Careful, Justin Bieber

February 6, 2014

I’m surrounded by lots of nasty newspaper and magazine articles and insulting letters and want you to understand this deluge on my doorstep is the same or worse than cyber bullying. Not many understand. I’m nineteen and make fifty million a year and fans love me and I’m doing things most my age would do.…

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Back Yard Hole

September 7, 2013

What’re you doing home, Fred, wife said. Sick of job. How’ll we live. Fred didn’t answer. He grabbed shovel in garage, put on work gloves, walked into back yard, and started digging. He dug fast, heaving dirt far as possible, and hole got wide and deep by sundown. What in God’s name, said wife. Fred…

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Ocean View

March 16, 2013

From patio on highest hill endless ocean rolls green back onto hill. Other way city sits in smog. Damn four story house next door ruins view, owners say. Not bad, I note, three in ravine. Suppose we’re lucky to live here fifty years. Used to be in tract house below.

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Trash Can

March 9, 2013

Old man eased across street to knock on iron security door and was ignored till stepped to bedroom window rapping to force another old man out. Did you pull trash can down street and fill with shingles and nails? Hell no. Then I wonder who. You see anyone? Just those guys on your roof.

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July 17, 2012

Pushing hand between armrest and cushion of ragged sofa, I searched for unknown artifacts and pulled out faded savings pass book revealing thirty years ago had opened account with hundred dollars, inauspicious total for man in twenties. Two weeks later I needed ninety dollars. That happens when make few hundred monthly. I still rebuilt balance…

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Garden Party for William H. Johnson

April 23, 2012

(A major feature about painter William H. Johnson, 1901-1970, will be posted later this spring.) I wish William H. Johnson, gifted painter of a unique world, were at this party honoring young African American artists, staged by the foundation bearing his name, at an elegant old two-story home near the Wilshire district in Los Angeles.…

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Baseball Bat Killers Sentenced

March 9, 2012

Two years ago a murder story in Bakersfield haunted me and, despite uneasiness, I decided to view the crime scene. A forty-year old man, Patrick Matsuda, who lived in a neighborhood of new and expensive homes, had been killed by bat-wielding miscreants. For weeks residents had been complaining to each other and the police that…

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March 3, 2012

Alice liked to save money. She scoured newspapers and tabloids to find coupons. She drove across town to pay few cents less per gallon of gas. She never dined in restaurants or went to movies. She hadn’t taken vacation since husband died twenty years ago. She mowed lawn until arthritis forced to have dug out…

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Relative Real Estate

February 26, 2012

newspaper says going to be one oh three in bakersfield seventy three in santa barbara but former has lower housing prices

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Deadbolt Rules

December 11, 2011

(This vertical prose was rewritten horizontally and posted September 22, 2012.) hell of hot day fishing in thin mountain air sun scorched harold and he drank too many beers didn’t matter he caught no fish he had to return to rat hole room at rear of house in bad area rusty deadbolt jammed and impatient…

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Trash Can

October 26, 2011

old man eased across street to knock on iron security door and was ignored till he stepped to bedroom window rapping it to force another old man out did you pull my trash can down to street and fill with shingles and nails hell no then i wonder who did you see anyone just those…

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No Room

October 8, 2011

the bedroom is the kitchen is the living room is the only room is the pit

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Shooting Baskets in Dreams

December 10, 2010

Generation after Hal moved from two small dingy rooms connected to old house in battery-stealing part of town, he thought dreams had disappeared so was saddened to see himself there shooting baskets. Old friend sat behind and watched errant shots. Damn ceiling’s too low to shoot right. Friend should’ve agreed but only stared as Hal…

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Tear Down those Nice Houses

September 6, 2007

I wish I were a member of the growing juggernaut of elite achievers who can afford to buy beautiful houses in wonderful areas then raze the structures and build something much grander.  This whole process either bespeaks a society of great wealth, energy, and imagination or foretells doom on the scale of sybaritic Romans who…

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