Kelsey Review

James looked up from his phone and reached for his wallet to get his monthly pass ready. The 7:53 to Penn Station was standing room only as usual. He was thankful for the seat and the fact that it was his wife’s small rear in the seat adjacent. They had raised fares as much as the denizens of this beleaguered state could afford, then started cutting the number of trains and crew drastically. Nothing worked, and finding one seat, let alone two together, made commuting akin to being a roller derby Bay Bomber in the sixties. Not quite a cattle car yet, but give them time.

He glanced over at Marian, resting up for brunch and matinee with her new best friend Renee. Her embarrassing snores were scant moments away, her silky red hair pressed against the filthy window. For a woman who dispensed herbs and holistic advice with equal enthusiasm, she always had been a bit cavalier with her own vulnerability. Another inconsistency, the kind one noticed all the time after almost three decades of marriage but knew better than to comment on. Well, he knew better anyway, her not so much.



Kelsey Review
pg. 46

Andy Powell thought things might have to change after the big argument at the library. He had misplaced the DVD of Richard Linklater’s 1991 classic Slacker for over a year – how fitting he swore he heard the library clerk with the lisp mutter – and he expressed shock, outrage and disappointment, in that order and all to no avail, at the woman’s insistence in keeping the forty-dollar lost fee on his account. Misplaced for more than one year is deemed lost not late, she told him, in his view with all the icy certitude of a serial killer passing judgment on his hundredth victim. Full short story

gray areas

first published in U.S.1 Newspaper

Louis Ginsberg stared at the eye chart beyond the motor vehicle counter and tried to recall the numerous ways he had been fucked over in his life. After a few seconds, he gave up as usual. Eighty-nine years worth of screws were a lot for anyone to recall, and a bit of dementia spiced with the eight red and blue pills he took every morning made detailed bitterness impossible. He smiled and read the E F P T O Z top three lines to himself. Some things, the good things, didn’t change, didn’t need to. The asshole ingrate of a son could drop names on Thanksgiving like Facebook, Internet, EBay, tell him they’d be getting rid of the Motor Vehicle altogether someday, but Lou knew they would keep the eye chart forever. That was a comforting thought. Full short story

cost cuts

first published in the Monarch Review

The executive’s name was Tim Riley and he had been at Fox Sports from the beginning, rising through the ranks, crushing subordinates and superiors alike, until he was making a lot more dough than the idiots hitting baseballs 500 feet and knocking down 25-footers with regularity. And that was the problem, they were idiots, fixed costs, crushing expenses that ate into league profits grilled from ten-dollar hot dogs and indirectly the advertising profits of his own beloved network. Read more →


first published in the Monarch Review

The front yard of a suburban home somewhere you don’t live. Harold emerges through the front door in gray sweatpants and maroon long-sleeved t-shirt. He is barefoot. He eyes the New York Times at the edge of the street, wondering why they can’t throw it as far as he did forty years ago, whether or not he should finally stop delivery so he can get his news on his smartphone in the company bathroom and whether bad news would seem just a little bit better on a 4-inch screen. He is puzzled why that perfectly fine Italian restaurant on Greene Street has closed so suddenly and asks himself whether his son will ever get a job. Most of all, he is thinking about business ideas never pursued—his chain of branded mohels performing ritual circumcision under the brand name BrisTine. Read more →


first published in The Monarch Review

It is a great deal of pressure to be a regular. Maybe more than it’s worth. 

It is nice to be recognized though. To stroll into familiar environs and be greeted by your first name with a plucky alliterative adjective in front (Pistol Pete, Fast Freddie, Rockin’ Ricky), your last name with a cute add-on (Hey, Jones-y, how’s it going? Murph-man what’s up? Cohen-y-boy, que pasa dude?), your school (the Yalie’s arrived, the Terrapin is in the house, oh-oh here comes Miami Man), your job (You ever have to fire that thing? How goes the plumbing biz? Free anyone from Death Row lately?). Read more →

Black Bags

first published in the The Monarch Review

The last time Hank remembered this much religious fervor in the neighborhood was the day Robin Green came home from Camp Pakatawa in the Catskills, declaring that she had talked to God at the bottom of the lake that separated boy hands from girl underwear. They were all 15 back then and God was delivering daily excuses for doubt in black bags with return addresses in Southeast Asia. There seemed no reason though to doubt Robin, one of the best students Red Oak Middle School had ever seen. She excelled at Math and Social Studies and had even made a metal dustpan with the best of them in Mr. Gotti’s shop class. Read more →



first published in the Be First Media Group

I went to a Jackson concert one Friday night last month in an old Loew’s movie house so grand they named it the Kings Theater when it opened on Brooklyn’s Flatbush Avenue in 1929 less than two months before the epic stock market crash. Abandoned in 1977 while the city teetered on the verge of collapse, and taken over by that same city six years later for non-payment of taxes, it reopened earlier this year with all the shine and restored art deco that 95 million new American dollars and rehabilitation talent can bring. Read more →

Spring Too

first published in the Be First Media Group

Back at the table to negotiate \ Warm blue sky running few weeks late \ One groundhog dropped |Another one dead
Give me one reason to get out of this bed \ Thin blood, thin patience \ Crazy texting drivers on all that black ice
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Five and Time

first published in the Be First Media Group

Went to the Woolworth Building
Downtown Manhattan
To return some do-hickey
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first published in the Be First Media Group

I’ve had enough of the white stuff \ Frigid, miserable bite stuff \ Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rudolph light fluff
If I wanted frozen hands and eyes \ If I wanted aching shovel backs \ If I wanted weather weather everywhere
Read entire poem →

Classic Apologies

first published in the Sacramento News

Oh no, here they come, the apologies to my 24 year-old son, just what you’ve been waiting for.

I know what you’re expecting. Sorry I wasn’t much better than my own father, probably worse. Sorry I didn’t warn you that my generation’s sending so many jobs and bombs overseas would make it harder for you to find work. Sorry about telling you not to act foolish; who knew there was so much money in it?!

Let’s save those for another day. This is all about the music. Read more →

M(ighty) G(ood)

first published in the Colorado Springs

I’m not really sure when and where the initial connection between a red convertible and a life of opulence or excitement, or both, came about for me. Seems like Adam West may have driven one in the old Batman television series, but I wouldn’t swear to it, and James Coburn’s Our Man Flint and all spies like him either had one or seemed to have one. Even in the black and whites of the forties, fifties and sixties, you knew that the gray was red and you didn’t need to know if it wasn’t. But in real time, the connection became unnecessary when I arrived at Cornell in the early seventies and noticed how the university was wheeling out a red British MG Midget at halftime in a determined but fruitless effort to get that fiftieth fan into his seat at varsity basketball games. Read more →