Wednesday, March 30, 2022






Yesterday Russia shot a hypersonic missile at Ukraine while I sang Sam Fender in the shower.  Amelia, the little Ukrainian girl, sang, too, Let It Go, to a crowd of family inside the shelter as a flock of birds swirled outside, aimlessly looking for a place to land.

Monday, March 28, 2022





Daddy’s Girl



My dead sister shows up unannounced, looking worn and haggard, like an old whiskbroom, like she’s a hundred years older than when she died at age nine. It’s only two years after that, and I’m eleven, which would make my sister the same age since we are twins and always will be, now that she’s still dead but standing in front of me.

“What’re you doing smoking that cigarette?” I ask, as she takes a long, definitive drag.

“These things’ll kill me, right?” she says, blowing a trio of halo rings up into the universe.

“It’s our birthday,” I say.

“You think I’d forget?”

“I haven’t seen you since—”

“I got you something, but it’ll have to wait.”

“Am I the only one who can see you,” I ask, “or can Mom?”

“Mom’s been sucking down vodka in her bedroom since dawn. The bottle’s half past empty.”

“How do you know that?”

“Come on, Sport, the Dead know things. We’ve got time on our hands.”

As my sister sways ever so slightly, her torso turns diaphanous, nothing but a patch of scratchy sunshine.

“I’m sorry about what happened,” I say.

Two more smoke halos wobble their way to the roof. “Sorry is a slick word, but I know you mean it.”

“They said you were the one with the ice pick, but I didn’t believe it.”

She blows a jagged halo, watches it slow climb like bound razor wire. “Maybe you should have believed, just this once.”

“But why would you kill Dad?”

This time she holds the smoke in her ghost-box lungs and says, “There are some things. Well, some things I should have told you that I didn’t.”

“But you killed yourself, I know that. I was the one—”

“—who found me. Yeah, sorry about that. I know it’s really fucked things up for you. It was supposed to be Mom. I wanted her to know what was what for once.”

What was what? What’s that mean?”

“Think about it, Sport. What’d he always call me?”

It’s too smoky and there’s too much electricity zapping my cells to think, so I say the only true thing I can think of. I say, “I really miss you, Sis.”

She grins for the first time in years, wide as an island. “Silly Goose,” she says, “I’m right here. I’m always right here.”


“Pinkie Swear.”

“Then can you come to our party?”

Sis crushes the spent butt under her shoe, smiles and says, “Only if you let me blow out the candles.”  

Friday, March 25, 2022





Rocket Man


I fly to you through smog and panic, unbearable tightness, threaded ambiguity in the limbed wind, tossing me farther along, tripping over skyscrapers, glaciers and Mars, as I see-saw soar, me a man made up of discombobulated molecules, worries and triggers, bound by nothing more than a yearning stronger than life.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022





Ice Cream Sunday


It’s a blur of fact or fiction, your smeared lipstick, handcuffs in a purse, condoms clotted in a web, and each lick of the savage sun is a cheese grater on skin, while the taxis die like dinosaurs and a little girl on the corner drops her cone by the curb in order to wave.

Monday, March 21, 2022




True Romance



When My Depression elopes with a hermit crab, I have no qualms whatsoever, but I also have no name for it. 

The Hermit and My Depression honeymoon on a choppy Central American coast, but quickly decide to buy a cozy, sea cave condo where the two of them take turns lovingly interrogating each other, letting the salt water douse their doubts and quibbles.

Whenever My Depression starts to fold itself, cowering under an impressive volcanic rock, The Hermit scuttles over to My Depression, eyes piping hot-black and full of anticipation. 

The Hermit says, Darling, Sweetheart, Light of my Life, we’ve been through all this before. The best way to shake it is to stand up, move, call someone, turn on a light.

All My Depression hears or sees, though, is The Hermit gnawing on sea bubbles, words coming out as Bloop Bloop Bloop.

The Hermit goes on, legs feeling a little rubbery all of a sudden: For God’s sakeI know we don’t have cellphones down here, or light switches, but the experts know what they know because they’re experts!

Bloop Bloop Bloop-bloop, is what My Depression hears.

The Hermit tosses a nonexistent lock of hair off its shell-skull, continuing, I admit I’m confused, and disappointed, again. Is it all right to share this? After all, we’re betrothed.

The word betrothed makes My Depression see a sheet of black migraine sprockets.

 Remember when we first met, how we frolicked in the sticky sand, so connected and in-tune? It made me feel like I’d swallowed the sun. I’d never been so happy.

