Monday, March 31, 2014


…I am surrounded by books.  An L-shaped unit behind me is filled with over a hundred of them.  On my desk, inches from this keyboard, is a stack of fifteen to my right, and as many to my left.
I find a lot of comfort being encircled by the written word.

…I like politics and knowing what’s going on in the world, so most of the time I’ll leave the TV turned onto CNN during the day.
 For the last three weeks the coverage has almost been entirely about the lost Malaysian airplane.  There’s never anything new to say, yet they keep at it.  Today they had a panel of six experts, all of them saying the same thing, essentially that it’s all conjecture at this point, same as I has been the last three weeks.  It seems remarkable that they can keep reporting on news that really isn’t news.  This morning, in a surprising move, one of the announcers shared that CNN’s ratings have doubled since the plane went missing.  He said each day he keeps expecting their viewership to begin waning but they just stay steady instead. 
I wonder how long they keep this up.
What would they be talking about if the plane had never disappeared?

…I started watching “The Walking Dead,” albeit a little late in the game.  I can see why it has a cult following.  I’m only a few episodes in, and while it’s grizzly and I don’t have a thing for zombies, the writing, directing and acting is sharp. 
Looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

…Yesterday I finished re-reading Dorianne Laux’s poetry collection, “Facts About The Moon.”  I didn’t enjoy it as much the second time.  She’s one of the fifty most famous poets in the world, yet she didn’t quite to it for me.

…Here are some pithy musings from Facebook folk last week:

-Ariana Huffington claims that 20% of people use their smart phones during sex. That's 1 out of every 5 people using their phone DURING sex.
out dragging an animal with you everywhere, eh? The attention your animal gets you is not attention you earned or deserve. You have not accomplished anything by forcing an animal to sit on the floor of a coffee shop while you gossip about your shitty friends. It's gross behavior, and you should change it.

And Portland business owners, I am mad at you for being enablers. Get your shit together, gurl.
-Not making this up: the dog that bit me Monday is named Karma.
-So excited! My "Topless Putin" calendar finally arrived. April has a pic of Putin riding a unicorn shirtless and bareback. I mean, Putin is shirtless and the unicorn is bareback. U know what I mean.
-If dying is a euphemism for sexual climax, does that mean that aging is a euphemism for foreplay and suicide is a euphemism for masturbation?  Is a funeral a euphemism for rolling over and going to sleep?

-Is there a way to stop dating men who cry in Whole Foods?

-I joined a cool new literary website called "A Band of Angry, Menopausal Women". So excited.

-Today I was told that my new profile picture makes me appear unattractive. So I am keeping it up for a good, long time.
-Jay kissed Rho, then Rho said, "Your kiss is happy in my mouth."

-i guess i have to clean up cat barf.
-Jay says to me, "If one person is murdered during sex and the other person finishes, is that considered necrophilia?" On principal, we are NOT having sex tonight.
-Upside to living alone: naked time.
Downside to living alone: was convinced last night that every single noise was a serial killer.

-Thursdays are a giant boil on the butt of the week.

Friday, March 28, 2014


…Well, look what we have here: a weekend.
Over the years weekends have meant many different things to me.
I believe most people really look forward to them.  When I worked retail, Sunday was maybe the one day off and Saturday was a big, important business day, so it always felt like more pressure.  If you threw Friday into the mix, weekends could make or break you.
When I was a kid we picked fruit all summer—strawberries in June, Raspberries in July, cherries in August—and I was always envious of kids my age who were out playing in, or on Saturdays, lounging around watching cartoons.
Now that I’m home all the time, weekends don’t hold much of an appeal one way or the other.  They’re just days to be lived, no more or less special than other days.  The good news is that Mondays don’t give me a bitter taste in my mouth.

