Wednesday, November 26, 2014

At Jumunjin Harbor

Early, the squid boats hum toward harbor. They are strung with glass bulbs to attract the cephalopods, like islands broken away from a carnival, like metal-hulled anglerfish. All night they have performed their silent, bright barker's call. Now the orbs dim, lost in the depths of the negative darkness of the coming day. At this distance, one cannot hear the squid in their tanks.

The sea turns a powdery green near shore; further out it is the purple of the sound of the pages of a book as it hits the floor. Across the road from the harbor, the town is tacked into the granite cliffs. Roofs of blue plastic tile, the color of the taste of the sky when it is too high and clear to believe. Cement walls, cracked and silent; paper doors. The pale waves come up and gnaw at the jetty beside the road, the harbor mouth. The squid boats labor through the swell, weighed by their catch.

Mayday. The town wakes, and carries bags down the hill to the fish market.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Dark Mountain Project

My story 'The Shrine' is out now in the new Dark Mountain Project anthology, and is also being featured on their blog. You can read it here:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Dream

In this dream, I meet friends at a farm. We are going to work. I have brought many large fish I caught in the ocean; later we'll have them for dinner. My mother is there to welcome me. I wear my father's clothes, his stiff denim jacket and jeans, his heavy boots.

We go to work, but it begins to rain. It is the dark of rain in Ohio at the equinox, the year turning toward winter.

Now we must drive through the city, the steep hills and traffic of San Francisco. I drive my father's old loud truck, its low rumbling gears. I am good at it, we make it through the austere canyons of the city, its garbage and self-interest.

We return to the farm, but now it is surrounded by the city. It is a small plot bordered by chain-link fence. The sun is hammering the hard-packed soil, the yellowed leaves, the dry grass. We stand around the wilting plants in their beds, our hands empty, unsure what to do now. The city noise rising around us.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Forthcoming in Dark Mountain Issue 6

A story of mine, 'The Shrine,' will be included in the Dark Mountain Project's literary journal, out this September. Very excited!

Check out Dark Mountain here:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

After Trout Fishing in America

The city is in my blood now, like irreducible plastic beads, like the gyres of styrofoam in the sea.


The sand beside the sea was recently below the sea and where it has not been stepped on it lies in a perfect arching plane, parabolic curves of a hard crust. The coarse grains are held in a crust of salt that breaks suddenly when touched, as though it had dreamt of falling apart since it emerged from the sea.


Children break the crust of sand with their feet like robots poorly designed for the purpose.


Like a robot, a created thing, my blood is the city, all the people and buildings run, like an upturned chess set in a drain pipe, through my heart and veins.


Most people don’t play chess.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On Security

In South Korea, it’s Teachers’ Day. The wind comes out of the west, snaps the flags, the clouds boil. My students give me a package of cookies and a note: We will always be grateful to you for your support and kindness. The Sewol ferry sinking, the deaths of hundreds of teenagers, is the only thing on the news. The girls laugh in the halls. They wear yellow ribbons to remember the dead. My facebook feed is full of wedding photos. Also advertisements. The Antarctic ice sheet has heard its death knell. It will melt, unstoppable.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

School Poems

Old women
                   scrape weeds
from the cracks
                   so the pavement
can go on
                   another year.

. . .

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Now on the Dark Mountain Blog

Very excited and honored to be included in the Dark Mountain Blog. See my work here, and please go on to read the high quality writing they are constantly posting:

Analogous Structures

Saturday, March 15, 2014

In This World

In this world, the tiniest life creates you. In tireless work microbes construct you beneath the soil, this quiet and appropriate place to conceive a being. You won’t remember this, but it is how it happens. Above ground, the others are stalking the forest, retrieving their loneliness, their grief. Meanwhile, your pale and riven face is composing itself in the darkness.

When it’s time the others unearth you.  They brush the soil from your vestments, your eyelids, which have yet to open. The hum in your nerves is still incoherent, still dispersed. The microbes that will be you are still grieving as they put you together.

The others carry you to the house, lay you in the bed. It is here you come awake, your eyes fluttering open, a rattle in your throat. Your family is all around, the pain dissolving from their faces as you come into the world.

Monday, February 17, 2014


I used to have these fights with my old friend Steve Jobs . . . I’d say to him, Steve, these computers you’re inventing here, they’re destroying the world!  . . . it was like telling a Catholic that there’s no God.

- Doug Tompkins

            I must confess: I am writing on a computer. And I use a computer often, more often than I’m comfortable with. For writing. For composing and recording music. For connecting with friends and family across the world. For taking in music and writing and film and art. For learning, and sharing ideas, philosophies, and knowledge.
            All these pursuits seem worthy, don’t they? They seem to be valid reasons to use technology. So why do I feel I must confess to using it?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

dispatches from nowhere #4


The snow shows no sign of abating. It has been four days since the start of the storm, when we were forced inside. At times we have entertained the thought of going on. Alex is the one to check the weather, but it has not changed in all this time and when he digs out the door the wind sweeps in, so we limit his excursions.

The igloo has been a boon – we would be gone already if we had had to rely on the tents. Still it is like a cell now. Only a vague blue light comes through the ice during the day, then fades to utter darkness. There is not much difference one moment to another. I find myself wishing time would hasten on, but to what? Only some relief from this cold.

I can write again because we have warmed ourselves around the stove. But that will be short-lived. There is only enough fuel for a few more meals. If the storm breaks before then, perhaps we can go on. Frustrating to be so close, 11 miles to the depot. But impossible in this weather.


The storm continues. The fuel is nearly gone. I can feel my blood slowing. All the others sit still muffled shrouded. Sometimes they move but so little. I wish to tell you something but I don’t know what. It is so strange to think how this note will be found. In our frozen cave. In my still hand. I will have departed. Dear dear heart. Please go on. I think of you in the sunlight. I can see it in my mind but I can’t feel it.


The wind sings and speaks. I wish I could write its meaning but words come slow. I failed you. For that I’m sorry. So many regrets in my heart. But I would have been a different man if I didn’t come here. Not me.


I dreamt I was walking to see you. I left the others, went on to the depot. A feeling like setting out, all the excitement and fear, something new ahead.