I Open My Coat

t’s a devil’s rain and I stand outside in the back alley enjoying the devil’s rain, with the sun shining low beneath the cloudfront and everything illuminated while also it showers on the new growth—the yarrows and lavender, the new and red growth on the ficus tree—and, in the moment, in the moment, I feel like repeating everything as if in a mantra; that I actually slept last night wrapped in my grandma’s quilt wherein she confessed to making one mistake, that one of the flower patches of the quilt is upside down, and I slept well knowing that I told her: “GG, Persian rugmakers would always leave one loop undone because perfection is only supposed to belong to God.” And she comes to me in my dreams, just like Delaney, and she tells me again she has cancer, and I say, “I know, GG”; but she watches over me from her place in the mausoleum wall, and I clutch her hand like a bouquet.

Jenn tells Cayde that it’s ‘rainbow weather’ and he joins me in being outside and he spins in the rain, filming himself while playing ‘Singing in the Rain’ on his phone, just gloriously being a kid; I sit and watch him from my perch on the porch and think to all my friends, the bodhisatvas who would otherwise have their nirvana were it not for remaining on this earth out of compassion, and I tried calling all my bodhisattva friends last night and was met with answering machines. Not that it matters. Finn crawls into my lap and plays with my face and makes funny expressions and he laughs. I am at last rested having been awake what seems like for days, and I just enjoy the moment of him touching my face and sticking out his tongue and shouting, “Bye, Daddy!” though it’s not yet time to go, not yet time to go, and I hold him while Cayde spins like a modernday dervish in the devil’s rain.

I kiss Jenn goodbye while it rains, and as always I tell her she’s the love of my life, and she responds: “You’re the fucking story of mine”; and I feel beautiful and Joycean, all the six derivations of love and the Sermon on the Plain at once; and after they leave I walk down to the corner store and wish Gabe a good morning, where we exchange niceties and exchange currencies, and I look outside and tell him, “It’s beautiful out.” And he says, “The rain is nice.” And as I walk home with my wares and notice the flowers, it is then that I open my coat.



;Life is good on the right-hand side of the semicolon. Writing and talking and knowing everyone in the neighborhood by name. But I like quiet, and I enter into a canyon every morning just past sunrise and watch the birds. My neighbors include two ferruginous hawk, which the crows bother; a hummingbird family; a score of mourning doves; and twittersome warblers that bounce around the logs as if on fire.

Today my feet hurt so bad from my job that I limped up the canyon, but I wouldn’t miss it: the sunrise, the early morning scavenge, the minutes I take just being present.

I’m up at 3:30 most mornings, still rested, and make my wife coffee, have 5:30 a.m. conversations with Cayde. It’s all commune with my own small galaxy, me and the goddamn twittery warblers; my kid and me.

“Good morning, Steve.”

“How are you, Thom?”

“Fantastic as always.”

“Good to hear.”

We exchange greetings as much as we do currency, and—in this life—the courtesies are more important


Weird Fucker

“You’re a weird fucker,” she says and I kiss her eyelids as they are closed, and I am bound, looking to feel safe; and I sit on the felled tree to be with my birds—Buddha on the rocks—and remember lying awake in a river watching the clouds and wanting to be a weird fucker, lying awake in a river wanting to feel safe looking to be bound, to feel safe.



Vignette Two: In Shinto, and Christianity, the Trinity is important. I get Korean baths, and the masseuse claps my back three times to seal in the exchange. It’s spiritual.

In yoga, we Namaste. Seal it in, catch and find your breath. Rather, find and catch your breath.

I come home; I’m too high. Three breaths doesn’t work. I’m changing meds, I’m pharmaceutically high: I’ve caught every sunrise in two weeks over ginger ale and coffee. Orange things, with clouds.

I’m too high, and my wife puts me in the bath and washes me and shampoos my hair. Trinity: she washes me, she washes me.

I seal it in, know that I am loved and that were my breath to stop, the love would live on forever forever forever.


Love Story

loveThis is a love story.

I came home late last night having worked charcuterie and I was driving home and feeling the margin markers and at some point I pulled off the freeway because I didn’t want to be unsafe. I think often to Karina, who was ejected from a split car as a teenager, and that she’s reason for me to be reasonable. I slept in my car and in trying to navigate home once awoken I got lost because it was an unfamiliar neighborhood, still four miles from home. I ran out of gas, 2:35 in the morning.

I pushed my car to the curb and called Lyft after having called my wife.

“You’ve a lot of work to do tomorrow,” my Lyft driver said.

“I know.”

We all have a lot of work to do.

My wife: “I’m going to be a mother to you today.”


Sleep sleep sleep.

I don’t do enough of that.

My wife finds my car, and she finds a gas canister, and she refills my tank, no questions asked. She loves me; I love her. She drives me to my car so I can drive to work today where I love the people and can be happy. Elenya is at work, one of my favorites, and she is having a convo about meditation with another co-worker and she mentions me as I walk up because I meditate and pray daily now; and I take Elenya’s hands in mine and we close our eyes and we pray to the Universe together.

