Saturday, July 25, 2009


(Note: I wrote this several years ago, intending for it to develop into a novel. Please forgive the fact that is a very rough draft. I'm posting it tonight in the hope of getting some feedback, especially whether I should continue working on it. I misplaced it around 6 years ago, but tonight I found a copy on a disk of documents from the years 2000-2005. The story is set off the Gulf Coast of Florida, and involves a character who has decided to return there looking for something lost, though he can't remember what it was.)

(Copyright: David A. Weir.)
A tiny slip of land appeared off the coast, momentarily, illuminated by the arc of the sun’s last rays. As our plane banked toward the mainland, it quickly was lost from sight again behind a cloudy veil.Twelve hours later, we set out from that very spot, heading north, hugging the coastline.

These waters sometimes forgive imperfect sailors. Here everything -- earth, water, air -- is warm, cloudy with sand and brown from tannic acid leaking off the mangroves. Predator birds, poison spiders, alligators, stingrays, crabs and other scavengers wait nearby, unseen but easily sensed.

Even an incompetent captain can be confident at the wheel here, thrusting his beer belly and nose into the wind. Until, of course, he strikes an oyster bed. We glide easily, black mast shining, at our purposeful pace, tracing the beaches that stretch onward without apparent end.

For the rest of this week, and next, we’ll drift on the bay side of each succeeding shoreline, some sandy, some mangroved, our silvery fishing lines trailing, seeking dinner. At night, we’ll find familiar, calm bays to anchor in and sip our frozen margaritas, and wait out the stars.

A shark trails us for two hours tonight: sleek, blue-gray, probably hungry, maybe curious, maybe ill or affected by pollution somehow. We drift slowly in our submissive pose. When the sun falls, I slip overboard, swimming 25 yards out into the tideline, turn over and float, waiting for the strike. After a half-hour, still separated by 25 yards, carried at the same speed by the same tide, I return to the boat. The hair on my body falls flat against my salty skin.


Hibiscus, palmetto, prickly pears, carissas, wild avocados, wild papayas, key limes, coconuts – they’re what grow in these lands. They get ripe, fall in storms, and rot in the white sand. Rarely does anybody peel back their skins or crunch into their centers except poachers like us.

Going back to that clapboard house on the inland waterfront would be the easy way, tonight. But when twilight merges with purple, our drinks taste big. This is their special hour. Olives never sink into ice out here. Rushing night music races offshore, from a point near the only house overlooking this shallow bay, dark and lonely.

Inside, its smells are dank, warm, and sweet, like memories held closely. Once we ventured there, stoned and dancing, but now its long, loose-boarded dock lays bare, inching out into the bay, covered in white Pelican droppings, lit up by the moon, waiting.

Jessica liked to dance here, her flimsy cotton skirt twirling like seaweed around her long white legs and her girlish figure. We were always watching her, always consuming. Everyone had to watch Jessie, and her showings. She danced and she laughed, always too close to the edge, usually falling in, of course. After, her clothes fit her like an extra membrane; and our voices turned husky from the wanting.

Now, it’s black here; the only ones dancing are shooting stars; the poisons I’ve lit scare away a few of the killer mosquitoes. Fat white mullet jump after those mosquitoes in the shallows. I curl my upper lip; another night here and I may be eating them, tearing them apart slice by slice, dropping oily white pieces all down my naked chest.


We’re far offshore now, suffering our due from that damned night, those damned olives, those damned lime slices. Damned Jessie, too. But not pretty Susan this time, prickly pear pink brown and white, tight, soft, wet and curving.

Into the shore we must go, our crew all too happily of course, in search of the foods only these parts know how to yield. My knife has jumped in between my teeth. We unravel our old ropes and jump into the brown-green water, waist-deep, wading now into the sandiest places, cutting our toes on oyster beds, freeing some of the type-O blood that scavengers love, moving among weed beds where biting worms back their slim little hips into caves, corkscrewing backwards, their tiny teeth bared, waiting for something fresh to rip into.

Storms build. My knife peels away a few of the thorns from a prickly pear, my teeth tear into the sweet redness, juices squirt south. It’s Susan who squeals in tonight’s memory, quivering at my touch. We consume robust offerings, then wash all the evidence away, and sit down again, waiting out a hoped-for death tide. Looking out at this blood-red sky, we are so much detritus, willing to leave a trail of whatever story that seems fitting in our wake.

No such luck. Tide’s going out, not coming in. The boggy coast empties itself, releasing organic odors. The Bay is off-gassing. Crustaceans left behind by the tide crawl across the mud, each species with its own distinctive trail. Sort of like people. Time to drink all of this discomfort back into its place. After all, this is a mosquito habitat, not a human place, at least not for modern humans. The rafters of that one old house probably host more skinny black tree rats right now than the total number of people who have ever eaten, slept, or made love there. The boat, by contrast, is well-populated with our company -- Jessie, Susan, -- and dozens more, I like to think.

And, too, there are the shell mounds, poking up along the shore, all that’s left from the thousands of years that Indians fished and hunted here. Now and then a bone fragment breaks free, human bones, old, greenish, broken, thick and blunted by sand and salt. Their owners knew which plants and which juices drove the mosquitoes away. We have only our silly synthetics, which, facing the genetic plasticity of creatures who reproduce in the bat of our eye, do little more than engender resistance, so we mindlessly escalate our chemical warfare in return – a cycle of despair.

