. Phil the bartender stood beneath a clock whose hands were both pointed to the number one. “What’re we toasting, Chi Chi?”
Chris opened his mouth to say, “To Reggie!” But what came out were the lyrics of a Led Zeppelin song: “The cup is raised, the toast is made again…” He trailed off, humming, as if he’d forgotten the rest. He hadn’t.
Phil smirked and reinserted a rag into the glass he’d been drying. “Thanks a lot. Now I’ll have that love song stuck in my...
July 25th, 2018
When they came to build the wall, I played Mingus.
I stood in the blistering sun, watched them arrive, and did my best to blow my lungs clean out. They climbed down from hissing dew-sprinkled trucks, adjusted their hard hats, and went to work setting up the barricades. They ignored me completely.
They didn’t ignore me long. I was off-key, and I was loud. Ain’t always about hitting all the right notes, man. A clarinet’s gotta be raw. Real. None of that philharmonic fast food commercial stuff.
I could almost hear Tony taking the high notes right beside me. He would have, too. He always loved a good...
July 13th, 2018
Her name practically scats itself,
Say it out loud, and you’re on your way,
It’s a grand stand big band criss-cross delivery,
An overnight town to town swing set deluxe,
July 9th, 2018
I just returned from a wonderful vacation in Italy and Germany, so we have fallen a bit behind on determining the winner of the Short Fiction Contest. For those of you who entered your story, I appreciate your patience. I hope to have the winning story published by July 15.
Meanwhile…you may enjoy this 2011 interview of...
July 6th, 2018
Midnight and we sail on a boundless sea
nothing in sight but a vast pool of black
dimly lit by starlight sprawled without end
June 28th, 2018
Camp looked through glass doors and across the shoulderless highway. A patch of grass across the road was covered with white trailers washed clean by the rain. He stared out a side window at the brown back of a gas station. A red and yellow sign, mounted so high he had to twist his neck to see it, seemed like it should have been turning but sat still against a gray sky.
What do you find in a bus station? Long waits under dirty fluorescents, grimy floor and seats, gloom on scattered faces. Soup, coffee and candy vending machines. If someone could gather it up, all the pieces a bus station’s handed down through the years, you could start a museum. You could cover the walls with black and white photos, pictures of a million people. Pick out any one person, nobody special, just someone with some...
June 27th, 2018