The Thing From Bloggy Swamp

"Music is real--the rest is scenery." Fats Waller

Con Chapman

Con Chapman
Boston, Massachusetts, US of A
September 28
. . . is the author of over fifty books--some with paper!--available on and elsewhere.

News item: Officials in India have used eunuchs to collect unpaid taxes.

HAZARD, Kentucky. Ray Bob Suggins, a career revenue officer for the Internal Revenue Service in this small town at the confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers, thought he had seen it all in his thirty years collecting taxes f… Read full post »

As a condition to an appearance at a London shopping mall, Mariah Carey’s list of required items included 20 white kittens, 100 white doves, pink butterfly confetti and a wand to wave.


Dear Diary:

Just got back from my knuckle-hair waxing session, so can’t bear… Read full post »

WATERTOWN, Mass. European Motors, a garage here that specializes in the repair of the foreign cars favored by professors at local institutions of higher learning, is the scene of what must be some of the most stimulating conversations between lube jobs in the world. “We get all kinds in here,&r… Read full post »

BOSTON. This city, which at one point could claim to be the Hub of the Universe and not provoke laughter, boasts a world-class symphony orchestra, art museum and ballet company, but can’t seem to get off the schneid when it comes to type of highbrow culture: opera.

“I don’t know… Read full post »

APRIL 2, 2014 8:16PM

Bad Poetry

Bad poetry is a gift from above
That angels squirt down when they run out of love.
It falls like rain on our upturned cheeks
Causing damage that heals in a couple of weeks.
Filled with bad rhymes and even worse punning
Not a product of wit, but rather low cunning.


I wrote some last… Read full post »

APRIL 1, 2014 6:46PM

Stuff Smith's "Cherokee"

The opening strokes of Stuff Smith’s bow
across his strings as he launches into
“Cherokee” are low,
but soon they drift higher,
like birds flying off a wire.

Stuff Smith 1

I’ve heard it a hundred times before
and yet it always sounds fresh
as new-baked rolls, even though
he was fifty-eight… Read full post »

APRIL 1, 2014 1:24PM

My Poetic Nemesis

April is the cruelest month, wrote T.S. Eliot, and as a poet he knew whereof he spake. (Archaic past tense provided at no extra cost.) It is in April, after all, that the rejection letters and no-you-didn't-win-the-Alice-Wambsley-Memorial-Poetry-Competition notices from the autumn submission cycle ar… Read full post »

In 1941, philosopher Bertrand Russell was paid $50 for an article by Glamour magazine.

Intellectuals, Paul Johnson


THE logic which occupies Part I of the present work has been constructed under the guidance of three different aesthetic purposes. In the first place, it aim… Read full post »

WORCESTER, Mass. Mike Andruzzioni is a mild-mannered young man who says he had “zero interest” in politics until he began to connect the dots between his personal situation and the undercurrents of power at work beneath the surface of life in America. “I had a good job,” he… Read full post »

MARCH 31, 2014 7:42AM

Writer's Block? Get Nacreous!

If you’re a writer, or if you want to be a writer, you’ve probably suffered from writer’s block. Consider Henry Roth, to take just one famous example.

Henry Roth

In 1934, when he was 28, Roth’s novel Call It Sleep was published. It didn’t do well, and after he ab… Read full post »

MARCH 30, 2014 8:26PM

Zombie & Zombie, Attorneys at Law

Are there really, truly zombies in Haiti?”

“Bien sur,” Delzor said. He had even seen them: affectless men and women with a deathlike pallor, high nasal voices, and the characteristic drooping at the chin.

Into the Zombie Underworld, Mischa Berlinski, Men’s Journal

It… Read full post »

MARCH 30, 2014 1:57PM

The Rats of Beacon Hill

One afternoon while trying to nap
I was awakened by a troupe of Krishnas, Hari.
I raised upwards my window sash
and swore that I would make them sorry.

Beacon Hill

I was just about to let them have it
When I a wondrous site did see;
A Beacon Hill rat waddling… Read full post »

MARCH 30, 2014 8:48AM

Emile Miromesnil, Notary-Detective

The notary, for all his gravity, managed a sidelong smile, apparently suspecting a love affair.

