Archive | May, 2012


31 May

I knelt in front of her, gravel sharp against my knees. “You can’t just wait for your energy to return,” I told her. “You’ve got to create energy.”

“I don’t buy into the myth of positive thinking.”

“Do some yoga.”

“India almost killed me, you fool. Yoga is toxic to me.” 

I forgave her gruffness. I reminded myself of how much she had lost. 

from my short story “Ganesh,” appearing in Marco Polo Arts Mag




24 May

Petra had suffered from dysentery in India the previous year, and had not begun to recover her strength. Her face was gaunt, her hair lank. We pulled up in front of Greg Sciano’s small stucco house, in the far northwest corner of the San Fernando Valley. It was the early seventies and nearby were still vestiges of orange groves and small horse ranches, but they were almost wiped out, like polio. Greg was a high school buddy. After graduation I went to Israel and Greg went to Vietnam, then became a mail carrier. He had acne scars and a big, bumpy nose. When he heard I was coming back to the Valley with a woman, he offered us his guest room. —-From GANESH, my short story recently published in Marco Polo Arts Mag


8 May

Tiffany crosses Main Street, the borderline between FLOPSIE (staff shorthand for Florida Panhandle State Hospital) and the town of Chippahitchka. Unless reminded, she often forgets to watch for traffic, but most drivers have learned to keep an eye out for distracted patients. She makes a cigarette stop at Rebel Market, then ducks next door to The Gate for a cup of coffee. She fills her lungs with the cool luxury of menthol and the waitress’s ears with delusions. 

In Highcastle Pharmacy, she meanders the aisles, always returning to the discount lipstick rack with its blurry mirror. Tiffany’s hands tend to shake from medication and, if I’m not with her to blot the edges of her lips with a tissue, she invariably smoothes the garish color beyond its intended boundaries. The effect is, I hate to admit, nearly clown-like. Her attempts to restore her wounded beauty are never better than awkward approximations. 

Thus begins my novel, TWO-HEADED DOG, published last month by Dirt e-books, available on Amazon for Kindle for only $3.95.


4 May

From my story,”Ganesh” to be published soon in Marco Polo Arts Mag:

The Universe is punishing me for my transgressions, Petra told herself. She thought of her brutishness on the kibbutz, but there were other iniquities as well. She passed in and out of consciousness. She saw the Universe funnel down into a single entity, a bitch goddess with large breasts and many arms, who doled out diseases as punishment. To one she gave leprosy, to another typhoid fever. Dysentery was her gift to Petra. Petra awoke from fevered dreams to find the goddess sitting on her chest, waving her arms, as if she were dancing.  

My novel, TWO-HEADED DOG, published by Dirt e-books, is available for only $3.95 on Amazon.


1 May

Studies show that students entering medical school have high levels of empathy. Graduating medical students have low levels. Studies also show that when medical students read or write fiction or poetry, even one poem, their empathy levels rise. Thus the attempt to add or increase Humanities content into medical school curricula. I learned that at The Examined Life Conference, co-sponsored by the U. Iowa Carver College of Medicine and the Iowa Writers Workshop, which focused on the relationships between medicine and writing. I was invited to the conference to read an excerpt from my novel, TWO-HEADED DOG. In TWO-HEADED DOG, Hank Ribinthal, a psychologist at Florida Panhandle State Hospital, has a lot of empathy. In fact, he has too much. He doesn’t know how to control it. It can be said that his empathy threatens to drive him mad.