Author Archive

For Christmas


The child wants a teddy-bear and tracks and engines that light up and go; the youth wants a lettered sweater or a million dollars or a sweetheart; Mr. Mussolini wants the earth; the poet wants the moon; the saint wants God. Here we all are, wanting something—and usually the unattainable.

One may measure a man or a civilization by the quality of his-its-wants, and his-its-miracle-power of transmuting them into forms of approximate reality. In other words, one’s measure is the imagination both static and militant, the dream that cannot stop with a vision, an idea, but must be on the way toward some kind of fulfilment, whether in action or the arts.

Nearly two thousand years ago a great creative spirit gave the world a vision of truth and righteousness which stimulated the want-instinct of western nations into more activity than any earlier teacher had been able to arouse. Through all these twenty centuries this want-instinct has persisted. Though often dulled almost to obliteration by narrow interpretations, by vicious violations, by passionate persecutions, it is still a shining goal far ahead of the race, something beautiful and unattainable which illuminates and perpetually attracts man’s slow and halting footsteps. Its persistence is a proof of its vitality; the fire once lighted refuses to go out. We flatter ourselves that the race has advanced a little during these twenty centuries toward the elusive splendor, but probably another two thousand years will find our successors but little nearer to that ultimate infinite illumination.

Christmas, as we know it, is a symbol, a recognition, a flower on the altar, a bow in passing. It says a tiny yes to the dream, it sings a little song. In lighting our small red candles, in giving our paltry gifts, we pay a slight tribute, not only to the infinite spirit of love typified by the great hero whose birth we celebrate, but to all the lesser heroes who have been strongly inspired by the beauty of his life and the triumphant tragedy of his death. We turn from our familiar paths to pause a moment at a shrine heaped with noble treasures; a shrine where, to the end of time, the spirit of man will receive and carry away a richer treasure than anything he can bring.

Originally Published: November 28, 2005 in Poetry –celebrating 100 years.

Simply, The Dog House

Usually, when Anne tells me to do something, I respond like all self-respecting adults: with obedience. So, when Anne bid me write up about our trips to the The Dog House, I thought I would find myself easily acquiescing, glad to know my place and purpose in the world. The task, however, has been more formidable than I was previously wont to suppose. The difficulty occurs not at the intro (I’ve written several, all more or less satisfactory for my purposes–it’s fine to describe the building, and even get past the rather abominable inner exterior) but right at the part where I begin contemplating what type of Dog I will order, I get tripped up. I can go no farther in the explanation of types of Dogs to order. This is because a single tear in each of my eyes clouds my vision, preventing me from typing. Why are my eyes so shrouded in what appears to be misery? You assume too much! Not misery, but bliss or rather, the pure nostalgia for the experience. How can I describe that memory when the reality is so intangible, untastable to my tongue since its sense has been barren since tasting that paradise of flavor? I ask you!

Let me back up a few characters: have you ever been to Fort Scott, Kansas? I know Angela Cuba has, but then she will also shortly have a Masters with a thesis. Thereby, severing her shared experience with the rest of us. Fort Scott proudly boasts an actual fort, no movie theatre and very few edible breakfast places. It has also produced many notable characters such as Gordon Parks (?) and several Lorimers. There may be other individuals from Fort Scott, but we don’t speak of The Marrieds. I digress.

Now, The Dog House is a relatively new addition to this historic landmark town and it’s not what I had imagined visually speaking. It shares its space with a drive up pizza place. Don’t be fooled by the yogurt-shop aesthetic, the dogs are cooked to order before your very eyes. In a feat of innovative technology, this grill is placed inside with very little of the normative accouterments of indoor grills. It still breathes free and open, accessible to any eaters concerned for the pinkness of their dog. More than likely, however, they are still staring at the dry erase board menu, wondering if it was right to go with The Bleu Dog (bacon, bleu cheese, bbq sauce) rather than The Caliente (grilled peppers and onions, honey chipotle sauce, bacon). I have it from one Dan Kerr that The Danny Dog is the best, but what of The Whiskey, or The Philly? I suppose only time (and repeated visits To The Dog House) will tell. But at this point, it is clear that Jace, the owner, developed a new mastermind endeavor to spark the economy and provide both jobs and food for the 99%. When asked by a local investigative reporter which of his dogs he would marry, Jace unabashedly declared his love for The Kraut Dog. Celery salt, mustard and Kraut adorn this simple dog which, in its own way articulates the simplicity of its benevolent master.


Highrisin’ just to get by

Babysitting on the 14th floor can be a rather tricky undertaking. First of all, there’s the balcony with the spectacular view of the bold Lake Michigan to tempt a daedalian soul. Then, there’s the beer, wine and fully stocked bar. Drinking alone proves to be quite enjoyable after all. I’ve shied away from the monstrous Tv with the intimidating remote as as a new book (2011) on social media, entitled ENGAGE. (The cover boasts a large chain and exclamation points…aesthetic jewels which provided a rather amusing backdrop as I attempted to read Mike’s poem.)
Well, I am going to do that thing where I talk about my life right before I see all of you because that way we can skip trivialities.