Fiction: Or is It?:
Son of Jesus
Editor’s Note: On January 24, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the birth of Bella Sung-Ah Sofia Bonanni on a sled in the Roxborough section of the city. In an act of fiction imitating truth – or is it the other way around – in 2004 Inquirer Media/Editor writer, John Timpane, and regular contributor to Wild River Review, published this story in The Bucks County Writer, the print mother of Wild River Review.
“Is there a reason you’re avoiding me?”
Xina specialized in asking two questions in one. It was unnerving. You are so busy defending yourself against the first question, buried as an assumption inside the second, that you’re constantly off- balance. Is there a reason you’re avoiding me?is a good example. She should have asked first whether I was in fact avoiding her before inquiring as to the reason. It wasn’t fair. I resented it. It forced me to lie like the swine I had become.
“Of course not,” I said. (Of course there’s no reason? Or of course I’m not avoiding you? Both lies.)
It was September. Students flowed around us in the hall. I was just back from a summer spent grieving in the bowels of a distant library. I’d taken a research fellowship to avoid having to stay on campus all summer – and see Xina walking around with Jesus. Every time I saw them, my whole self fell apart, like, I’m sure, my face.
The affair, widely celebrated all over our huge department of history, really gave the gossips something to work their lips on. It burst like a thunderclap in April. Xina, the most beautiful new assistant professor, expert on the history of science, and black into the bargain, with Jesus Saldovar, supremely gorgeous, perfect person, spectacular Afro-Brazilian scholar, ardent Latino, tenured in his genius sleep, melting women at twenty paces. The energy between the two! The manic exultation! The transracial hoo-ha!
The thunderclap dumped all over me. Xina had become my friend. We had arrived together, two assistant professors coming in on the bottom rung, she the shining star and I the orbiting dwarf. We had lunch at the FDR (Faculty Dining Room) almost every available day, to worry together. What if we were bad teachers? What if we couldn’t get anything published? What if nobody liked us? What if doing history was a foolish, disastrous career choice? What if we starved and died? I never even felt myself becoming useless and helpless.
But I was. You know when I knew? When Suzette, administrative assistant for the department, said to me one day in April, “I think we’ve got a big love affair going around here. Have you noticed?”
Suzette liked me. Of this I was aware, sadly, because there was no way. None. I hate to say this because it sounds terrible, but, despite her considerable charms, she was too much of a townie for me, with her large hair, her large make-up. Yes, I admit it, I blamed her for being named Suzette. That is a Trailer Park Person name, and I don’t care who hears me saying it. Taller and much fuller than skinny Xina, Suzette was just begging to be used and thrown away, but I just couldn’t.
She had launched her question (she asked only one question at a time) to gauge whether I liked Xina. So I suddenly had two piercing emotions to deal with: sadness at having to admit Xina was “with” Jesus and the whole world knew, and true annoyed irritation that Suzette had guessed my sour little secret devotion. So I inspected my mail with stormy unconcern and muttered, “Oh, yeah, another office romance.”
“Another? We never have any here. Everybody’s over 80.”
I pointed out that just the year before, Leonard Mikkelson, famed historian of Roman sewer design, had fathered a child on a sophomore.
“Yeah,” Suzette said. “Impressive. At 71. Only a few years from mandatory retirement.”
I couldn’t stand it. I had to get out of there. So I applied for the fellowship, and, to my appalled depression, got it.
And now we had September, everyone was back, and I was seeing Xina, her skinny arms beckoning me with ridiculous power, and I was realizing that she wasn’t chubby, she was pregnant, pregnant, pregnant. Her face was a little fuller, and as the enceinte woman’s does, her complexion was turning inside out. She was looking up at me (she was very short) with all the students swarming round. She was sad her friend didn’t want to have lunch. So she hadn’t guessed. Suzette had, but she hadn’t.
“Have we stopped having lunch because you have all this research to do, then?”
“No, uh, no, I don’t, we haven’t, of course not. Today?”
We had lunch, first since April, when I’d started avoiding her. I was so far gone I forgot I was far gone, and we slipped into our former bonhomie.
After lunch, after my office hour (my office! Students trooping up to complain about the B-pluses they got in May! Oh, yahoo!), I wallowed, oh God, I set a world wallowing record. I went outside, found a bench to sit on, and just rehearsed the facts to myself:
Jesus is the father of Xina’s baby.