…I have always been a fan of Anais Nin and I found this on a blog the other day so I thought I would clip and share as I think it’s interesting and refreshing, even if it is many decades old:

In December of 1946, Harper’s Bazaar editor Leo Lerman asked Nin for a short auto-biography to use in a profile feature. She respectfully declined. Her letter to Lerman — disarmingly honest, brave and vulnerable at the same time — 

I see myself and my life each day differently. What can I say? The facts lie. I have been Don Quixote, always creating a world of my own. I am all the women in the novels, yet still another not in the novels. It took me more than sixty diary volumes until now to tell about my life. Like Oscar Wilde I put only my art into my work and my genius into my life. My life is not possible to tell. I change every day, change my patterns, my concepts, my interpretations. I am a series of moods and sensations. I play a thousand roles. I weep when I find others play them for me. My real self is unknown. My work is merely an essence of this vast and deep adventure. I create a myth and a legend, a lie, a fairy tale, a magical world, and one that collapses every day and makes me feel like going the way of Virginia Woolf. I have tried to be not neurotic, not romantic, not destructive, but may be all of these in disguises.
It is impossible to make my portrait because of my mobility. I am not photogenic because of my mobility. Peace, serenity, and integration are unknown to me. My familiar climate is anxiety. I write as I breathe, naturally, flowingly, spontaneously, out of an overflow, not as a substitute for life. I am more interested in human beings than in writing, more interested in lovemaking than in writing, more interested in living than in writing. More interested in becoming a work of art than in creating one. I am more interesting than what I write. I am gifted in relationship above all things. I have no confidence in myself and great confidence in others. I need love more than food. I stumble and make errors, and often want to die. When I look most transparent is probably when I have just come out of the fire. I walk into the fire always, and come out more alive. All of which is not for Harper’s Bazaar.
I think life tragic, not comic, because I have no detachment. I have been guilty of idealization, guilty of everything except detachment. I am guilty of fabricating a world in which I can live and invite others to live in, but outside of that I cannot breathe. I am guilty of too serious, too grave living, but never of shallow living. I have lived in the depths. My first tragedy sent me to the bottom of the sea; I live in a submarine, and hardly ever come to the surface. I love costumes, the foam of aesthetics, noblesse oblige, and poetic writers. At fifteen I wanted to be Joan of Arc, and later, Don Quixote. I never awakened from my familiarity with mirages, and I will end probably in an opium den. None of that is suitable for Harper’s Bazaar.
I am apparently gentle, unstable, and full of pretenses. I will die a poet killed by the nonpoets, will renounce no dream, resign myself to no ugliness, accept nothing of the world but the one I made myself. I wrote, lived, loved like Don Quixote, and on the day of my death I will say: ‘Excuse me, it was all a dream,’ and by that time I may have found one who will say: ‘Not at all, it was true, absolutely true.’

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


…I finished Kelli Russell Agodon’s “Hourglass Museum” yesterday.  I’d met her at AWP and got her book there.  She’s a lovely person with great energy.
Her poetry collection is equally vibrant and vital.  Many of the pieces are about the importance of art as well as strained relationships, sacrifice and suffering.  They feel autobiographical in nature and reading them makes one a voyeur in the best possible way.  It’s a gift for a poet to make themselves so vulnerable without sounding trite or melodramatic. 
If you’re in the mood for some great writing, I’d recommend her book.  The title slide above is a line stripped from one of her pieces.

…On a very different note, here are some ramblings from Facebook people last week:
-Just submitted a short story to a hungry dog. I let her eat it covered in barbecue sauce. Waiting to hear what happens.
-When I was in my twenties I got propositioned by Vanilla Ice at the Mall of America and I have to say, it's been all downhill from there.

-I'm nonplussed. Such a ridiculous word, and I'm not sure WTF that word even means. But I think I am. It. Nonplussed, that is. And who the fuck cares? Not me. That's for sure.

-Yup, there's an ad for "Cheap Men's Thong Undies" on my FB page right now.

-I've decided to stop wearing underwear...

-Hey Portland people, how about you leave your fucking dogs at home? Dogs get nothing out of being in bars and restaurants and coffee shops, and they seriously shouldn't be there, especially wandering around unleashed. If you want to spend time with your dog, stay at home, or go on walks, but stay out of places where food is prepared and served, et cetera. If you want to be out at bars and restaurants, then how about you develop social skills.

Monday, March 24, 2014


…Happy New Week.  What do you say we make it fantastic.

