Old Man Scanlon’s
Old Man Scanlon’s

Will this discourage bad Chinese bots? a/o 16 May 2013 From The Guardian. "Chinese internet: ’a new censorship campaign has commenced’ Murong Xuecun, who has had his accounts deleted, explains how bloggers compare being silenced on the internet to being put to death" Here. "the pool of sensitive words grows by the hour: Liu Xiaobo, Gao Xingjian, Ai Weiwei, Wei Jingsheng, Liao Yiwu, Ma Jian, Mo Zhixu, Xiao Shu The list goes on. It now includes me, as well as two more scholars who have since been silenced: Wu Wei and Wu Zuolai, whose accounts were deleted on the morning of 13 May."

Letters from the Village

"Real Time" will appear in Front Porch Review in April 2014.
"Family" and "Heading to Dover" will appear in Vine Leaves Literary Journal on 18 April 2014.
"Thaw" will appear in 7x20 in March 2014.
"Modest Expectations" will appear in Camroc Press Review later in 2014.
Old Man Scanlon has a guest appearance in Literary Labors (and the Occasional Cheese Dip), 10 January 2014.
Interview with Old Man Scanlon at Spry Literary Journal, 20 December 2013.


22 January 2014
There are words as good as forgotten through disuse and resurrected by chance, words acquired in my fishing days when I had scarcely attained... [more]
24 November 2013
Stuck in traffic, Cheryl asks, “What’s the longest word you can make from Silverado?” So I’m on it, and we toss words back and forth. She’s a nerd, which will be no surprise if you subscribe to the birds-of-a-feather... [more]
12 August 2013
Movies allow us to perceive discrete static slices of time as a continuous flow, an artifice in which our brain conspires. Slow motion, ubiquitous in sports television, expands... [more]
31 July 2013
An organ pipe mud dauber is building a nest in the ornamental tin-roofed wren house Cheryl hung by the door. I hear her stridulating at her masonry work, and see... [more]
10 June 2013
Pencil to paper, my grandson copies theorems out of the text-book, the better to cement them into his mind and make them his own. He’s studying for his geometry... [more]
29 May 2013
For love and duty Gram and I went to our twin granddaughters’ final middle school chorus performance. Unlike the interminable ordeal of a dance recital... [more]
21 April 2013
No longer having the excuse of a decrepit dysfunctional aortic valve—I have thus far been unable to exceed modern medical technology’s ability to fix me—I recently rode my bicycle for the first time in two years... [more]
27 February 2013
I never expected to prove my doctors fallible, but I decisively surpassed my prognosis of death by age forty. And as if death could not happen... [more]
16 January 2013
More night-owl than early bird, I have little desire to deepen my casual acquaintance with rosy-fingered dawn. Well after sunrise my morning is supposed to be a time... [more]
28 December 2012
As a new year impends and winter claws its way up its freshly secured beachhead, I could easily do worse than slither into a ratty sweater of a color not found in nature, finish off... [more]
01 December 2012
I was intrigued to find, during some basic genealogical research, that my grandchildren are one-sixteenth Portuguese, and are therefore adequately “ethnic.” In this... [more]
01 December 2012
A haircut, at least after successfully completing the standard long-haired rebellion against materialist bourgeois conformity, can be one of life’s... [more]
14 November 2012
On their first bikes without training wheels, my twin granddaughters raced each other down the street, shouting, pedaling like maniacs... [more]
01 October 2012
The year is 1972, and we’ve pretty much sewn up second place in the Southeast Asia War Games. I’m about to receive my math degree, and with it, relief and a quandary. For four years I’ve been parrying... [more]
12 September 2012
As a nerd I lead, appropriately enough, a binary existence: oblivious to my environment, or gawking freely and unreservedly to provide a never-ending stream... [more]
24 July 2012
Cheryl, to the amusement of our friends, loves to start bemoaning the end of summer as soon as the days first perceptibly begin to shorten, long before Labor Day. This year... [more]
02 June 2012
Just as it was becoming widely fashionable to despise America and flaunt one’s tolerance of Commies, my friend Cav and I engaged in behind-the-scenes operations... [more]
03 May 2012
Some days just can’t be bothered to deal me an idyll with my grandchildren. On the other hand, seldom can I... [more]
26 April 2012
Nearing the end of their annual northward migration to Maine, alligators frolic... [more]
05 February 2012
Like the certainty of being hanged, a heart attack should concentrate one’s mind. Yet I had failed for years to act... [more]
07 December 2011
It’s time to come out. For way too long I’ve tried to cope by means of denial and aversion therapy, but I’ve finally come to accept that it’s genetic, something that I can no more change than my need... [more]