Jesus is a monument to maleness.
I am a second-year untentured assistant professor of the history of Scandinavian economics.
About the second one. Suzette once had remarked, evidently from intimate knowledge, that Jesus was conspicuously male. This I already knew, because for a while he and I had played squash until my terribleness bored him, and as we showered I tried to ignore the advantages of being Jesus.
“It’s no big deal,” Suzette said. “Men are the ones always going on about it. Not us.”
“True,” I said, trying to puzzle out yet another communication from the Academic Senate.
“Really, it doesn’t matter that much. It’s icing on the cake, sure, but a girl’d have to be an idiot to select on that basis.”
I bet she measures everything and keeps a notebook.
On the bench of despond, I made myself imagine it: the glistening, perfumed encounters. The results. It was a beautiful day.
Were I ever to tell anyone this story, they probably would not believe that for the rest of the term, for all our lunches, during which Xina reported how much she loved teaching, loved getting published, loved becoming a commentator on NPR (she had a smooth contralto voice), I never once revealed my feelings. I swore to myself back there on the bench, or should I say rack, that I wouldn’t, and I am proud to report I didn’t. I swore I wouldn’t ever ask about Jesus, about her love life, about the manifold alarms of the flesh. I managed to keep it all in, and she, one of the smartest people I ever met, and one of the nicest, and one of the tenderest, and, and . . . she never guessed. She never asked, “How long have you been feeling bad?” her version of “Is anything wrong?”
I went about teaching my three survey courses, all named Elements of Historical Practice. Now, would you take a course with a title like that? No. You’d take a pill and go to sleep. Thirty-five students each. There were no undergraduate courses in the history of Scandinavian economics. There never would be. I gave one quarter of the students A’s and the rest some sort of B. You’d have to be a piece of wood to get a C from me.
Xina walked around in this bright parenthesis let down from heaven. Seeing her smile between bites of salad, bits of cracker, I almost forgot I had something to hide.
I also had something to hide from. Or someone. From time to time, Suzette would call. Ring ring. “Me and my girlfriends are going out to a movie,” she said. “No big deal. Wanna come?” I knew that one. By the time I made my way over to Suzette’s house, those girlfriends would evaporate into the ether. “Thanks, but I have 90 papers to grade by day after tomorrow.” Ring ring. “Elaine in Computer Science just gave me two free tickets to Yo Yo Ma, just five minutes ago, and it’s tonight. He’s supposed to be a real good player.” “Thanks, but I have to go to the library,” which at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night will feel like the pit of my stomach.
But you know? Once the grades were in, once Xina had flown off to her mom and dad’s house for the holidays, and the lunches stopped and the holidays themselves started oozing by, I think my moral immune system slumped, because when, on New Year’s Eve, on my doorstep appeared Suzette, decked in red, with red hair piled high and red lips glistening, and, I might add, with her friend Elaine in tow, green dress, hair, and lips, I said, “Sure, why not? Give me a minute.” My first shower in three days, a shave that left me a candidate for the Red Cross, a douse of year-old cologne, God, it stank, and the closest I could come to festive clothes.
With the organization that made her a sensational administrative assistant, Suzette had lined up bar, restaurant, and club well in advance. Elaine was great – for the five minutes I saw her before she hooked up with a Marine at Rudi’s Hi Life. Suzette shrugged happily, and we went off to an excellent meal at Annie’s Armory. Then we danced, I believe. I say, “I believe” because according to reports, dancing is what we did. We drank and danced and then danced and drank and drank and danced. Suzette was a very good dancer. Flashes of leg among the reds! What made her a good dancer was that she looked right at me and knew the words to all the songs, and she liked to act them out, the betrayals, the unrequiteds, the hot, lusty longings, the brainless rhythm addictions.
That was the most astonishing night of lovemaking I have ever experienced.
It was perhaps the first time in my life I had ever been completely confident about, well, outcomes. Every other time, even when the thing was going well, I didn’t feel it was going well, felt my partner wasn’t telling me something, felt out of touch. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s hard for me to forgive a woman for having the bad taste or desperation to have chosen me. Maybe I’m an idiot.
With Suzette, it was different. She was used to making things clear, requesting, directing, narrating. I’d call her businesslike except that she was having too much fun.