My Depression yanks on its eyebrows like a bored simpleton, and when nothing gives, My Depression does a vicious jerk to its head of sea hair, pulling out a clump, bloody roots floating away with the tide.

What I’m saying, The Hermit says, is it seems like you’ve changed


What I’m saying is, I don’t know if we’re working out together anymore. As a thing, I mean. A couple.

Bloop Bloop.

Now The Hermit has a hard time looking My Depression in the eyes, yet still manages to say, It’s probably me, not you, though it sure seems like, in this case, it’s all you. I’ve collected circumstantial evidence to prove it.

My Depression tilts its ear in the direction of its other ear but merely hears, BloopBloopBloopBloopBloop.

The Hermit throws up its faux claws, which are really more like stumpy toenails painted black, and says, You’re not saying Jack. Where are your words, Depression? Talk to me. I need to know how you feel.


Okay, that’s it. I can’t do this anymore, even though it’s only been something, like, 19 hours.


Last chance, Depression. Kiss me like you mean it. Like you really mean it. If you do, well, maybe there’s still hope for us.

The soles of My Depression’s pruned feet start to twitch and shake, sand coiling up from the bottom of the sea cave, as if unleashing a spirit, a sea sprite, or just a regular old-fashioned genie. 

Although it’s not My Depression at all, but rather a succession of enormous slaps, each as large as castles, beating down from above.


The Hermit is blinded by swirling bits of grit and broken shells.

Shit! I can’t see! We’re fucked! 

Darkness and ugliness are My Depression’s best friends, two pals he can tell anything to, and he’s unbothered by the ruckus.  

My Depression sways through the broiling murk, finds The Hermit choking on nasty sea detritus, and performs a slick Heimlich maneuver. Before The Hermit can say Thanks or Bloop, My Depression takes The Hermit’s hand firmly, and like sleeping otters, the pair float through a seam in the sea cave, drifting past their hometown surf, past the Pacific and Atlantic and Adriatic and Indian oceans, past every sea in the world, and any others yet to be imagined.  

Friday, March 18, 2022





Very Cold People  /  Sarah Manguso



Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: It might have been.


I pitied the teacher for assuming I was like the other children.


I wanted to challenge the world to break me. I wanted to explain that I was not yet broken.


His kindness was so potent, I could barely breathe.


I hadn’t known that rule. There must have been others I’d been breaking all that time.


I couldn’t admit to the power of my desire, I had to figure it out first in private, before I could uncover it in public, but I never figured it out.  


She had to be careful. If anyone found out she loved me, we’d both be in trouble.


She had been parented too well, made into a perfect person.


Some people wore their differences honestly, but my parents were liars.


She wanted me to know I wasn’t fooling anyone. She wanted me to know I was ugly. She was helping me get ready for the world.


It was as if getting the weeds pulled weren’t the point. It was as if our sitting together on the grass were the point. It felt good.


Everyone eats a peck of dirt in their life.


You can learn to eat violence. I dedicated myself to teaching my bully just how much a person can consume.


My mother, she was the protagonist of everything.


My mother taunted me about my death books, but I didn’t stop reading them.


I held my breath. If and left the room, I would be admitting that something was happening, in front of me, but if I stayed and ignored it, there was some small possibility that it wasn’t happening, that it hadn’t happened and never would. So, I stayed.


As I stood there shuddering, my mother looked at me with hateful joy.


I thought that maybe it was wrong to be that loudly happy, and that she was trying to protect me.


I was simply a person who had nothing to share, nothing worth sharing.


I was surprised that she knew me. I’d thought I was invisible.


My anger surprised me. I hated her, and I didn’t know why.


What happened to her was too horrible to say, so she never said it.


She looked like a girl who doesn’t know what she looks like.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022




In Her Skin



“You’ve stopped talking altogether,” I say. 

So, she points.

“It’s okay,” I say. “You can take the mask off now.” 

So, she points again. Where the ear straps once were, there are now twisted black barbs permanently stuck in her skin.

“If you love me, you’ll say something.”

She points to the top, bottom then the sides of the mask where those same spider barbs have been sewn deep in her skin.

“So, this is it?” I ask. “We’ll never speak again?”

            She points at the door, takes a watery step in that direction, then another and another until she floats through it, like gossamer, worn too thin to see. 