…Here are some of the most memorable comments from Facebook friends of late:

-A bunch of people from high school found me on here and sent me friend requests. I did the only decent thing I could think of, which was ignore them for a week and then block them one by one.

-Just commissioned a bird outside my window to be my eyes and ears over the kingdom.

-Had to shut off a porno because the woman in it looked too much like me.

-Me: Hey, Bud, how was school?
Ryan: I have 7 words to describe P.E. today. Penis, pubes, boobs, vaginas, depression, puberty and sperm

-I take the stairs 2 by 2 up seven flights at least twice a day every day. I hate sitting in an office for 8 hours, but I now have a great ass.

-I wanna buy a bunch of hermit crabs and make them live together.

-Got a crazy nice rental car (for free) and can't figure out how to get the gas cap open because fancy things are complicated. Now I'm out of fuel and on the side of the road, walking into the darkened trees, smearing mud on myself. I live in the forest now, I'll make a weapon from a simple rock and prosper.

…And here’s a poem I wrote yesterday:

How The Light Gets In

My mother believed in shutters
and all our young days were spent in solitary confinement
us tethered by our ankles like toddler cellmates
too weak and neutered to fight for freedom.

In summer we got dizzy staring at crevices in split wood,
the tiny burps of glowing sunlight peeking through
and so I made up a story for my siblings that such radiance
was nothing more than a distress signal from the outside world,
where everything beyond our walls and boarded windows
was a vast infirmary
for those scalded by the sun.

At night while our mother snored
we passed each other imaginary Christmas gifts--
a bb gun, a basketball, a polka dot dress.
We prayed the kind of prayers that are only understood
by those whose single defense  is hope,
and because not believing meant the end of everything.

The day God finally showed up--
wearing a holster and badge--
we were too stunned to speak,
not because we’d expected The Messiah to look different
but because we had never seen anyone defeat Mother.

Now, all these years later,
my wife tells me to draw the blinds,
to close the drapes.
She says the glare can be bad for the eyes and

asks me why I’m smiling like that.

Friday, March 21, 2014


…Happy Friday.  Here’s wishing you a fabulous weekend.

…I wrote this yesterday:

                                                            The Unlovables

            It was another trip to the dumping grounds.  Just me and Mom this time.  We drove in the battered wood-paneled station wagon which would backfire every few minutes.  Neither of us spoke.  The night before there had been a dust up between my parents that spilled over involving my older brother Darrel, who ended up getting his jaw broken.  Now there was a doctor’s bill to pay.
Mother smoked as I studied her silhouette reflected in the passenger window.  I wondered what she was thinking.  I wondered if she loved my father, if she loved me, if Darrel was really the favorite as I suspected.  I wished I could talk to her like a friend or even a son, but ours was a family of few words.
For school clothes money, we picked fruit right along with the migrant workers who—as the seasons began and ended--appeared and disappeared from the fields like the fruit itself.  But it was October now.  The Folgers Coffee can that held our spare cash was empty but for a scrim of dust and a pack of spent matches.
Desperate people comb the dumping grounds, and we were beyond that.  Darrel and I had already been there six times since the end of August.  The site was illegal by any definition, but the county never looked and richer people than us dumped their trash there.  It sat in a vast gully surrounded by boulder sentries and swaying evergreens.  It reminded me of a battlefield; Gettysburg following the aftermath.  The stench in the air was like Gettysburg, too.
We carried our gunnies and worked our way down the slope, trying not to slide and topple.  I offered my hand to Mother, but each time I did she batted it away and so cruel thoughts entered my head, images of her tumbling down the craggy slope, landing broken and helpless in the garbage along with everyone else’s unlovable junk.
We sorted through trash for a couple of hours, Mother combing her own heap a few yards away, and me trolling a mound I knew to be fairly fresh.  Over the top of an upended sofa I watched her dip and search, the ends of her tangled hair brushing against whatever rubbish was strewn below.  Wearing a jacket two sizes too big for her, she looked like a haggard wraith confused by earth’s sudden autumn chill. 
In my hunt I discovered a toaster, a Mason jar filled to the rim with pennies, some dirty magazines which I flipped through but left, one electric drill in mint condition, a tray of assorted silverware and an unopened box of shotgun shells.  The last thing I found was a college sweatshirt with a faded Harvard logo.  I put it on over my flannel shirt and zipped my coat all the way to my chin.  I wondered if the owner of the sweatshirt had really went to Harvard, and if so, what classes that person had attended, what grades they’d gotten, had they met a lot of pretty coeds at frat parties.  I figured they must be smart to have gone to a college like that, and now they were probably somebody’s doctor or dentist or lawyer.
When we were through, we scrabbled back up the slope and this time I didn’t offer Mother my hand even though she had a rough go and kept slipping.  Again came pictures of her falling, being banged and beaten on the way down, maybe a scream or two ringing out along the way.  I let the images continue until they no longer quenched the spark inside of me.
We drove home in the same smoky silence we’d come.  Charlie Pride was on the radio, jaunty as ever, singing about how crystal chandeliers light up the paintings on the wall.  I felt like kicking in the console or grabbing the steering wheel and driving us off the road, but instead I reset my thoughts on the owner of the Harvard sweatshirt.
At home, Dad was passed out drunk in the living room of our trailer, a bottle of Mogen David squeezed between his thighs like an enormous glass erection.  Darrel came out of his room resembling a war victim with his face all bandaged and a plum-colored smear lining his upper eyelid.  He didn’t ask what treasures we’d brought home.  Instead he had his own garbage draped over a shoulder.  I started to ask where he was going, but I knew he was running away for the umpteenth time and would be back a day or so later.
Mother had dropped me off and I hadn’t asked where she was going either, figuring it was to get smokes or re-up their alcohol supply.  As Darrel walked out the creaking screen door, I thought I heard our station wagon backfire in the distance, but it could just as easily have been gunfire.
I took off my jacket and stood in front of my comatose father.  I puffed up my chest hoping the letters that spelled Harvard would somehow stretch bigger.  I told my dad I was home from college, that I’d got all A’s and had met a girl named Mary Jane who was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen.  I kept at it for ten minutes or more, until I ran dry of make-believes and lies, and when I was done it was the longest conversation the two of us had ever had.