There is a widespread theory among scholarly males like me. Called the Cheerleader Theory, it predicts that such as us will never be happy with someone such as us. My friend Olan Wong, who does the gay history of the Pacific Rim, put it this way: “We want a cheerleader. Corn-fed. A normal person. Not like us. Smart, yes, but not excessively cerebral as we are. A townie.” As Suzette jollied above me, I could envision marrying her and having children, car, tenure, and dog, in a house that would also be, sadly, a sty.
Easily my most astonishing night of lovemaking ever. What made it so astonishing was the masterly way Suzette engineered her approach to the verge of things, and the explosive fashion in which, in mid-crisis, she got sick all over me and the bed.
I got her down the hall to the bathroom, where events continued while I washed, somehow, my beard. Other events followed, and my arms soon became fatigued in directing different ends of Suzette toward the bowl. I knew she was done when she fell asleep.
Now she must be washed, so I maneuvered her under the shower. Of this, I will say only that, when she is inert, it is hard to wash someone who should not be in contact with what you are washing off of her. It becomes even harder when, in mid-wash, said person wakes up and barfs. I did what I could. Let’s just say that. I shampooed, somehow, her hair, and dried, somehow, her. Outside the bathroom window a heck of a snowstorm was going, and it was chilly in my miser’s apartment.
I ran down the hall and piled my remaining blankets on the sofa in the living room. I then got my only other set of pajamas and brought them to Suzette. Seeing her stretched out on the bathroom floor and still pink and warm from the shower, I realized that both men and women would say she was wonderful. As I dressed her, I had my one moment of tender feelings, in part because I’d never touch her again.
I ripped every available muscle carrying her to the couch.
Back at the bathroom, the steam-edged mirror told me I must now wash myself. Before I could, I had to unplug the shower drain. Resourceful boy, I had a snake on hand for just such emergencies. Well, not just such, but onward. Once done, I did what I could to shower myself clean before the drain plugged again. It did plug again. More snake.
Now for the mattress. Marshalling all available rug, upholstery, and laundry detergents, I scrubbed, lathered, kneaded, and sprayed. When I just couldn’t care any more, I looked for a place for the mattress. With the snowstorm, it didn’t make much sense to put it on the roof, so I simply dragged it into the hall. Careful, drunken mopping followed.
I gathered up the recipient linens and clothes and tiptoed out the door, down the freezing stairs, to the basement, where my landlady had installed an ancient coin-op washer and dryer. Gingerly, I began to stuff the stuff into the top-loader. A strange squeaking perplexed me, but I was so drunk I kept up until all was in. I slammed the top down, and then realized this was not squeaking but laughter.
The basement had four street-level windows, and at one of them were five teens in snow gear, giggling from outside at my naked, goosefleshed self. “Fine,” I said and went upstairs to get the quarters I had forgotten. When I returned, more teens were at the window, cold in the storm but unwilling to miss a moment of me.
At last, back in my apartment, my teeth chattering, I realized that everything I could possibly wear or cover myself with was going round and round two stories below. A crooked brainstorm reminded me that wedged in a nearby closet was an Army surplus sleeping bag. To the smell of well-cured mold, I unrolled it on the floor of the living room and slipped inside. Suzette’s snores lulled me to sleep.
In the two hours I slept, my bones evidently fused at all joints. Unspeakably stiff and cold, I unzipped my bag to go to the bathroom, and Suzette, who was awake, noticed a particular detail of my physical makeup at the moment.
“Need help with that?” she asked, trying to smile but not quite getting there.
“No,” I said. When I returned, she was crying.
“I’m so . . . so . . . hung over.”
I got her to fall asleep. When she awoke, she was again in extremis. So I put a coat over her pajamas, went downstairs and put on an assortment of damp clothes, since I hadn’t dried them yet, drove her home, promised to call, and made a mental note to move next day to Guam.
Back at the apartment, I put the clothes in the dryer, wrapped my body in blankets, and turned on the television. I placed a hard wooden chair in the middle of the living room floor. First I hated the Peach Bowl. From there I moved on to hating the Cotton Bowl. Then I hated the Rose Bowl. I was getting ready to hate the Orange Bowl when I was blasted out of a dream of mountains of helmets by the sounding of the phone. Asleep and sick, I fumbled the receiver after the seventh blast and said something not very close to a hello.