30 September 2011
If the folklore’s not apocryphal, during the war GIs in the ETO used baseball questions when they needed to test the authenticity of any ostensible American who didn’t have the proper credentials. I’d have been shot as a German spy... [more]
11 September 2011
It’s the unofficial end of summer again, the week before Labor Day, the cusp of August and September. Even with herculean effort I can’t summon the cranky and morbid mood... [more]
19 July 2011
I’ve just finished up several days of fighting a virus, if you can call my spineless response fighting. Its fever, cough, and gastrointestinal effects weren’t all that spectacular... [more]
29 May 2011
“Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” I demonstrated Arthur Clarke’s Third Law—a couple of years before he posited it in 1973—when I first saw a derailleur-guided bicycle chain... [more]
27 February 2011
Bigger! Better!
For most of the month cardinals and titmice have been singing for their territories, and in three weeks a new generation... [more]
07 February 2011
Now, less overwrought.
My son-in-law Jeff invited me over for the Super Bowl, and mentioned that Bingo had died. The news of a family cat’s death... [more]
09 January 2011
As a geek who finds much of human contact enervating, but who has always been well-served by a small talent for manipulating symbols and by dogged... [more]
How They Walked
13 April 2014
A guy with four days’ white stubble and gimpy leg soldiers on with his asymmetric rolling gait toward the train. A grey stooped woman trudges out of the funeral home, easing her fragile bubble of resigned inwardness through a universe suddenly sharp and viscous. A tall twenty-something woman carries poise, confidence, and under her arm a hula hoop. We agree that this amuses the cosmos and exchange smiles as we pass.
What You Have
24 March 2014
A raucous congregation of redwings kibitzes as I survey our crocus buds. At a construction site, a man-made ichneumon ovipositor injects concrete into inaccessible forms. In the big-box store vestibule, coffee replaces the popcorn miasma from the snack bar just inside. Pocketing it, I heft the key ring my granddaughter gave me one Christmas. It doesn't take all that much to make a day worth being above ground for.
I Brake for Fireplugs
20 March 2014
I'm slipping. I can feel it. I recognize the signs—euphoria, welling enthusiasm. I am, God help me, a collector. I'm noticing hydrants. Pawtucket, dandelion-yellow. Seekonk, orange with green and white ports. Yellow, red cap, and red chained port covers in Attleboro. I obsess, learn arcane vocabulary, take pictures, covet a pentagonal wrench. My magpie brain revels in the madness. I feel the power of the dark side.
Gifts from a Winter Dying Unlamented
27 February 2014
Contrapuntal jackhammering woodpeckers and a cardinal singing for his territory at first light. Sun enough higher that it makes foot-warming patches on the rug, and is not always in my eyes when I'm driving. An entire year blessed by not hearing a single number by Elvis or Michael Jackson. And, in three weeks or so, whether I wake up on the right side of the grass or not, spring peepers will make the evenings theirs.
11 January 2014
The woman in front of me lets space form in the express checkout line, in clear violation of Massachusetts protocol mandating diligent gap-closure lest anyone get ahead of you. She’s focused on counting her items. "One over," she says. "You’re busted," I smile, but she does not move to leave the queue. The universe shrugs off a wobble as the guy after me nests the haphazard stack of hand baskets under the conveyor.
Not Today
10 December 2013
The classic English taboo word erupts out of screamed anger and pain, the only intelligible word, its power vitiated by sheer repetition. I hear them arguing way before they heave to on the commuter rail platform. She sobs. "I feel like I suck at my life and I don’t know what to do any more." Private first-world problem; get a grip. I want to hiss at her. "You knew once. Why can’t you know again?" Of course, I don’t.
Warp and Woof
21 November 2013
Yesterday, to re-stoke my grandson’s teenage metabolic furnace after I pick him up at school, I buy him an Italian grinder: order number 47. The same routine today, and the order number is again 47. Maybe I’m stuck in an infinite Ground Hog Day time loop. Or maybe now I can prove God exists and this is a message from Him. Seeking meaning, how sprightly the mind weaves fabric from such fragile threads of coincidence.
Volleyball Banquet
04 November 2013
My granddaughters are at table with the freshman volleyball team; their mother and I sit two tables away. I keep a low profile, try not to mortify them. I smile back at Ali’s discreet wave, disarm the camera’s flash, and speak when spoken to. For the first time, I’m observing them in the wild. A dozen girls of fourteen. Every single one of them has straight hair halfway down her back. It hits me: this is their pack.