I snuck out of bed that night, not that my parents would have heard me or cared.  I loaded a gunny up with clothes and sundries and that Mason jar of pennies.  I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but I knew it had to be someplace else.  I took a flashlight with me.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


…It’s a soggy, gray day and there are men outside my house with loud wind-blowing contraptions, so I thought I’d pull this out (something I wrote a while back):

The Sweater

I am the black
You left behind
On the love seat
Love no longer an option
Love seat

My yarn is tight
Fine Egyptian cotton
Top stitched and fully-fashioned.
Your skin
It used to sit or swish
Inside of me
Against my limbs and lengths
My sleeves and being

You took me places
Folded me
Kept me clean
Now I am a heap of yarn
Dead threads
Smelling of your perfume
But mostly
Reeking rust and

…Here are a few things I learned of late:

-37% of men have cried in the last month
-5% of men say they have never cried

-56% have applied moisturizer in the last month
-28% of men have never applied moisturizer

-In 1983 20% of the U.S. workforce was unionized
In 2013 11.3% is

-27.1% of U.S. adults were obese as of 2013, up from 25.4% in 2008

-33% of all workers have saved less than $1,000 for retirement and 66% have saved less than $25,000 (wonder how that’s going to work out.  Yikes.)

Monday, March 17, 2014


…Wow, what a fun weekend in Portland.  Trips to see the guys there really beat the crap out of me, but they’re a blast every time nonetheless, and thus I suppose they’re worth it.

…So I am behind on things.  I definitely need to have a productive week, especially on the writing front.
What did you do this weekend?

…I’ve been working on the same story for the last couple of weeks.  It’s about twins (of course) and there’s already been an accident and some deaths (of course) but so far I haven’t even got them across the lake.  Maybe they’ll start swimming later today.  I hope so anyway.

