Blest Be the Tie that Binds

One year, on a trip north from Los Angeles, we stopped off at the University of California at Santa Cruz campus to visit a married couple, both in graduate school studying computer programing. When I asked about their projects, one of the students said she was working on a component that would become part of…

Conversation with My Google Assistant

Good morning! What? Is there something you’d like to say? No, not really. Well, what time is it? It’s morning. That’s why I said, “Good morning.” Would you like me to look something up for you? No. I could give you a weather report. No. Would you like to know what’s trending – No. Care…

Sitting Out: Painting in Progress

Portlanders love to sit out. At sidewalk cafes, outside pubs, in their yards or drives. On porches, decks, balconies. In parks. On special occasions, neighbors will close their street to cars so they can sit out in the middle of the block at improvised tables in whatever chairs seem to turn up. The atmosphere of…

Notes on Julian Gallo’s “The Penguin and The Bird”

Julian Gallo’s “The Penguin and The Bird” (2018, New Horizons Editions) is an impressionistic work. It functions as a graphic novel, but one without the drawings. There are 72 short chapters spread across 122 pages of text. The chapters are organized into four parts: “Her Mother’s Violin Early Autumn, 1979,” which concludes with Chapter 13,…

Cyberpunk

Round ears curl silver coils of sounds, across nose stands glass bridge in worm-fog, always under construction. Every sense a degree, and digression, and distraction. This is technology: rubber sneakers, cotton threads, titanium screw implants capped with fool’s gold. Then that hardened heart lumbering loose without nails full of sloth a snail’s shake ebbs &…

Three Poem Treats

3 If I write the poem in my heart things fall apart, I fall apart nocentior can hold I wrote this panning for gold. 2 If I forget who I am maybe I’ll be Sam I am until it comes back to me who I’m supposed to be. 1 The ironies of life are not…

Notes on Jessica Sequeira’s “A Furious Oyster”

I was reading Jessica Sequeira’s debut novel, “A Furious Oyster” (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018), when the 30 August London Review of Books arrived in the day’s mail. A book review should reveal something unexpected, but to do that the book under consideration must be heard in a whisper. I turned to the review of Zadie Smith’s…

The Bananafish

A popular fish in some schools the deep sea swallower called the bananafish: Sansjawdsalumpigus. Though it lives on the floor of the aphotic zone, it is not bioluminescent; in fact, it’s invisible. Rising to the surface with changes of tide, mind, and mood, it’s worse by tens than the burbling Jabberwock. A bananafish is never…