November 1, 1975

Note: In a recent conversation with a friend, I told her that I still had most of my writing stored away, back to when I was 15-years-old. I was pretty damned intense for someone that age. I dug around and found my very first journal. I’ve kept this old journal — a compilation of poetry and diary entries — and it’s travelled with me to innumerable different apartments, houses, beaten-down hotels, the back of my car, a couple of provinces, and two countries. I don’t know why I hold onto it, other than they’re entries from a naive, intense and, dare I say it, sweet little kid who had no idea what the future held. I promised her I’d post an entry from back then, and I’m a man of my word. Cringing is allowed and acceptable, but please, don’t outright laugh. He was 15-years-old and his heart was honest.

Alone (Part II)

The bitter cold

consumes my

soul like

a fire consumes


The quiet road

ahead of me

is dark

and I fear


The velvet clouds

above me

drift silently

and move


The beating of

my heart

is hushed

against the


— Written November 1, 1975

Ordinary Handsome: Woodrow

Excerpt from Ordinary Handsome. Available at

Woodrow didn’t strike me as a curious man, just someone looking for something he was good at. And he never found it.

Shot dead trying to rob a butcher shop. I guess he unwrapped one of his crazier ideas and it got him killed. I still think about that. I know there was nothing I could have said to pry out whatever sharp objects were in stuck in his head. But still. What man hasn’t been in the same situation, where doing something stupid made more sense than anything else he could come up with?

I ended up hiring his boy. A good kid, I think, but he’s got his father’s restless eyes and his way of tuning out most of the world. Jimmy Wheat’s a big kid, bigger than others his age, and even-tempered. But I see his father in him, and that’s about the loneliest thing I can imagine. I tried to do right by Woodrow. He was a good man, mostly, but useless.

Ordinary Handsome: Preparation

Among all my other tools, I kept a fifty-pound bag of lime and an empty coffee can in the back of the Jeep. Nobody would pay any mind to it, since there were a lot of dirt basements in Handsome. After a rain like this, the dampness stunk up houses and clouded backyards with septic overflows.

I needed to keep Jackson as fresh as I could. I’d sprinkle it over him like pepper in a soup pot. It helped, but only a little. Continue reading Ordinary Handsome: Preparation