…Here are some things I like that you might like as well:

I’m haunted a little this evening by feelings that have no vocabulary and events that should be explained in dimensions of lint rather than words.
I’ve been examining half-scraps of my childhood. They are pieces of distant life that have no form or meaning. They are things that just happened like lint.
—Richard Brautigan

-“Destiny, I feel, is also a relationship - a play between divine grace and willful self-effort. Half of it you have no control over; half of it is absolutely in your hands, and your actions will show measurable consequence. Man is neither entirely a puppet of the Gods, nor is he entirely the captain of his own destiny; he's a little of both. We gallop through life like circus performers balancing on two speeding side by side horses - one foot is on the horse called fate, the other on the horse called free will. And the question you have to ask every day is - which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it's not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort?”- Elizabeth Gilbert

-“A day dawns, quite like other days; in it, a single hour comes, quite like other hours; but in that day and in that hour the chance of a lifetime faces us.”- Maltbie Babcock

-"One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful." Sigmund Freud

-“Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must first be overcome.”  Samuel Johnson

-“A good sweat, with the blood pounding through my body, makes me feel alive, revitalized. I gain a sense of mastery and assurance. I feel good about myself. Then I can feel good about others.” Arthur Dobrin

-“The world of achievement has always belonged to the optimist.” J. Harold Wilkins

-"Joining, in other words, happens through a process of opposition, irony, and dissent. If you’re going to join a messed-up club, you have to pass the messed-up entrance exam. You enter into the sect only when you push back, when you finally say, Listen, I don’t care what you tell me. I know it’s a bad idea, but I’m determined to do it, and I will do it. “ J. Ashmen

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


…Tomorrow I head out to Vancouver/Portland for fun boy’s weekend.  I’m really looking forward to it.
What will you be doing?

…Here’s one of the first stories I wrote, about four years ago:

     Soul Patch

Every family is damaged.  That’s one of the things Mr. Cavanaugh taught us.  He was speaking about the Montagues and Capulets, but he said it could apply to modern day.  For instance:  if you searched long and deep enough you’d find hideous secrets stuffed in any family’s old shoe box, even the Obama’s.
It’s hard to believe this was Mr. Cavanaugh’s first year teaching, or that he’s so young, because he’s the wisest person I’ve ever known.  Even the Dali Lama or Jesus would have their hands full debating a guy like Mr. Cavanaugh.
Sometimes when he’s speaking I go blind studying his musculature, imagining him naked.  My thoughts aren’t vulgar, just as Michelangelo’s David is not considered obscene.  I go deaf watching Mr. C’s lips move, wondering about their pulpiness.  And that blonde hair of his, curly and long as a surfer’s—it’s a queer shimmering shade that looks as if it has actual sand crystals in it.  How many nights have I imagined his head on my lap, staring at me pearly-eyed and wistful while I fingered those locks?
It’s a crush, I know.  But I’m not the only girl—just look around.  I’m only the fattest.
I heard the others talking in the restroom.  They never care that I eavesdrop as long as I hang back a ways.  I’m large but I’m also invisible most of the time.
Candy Reeb tells all her friends how she’d do him in a heartbeat.  You have to understand who Candy Reeb is to get the full import of such a declaration.  Candy is just like her name: delicious, tempting, and too good to be true.  I’ve been in love with her since second grade when Mom moved us here from Oregon, and that was seven years ago.  Candy has honey-colored hair and she uses such a heavy dose of strawberry lip-gloss that you can see and smell her from half a block away.  She’s tall but thin, with boobs.  I’ve seen them in the showers.  She has a bush of pubes, too.  One week she came to school and the entire bush was gone except for this astonishing, frail V pattern.  We all noticed.  Everything Candy does gets attention, so when she says she’d do Mr. Cavanaugh in a heartbeat, that’s really saying something.


 We moved to Renton last year.  Mom said it was because of the divorce and that she’d met Butch, but I knew the real reason.   She won’t say, but I know.

