Here are a few pieces from STRIPMINE…this is a collection of short essays and poetry written from about 1987 to 2005. The first printing was in 1994, with another limited run in 1999. I’ve edited the whole collection three times, with the most recent major edit in 2005.

The following selections are mostly pieces I wrote when the bugs were particularly bad…which, in Mosquitoland, means most every day. Of course, not all bugs are insects…

(blood meal)


they say  the big ones take a pint or two at each feeding

from whatever warm blood happens to be nearby

you can hear them out there, rustling in the trees

they like it down in the dark

with the night flies

and used motor-oil floating in old tires

flooded with swamp water

they come here to breed:

laying clusters of eggs in the tires and

 pools of rainwater

inside refrigerator boxes

some kid used for a space ship or Indian fort

everything is left to rust in the ditches

 by the side of the old Titusville road


(daytona beach: off season)


alone in the kingdom of Elvis:

surrounded by the blue-suede walls

 of a cheap motel room

an aging porn queen lies tranquilized

retired on the stained mattress

high on crystallized methamphetamine

and the dim thoughts of some eight-track suicide pact

comatose in a pool of drugstore perfume and melted mascara crayons

we have come here fueled by cut-rate gin and a gallon and a half of diesel fuel

leaving a ’66 Buick dying in the parking lot of a 7-11

we walked the rest of the way, past a radio station and a massage parlor

following an endless parade of Black Velvet ads to this place at the end of all roads



you pierced my flesh

 you pierced my soul

your teeth left traces on my skin

the blood: like a flower

dried and faded with time

but the scars, they remain





beyond the broken facade of mountain, built on blackened rock

there lies a dormant nest of poisonous insects

who crawl into the shadows of November

and forever multiply by the million-fold

where the sight of man cannot go



The Fly


the fly is speckle-winged, livid in sugar-fury

flit and fly from slice to slice of rotting fruit

with that grotesque meat

swelling between its abdomen

like some infection, red and swollen

its speech is pitted with consonants

slap him down nice and solid

he’s just a smear of ugly jelly

crawling with microscopic things


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