“Hugh,” said a voice. “Oh, Hugh, is that you?”
She was weeping. She was Xina.
“No,” I replied. “What’s wrong?”
“Don’t you realize I’m relieved that you’re there?”
“Why,” I asked, really wanting to know, “would I have to be there?”
“Hugh,” she said, “why do I have to say that I want you to come over?”
“You don’t,” I said. “That is, I will.”
She lived on the other side of Main, normally a five-minute drive, but when I flew out into the darkness I was almost blown back inside by storming snow. I couldn’t even see my car to find it, much less drive it. Streets everywhere were deserted and invisible. So I set off.
Historians to come will ask, “Why did he make the trek so suddenly? Why did he neglect to put on boots? Why did he not feel the slinging winter?” I went suddenly because it was cold and because Xina had asked me to come. I made the trek in my Nikes because I didn’t know why she had called and had to get there fast to find out.
I did, too, feel the snow.
If they are Xina, historians will write, “Why was he so blind to the world that he was surprised when he saw Xina at the window waiting for him?” If I understand the question, yes, she was waiting, yes, I was surprised, and yes, yes, I am stupid. But we knew that.
I didn’t know she would throw her skinny arms around me as soon as I came in through the door. It was like embracing a pumpkin. She was that pregnant. I didn’t know I would ever in my life see such misery.
“I thought you were flying home to your family for the holidays,” I said because that is what I had thought.
“Do you have to make me cry by talking about my family when none of them will even talk to me?” she asked, and then broke into terrible tears.
“No, I don’t, I mean, I’m sorry, I thought you – ”
“Oh, Hugh,” I think she said (Hugh might have been a sob rather than a word), “do you realize what it’s like when you’re pregnant and your mother refuses to have anything to do with you?”
“Of course I do,” I said, “that is, no, I don’t, I mean, how could I? But it must be bad. Why?”
“Because I’m going to have a baby!” she said. I let her stay draped on me (she had to lean over herself) as long as she wanted.
“My first mistake was to wait so long. I was afraid of what she would say. Was I a terrible coward because I couldn’t face her disappointment?”
“Yes. Or no. It wasn’t that you were a coward – ”
“Oh yes it was, yes it was. I should have told her as soon as I knew. It was ten times worse than I thought it would be. She was so disappointed in me, and I was disappointed in myself. Oh, Hugh, have you ever been this lonely on the first day of the year?”
“I’ve been lonely. That I know about.”
Listening to her story, I felt a puny indignation. It didn’t seem right that anyone should mistreat someone as much like Xina as Xina was. I wanted to fight somebody. Since hitting her mother did not, however, seem to be the nearest way to Xina’s heart, I just held on.
“When you realized all this time Jesus was nowhere to be seen, didn’t it seem strange to you?”
“No,” I said.
“No, because I didn’t notice.” Now I did. Where was Jesus? Now I had someone to fight. Valor, meet discretion.
“It was over with Jesus almost as soon as it began,” she said. For some reason, saying so made her stop weeping.
“Did you know it was his baby?”
“Well, of course it was his. Who else’s would it be? How can you possibly think I sleep around with that many guys?”
“I don’t. I don’t. Forget I said it.”
“He and I have hardly traded a word since. He hasn’t shown the least interest. And I haven’t wanted him to.”
“Why are you having it?”
“Have you and I been friends all this time and that’s what you think, that I’m not only a slut but also a murderer? Do you think that’s why I called you up? So I should accept you think I’m promiscuous, homicidal, and stupid because you were the first and only person I thought of to call?”
With all the questions, I hardly registered that she kissed me on the cheek. “Forgive me. Do you know, I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me that question ever since people knew – and no one has? Do you know how cut off that makes me feel? That my mother hates me so much, she doesn’t even know I love the baby?”
I mumbled only, “Listen, why don’t you just rest? I’ll stay here and read, and you can just rest, OK?” And that’s all I wanted. I was headachy and my stomach hurt, and I was perfectly content to read and stay there.
Midnight, she sat up and screamed. A long scream.
It was happening. I threw a coat on her. She had to go right now. St. Jude the Obscure Hospital was eight blocks away.
I barreled out the door and roused her downstairs neighbor, who wished me well on this now barely second day of the year.
“What the hell do you think you are, waking me up in the goddamn middle of the night?” he said by way of greeting.