In ancient times philosophers were the brilliant people of the day.  Heidegger, Kant, Sartre, Voltaire …..  If time travel existed Mr. Cavanaugh could journey back and he’d fit right in with any of those guys.  The stuff he says.  For instance: “Life is wakefulness.”  I mean, Wow! right?  And he catches material others overlook, like Alice Cooper, this snake-wearing precursor to Marilyn Manson who was big in the seventies, the same one that wrote “School’s Out,” well he also wrote another song called, “Only Women Bleed” which is not necessarily what you think it’s about.  It’s a ballad dealing with misogyny and how women pay the price day after day, night after night, so that men can go on playing hero.  Sample lyrics:
“He lies right at you.
You know you hate this game.
He hits you once in awhile and you live and love in pain.
Only women bleed.  Only women bleed.  Only women bleed.”
It was a sacrifice to take my eyes off him because class is just fifty-five minutes, but I knew about Ali Larson and her cutting, just as everyone did—the skin around her wrists scarred like a burn-victim.  When Mr. C played that song off his IPod and wrote the words on the blackboard, I watched Ali’s eyes tear up and I felt such a kinship with her that I started crying, too, only I fell ass-over-tea-kettle into hysterics.  I hate how I look when I’m bawling.  For the longest time my nickname has been Buddha even though I’m not Asian.  When I’m upset like that I’m a wedding cake of blubber stirring up an earthquake.  It’s gross, sure, but what was I supposed to do?  Mr. C couldn’t have been more than a baby when that song came out, yet he found it somehow and made perfect, poetic use of the message in order that Ali and all of us young women would know we’re more than sex organs, body parts and free labor.  I mean, that kind of man, a feminist really, he’s sort of a God, don’t you think?
Class was getting out soon anyway, so Mr. Cavanaugh dismissed the group.  Just as I would have expected, he knelt down and asked if I was okay, if I needed anything.  I buried my face in my hands but he pried my fingers apart, like plucking jungle vines out of your path, and spoke directly to me.
His eyes were such a shade of blue that I panicked and just… well, I just grabbed him.  I took Mr. Cavanaugh in my arms and pushed his sandy-haired head right up under my chin, cheek to neck.  I could smell his Axe cologne and a twinge of pineapple in his hair from the conditioner he used.  He let me hold him longer than I thought.  The extra weight I carry provides me with an ample bosom and I pressed slightly against him, wondering if the gesture would register.  Out of habit, my hand dropped lower, but he stepped back and that’s when the idea came to me.  I was ashamed at first, but the more I considered my options the more I convinced myself.  I was thinking about Darwin.


My mother’s new boyfriend has his hang up’s, too.
“Call me Daddy.  Do it, or I swear, I’ll kill you right here.”
It doesn’t usually take much prodding for me to respond to Butch.  I’ve played the game plenty of times, I know the rules.  I say whatever I’m told, same as I did with my own blood father.  It’s not as if my pride gets in the way, but tonight while he’s on top of me I keep thinking about Mr. C.  “Every family is damaged.”    How does he know, I wonder?  Maybe he’s making this all up, a fraud?  It wouldn’t surprise me.
“Say it!”
“You feel nice, Daddy.”
“Good girl.”
Not much surprises me anymore. 

            I confessed many things to Mr. Cavanaugh.  I told him about my father’s visits but I didn’t let on about Butch.  Mr. C wanted to call the police, of course, but I’d made him promise.  I had gotten to know him so well that I was certain he’d never break such a vow. 
            He wanted me to see a counselor, or a shrink, but I told him he was the only one I trusted, and as I said it I raised my quivering chin.  I’d practice that maneuver in the mirror all week.  I stalled my pupils, probably looking cross-eyed or possessed.  He took me in his arms, scared.  Laura Pixley walked in on us.  Mr. Cavanaugh’s back was to the door and I was shrieking pretty hard, so he never even heard a thing.  I was impressed with myself and the fine actress I’d become because I didn’t miss a beat.  I continued to cry even as I gave Laura an assured wink.
Our “Check-ins” as he calls them were on Fridays.  I could tell they were wearing thin.  His eyes no longer centered fully on mine, even if I sobbed or threw an epileptic fit. 
            That’s how I knew he was a sham, because of his eyes. 
            But when I told him how all the girls in class thought he was handsome and how some wanted to sleep with him, that’s when his body tensed in alertness.  He’d never say, “Go on, tell me more,” and he didn’t have to because his silence was the answer for what he wanted.  Men usually don’t have to give much away in terms of direction.  “Like who says what?” was what Mr. C thought and wondered, so I gave him a story about Candy Reeb.  In a bold move I described the V insignia she’d shaved above her pudendum, and he squirmed uncomfortably, but didn’t tell me to stop talking.
And that’s when the raw remainder of my desire bled away and I knew my plan was fine, that I had nothing to be ashamed of.
I said, “You should grow a soul patch.”  He asked what that was and I told him Candy’s ex, Austin Dodson had one.  I explained that a soul patch was not a beard or a goatee but a strip of hair hipsters grew out just below their lip so that it imparted a shadow effect.
He said, “I’m not a kid, you know.”  Sure, but the truth was Mr. C wanted to hear me say he might as well be one, he looked that young.
Instead I played hard to get.  “Suit yourself,” I said, walking out. 