Monday, March 14, 2022




Snake Skin


My beautiful ego hangs on a clothesline, like a drying rattler about to be beaten to pulp by a baseball bat, by either friend or foe, Palm Spring sun draining every unnecessary juice, even the most bloodshot, until I’m jerky, one eye twitching like a faltering bulb, the other bulging north, just bulging and bulging. 

Friday, March 11, 2022




She Said I Looked Like Jesus


She said I looked like Jesus and therefore would no longer kiss me. I’d grown a beard. Let my hair run a little. We’d been married years. Ironically, her name was Mary. Ironically, she’d had a virgin birth, which I learned after months of Mary not kissing me. Her child’s name was Alex, her lover’s name, Pete.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022




Fully Loaded


See it was set up so

there was no way out

a flight to Cleveland

sprawling conference

bars everywhere afterward

freedom and sin smoldering

inside a glass of pearl-colored Scotch

You get the idea

She’d be gone in the morning

I’d be hung like a crooked painting

and in time her name would become

Your Mother

You get the idea

All these years have bit and pinched

my neck my throat my pulse like a bungee cord

My chest got stunted twice and

I don’t wanna die a guilty man though I am

That’s why I’m telling you this

That’s why the money and gun are fully loaded

It’s just the two of us here

so you can choose to use

either or both just make it last

It’s a reckoning I’m after

some sort of deliverance or

release from the haunt

I can tell by the zealous way

you’re reaching right now

that you get the idea

Monday, March 7, 2022





We sit in the rickety treehouse sharing a jar of your grandad’s clear. “This has bullets in it. I can feel them shooting stars around my soul.”

Tomorrow you will tell me about Mailman Fred, how he wears nothing beneath his pale blue shorts, how thin the air became when he showed you.

But for now, you giggle and gurgle, the alcohol dribbling down your chin like a leaky hose someone forgot to put away.

Friday, March 4, 2022





…It takes a lot to admit you’re a Silly Goose, even if you’re not one.


…I used to hate it when people would say, “It’s going to be okay.” Like, how do they know? 

Now I’d die to hear someone say it.


…“No, there’s nothing left, it’s only me and you, holding onto Heaven.”


…Unconditional love is really love at its bravest, at its weakest, and its most extraordinary.


…Paradise is what you make it, but then there’s the real paradise. Fuck, just look at it.


…People who live in the sun all the time are so lucky. But then so am I, here in the pouring rain.


…Some people are so kind and genuine that you can’t hug them hard enough.


…“Nothing lasts forever, nothing goes to plan.”


…Gosh, what a road. I’m still thinking about it.


…I think there’s this point where you look at your belly and you go, Heck with it, who cares? And then you just swell because it’s easier that way. I’m almost there.


…I’ve got voices in my head, but I have to remind myself that they’re not me.


…“I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.” Sylvia Plath


…“I love you, Dad,”—hearing that never gets old, no matter how many times its spoken, or typed.


…What I wouldn’t give for a hug.


…Numbers? I mean, why do they have to be such a thing?


…I look and I look and I look. Such a child, really.


…When I was a child, well, it was something else. Amen.


…Fuck off yesterday. Don’t you have someone else to pester?


…I’m ready for a nap, and I don’t nap. 


…Lean closer. Give me your shoulder and anything else you trust me with.


…How are your New Year’s Resolutions working out for you thus far? I’m 50-50, but still trying, and isn’t trying the point?


…“Here we go, growing old and tired in the silence. Never know ‘til you hear all the sirens.


…The differences in people—sorting them out, the ability to do that calmly, without judgment, or malice—that’s really the key to everything.


...“I should go but if this is the end of the line, hold me close, and we can lay here one last time.”


…Tomorrow could be sunnier, but we’ve still got today, right?


Wednesday, March 2, 2022




Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced during a televised address on Wednesday that nearly 6,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the start of the invasion.

"Think of this number: almost 6,000 Russians died. Russian military. In six days of war," Zelensky noted in his speech. "This is without counting the losses of the enemy last night. Six thousand. To get what? Get Ukraine? It is impossible."

Zelensky also encouraged Ukrainians to keep fighting.

“We are on our native land. And for the war against us there will be an International Tribunal for them," he said. "My dears, the time will come when we will be able to sleep. But it will be after the war, after the victory in a peaceful country, as we need."

"I ask all of you to take care of your loved ones. Take care of your brothers in arms. I admire you. The whole world admires you," he continued. Today, you, Ukrainians, are a symbol of invincibility. A symbol that people in any country can become the best people on earth at any moment. Glory to Ukraine!"