The Lone Harmonica

I received several letters this week addressed to my harmonica. It seems the recent account of our adventures together (“Travels with Harmonica”) had the unintended effect of thrusting him from my pocket out into the limelight. An unusually shy and private instrument,...

Travels with Harmonica

The first time I stuck a harmonica in my pocket and headed for the open road, I was twenty-two. I hitchhiked from Oakland to New Orleans. It was the start of a long list of harmonica-inspired voyages which featured me chasing the perfume of poetry and sin across the...

Tolstoy at the Fifty-yard Line

Looking back, I find it strange – and charming – that I always thought I could be as eccentric as I chose and still belong. In junior high school, like everyone else in my hometown, I would go to the Friday Night Football games. But to make it more substantive, I...

One Step at a Time

I write to you summoning all the reservoirs of honesty I can gather. (Sometimes, I confess, they are not much.) Honesty for me is not something willful or controlled. The greatest lies are those we tell when the truth is something we cannot even pronounce in silence....

World Breakdown

Standing in the midst of a crumbling world, I hear rubble and broken glass. The world is cracking right down its very midriff like a great sheet of arctic ice. A cold gash splits everything in two. You from me. My life from my body. Our dreams from the reality we...

Besieged by Happiness

While dancing Friday night at the La Marshall milonga I was besieged by happiness. It was a full frontal assault armed with boiling elixirs. They surprised me, disarmed me and over-powered me mid-dance. I gave up without a fight. This sequence of events is common to...