Notre Coeur, Guy de Maupassant

I came, in the darkest hours of my career as a notaire, to the sleepy streets of the south of France, far from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Ah Paris,… Read full post »

MARCH 29, 2014 10:22AM

How to Review Your Own Book

For those who want to make a living as writers, the situation grows more dire every day. There are increasingly fewer publications that review books, and space in the ones that remain is reserved mainly for celebrity and political bios and big-name novelists whose works are supported by large adverti… Read full post »

MARCH 28, 2014 11:30AM

Koga the Gorilla Takes a Break

Koga, a 24-year-old male gorilla, escaped from his cage at the Buffalo zoo and was captured in the staff lounge.

Associated Press

“How come stupid humans get lounge Koga no can go in lounge?”

Cold cold cold cold cold. Why does anyone live in this godforsaken place, it’s cold… Read full post »

KEOKUK, Iowa. “Stormy,” the mascot of the Keokuk Grizzlies Arena Football League team, is a cute fuzzy bear who wins the hearts of kids with high fives, pictures and autographs. “I don’t know why they call me ‘Stormy’, and there aren’t too many bears in Iowa,… Read full post »

MARCH 26, 2014 8:39PM

On Finding a Honey Bee in the Snow

Today as I snow-shoed my way around the farm,
I stopped in my tracks, and extended my arm
Downwards at something glimpsed in the snow.
It was—of all things—a honey bee, its wings blown
By the wind. I laughed involuntarily, then thought
Of the man whose house was up the hill. We’d… Read full post »

OAK PARK, Illinois. Martha Reznik is the mother of a teenaged son, Todd, whose mid-year growth spurt means it’s back to the malls for a second round of school clothes after February break. “He shot up like a weed,” she says as she picks through sale items on a display table… Read full post »

MARCH 25, 2014 8:24PM

The Sadness of a Barren Dancer

She looks, as she enters our house,
at all the things she missed:
pictures of kids now grown

and gone, toys that serve 
only as bric-a-brac,
nostalgia on a shelf.

She gave herself to ballet
for two decades, her child-
bearing years are over.

Art is long,Read full post »

DOWNERS GROVE, Illinois. At the age of 61, Zack Coffelt still can’t believe he’s a grandfather, much less a happy one. “My generation believed you couldn’t trust anyone over 30, and now I’m an old geezer myself,” he says with a laugh.

But Coffelt does his best not… Read full post »

MARCH 23, 2014 8:30PM

Cavafy's Double Helix

The store was closing for good, and so I purchased a book of poems by Cavafy, that poet of ruins and tombstones, and fragments from disintegration.

In some cases they recalled a double helix, two strands coiled around an axis;… Read full post »

MARCH 23, 2014 11:39AM

The Parallel World of the Tango

I did not recall why or from where I had clipped the article on Carlos Gardel, Argentina’s–and the world’s–best-known and most beloved tango vocalist, so when I found it in my desk drawer it touched off a massive man-hunt through my memory.

Had there been a time in my… Read full post »

MARCH 22, 2014 5:27PM

Female Scent-Marking in the Suburbs

Several cats can make use of the same hunting ground without coming into conflict by using it according to a timetable, in the same way as housewives use a communal washhouse. An additional safeguard against undesirable encounters is the scent marks which these animals–the cats, not the housew… Read full post »

The wife’s away this weekend, an opportunity for me to make some of the dishes she bans because they stink up the kitchen; linguini and clam sauce, cedar planked salmon, weapons-grade plutonium.

Just like that guy in Angelholm, Sweden who tried to build a thermo-nuclear bomb in his kitc… Read full post »

If you were hit, dear, by a truck,
And I were left without you–
I wonder then who I would, er,
Sorry–let me start over.
I wonder up with whom I’d end
Among our unwed female friends.

There is the woman nicknamed “Midge”
Who meets with friends for contract bridge.
She&rsq… Read full post »