Wednesday, June 26, 2019


                                            Stretch Your Legs

When I cut and paste you, I do it wrong, miss your legs, leaving them on the page where they cross and kick and finally find stasis. 
After work, we go for walks.  Stretch your legs, I say to your lower half.  Heel, toe, I say, stretch your legs. 
Sure, people stare.  We’re a voyeur nation after all.  But it’s hard to indict a pair of legs that know what they’re doing, that are walking on their own volition.
Weekends we slump down on the couch that faintly smells of your apple blossom shampoo.  We watch reruns of Forensic Files until your ankles slouch, revealing how tired they are. 
If they allow it, I file and paint your toe nails.  I shave your legs when they become downy.  I apply a light film of lotion and give them a luxurious massage.
Sometimes I carry them to bed, careful about the pressure or where I rest my chin. 
         Under the yawning moon’s breath or a nightlight, I sometimes search the right knee for that old skating scar, the one I used to trace when your legs were attached.
I get down on my knees right next to your knees.  At first, I hum that George Michael song we first danced to all those years ago, but then I always end up whispering the same thing, asking for forgiveness, wishing I’d never made you take that jump with me over the falls where the water sat colder and harder than I thought it was, harder than it should have been.

Monday, June 24, 2019


Gently Used Babies for Sale

In what was once an old grain mill or slaughterhouse, they lined us up in an inverted pyramid, like scuffed bowling pins. 
We wore price tag earrings.  On each was written a guess about our ages--Circa 9 months, Circa 11 months.  Circa No Clue.
We’d been told to stand stock-still, but we were infants after all and, for most of us, every command sounded like pureed gibberish. 
The baby behind me tottered and spat up chalky gravy over my shoulders which our guardian wiped away at once.
“Some are already potty-trained,” our guardian said, “but their mouths still need work.”
Potential buyers held their chins. Bent over studiously, they slowly strolled our formation while scanning us for defects or potential. 
I arched my back and wiggled my chin, even though my head felt too big, too heavy, like a fishbowl filled with bloated bath toys.    
“That one’s a bargain,” our guardian’s wife said about me.  “At two months, he was counting cards and predicting the weather.”
We’d each been branded on the back of our necks with a capital O, signifying we were orphans.  My branding happened immediately after circumcision, so already I’d built up quite a tolerance for pain.
My heart was a different matter, however.  It mewled day and night, trying to form the same question I had: But what about our birthparents?
The buyers tried to barter our prices down by flashing wads of food stamps and Confederate $20 bills.  It was a clash of defunct commerce.  Our guardians drove a hard bargain, and so the sale ended up being a bust with no one purchased.
A tractor backed up with its rumbling trailer and we were each pitched in, our fall broken by horse blankets and a layer of scratchy straw.
On the drive back to the storage shed, I peeked through the trailer slats.  I lifted up my chubby arms and hands and shook them at the musty, black clouds. 
Seconds later, the first fat raindrops fell, just as I knew they would.  I closed my eyes and made a smile.  I opened my mouth and throat wide, letting them fall inside of me, like coins in a well.  For every one, I made a wish.

Friday, June 21, 2019


…When it comes to it, why would you believe in something so awful, when you could believe in something wonderful?

…It’s a good thing these walls can’t talk.

…It’s sad to lose your ambition.  But maybe being sad about it means there’s still a spark of ambition burning under all that detritus.

…The piece about my drinking has sure stirred up a lot of commentary and conversation.  Aside from all of the FBK notes, people have texted, messaged, emailed, telephoned, and even come up to me with a hug and tears in their eyes. 
It’s very nice, and kind of course, but it makes it seem as if l have a terminal disease. 
When I scan through the list of all the people who’ve read the piece, I feel extremely vulnerable and exposed.  It’s like having your friends give you a rectal exam, or maybe more like they’re priests listening to your confession. 
I think everyone assumes my aim is complete abstinence, though I thought I was clear that wasn’t my intention.  (I’m never clear enough, and I’ve learned that’s a major failing of mine.) 
I just don’t want people getting fearful the next time they see me holding a glass of wine…

…This is exactly how much I’ve written this week (___).

…Some weeks suck more than others.  It’s called the law of averages, or else life.

…“I cannot stack your books any higher.  I cannot make you love me even this much.”  Julianna Woodhead

…This was a nice surprise, finding out I finished 2nd in Flash Frontier’s Micro Fiction contest:

…I don’t really want to party, but I wouldn’t mind doing something else.

…Something being over is not the same as it never having happened.   Sometimes something being over is only over when all parties involved are dead.

…I guess all eagles are confident birds, but Pete sure seems to think he owns this lake.  What a cocky shit.

…They’re all just birds, but some birds can fend for themselves better than others.

…Maybe happiness isn’t what you believe in, but who you believe in.  What do you think?

…I mean, practically nothing is impossible.

…I have a hole where I store my typographies.  It can get a little dank and dusty down there, but at least I know where to look. 

…I spent yesterday cleaning my office, or rather, organizing heaps of books and gigantic mounds of paper.  I literally have hundreds (maybe more than a thousand) of half-folded pieces of papers with story-starts and very random thoughts written on them.  I wonder what I’m trying to do there.

…I think some people know how to love better than the rest of us, which is why it’s less painful for them.

…Little by little, I’m getting more comfortable with death. I guess I’m slowly catching up to myself.

…You kind of need to fast-forward to about 2 minutes, but then this gets good.  (Silly me, I got massive chills…)

 …Every night after I carry Lucy to bed and put her in her crate, I tell her, “Sweet dreams, Lucy.  No one loves you more than I do.  That’s for sure.”  It’s goofy, I know.  But the other evening I forgot to tell her that and she pawed the crate door. 

…Atonement never ends without naming what you’ve done—I either read that or heard that (it’s written down), and I’m still not sure I get it.

…I’ve had a couple people tell me lately that they’ve started using this blog to teach their classes.  Really?  I wonder how that works.  I wonder if they were just trying to flatter me.

…Am I an idiot?  Probably.  I certainly have my moments.

…Everyone wants to tell me who approves of what I did or didn’t do.  I suppose they’re just trying to be helpful.  At least that’s how I’m going to take it.

…Even in the darkest moments, so much of the world stays beautiful.  I just have to be sure to remind myself of that.

…You know how lightning never lasts long enough for you to get a good look at it?  That’s often how I feel about happiness.

…Sometimes I’m not sure if I want to talk to or about the dead.  Maybe both.  Perhaps they’re one in the same.     

…“When someone wears a mask, they’re going to tell you the truth.  That’s just the way it is.” -Dylan

…I mean, how good is this?  Right?

…I tried to write about my depression yesterday, but then I started falling.  At least I caught myself for once.  Maybe I’ll try later, if that trapdoor ever moves the fuck out of the way.

…Let’s just leave it out there for a second, on its own.  What say you?  What can it possibly hurt?

…Here’s to peace, and to those who are able get it.