Are You Lonesome for Me, Baby?

All day a dragon in a rented crow costume was installed in the tree outside my house, shrieking imprecations and keeping me at bay. A few months back I reversed the mat on my doorstep so that each time I opened the door I would encounter the word “WELCOME.” My hope was that this would […]

You Know How It Is. Or Maybe You Don't. Maybe I Don't. Maybe, in Fact, None of Us Does

What does it mean that I have to sit and think for several minutes, and eventually have to count on my fingers, to figure out exactly how old I am? I don’t know what it means, but I know it’s appalling, the fact that I have to do it, and the number I eventually end […]

One More Cup of Coffee for the Road: In Another Lifetime

Long, long ago, in the sweltering twilight of an August night roaring with cicadas and the vacuum hum of a lazy small town in retreat from the heat and the falling darkness, the yards and sidewalks abandoned for living rooms and television sets (the wobbling blue screens of which we could see through the dark, […]

Another One from the Mothballs: The Art of Indexing

I always thought it would be interesting to attempt to tell the story of your life purely in index form. I tried it once, without a whole lot of success. I’m sure there are others out there like me, though, people for whom the indexes of thick biographies are often better and more fascinating reading […]

Any Old Business?

How it is that I…how is it…or, rather, why it is that I…that I seem to keep…or, really, that I do keep, that I keep ending up…that every single night I look at the clock, I look at the clock and it’s two o’clock in the morning, it’s three o’clock in the morning and I…I […]

In Which I Take Umbrage

I opened my electronic correspondence this morning to discover that, scattered among the many missives from such devoted readers as Floyd Whopping Cock, there were a number of notes from acquaintances calling my attention to the fact that in the pages of the Southwest Journal local media rascal David Brauer was weighing in on the […]

Let It Loose, Let It All Come Down: A Very Sad Business All Around

Some mysterious combination of failing light, and the smell of an unrecognized plant bring back to some men the sense of childhood, and of future hope; and to others the sense of something which has been lost and nearly forgotten. –Graham Greene, The Honorary Counsul What we cannot think, we cannot think; we cannot therefore […]

The Wasteland

This month marks the third anniversary of Yo Ivanhoe, and considering the similarly wasted years I spent shoveling words in a similar hole (Open All Night) at City Pages, I’m not much in the mood to celebrate five years of futility. When I first started doing this nonsense I was nothing but a clueless conscript […]

From the Wayback Machine: My Brief History of Magic

Elmer Gylleck was a Chicago architect who did a bumbling comedy-magic act built around a character he called Dr. Clutterhouse. Dr. Clutterhouse would come on stage clutching a briefcase and carrying an umbrella. The briefcase was possessed, full of odd spirits; ghosts would fly from it, and gunshots would ring out whenever Clutterhouse opened the […]

There Is No Bottom. There Is Simply —Or Not So Simply— the End

There is another kind of sleep, We are talking in it now. As children we walked in it, a mile to school, And dreamed we dreamed we dreamed. –James Galvin, from "Hematite Lake" Maris Gomes was very young when he went to sea for the first time, and not much older –still much too young– […]