            So many important events happened in the school restroom that I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Still, no matter how prepared you think you are, it’s like a car crash the first time Candy Reeb looks in your eyes and says your name, even if the name is a nickname.
            “Hey, Buddha.”
            “Hey, Candy.”  Her name stuck in my throat like a Jolly Rancher, sugary but also cutting off my wind.
            “She’s gonna blow!” Ashley Moynihan said.  “Oh my god, her face is turning purple.”
            I swallowed and thought of Butch to settle myself.
            “What’s this I hear about you and Mr. C?”
            “What do you want to know?”  I couldn’t believe how suave I was.  My knees weren’t shaking anymore and my voice felt velvety, as if I was spewing lotion-coated words.
            When she asked for details I gave her more than she bargained for.  She and Ashley were sitting on the sink counter and Morgan Porter was handling the door so that no one could come in until Candy gave the okay.  They were eating out of my hand.  However, I could tell Candy only half-believed me.  My experiences with Dad and Butch lent an air of authenticity to the descriptions I spewed, and I saw her confounded expression as she tried to reconcile what she was hearing with what she saw—me, fat, lard-ass me.
            “Anyway, he’s going to grow a soul patch.  He said it’d be a sign of how he feels about us as a couple.“
            “Yeah, right.”
            “See for yourself,” I said.  Cutting them off was the most difficult part of the entire episode.  I was talking to Candy Reeb, for goodness sake.  Candy Reeb!  But will power is key in situations such as the one I found myself.  I cleared my throat and Morgan Porter opened the door and I walked out of the restroom fighting hard not to skip or squeal.


            At first Butch was intrigued by my back-talk.  It must have sounded like a come-on, so I growled and spat in his face.  He called me a bitch.  I bit his hand and he slapped me.  I told him to hit me again and he complied.  This went on for some time.


Despite my condition, Principal Gergen seemed skeptical until Laura Pixley showed up and validated my incriminations.  I didn’t have a hard time looking Mr. C in the eye or anything like that.  I’d rehearsed.  Moreover, I focused my attention on the soul patch he’d grown, the conclusive, convicting evidence.
            I don’t know where Mr. C ended up.  I do think of him sometime.  He’s a smart man, so I’m certain he’s in good shape wherever he is.
            I’ve started working out but the truth is I’ve gained about six pounds.  Candy, Morgan and Laura never mention my weight.  No one does.  I’ve fit right in, maybe even more than that.  I’m something of a legend around our school.

Monday, March 10, 2014


…Hey, how’s your March going?  Mine is a mixed bag, but mostly good.

…Here are some of the more interesting/funny things my Facebook friends have had to say (wish I was that witty):

-I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.' –Bob Newhart

-William James wants to be my friend. William James is a dead psychologist/intellectual/philosopher/physician. Can a dead psychologist/intellectual/philosopher/physician with an equally dead famous brother writer make a good Facebook friend? Do you think he'll be amusing or just a bit dry and stinky?

-Take some time today and thank the person who taught you how to masturbate.

-Fuck you winter. Fuck you snow. Fuck you people who can't drive in snow, and Mr. Groundhog, fuck you sideways.

-At a day spa today they said, "When I touch your forehead, breathe in and we'll begin your scent journey." I remind myself I am paying to live in a bizarre world.

-I think I might have made it into The Guinness Book of World records this weekend for the number of times the word mutherfucker was used in a single hour.

