Sunday, November 30, 2008

Table Self Portrait


Hershey's Kiss with Almond wrapper on steel dining table. 30"x40" approx. 2008




Arugula, Bacon, and Gruyere Bread Pudding

1.5 cups whole milk
.5 cup heavy cream
5 eggs
6 slices bacon
1 shallot chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
5 oz baby arugula
half a loaf of crusty stale ww bread cubed (1 inch)
6 oz grated gruyere cheese
.5 tbls salt and pepper (each)

whisk eggs, milk, cream, salt and pepper in lg bowl.
fry bacon in skillet, drain on paper towel, crumble
pour off bacon fat, except for one tbs. Cook shallots and garlic in bacon fat,
add arugula until wilted.

stir arugula mixture, bacon, bread, and cheese into custard.

transfer to greased glass baking dish, cover w foil

bake 30-40 mins, then uncover and let top get goldeny or burned looking to your taste.



Calamari, Scallops, and Shrimp with garlic and pasta.

Marinade the seafood in juice of a lemon, four cloves minced garlic, tsp red pepper flakes, tbs minced fresh ginger, four smashed up anchovies, salt and pepper.

Boil capellini or spaghetti to al dente, leave it pretty firm.

Strain seafood, reserve liquid, pat seafood dry.

Add two tsp. anchovy oil and two tsp butter to large skillet, get hot. When hot, saute the seafood for a minute until the shrimp begin to get pink. Remove seafood and set aside in a bowl. Increase the heat, add a cup of white wine and the reserved marinade liquid and boil to reduce about four minutes. Add pasta and toss to coat. Add seafood and two handfulls of fresh basil, chopped coarsely. Toss to mix.

Top with shredded parmesan or romano and cracked pepper.

Serve with mixed green salad and loaf of crusty bread, remainder of the wine.


Oh. My. God.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rick's College


One time me and a bunch of kids were hanging out. We were in this garage and there was a loft. We were jumping off the loft and onto this pile of three or four mattresses.

When it was my turn, I leapt out off the loft and into space. My face smacked hard into a joist and my feet swung up and I fell hard down and landed in a bathtub.

I was some busted up.


One time I was a little kid and I watched my dad climb this aluminum ladder up two stories to the top of the garage at the farm. It had a concrete floor and it was very big, stuffed full of tractors and old farm equipment. I remember he was at the top of the ladder and the ladder just tipped over backwards and he held on to it all the way down to the concrete floor. He landed on his back and his head smacked on the concrete like a melon, conking open.


One time I was standing in a field. There was a dead girl spread eagled in the grass below me. Her car was up in a tree. There was Billy Idol cassette tapes in the grass. I picked up a lip gloss and put it in my pocket.

A hundred yards away I found the driver's side door.


One time I held onto this girl's head. She was shaking, there was blood pouring out of her broken knees. Her baby brother was jammed up under the seat. Her father was through the windshield.

I was trying to get her to look at me.

Watch me, I kept saying.

Just look at me.


One time I was standing in the bedroom of someone's house I used to visit. Now someone else lived there. The teenaged son had shot himself in the mouth and he was choking on his blood and dying on the carpet. Beige carpet. He ruined it.

He had black hair. He was wearing a Motley Crue tee shirt.

It took him an hour to die and I got there late.


One time a man got out of a car I stopped. He tried to hit me. He dragged me down and I smashed his head into the side of the car. His wife was screaming. I beat him and beat him.

She never did shut up.


I remember pacing in the hallways of hospitals. Waiting for someone to die or waiting for someone to wake up or waiting to find out which one they would do.


One time I stopped this truck in the middle of the night. There was a stolen stove in the back of the truck. I pulled the man out and searched the truck. I found a duffle bag with duct tape and didos and night vision goggles and handcuffs and four sharp bowie knives and rope and chains and infrared cylume sticks and rubber gloves and a dozen scalpels still in the packaging and a billy club and a jar of pills.

He was on parole for murder. He was driving to the town where I live.


I have heard a million stories worse than anything I can even imagine.

