It’s that one moment. 1:17 or 3:14 in the afternoon, and you realize the light’s different, not quite as intense as it was, and you get this sense of loss that begins in your belly and moves through your chest towards your head. Something’s wrong. Everything has an ending. And then you need to stop what you’re doing and go outside to think for a moment.


It was a sunny Sunday and I was lazying around Balboa Park, reading Kerouac’s Desolation Angels. I’ve read it many times so I was sipping – skipping some parts, spending time on parts I didn’t know or some that I knew well but wanted to revisit.

There’s this scene when he’s wandering around New York after traveling on the West Coast and through Mexico. He’s noticing everything and the words are pouring out, so authoritatively, like God told him he could so he did. And it got me thinking about how I sometimes need to remind myself that I have the authority to sing the beauty of the world. And how a biblical education might grant you an assurity that I missed out on with the secular smartypants atheism of my youth.

At the time he wrote Desolation Angels, Kerouac was wrestling with the Buddhist notions of emptiness and meaninglessness of everything. Even in the face of these seemingly contradictory notions, throughout the text he continually throws out the name of God. His Catholic God. It’s as if, even if the true nature of the universe was The Void, it were unthinkable not to have God there, too.

I not only respect and admire those cemented beliefs, I also have the creeping feeling I may be missing something by lacking them. And thus this poem –

a pint of port in
declares he’s the
‘Greatest Writer in America.’

‘n walks like he means it
shaking scenes from streets
shoving his snout deep
into suffering & joy & dramedy
revealing with that authority
internalized early –
a catechismal upbringing
affirming the duty and right:
    ‘Sing his PRAISES.’

– sing!
stop arguing
the existence of HIM, boy.
outsmart your smarts
the painting is not the paint –
shove deep
walk like you mean it
call it like you see it
    – sing boy!

Progress Report

Sorry all, I’ve been away for too long without explanation. I was absent from this space for two months – longer than I’ve been away for at least four years. Please, forgive me a brief catch-up before I return to posting regularly –

  • I took the last two months to finish my next-to-last draft of A Story About San Diego. This draft is approximately 130,000 words long, or about 20,000 more than it should be. Next week I’ll begin the final cutting process. I’m expecting to take at least the rest of September on it – if you’ve signed up for updates on the site, you’ll be hearing from me soon.
  • I’m teaching again this weekend, at our September Write on the Cusp workshop. There’s still time (as of the morning of Sept 12) to signup at a discounted price – ping me.
  • La Chingadera, our San Diego quarterly, is on track for its first publication this winter. If you or anyone you know is producing printable art (with a preference for but not exclusively to fiction, poetry or photography), let them know that there’s an opportunity to get their work published.