Wednesday, May 30, 2018


                                                       In Session

I think this is harder than I think.  I think blue is an assassin, and red a plane crash just before the explosion.  I think the way you’re looking at me says you don’t trust people with brown eyes or people whose bones are molten and indecisive.  I think, every time you yawn, that hoot owl in your throat has a message for me, and it is bad news.
I think my twin may have died before me, caught in the half-pipe with his too-big feet and too-big cranium, and he’s very happy about that.  I think I may have killed off everyone who needed it, except myself.
What else?
         I think this chair has polio, that painting skin cancer, your tablet Ebola.  I think you’re not even listening, but instead you’re having sandpaper sex inside your head but there’s too much friction and not enough lubrication.
I think the reason I turned out this way has more to do with the dinosaurs than Mom or Dad’s preferred methods of torture.
That’s okay.  I don’t need the whole hour.  Almost done.
I think the reason she got that restraining order had nothing to do with me and everything to do with (…)  I think you should ask her instead of always asking me.
I think there’s a liar in every room of every house, even if it’s a horsefly.
I think the moon is moody and pretentious as hell. 
I think this couch needs its training wheels back.  For sure that hat rack needs its training bra.
I think cops are just dying to ruin someone’s day, someone’s life, why else would that have happened? 
I think people have their reasons, but maybe I don’t know anything.

Monday, May 28, 2018



Your face is a Rorschach test and there’s no way to know what your eyebrows want. 
So we dine on oxygen.  The table explodes in balls of black and red fire, then regenerates.  This happens over and over.
The children are off playing somewhere or maybe they’ve moved out, maybe they’ve grown that old.
Our dead honeymoon cat won’t stop staring. The walls have even bigger ears stuffed up with canopies.
We used to play Gin Rummy in the tub. We used to keep a solitary kiss intact for a whole week.  We used to We used to We used to.
If I ask, you will blame it on Shakespeare or Hitler again? Your friend who killed himself on the freeway wasn’t fooling around and I guess you’re not either. Or maybe he was more than a friend.

                                             My Father’s Legacy

         When they call your name, the angels shudder and go up in a gaseous plume of tar smoke that flounces off the ceiling, rocking the attic, the locked chest, the ancient lock cracking, lid jarred open, all of your sins slipping out for once, ghosts of a dozen dead girls, none older than twelve, strangled and buried in a quarry where no one found them until now.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Thing About Clowns

A long time ago, I had an imaginary friend who was a clown.
Then he shape-shifted into a ghost, then into my parents, then into a gaggle of coiled cobras that happened to look and act a lot like my parents.
But first he was a clown.
His makeup ran and his tongue tended to loll, but he was a happy clown with high cheekbones painted in scarlet circles.  His ears were elephant-huge, like LBJ’s, like his floppy, upturned shoes.
He and I used to talk about things that mattered, or didn’t, like why does the moon always turn its back on us?  Why are there forest fires in some people’s eyes, crushed ice in others?  Why do my aunts and uncles call me a skinny drink of water, then later do that thing to me?  Why do my parents?
As I say, this was a long time ago.
The clown had a name—Ezra.  I gave it to him.  Ezra didn’t like his moniker, said it sounded itchy, biblical, or like a pharmaceutical for elderly people with bowel issues.
Ezra resembled me in many ways.  He was in touch with his feminine side.  He didn’t have a problem with pink.  He cried at Folger’s Coffee commercials.  He had trouble tying knots on blown up balloons and sometimes wet the bed, waking up before dawn to wash the sheets and huff huff huff his breath on them so they’d be kind of dried before the parents woke.
Ezra said he was my best friend and I believed him.  I had to.  I had no other friends.
The thing is he disappeared about the time I turned nine, when the dam broke for the final time, when the lights went out in Georgia, or Spokane, Washington.
I told myself Ezra had been hit by a car, that a landslide had crushed him, a train had run him over, he’d committed suicide.  I told myself every kind of lie because I didn’t want to believe I’d been dumped again, left stranded and all alone again.
It’s hard to lose something you trust that much, something you rely on so fervently.  I could liken it to death, but it’s worse than that, because when it happens, you’re still alive, carrying that gigantic cavity around with you like a ghost that weighs too much.
So maybe it was more like betrayal.
A few years ago, at a resort in Mexico, a trio of clowns unexpectedly appeared out of nowhere while everyone was eating dinner.  One clown juggled plates, one bowling pins, one old-fashioned toasters with dangling rubber cords.
People reacted.  People thought: this is some stunt, this is hysterical.  My family did, too.
At one point, I watched my son reach out, trying to touch the flouncy striped pant leg of the clown nearest him, but I caught his hand just in time.
“He’s not real,” I told him. “They’re not.  Finish your burrito,” I told him, “then we’ll go to the beach and build a sandcastle.