“Xina is having her baby and she’s all alone. We need your sled,” I said.
“Do I have a sled?” the neighbor asked me.
“Yes! Yes, I do!” he said, and I took it.
Piling on blankets and her hospital bag, I dragged her through the snowstorm.
Even though I felt terrible and very confused, it was, I have to admit, pretty great, being able to endanger my toes (my Nikes were soaked) for the sake of dragging my friend Xina through the streets. I mean, sure, there probably was a different way, with less trouble, I mean, sure, but it was kind of old-fashioned, I had a role, I knew what to do, even if I wasn’t doing it too well.
I was planning how it would be when we arrived at St. Jude the Obscure’s, amazing the emergency room, who would scramble to Xina’s aid, when she screamed again, “Oh, help me, Hugh! Help me! Help the baby!” and then I had to kneel down, right there in the deserted, blizzarded avenue, and do what I could, mainly shield the arena from the cold and ask her not to bear down, to let the head get all the way out – which it was bent on doing, and did without me doing very much to help except catch the little body as it slipped out. Xina screamed pitifully at the last big push. I put the baby on her stomach, covered them with my coat, and then mushed for all I was worth for the hospital.
Which, as it turned out, was still very far away, four blocks, and though my labors kept me more than warm, all I was worth wasn’t worth much. I ran out of energy about halfway there and was barely moving by the time we got to the emergency room entrance. A camera would have been good just then, to catch the expressions on the disordered faces of the orderlies. They took Xina and baby away from me and wrapped me in blankets.
“You look pretty bad,” said the doctor, a spectacularly beautiful woman with blond hair and green eyes. “We’re going to treat you for hypothermia.”
Which I had, and fairly bad, too. Xina and the baby were fine, the baby more than Xina, who needed fluids, warmth, and rest. One part I wish I could have changed was that she came to my bedside, insisted on it against hospital rules. They wheelchaired her in, without the baby, which they refused to let her take. I still had the IV set on. I had been either asleep or awake the whole time, a memory that tells you something about my condition.
“So are you always stupid enough to get frostbite?” Xina asked me.
“Your right ear has a touch. And your left little toe is in danger, the doctor says.”
“Yes, I guess so.”
“Everyone says we should have stayed there.”
“Have you forgotten that I asked you to stay?”
“You did? What did I say?”
“You said, ‘No way you’re staying here. I’m getting you to the hospital.’ And you slammed out the door to find a sled. A sled.”
“I guess I don’t recall you saying that.”
“Do you realize how very stupid that was? All three of us nearly died.”
“It wasn’t smart,” said the doctor.
“I guess not,” I said.
Suzette appeared behind Xina. They looked at each other. That’s something else I wish could have been different.
“Why is everybody criticizing Hugh?” asked Suzette.
“They should,” I said.
“He’s a hero, but a stupid hero,” the doctor said.
“He nearly killed the baby,” Xina said.
“Hey,” I said, “I’m not hung over any more.”
“Hypothermia will do that,” the doctor observed.
“I brought these because I heard you were sick,” Suzette said. She threw a bunch of roses on the table and left.
Xina asked me an indelicate question, to the effect of how often I had been doing something to or with Suzette. I felt so stripped and wide-open I simply said the truth: “Once, and she threw up on me.”
Now Xina was as mad as a skinny woman can get. “When was this?”
“Night before last,” I said.
The doctor was not professional enough to feign uninterest.
“How lonely do you have to be to sleep with someone you despise?” Xina asked.
“Pretty damn,” I said.
The doctor, making ticks on a chart, wasn’t fooling me. She was eavesdropping.
“That does it,” Xina said. “You’re marrying me. I can’t have you sleeping with the likes of Suzette.”
She let a moment go by.
“How good a time did you have?”
“She threw up on me.”
“I mean before that.”
Now the doctor was looking straight at me, waiting for my answer.
“OK,” I said. “I’ll marry you.”
The question now becomes: What is happiness? Someday – I know this is true – this mountainous bliss I go around in from day to day will moderate. There will be a honeymoon period of from six months to a year. They tell me the real honeytime starts when you start sleeping with your mate, which I can’t do for a few weeks yet. Xina says she’ll let me know. After that, she and I must get down to the business of sharing material goods, really getting to know each other, and learning how to live with the things we find out we don’t like so much.
