In search of story


August 29.20: Coping

Who knows our curves and swerves,

angles, arcs,

down to our nerves?

The shadow knows.

Who knows our stride, each slip and slide,

but must keep up

tight by our side?

The shadow knows.

Who knows our pounds and rounds,

but vowed to silence

makes no sounds?

The shadow knows.

Who knows to blear, to interfere,

to block the light

its whole career?

The shadow knows.


Once upon a time, dear reader, there was a member of the family known as “the radio.” Look it up. One of its programs was called “The Shadow.” Now even I am not old enough to remember “The Shadow” (though I do remember the radio), but I am indebted to it for its immortal words: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.” How awesomely ominous.

(An edit here: after I read Judy’s comment below, I realized that I am more than old enough to remember “The Shadow.” I just don’t. But in the interests of honest blogging I must clarify.)

As you know, dear reader, I have often thanked S.W. Berg, aka Bill, for his wonderful photography. This is Bill. His camera went off without him, in cahoots with his shadow. A nice conspiracy.




Vagaries in Gestation: December 21.18

My brother was stretched out in his recliner and I was lolling on his sofa, facing his side. The California sun was going down and its fading light fell over him like running water. As we talked, I became increasingly distracted. He was changing without moving. I tried to keep my part of the conversation going but it wasn’t easy; I was watching something I’d never seen before.

He morphed like some special effect from a movie, and became someone I knew but couldn’t name.  Then I realized it was our Grandpa Mauck, whom I hadn’t seen since I was about ten, when he died. The shadows had sculpted everything about my brother that was like our grandpa into our grandpa. Grandpa stayed and talked with me; my brother was gone.

It scared the bejabbers out of me. At the same time I felt there was something wonderful about it. It was ominous and reassuring all at once. I tried to talk myself out of it, but the sense of portent was there. Still it hit hard last week when I got the call: my brother had died. Our last visit was just that.

During this past year, his emails had been uncharacteristically terse. If he thought he was pulling wool over my eyes, he thought wrong. I knew his/our medical history. I knew something was going on. It wasn’t what he said; it was what he didn’t say.

I look back. As the sun went down on the other side of my brother and I could see less and less of him, I saw something more. As he communicated less and less, I heard something more.

And I think about how we grasp what’s there from what isn’t there.



Vagaries in Gestation



Vagaries in Gestation: On Being Linear, Part V, April 5.17

The pillow of an insomniac

cleaved by her back

tells of her vigil

sitting upright

in the black cold syrup

of slow minutes

the hour of the wolf

they call it

because it stalks the weak

because it devours

nothing changes in her grey room

but behind her eyes

the pageant of life

and death

rehearsing every misspoken line

rebreathing every choked breath

rewalking every unknowable path

sitting up

but wandering


amid the masks and powdered wigs



and mimes.

Vagaries in Gestation


Connections: January 28.17


something tall and proud

lies felled

death took it

then blade

now knelled

in crackling whisper

as kin mark

their own sure geld

respectfully distant

from remnants


in tender long shadows



More thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives,

Vernon Hill Gallery.