S A N C T U A R Y

S A N C T U A R Y by Nicholas Olson

van gogh shoes

It was my tenth summer, July 22, and outside my window the rain was taking sides as the lightning had a turf battle with the willows. But the fight was one-sided and the trees wept as their name suggested, even as I tried my best not to join them. Dad’s shoes were still in my hand then–I didn’t know what to do with them. I knew he had other shoes and all, but something told me he wouldn’t leave…

View On WordPress

Larry Of Arabia

larry o

Insha’Allah is an Arabic phrase that translates into “If God wills it.” I once had a brief phone conversation with an oud builder from Aman, Jordan, who invoked it several dozen times in just a few seconds, a series of staccato bursts that left my ears ringing. Now the blood of journalist James Foley leaks into our comfort zone, flows across Iraq and seeps into the ground. Do you suppose God…

View On WordPress

Sunday Morning

flappybirdhighscore

I wake up then make our bed before doing anything else because I’m superstitious.
I go into the kitchen for my morning glass of ice water.
The first sip, more of a gulp, cools my esophagus in slow motion.
On the second sip this sensation doesn’t repeat itself.
What do I smell like on the inside?

I go into the living room then turn on the radio.
I stand there kind of thinking about what’s outside…

View On WordPress

Guilty of Sitting There & Other Poems

Touching

The sensitive person watched a little girl
As she gave a smaller boy a nice yellow flower
Park; sharing; kindness; innocence; summer; touching warmth
The sensitive person dully catalogued another treasure
Internalizing a sliver of existence
That fit with the program of what should be
But the subsequent event
When the little girl shoved the boy face first into the dirt
Touched on a nerve…

View On WordPress

The Damage Done

Syringe

A leathery looking woman walks past my door early each morning. I’d guess she’s around forty years old, maybe a few more, and always walking a dog on a short leash. There’s a stiffness to her gait, and she radiates all the symptoms of Methedrine addiction, the rigidity, the angular direction of her pacing, and the hunched and freeze-dried profile of a woman surrendering her life to a few CC’s of…

View On WordPress

What Will You Remember? Thoughts on Memory and Time in Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’

boyhood

Writer-director Richard Linklater has made a career out of making films that span a single day. From his 1991 breakthrough, Slacker, to the beloved Dazed and Confused, to the seminal Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, he has consistently shown an interest in the minute details that compose his characters’ daily lives.

In some ways, his latest, the epic Boyhood, is the antithesis of these other…

View On WordPress

The Clip Joint

The Clip Joint :: Al Billings writes about his local barber in South Austin

sam happy

Sam the barber has been cutting my hair for a long time, usually a Marine boot-camp special. I’m always taken by how delicately balanced his operation is, moving constantly from one shop to another, currently trying to hold down his chair while the greedy Chinese woman who leases the building continues to give him less hours every week. We’re Sam’s people, and we cherish his presence. His expert…

View On WordPress

On this day, 45 years ago, this picture was taken.

On this day, 45 years ago, this picture was taken.

New on TOE :: Bean Burritos by Al Billings

The corner convenience store has gone through several owners, an aged Indian couple, an Arab, and a Pakistani man just settling in over the last few weeks.

New on TOE :: Bean Burritos by Al Billings

The corner convenience store has gone through several owners, an aged Indian couple, an Arab, and a Pakistani man just settling in over the last few weeks.

New piece on #TOE :: Buoyancy. Picture and words by Al Billings: http://wp.me/ppfdc-5Lb

She bobs along the surface, the camera’s lens straining to control the shimmering pixels. The wet hair, the relaxed bather, Matisse-like, iconic, monumental, a morning swim, classical grace and elegance.

New piece on #TOE :: Buoyancy. Picture and words by Al Billings: http://wp.me/ppfdc-5Lb

She bobs along the surface, the camera’s lens straining to control the shimmering pixels. The wet hair, the relaxed bather, Matisse-like, iconic, monumental, a morning swim, classical grace and elegance.