All of them, every one, true.


Do you remember what Tommie Lee Jones said about that crazy murderer in "No Country For Old Men?"

"He's got some hard bark on him."




Though There Be Dangers All Around


The farmer, he was headin' to the boneyard any minute. He didn't go around squawkin' about it...


I guess I don't got nothin' to say. I have all of these feelings, but that's all they are. It's a mistake to put too much importance on them. One thing I'm trying now is to pretend that this is all happening in a really good book, one where I'm glad all this stuff is happening to the protagonist because it's pretty interesting, more interesting than just watching someone cook dinner or whatever.

And more terrible stuff is happening to people all around you. You don't have to go looking for it. You just set right there, it'll be along shortly.

No need to get up.


It will yet seek us out.


May you and yours remain hidden a bit longer.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

For What We Are About To Receive, Let Us Be Truly Thankful


Yesterday my wife and I went to our daughter's school for their Thanksgiving celebration. Two years ago we went to one at her boarding school in the woods, all beautiful organic home-grown foods and a couple hundred family members out on the massive lawn or under the oaks. The beautiful people. All these bright, super-achieving children and their casually wealthy parents. Chatting about the new horses. The hot new vacation spot.

I make a little fun of it, but it was beautiful.

I was so proud to have sent her there. Like a brave little Italian shoe-maker who has no english but goes to America and his child attends an American school and she speaks english so well and all of her friends are real Americans and although he is humbled for himself he is proud that she will have more than he can imagine in this new world.


This year the Thanksgiving celebration was at her continuation school. This is the last-gasp stop of the educational system for the flunkies and criminals and oddballs who cannot function in regular school. Among the parents, I recognized a guy I sent to prison for eight years. He was out in the parking lot, scraping the leads of his car battery with a long folding knife, the spider web tattoos on his forearms peaking out from beneath his flannel shirt. He is the boyfriend of my daughter's boyfriend's mother.

I saw a kid that I used to see on patrol when he was five and six. His dad was a crazy, paranoid, violent drug-dealer. They lived in a motor home he parked on various streets to avoid the 72 hour parking rule. The kid is sixteen now. He was very sweet to me. He remembered how I used to hassle them all the time, but he said it more like I used to come over and visit them a lot.

One of the teachers read a list of things the students had written they were thankful for. Some I remember:

I'm glad my parents are off drugs.

I'm grateful I finally have a place to live.

I am grateful for food stamps.


So, that happened.


What I am grateful for today:

My glorious, amazing, heart-breakingly beautiful wife and my glorious, amazing, heart-breakingly heart breaking child. That they exist, that I live out the days of my life in their orbits, is a humbling, awesome gift.

The strange and disfunctional larger family from which I struggle to escape and to which I cannot but return. Forget about the strong and weak electromagentic forces. These are the ties that bind.

Lucy, the world's most stable and large-hearted English Bulldog.

My strong hands and back. What's left of my sight and hearing. My body and its capacity to yet do what I ask.

My work, for what it provides me and for what it asks.

Our small house, which is bejewelled and glows with love and beauty. Living in this house is like living inside my own heart. Only better decorated, and not full of blood. Usually.

Friends. One of my weak points, being a good friend. But despite my failings, there are a handful of strange people that seem to love me anyway. You know who you are. Thank you for what you bring into my life, for it enriches me beyond measure.

Enemies. You, too, know who you are. I am grateful for what you are teaching me, although I do not enjoy the lessons. Thank you for making me a better man.

The capacity for awe. Without it, my life would be smaller than it should be.

Pain and yet more undiscovered pain. Without you, I would be as a child. I would understand nothing, nor would I appreciate anything at all.

Fragility. Loss. Despair. Longing. Sadness. Fear. Churlishness. Misanthropy. You are my brothers and sisters. Come, sit by me. Eat of my dinner. Drink of my wine. I will make for you a room in my home and your bed will be wide and ample.

The pleasures of food and drink. The new found pleasure of cooking, which has transformed my life.

The planet on which we all live, which is beautiful beyond all capacity to imagine.