More shorts...


My Photographs

The Eyes of Old Man Scanlon



7x20 (Seven By Twenty)

The Adroit Journal

Apeiron Review

Apocrypha and Abstractions

Barefoot Review


Camroc Press Review

Caper Literary Journal

Cleaver Magazine

Cuento Magazine


Feathered Flounder


Foliate Oak Literary Magazine

Front Porch Review

High Coup Journal

Hippocampus Magazine

Journal of Microliterature

land that I live

The Montucky Review


Philly Flash Inferno

Prick of the Spindle

Prime Number

Red Fez


Short, Fast, and Deadly

Sleet Magazine

Spry Literary Journal



Three Line Poetry

Tiny Lights


Vine Leaves Literary Journal


Journals, defunct after publishing (or accepting) my work

Writers’ Bloc (Rutgers) (as of 27 May 2012 showing distinct signs of undeadness).

The Writer’s Eye Magazine

Barrier Islands Review

The Literary Burlesque

Magnolia’s Press

Sea Stories


Providence, RI   02903: Cellar Stories Bookstore

Attleboro, MA   02703: Ugly Dog Books

Falmouth, MA   02540: Eight Cousins


"Not So Fast," by John Freeman. "Sending and receiving at breakneck speed can make life queasy; a manifesto for slow communication."

"Fifty Years of Simplicity as Style," by Mark Garvey. "Strunk and White taught us that clear thinking and clear writing go together."

"What Would Jane Do?," by James Collins. "How a 19th-century spinster serves as a moral compass in today’s world.... Only she can so credibly show us that it is possible to have moderation and deep feeling, good dinners and good poetry."

"So Many Links, So Little Time," by John Horgan. "’When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning.’ ...The multitasking that is enabled, and encouraged, by our laptops and hand-held devices is supposed to boost our productivity but often diminishes it."

"How to Raise Boys Who Read," by Thomas Spence.

"David Foster Wallace on Life and Work." "Adapted from a commencement speech given by David Foster Wallace to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College."

"The Long Way Around," by Andrew Stark. "John Kay, the former director of Oxford’s Business School, has an insight—a promising insight, as it happens. Often, Mr. Kay says in Obliquity, we can attain a desired goal only by pursuing it indirectly."

"Inspiration Revised," by Allegra Goodman. "Mining the unconscious can be dull. Get me rewrite."

"What Killed American Lit.," by Joseph Epstein. "Nor will you read a word, in the pages of The Cambridge History of the American Novel, about...the deleterious effect that creative-writing programs have had on the writing of fiction."

"’I’ Is a Window To the Soul," by Brian Christian. "How inconspicuous words like ’we’ and ’the’ betray our emotions and affect our audience’s perceptions." A review of James W. Pennebaker’s The Secret Life of Pronouns.