Tonight, we cook ourselves a small blue crab, pulled off of the bay’s soft bottom. It goes well with sea lettuce, the kind whose salty fibers taste sharp and peppery. This is so healthy, I am proud. Time now to wash it all down with some firewater. Slowly, the ghosts join me in this, and everything else -- sounds, smells, fears –- retreat, leaving us alone and intimate.

Suntan lines. The sun moves over the lighter skimmed human bodies like the tide moves over the Bay. It leaves its marks.

Meeting His Little Brother

My daughter introduces her two-year-old son to his new little bro yesterday.

What sweet smiles all around...

Gotta head north and see them all soon!

Yesterday I spent completely alone, never having contact with any other person, though I did receive several nice telephone calls and email messages.

My worry these days is about blogging, here and elsewhere. I'm afraid that I have been losing my writing voice, and I can't figure out why that might be true. I've been posting right here for well over three years and three months, once a day on average, though lately the posts are trailing off in frequency and content.

Sometimes all I can do is post photos. No word energy is left.

Maybe the current narrative of my life is simply petering out. There isn't any drama. I got the oil changed in my car. It cost $43 and change.

I've been eating big breakfasts, as if I were a farmer, but I'm not a farmer. I'm in a bacon craving stage.

Other people are on vacation; I never take vacations. How can I take a vacation when I don't even have a job? Being unemployed for 15 of the past 24 months (63% of that time) means that the pace of my life has been permanently transformed.

I read that many unemployed people have given up looking for work. Why look when there isn't any?

Others pile up credit card debt. I don't do that. I buy one package of bacon and get a second for free. That's Safeway for you. I didn't even notice the sale; the checkout guy told me.

Another time, as I exited the supermarket, for some dysfunctional reason, the shoplifting alarm went off.

The security guard didn't even want to check me -- he just waved me through. Why bother checking an old guy shuffling along? He obviously doesn't have the ability to shoplift; it's surprising he even can shop, the shape he is in. (For the record, I have never shoplifted anything in my life. When I was young, friends would do it, and it drove me crazy. To this day, I hate the moral turpitude it represents. Or maybe I've just never been that desperate?)

I daydream a lot. I mistake my surroundings for the tropics. I put on an old pair of khaki shorts and go the door, expecting to see a gentle ocean lapping at my beach. I hear a motorboat slowly working the tideline -- a crab fishermen lifting his traps, no doubt.

I hear the kids laughing in the shallows. I think about pouring myself a tall lemonade with ice.

There's a novel I was writing...the one where I just drift away on a sailboat, never to return...Where did I put it and why can't I write to it anymore?


Friday, July 24, 2009


This beautiful little boy, Leif, joined our family in the early morning today, July 24, 2009. He joins his mom and dad and two-year-old big brother, James; and whole host of uncles and aunts and grandparents, as well as cousin Luca, exactly one year and one day older.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Help Find a Missing Child

This came into my inbox tonight:

"Lindsey Baum was walking home in McCleary, Washington from a friend's house on Friday, June 26th and never made it home. She was 10 years old at the time, but has since had a birthday while she has been missing. Police are pretty sure she was abducted but have found no proof of this. Please help spread the word about her and please keep her and her family in your prayers."

So far, the national media and the major social media sites do not appear to have gotten involved. My purpose tonight is to alert the Twitter community in the hope that this child can be found and returned safely to her family.


Not the Moon...

...or a Moon Lake but the San Luis Reservoir in central California, southeast of San Jose and way north of the L.A. basin.

This almost treeless environment in the searing heat challenges your eyes. It is difficult to look at; its austere beauty seems surreal.

This state is like that; it has so many places unlike anywhere else on the continent.

Some of them are familiar from Hollywood movies, so they resemble sets more than any type of real life place.

Others, like the San Luis, just make you feel as if you have stumbled into outer space somehow.

Days later, as you look over your photos, you still can't quite believe what you've seen.

It's just too strange and strangely lovely.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

GOP DimWit Hopes to Destroy American Families


My ongoing attempts to keep my family insured were dealt another setback yesterday when the company (Predictify) that laid me off last January folded its operations. Thus, five months' work to obtain coverage under Cal-Cobra came to naught. We no longer qualify.

In this context, the comments of Republican Senator Jim DeMint about President Barack Obama's attempts to reform our dysfunctional health care system literally sickened me. This is what DimWit had to say:"If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."

You know, DimWit, you and your ilk are what's broken in this country. You have nothing constructive to offer the national debate that is occurring over how to reform such a broken, wasteful, illogical system. But that is no surprise because all you and your kind care about is the game of politics -- attack politics at that.

You clearly not only lack a functional brain, you have an empty spot where your heart should be. You are therefore public enemy No. 1 of my family and families all across this land. I now favor a national health plan that covers everyone in the country except Jim DeMint and his family.

May they end up roaming the streets endlessly, begging for care, but receiving only the scorn of Hell they so richly deserve.


Monday, July 20, 2009

California Roadtrip Album





San Gabriel Mountains



CalTech campus


Santa Monica Beach

Pyramid Lake