The dome of the sky, the belly of the sea, the way wind moves through a wheat field.

For knowing that I will lose all of this and more.


Monday, November 24, 2008

The Night Watchman


I am playing hooky from work.


Yay for me!


I am writing, writing, writing. Scribbling away. Wearing my fingertips down to nubs.


I am a dark-hearted thing. A rough beast.

There is yet good in me.


I have written all the day long. Now I am going to drink vodka, start a fire (in the fireplace), reheat the Morrocan chicken pot pie I made last night, make a salad of mixed baby greens, red onion, and beets, and await the return of my wife.

I feel good.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Portrait of The Beloved


This photograph was taken by my wife. An unwitting self-portrait.


Perhaps unwitting.


She is a deep soul. Sometimes I see us as an island in the middle of the sea. I am the island, with a big, green, jungle-covered mountain, dramatic waterfalls, palm trees waving and clattering in the breeze, everything visible, demanding attention. And she the dark sea. Sure, there's plenty of drama on the surface, all those waves crashing on the shore, rolling across the vast emptiness toward some distant, unknowable land. Tempests and waterspouts and raging weathers. And bestilled lagoons of warm turquoise waters, filled with the flashing jewels of tropical fishes and coral reefs. Changeable and vast, life-giving and pitiless.

But great depths that are known only to her.


I am undone by her daily. I mean, she's just a regular human being, just like the rest of us. She can't fly or spout fire or teleport. But she provides all that I crave. Love and strength and steadiness of heart. Laughter in abundance. Quiet, the most quiet, fierce determination to proceed. Damn the cost. She would walk across a mine field as if she were taking a stroll along the beach.

You can't control her. You're not the boss of her.

And how she loves. And how we are bound together. We have stitched up each other's wounds so many times that we've sewn ourselves together.



I like her pretty bad.


My wish for you today is that you have someone like this for yourself. I know that some of you do. Also, some of you think that you don't, that you lack this kind of love. But I would then give you the same assignment I give myself, and that is to be that kind of lover of your own self. Find the wildness to love in the depths of your great, dark sea. Give of yourself to yourself the same compassion and tenderness you seek from your most desired imaginary lover. Fall in love with yourself and love yourself fiercely, with great devotion.

Sweep yourself off your feet.


Namaste, motherfuckers.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Fallible Gods


What is known to us is but a small thing. What can be known, only yet a little larger. What remains unknown, unknowable, is as vast as the sea, as vast as the limitless void, spoiled with but a few stars, paltry lives and small.


Yet we persist in our delusions.


Believe in our paltry powers.

Despite all evidence to the contrary.


Given all this unknown, this vast unknowable, how then to assert even the most simple of convictions? Even simple observations must remain suspect. Given our position.

Way out here in the tall weeds of some neglected corner of the Milky Way. One galaxy among the numberless tribe.

And our infintesimal life spans. What progress, what understanding can we possibly come to given our four-score trips around the sun?

It is vanity.


I remain convinced that love is the engine.

Of that I am certain.

My faith cannot be shaken.


My martini can be, however.




Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Visible Man


One thing that I love is to cook for my woman. I would say cook for my family, but my daughter will not eat with me, much less what I cook. But I find a great and deep pleasure in cooking a good meal for that woman with whom I live.

It's nice, also, that she enjoys what I make for us.


Tonight it is Island Pork Tenderloin on a bed of baby spinach. Oranges and avocado and raisins and red bell peppers and cabbage and a vinagrette of lime juice, orange juice, toasted curry powder, salt and pepper.


Last night was this roasted butternut and acorn squash soup with gruyere croutons.

To. Die. For.


I think that creating art and writing poems and making very, very good food and drinking too much is a nice foil for pointing guns, hitting people, and putting people in prison for hundreds of years.

And vice-versa.


That is why I am an asshole. I really like hitting people with metal sticks, or my fists. I actually enjoy pointing guns and yelling. When I am standing over some dead person, it kind of makes my day.

You all can leave now, if you want.

I don't blame you.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Caliente Store


I will not stop being crazy.