“In Praise of Stripes,” Catapult, May 2017
“My New York,” Missouri Review, Fall 2013

“Like all the rooms in the Hotel Paris, ours was small. It stank of the last occupant’s cigarettes, which was okay by me. I accepted the odor as part of the city—my father’s city, it came to seem to me, as if he had laid every brick and cobblestone and erected every skyscraper.”

“The Kuhreihen Melody,” The Missouri Review (Winner Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize), April 2012

“As children we assume, with a conviction bordering on righteousness, the permanence of things. Whatever touches it, childhood consecrates.”

“The Swimming Pool,” Fourth Genre, Fall 2011

“. . . Water flows through this life of mine, a stream of moments, an ocean of memories, a pool of dreams, thoughts, desires. I’m never as alive as I am here, now, swimming.”

“Painting Icebergs: A Titanic Obsession,” Connecticut Review, Spring 2011

“The sinking has obsessed generations. It is the Belle Epoque’s answer to Noah’s Ark.”

“The Muffin Man,” Alimentum, Winter 2011

“My first muffin is more memorable to me than my first non-innocent kiss.”

“Alone: Two Types of Solitude,” Gulf Coast, Spring 2010

“In solitude the useless ego dissolves, opening us to the infinite.”

“Gjetost,” Alimentum, Winter 2009

“The golden brown gjetost was by turns musty and sweet, golden and goaty, delicious and disgusting. In its own way it was a lot like sex, that cheese.”

“The Panther,” by Daniela Tordi (my translation from the Italian), The Literary Review, Winter 2009

“Sitting motionless with its back to me, as if guarding my house, the beast sniffed the air, its whiskers and ears pearled by the moonlight diffused through the sparse clouds.”

“The Bones of Love,” Ploughshares, December 2008

“He wore the blouse of a Confederate uniform, its sleeves shorn and shoulders darkened by rain, and twirled a gnarled wooden cane.”

“Keeping Up With the Days,” Cincinnati Review, Winter 2008

“For about ten years, starting when I was a senior in high school, I was a compulsive diarist, you might even say an addicted one.”

“Dead to Rights: Confessions of a Caricaturist,” Colorado Review, Spring 2008

“To draw someone’s caricature is to grasp their essence, a Zen-like undertaking, archery with a pen.”

“Restaurant,” Bellevue Literary Review, Fall 2006

“An alimentary safecracker, it was my job to unlock his appetite, to decipher its secret sequences.”

“My Locomotive God,” Tiferet, Summer 2005

“My Search for Red and Gray Wide-Striped Pajamas,” Glimmer Train Stories, Fall 2004

“I know what Uncle Nick means when he says I need a kick in the ass. But it’s not a kick in the ass that I need. It’s what some people call ambition, and others call motivation, and others call God.”

On Writing & Craft:

“Truth & Delight,” Brevity, January 2017
“A Short History of Everything,” Poets & Writers, April 2007

“I wouldn’t give up; I couldn’t give up—it would have meant throwing all those years away.”

“Prelude to a Prelude,” The Writer Magazine, November 2011

“The Usual Suspects – PART I,” The Writer Magazine, Summer 2007

“The Usual Suspects – PART II,” The Writer Magazine, Fall 2007

“Driving Picasso,” Boulevard, Fall 2006

“Picasso cannot drive. He finds cars too amusing.”

“The X Files: Confessions of a Cranky Lit-Mag Editor,” Poets & Writers, June 2006

“Anatomy of a Flashback,” The Writer Magazine, Fall 2006

“What we remember most in great stories are scenes. They are what Scheherazade spins under threat of death.”

“The Perpetual Motion Machine,” Colorado Review (online), December 2013

In the firmament of perpet cranks and crackpots no star shines brighter than Paul Scheerbart (1863-1915).

“Unclassifiables: A Tour of Books on My Bedstand,” Kenyon Review, Summer 2012

Is there such a thing as a truly unclassifiable book—a book without pedigree or precedent? Aren’t all great works of art to some extent unclassifiable?