Farewell, Blarney Stone

The look of rising delight on Chris’ face as he realizes that the steam table food at the Blarney Stone will soon be but a faint, dyspeptic memory.

Chris Midwest copy-2

“I just stared uncomprehendingly at my mother, whose laughter began to ebb as she looked at me, probably wondering how she had produced this skinny, worried creature with lopsided bangs and a bad Tonette perm.”

Ma Speaks Up


Ma and the Mob


…”she stood at the stove frying eggplant, turning occasionally to place a finished one on a plate near my sister, Lindy, and me. We sat around the kitchen table like baby birds, mouths open, waiting for food.”

–Ma Speaks Up


Jesse Nutrimenti

On April 4, JESSE will be published in Italy by Nutrimenti, a prestigious publishing house based in Rome. All of this is through the generosity of Andre Dubus (House of Sand and Fog, Townie, Dirty Love) who brought my book to their attention. I am thrilled that my relatives — Zia Domenica and cousins in Sulmona can finally read my book. This September I have been invited to the Mantova Book Festival, to present the book. I am furiously studying Italian, but it is still “cattivo.” Luckily, the Italians are notoriously forgiving. During former trips they all assured me, “tu parl’ bene, signora!” even when I knew I was mangling their beautiful language. Avanti!



Reason Number Pi why I love you and don’t deserve you:

…because when I’m leaving the dentist’s today after having a small helicopter crammed into my mouth (that is necessary now for a digitalized x-ray )

and I’m saying my goodbyes, trying to get my jaw to work again and reclaim my fresh mouth,

the dentist tells me she saw you at the health club.

Her seven year old was checking all the vending machines for stray quarters, a game she always plays after her mother takes her swimming,

and you sneaked a quarter in a tray when she wasn’t looking

and you told her to make sure she checked the trays again and then you left.

Because you’re a man who practices random acts of kindness and then doesn’t even feel the need to tell me when you do

(when I would’ve created a .gif of myself doing the same thing and posted it on my blog and my facebook page).

…because you like to scare me with your random Ronald Reagan face peeking out at parties.

…because your Gary Cooper makes me giggle like I’m six.

…because you bought a macramé bracelet from the little girl next door when she sat alone at the top of the driveway with a spindly table displaying her wares.

…because you told me that your excised scene from Spike’s her, the one about a man in love with a 747, is really about me

…because there’s Jesse in there, somewhere and you raised him up somehow

An incantation that is kindness, that is the pi of love, calculated beyond a trillion trillion.