I know – really, I do know – that she is not as perfect as she seems, that we came together in unlikely circumstances, and that our decision to get married was impetuous, ill-advised, and possibly doomed. This is the judgment of all my friends and family. Xina and I did the blood tests, the banns, the whole shot. A real wedding. No one approved. You should have seen the faces at the reception. In my entire genetic line I have left only two ancient uncles from Tucson. One is named Jules and the other Arlen. As we rolled up to the church, Arlen greeted me with “Jules tells me you’re marrying a Negro.”
“I haven’t heard that word in 20 years,” I replied.
I mean, we danced while Xina’s sister held the baby. Her mother refused. Slow dances only. I’ll have to teach Xina how to dance.
Xina turned out to be a Roman Catholic, which for some reason terrifies me.
“Do you trust me so little that you think I’d bother you about religion?” she wants to know.
“Let me hold baby Jesus,” I reply.
If happiness is only momentary, after which we are let down by degrees into daily life, to find contentment as we can, well, at least I’ve had my moment, or am having. I’m officially if not genetically a daddy. Xina and I have just been granted on-campus housing. I think I may finish my first article.
And the toe was saved.
On our wedding night, so soon after everything that Xina still needed to sit up at a strange angle to get to sleep, the baby woke us at 3:00 a.m. He promises to do so for a few years. Xina hooked him up, and as he sucked, unbelievably noisily, she looked at me with those big eyes and said, “God, breastfeeding hurts.”
“So you tell me.”
“Are you ever going to admit that you want to know why I ended it with Jesus?”
“Never,” I said.
“And I suppose you aren’t going to ask for anything sexual until I don’t hurt any more.”
“I have a lot else to busy me.”
“Here’s the answer,” she said. “There was nothing there. He’s a man in 2-D.”
“How could a world-class historian of Afro-Brazilian culture, God, he’s 28 and has written three books and a gazillion articles, and everybody likes him, even me, I love the guy and I can’t even ask him out for a beer now, be as empty as all that? I don’t believe it.”
“Are you this willing to defend him because you’re afraid to say anything that doesn’t sound nice?”
“I think baby Jesus wants the other one.”
She shifted him.
“I don’t suppose this will be comforting,” she said, “but it was only sexual. That was it.”
“Supposition correct,” I said, immediately desolate.
“But even that part faded fast. I couldn’t believe how fast.”
For a while all I heard was Jesus (who, considering his genes, is going to grow up to be one of the most beautiful people in history) pigging baby-style.
“Do you hate me because I was shallow enough to give in to what I obviously knew was a superficial attraction? Because he knew he was irresistible and happens to be right?”
“Is he still irresistible?”
“Yes,” she said. “Irresistible and irrelevant.”
“Don’t laugh so hard,” I said. “The baby will vomit.”
I noticed a tear track glistening in the dark. Sometimes you just know what to say.
“Are you feeling bad because you wish I hadn’t seen you until you recovered your figure?” This was me talking.
“Well . . . what we could do is just go to bed with clothes on until you feel buffed. I’m willing to wait.”
“No,” she said. “Not we. Just me. You come to bed naked.”
“That’s not fair to me,” I said. “I’ll constantly feel tempted to ask for certain favors. And I don’t want a thing until, well, until it’s mutual, you know?”
“But that’s not fair to me,” she said. “If we can’t do it, at least I want to see you.”
After a minute, she asked, “Are you crying because I want to see you?”
“Don’t,” she said. “And would you please take the baby so I can pee?”
John Timpane is the Media Editor/Writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. His work has appeared in Sequoia, The Fox Chase Review, Cleaver, Apiary, Painted Bride Quarterly, The Philadelphia Review of Books, The Rathalla Review, Per Contra, Vocabula Review, and elsewhere. Books include (with Nancy H. Packer) Writing Worth Reading (NY: St. Martin, 1994), It Could Be Verse (Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed, 1995), (with Maureen Watts and the Poetry Center of Cal State San Francisco) Poetry for Dummies, and (with Roland Reisley) Usonia, N.Y.: Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright (NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2000), plus a poetry chapbook, Burning Bush (Ontario, Canada: Judith Fitzgerald/Cranberry Tree, 2011). His e-mail band, Car Radio Dog, has just released its second CD, Back to the Bone. He is spouse to Maria-Christina Keller, and they are parents of Pilar and Conor.