My wife refilled my gas tank, because she loves me, and in getting ready for work—me on new meds and reeling with tiredness—she offers to bathe me again like she did the other day and it’s the sweetest thing, just like this morning when I saw a hummingbird teach her fledgling to fly, just like holding Elenya’s hands and praying to the Universe in threes, and living loving and being madly sweetly in love. Yes.


Why You Love Me

“You’re unique, Thom Hofman,” Jenny says smiling.

“I know—I’m…different.”

At the writing conference, for shits and giggles, I’d introduce my roommate and myself: ‘he’s Carver, I’m Cheever.’

We found a sword shop in the French Quarter and laughed at the idea of us returning to the conference with scabbarded blades.

“You’re so different,” Jenny says.

“Why you love me.”


“Why you love me.”


Left Wrist

My left wrist has scars because I’m right-handed and have hated myself until recently.

In the middle of a guitar session, I put out a lit cigarette right smack dab on the radial artery. Left a mark, and my friend at work dressed it the next day.

“What happened?”

“Burnt myself cooking,” which wouldn’t have been out of character.

Then I hacked the shit out of my wrist with a chef’s knife; I wanted to see if it’d hurt, and if I could go that way.

The wounds healed, as they always do, but the healing leaves scars and I bear mine, the right hand having, forever, damaged the left.




Yes and yes and yes; and yes

joyceWe were having coffee before a show, and sharing a horribly unseasoned soup. The vichyssoise required Cholula, but my eyes needed nothing more than gazing at my wife.

I not only love her—I’m in love with her. There’s a qualitative difference, and being in love is better than just loving someone. I’m in love with Jenn, and the press of her lips in the morning is all I need to get through the day.

When you’re in love, it’s like you’ve achieved something; like you ran through a tunnel and came out the opposite end bursting with sun-glow.

Being in love is every Neruda poem, every Shakespeare sonnet; it’s waking up every morning, saying ‘good morning’ and meaning it.

It’s about being in love and in lust and wanting and writing words back and forth, a bad Henry Miller impression, just wanting each other and entwined legs at bedtime.

It’s about a cup of coffee.

Or a bad cup of soup.

It’s about feeling shitty to the point you have to be in the hospital, but your wife takes your hand regardless.

It’s about looking into each other’s eyes not noticing what color they are.

“Here, Babe,” and I gift Jenny some flowers.

“They’re hydrangeas, just like on our wedding day.”

I love you, Jenny. With every ounce of my being. Like Joyce wrote: ‘yes and yes and yes.’

I will top Joyce, and add one more: ‘yes’


Dear Devil

Checkmate-in-ChessDear Devil,

Robert Johnson sold his soul to you on the Crossroads, and in return he got to play a mean guitar. Then you took him down the Hells-road pike; his jealous lover having poisoned him.


I never made a deal with you, but you’ve had your talons in me for a while.

Guess what? You don’t win.

You made me thirsty, but now I have a bottom to my flask.

Remember when I went three times to the hospital, that last time in the psych ward?

You don’t win.

I took my kids to the Pumpkin Patch, and it was oddly familiar. I had been there before, in the green house with the plate glass window.

It turns out, Devil, it’s the same house my grandpa went to when his depression overtook him; they’re family friends and I didn’t know it. I have my grandfathers’ illnesses, but I’m ok.

You don’t win, Devil, though you granted me all these things. I’m sick, but you made a mistake. My manic-depression is countered by my OCD, in which case I’m more organized than you think, despite having lost a job this past year. You lose.

Dear Devil,

You lost when you gave my kid an extra chromosome. Oh did you fail there. I would jump in front of a speeding train to save his life. And you tried to trick me: you sent a raven to peck at window while my son was diagnosed, as if that was going to fool me.

You lose again.

Dear Devil,

You tried to unharness me when my brother was handcuffed in a bus sailing the river of penitentiary blue. You almost won, but—again—I beat you. I know chess well.

Dear Devil,

I talk to the Other Guy, if he exists, else I talk to the Universe. My wife and I—we hold hands every morning and say a blessing. ‘Get behind me, Devil’ is a phrase, in which case you got a long retreat. The Universe has my back, and the Universe is big.

Take the back seat.

I went to a Korean bath today where I lay naked on a slab and let a man scrub me, and I cried silently beneath a hot towel, because he was taking off my skin, this shit I’ve been living in and making it new, this shit I’ve been living in, and now I’m new.

Fuck off, Devil. You lost, I won. Checkmate.






Continuum3It’s a white sky.

I see Iggy again who frequents the neighborhood on his bike, chats up every neighborhood store-owner, helps them out even despite not being on the payroll. He is bald, Chaldean, and wears headphones.

“Iggy! Where have you been?”

(We give knucks).

“I was just depressed, Man—kinda holed up in my apartment. I didn’t want to visit that on anybody.”

Instantly I recognize him.

“Bring it in, Brother,” I say, and I give him a hug while he stays his bike.

“Thanks, Man. I needed that.”

Love is for free.