All Around Us Are Ghosts

Imagine you are a neolithic person. You use stone tools every day. You are known for being fastidious, and you only lose 5 tools per year- arrowheads lost in a stream bank or stuck in a deer that runs off and is not found, scrapers set by a fire get covered by ashes and forgotten. Now imagine the millions and millions of people that lived for tens of thousands of years in North America, all losing that many tools per year. Now imagine that each of these forgotten and broken and lost pieces of work, these manifestations of human intent- they are glowing, humming, shining, vibrating. The world is alive with these things; we are surrounded and cradled in their music and light. We walk upon them, buried inches below us in the soil. We cast our fishing lines above them, laying in sediment at the bottom of rivers. We drive over them every time we go to work. We are not and have never been alone; we cannot be. This planet sings with our work.

This is the feeling I have when I find my first stone tool.

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The Fox



You see a lump in the driveway, and as you get closer, it resolves into a fox.  A fox that is laying down in broad daylight.  It is chewing on its own forelimb, now some rocks.  Flecks of spittle are on its lips.  It looks through you as you approach, its eyes half-closed, teary and mucus-filled.  It moves in a way that is slow and jerky, and it does not attempt to get up.  See Full Post

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After (literally, no shit) reading a *poem* I wrote (the “bright pressure” one below) to a group of friends and getting a good reaction I have decided to put some of the non-saxophone related creative writing type things I have done on my old website, which has been parked and unused for a while. Perhaps now that there is a home for it, I will write more. I have always enjoyed it.

Here’s you



A love nearly forgotten
A possibility abandoned
Brought to assaulting immediacy
By a simple song and
A friendly reminder by Google photos
This is you a year ago
Here you are happy
Here you are not alone
Ignorant of the future
Would you like to save this?
Would you like to try this over again?
Was this helpful?





click for author's note

This time last year I had a girlfriend who did a lot to set me on the right path, and I owe her a great deal.  As Google gives me the periodic reminders of what I was doing a year ago, I watch the relationship blossom, the adventures undertaken, the subtle hints that our paths will eventually diverge.

Bright Pressure




Leaves fall around me in a steady, impossible rain
Spiraling through the slow air
of the last warm day in autumn

I sense around the edges and from below
the bright pressure of future heartache
when all of this is just a memory

My self, years hence, gazing on this moment with such force
I feel the universe looking at me

click to expand author's note

My driveway is incredible in the autumn.  I was walking down it one day as the leaves were falling all around me like a scene out of an arthouse martial arts film, and I had this extremely strong feeling of existing in my own memory.  It was as if I was the memory, and the entire world was a construct of my future self’s mind, and everything took on a very dreamlike quality.  I think of this poem whenever I experience something that is special.  My kid’s mom had a similar concept: she imagined that if there was an afterlife or a heaven, it would be like a long hallway with doors on either side, and through each door was a special moment in your life.  Whenever something amazing would happen, she would say “Well, there’s another door in the hallway.”


“Is that your purpose? Fixing things?”

I have often found it difficult to explain what it is about fixing things that feeds my soul. Seeing this movie in theaters, this scene struck as close as anything ever has.

Machines have what purpose we give them, and they are as imperfect or as perfect as we are in the moment of their creation. If I can make a saxophone perfect- if I can fulfill the dream of its creator by turning back time, entropy, mistakes at the factory, manufacturing accommodations to economy- and make this machine perfect, then that means we humans must be ok. A perfect machine tells me we can be perfect too, for what we are, for when we are, just for a little while.




There is a concept Kintsugi
it is the art of repairing things 
to be more beautiful for having been repaired:  

a bowl, dropped and broken into shards
has those shards woven together again
by lightning bolts of gold. 

The bowl, now stronger
now more beautiful
now unique, becomes an heirloom-
the history of its life not hidden, but through effort
shown to be something essential and powerful.  

this act brings a complex beauty impossible
in things that are perfect.

The cleaving of bowl and gold speaks to us.
In its bright lines we see: I am loved.

The Tree

(written in 2002, before I could even grow a beard)



Can you imagine a tree that wants to be cut down?  Well, that was me.  I didn’t always want to be cut down, you see, it was only towards the end, when I finally realized it was the only way to solve my own murder.  Don’t worry, everyone is confused when I start it this way.  This way is my favorite.

First, you see, I am afflicted with an overabundance of memory.  Not only do I remember everything (and I mean everything) in life, I remember everything in past lives too.  Some people have visions or dreams or déjà vu or maybe they just like fish, not remembering they’ve been one.  Me, I remember all of it.

Some of it wasn’t so bad.  House cats, for instance, really do have it pretty easy.  So do alligators and lice and mayflies.  One time I was a cicada, and I slept for 17 years then boom!  Time to mate!  Not bad.

Some really weren’t too enjoyable.  I didn’t like being a slug.  Actually, most of my bad experiences were as a human.  Sort of that like old saying, “The higher you climb, the farther you fall,”   Being human you can be really happy but you can also be really miserable.  For instance, as a termite I was never murdered by my wife’s lover.  But, I never went on a Ferris wheel either.  It’s give and take.

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The Robot At The Window

(written in 2002)  


His dim eyes stare unblinking
Swal­low­ing whole the afternoon
The water-sound of child-laughter
Tick­les a condenser
Send­ing pulses to his brain.

He would go outside
But relays and switches
Warn him, pre­serve him
From the dan­gers of rust
And bounc­ing balls.











Motors whine and gears turn
An iron hand, outmoded
Rises in an approximation
Of a friendly wave.

The chil­dren outside
Pay him no attention.

Wait­ing for input,
His hand stays aloft
Salut­ing the fail­ing sunlight
As the world goes to bed.

click for author's note

I remember seeing this graffiti on the side of a builting in Orlando, FL that invoked in me a feeling of a faithful but outdated model.  It seemed somehow sad to me, like an old dog that still had a few good years left in him but was being ignored.  I snapped this photo and went home and wrote this, which is the oldest piece of my “poetry” that I still have.  

Things I will miss: the view from the roof of my business

(written in 2010)

Moving out of NYC soon.

This is the view from the roof of my saxophone repair business (Stohrer Woodwinds) in Brooklyn, NY. My building, a warehouse built in the 1920s, is located on 19th St. and 3rd avenue in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. This photo is taken in the direction of lower Manhattan looking over the Gowanus canal and Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Quite often I would go to the roof for lunch, or to have a drink, or just to take a few deep breaths.