On the unbearable

The 54-year-old woman presented as burrowed into some unhappiness while having achieved a good deal of professional success. The mother of two and the husband of one, she was the main source of financial support. They lived in a slightly decrepit midcentury modern house near the university where she worked. Years into her analysis she… Continue reading On the unbearable

The Power of the People

Governments and their institutions can do a lot of things. But one thing they cannot do is create their own legitimacy. That’s the brilliant thing about politics, no matter how fascistic it might be: institutions want to be seen as legitimate. But only the people themselves can bequeath legitimacy on their institutions. What we are… Continue reading The Power of the People

On Cardigans and Social Distancing

Sitting in front of a fire, wearing a cardigan sweater, in February 1977 President Jimmy Carter addressed the nation about the energy crisis that had punched the country in the gut. Clearly the White House’s thermostat must have been turned down. The fire crackled, making the living room warm and toasty. Carter spoke of national… Continue reading On Cardigans and Social Distancing


I am uninspired, a little broken, a little sad, and trepidatious, undone by my mother wondering if I can write poetry, but I suppose I already am. This is a long poem, interrupted by news flashes and news holes. Barrenness. Grape purpleness, a virus ravaging people all over the Earth, and there’s not much I… Continue reading 3/24/2020

Gone Poet

Not so long ago, epidemiologists said of a new deadly virus, “not if, but when.” Now the answer is “now.” I read all the news all day long, and it seems there is nothing left to say. Then today a friend wrote me with a “chain mail” poetry letter. So I sent a poem to… Continue reading Gone Poet

Our fascist times?

How could it get worse. A president found guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors by the US House of Representatives let off the hook by a Senate more willing to look after their own future than the present and future of the country they are supposed to serve. In my piece last summer for the… Continue reading Our fascist times?

Quitting Facebook

I just quit Facebook today. It wasn’t that big a part of my life but now that I’ve quit it I realize how much of my cyborg life it was. Just like my phone. I might not use it that much but it is always there. And now FB no longer is, not the scores… Continue reading Quitting Facebook

Falling water, falling away

I just finished watching Ken Burns’ two episodes on Frank Lloyd Wright. I’m left with where I was at the start, with mixed feelings. Yes, Falling Water is one of the most stunning architectural masterpieces of the past century, but for the most part Wright’s architecture focused on creating inner sanctums, not windows to the… Continue reading Falling water, falling away

Time Management

I’m planning to run a workshop for graduate students on how to manage time, both the time when there’s never enough time and the stretches of time when there is all the time in the world (like a sabbatical). I’m still working on this, so let me run it by you all. Maybe you have… Continue reading Time Management