Friday, March 7, 2014


…Yesterday I spent a lot of time reading—reading submissions and reading a friend’s book that hasn’t come out yet, as he asked me to write a blurb for the book jacket.  I was very productive, but didn’t write a thing, other than rejection letters and that blurb and some advice.  So goes it some days.

…I hope you have the greatest weekend ever.

…A very creative friend of mine who believes in fairies wrote this, and I think you’ll find worth in it:

The old me is scared of getting younger. ! Old patterns I know need to be broken.  At least I am more aware of them so I can challenge their existence and hold on me. Old holds.  Getting free of them makes me younger, I can think of new things and not talk myself out of ideas without trying because I am sure I’m not good enough to achieve. Who says I’m not good enough?  Old holds.  Now it has a name. Separate from myself.  It is not pervasive in my thoughts. The old me knows that as I start to look at possibilities, believing in me, it gets weaker. That new world is scary. Old holds is losing strength. Deflating.  The strength is shifting to the younger me. Now I can get younger forever. Now I know this. But I have to believe in my youth, every moment.  I have to own my youthful self, no fear. Why not? New dreams. Big dreams. Every morning waking up younger. Let’s go.

…I bought a lot of books at AWP.  I also took home a little sliver of a thing called “Memos To Poets” by Kwame Dawes and it has some snippets I thought we were worthy of pondering:

-“Our bodies are poems—our scars, aches, wounds, quirks, beauties, ugly bits, our pulse, our textures—a universe of poems.”

-“Perhaps all memory is fiction and all fiction is memory.”

-“A poem will not build a bridge, nor will laughter, yet we keep laughing.”

-“Some moments demand a sermon, or a speech, or a fist, or a bowl of water, or a rose, not a poem.”

-“The moon is always ‘distant’.  It’s not like we are going to forget.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


…I wrote this the other day:

                                                          What Anna C. Knows

A twenty-something girl—let’s call her Anna C.—sits on someone else’s stoop in a city you might admire or detest, in a place where the rich and marginalized are separated by gray space and invisible electric fences that function as placebos.
Beneath a woolen skirt, Anna C. wears striped legwarmers that come up to her knees.  A black leather jacket, maybe a man’s jacket three sizes too big, is slung across her shoulders like a poncho.  None of this is really important save for the handgun in her right coat pocket.
People pass by, well-dressed rich people who smell like gardens or nutmeg, who don’t notice her.  Down the street, our Anna C. hears cat calls from construction workers, cabs blaring.  She wonders if her father is in one and if he might soon be dropped off by the curb in front of her.
The last time she’d seen him was the night Anna C. ran away.  There was a new girlfriend who looked like all the other girlfriends who weren’t her mother.  Prior to the night in question, Anna C. was cautioned to be polite for once and so Anna C. tried, but then the girlfriend was alone with Anna C., being sweet at first, and Anna C.—still naïve back then--thought maybe this was one really was different.  But then the girlfriend started taking Anna C’s. father’s side, saying, “Your dad doesn’t deserve the shit he’s been put through,” when all at once Anna C’s arm lashed out as if it was a flying eel or someone else’s limb.  Subsequently there was scream and a mark on skin, the pulling of hair and raked flesh, until Anna C.’s. dad pulled the two young women apart, tossing Ann C. across the room as if she were newspaper.
Afterward, Anna C. lived in other people’s apartments rent-free, only nothing is really “free”, right?   Anna C. let Lonnie and Derek do what they needed to do.  She pictured clouds as they did it, obscure floating puzzles which she focused on until they became maimed rhinos or elephants, loping giraffes whose necks were too short, cherubs with broken wings.
Anna C. got the gun from a bouncer named Alonzo who had a swastika tattooed on his back.  She’d stolen it the night before coming here to her father’s stoop, filching the weapon after Alonzo had almost strangled her during rough sex, on an evening when it was impossible to conjure any kind of clouds whatsoever.

And so now as a taxi pulls up you might be thinking this all about retribution for Anna C., or that she simply has Daddy issues.  However, if you asked her, Anna C. would tell you she’s unsure, that this is just something she has to do, and that maybe afterward--locked away with plenty of time to think—the haze will lift inside her head and at last she’ll be able to make sense of the world, and her reason for being in it.