Thursday, November 4, 2010


muliebrity\myoo-lee-EB-ri-tee\, noun:
The state of being a woman.

Mother never told me it would be like this.  I hit my leg with my fist but it doesn't feel like me.

I look over at you; your hands on the wheel, ten and two. Always ten and two. I face forward again and close my eyes. It's so bright outside; I can see the shadows of the trees as we drive by them; as they slide over my eyelids. It's sunny and the windows are open just a crack. There had been talking; there had been the radio, but now there was nothing. Just the sun coming through the windows and the click of the highway and my eyes closing.

I sink lower into the passenger seat, put my feet up onto the hard plastic of the dash. Underneath is the airbag that would save me but break my legs. Send them crashing into my rib cage. I glance over at the speedometer and see we are going at around 70 miles an hour. Scrunched up like this, I am a bullet inside of a bullet.

Outside, the trees continue to pass with the time and my eyes run with them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


zetetic\ zeh-TEH-tic \, adjective; 
Proceeding by inquiry; investigating

There once was a girl who got up every day and was happy. Her first thought was of how rested she felt and how bright was the light coming through the window. Even when it was raining outside and the clouds covered the sun, she would notice how the window signs and the street lamps reflected off the drops of water and she appreciated the sound of it falling. There was nothing that could make her sad. She did not always smile, but she always meant to, and when she did it only vaguely made you think of mannequins. The kind of mannequins with no heads standing in store windows and wearing the clothes that you want. The kind with every outfit piece placed just-so and glowing with rightness and sharp with color.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


absquatulate\ab-skwoch-uh-leyt \,verb;
To flee; abscond.

I'm sitting here, yet flying. I close my eyes and feel the earth move. I am not stationary.
A woman comes in through the door to my left and I watch her approach and then pass me. How does she walk and not fall down? How are her steps so steady, so sure and set? And I am too afraid to stand? I put my head in my hands.
I will not move from this spot, yet I am always in motion. This sounds strange even to me but I know that it is true. My senses do not allow me to ignore the constant spinning. I see blurred edges. My eyes burn. Everything is in static. Nothing is solid: not an apple, not a wheelchair, not a doorframe. How am I sitting? I try not to question everything, but this is difficult.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


busticate\ BUHS-ti-keyt \, verb; 
To break into pieces.

It went into the wall and shattered. 

Or rather I imagine it shattering - for effect. When you throw something at a wall, you want it to break and scatter into a million pieces, large and small, but flying away from each other at unimaginable speeds. So that you know you'll never be able to put any of it back together. When you throw something against a wall, you want that to be final. So when all it did was slide to the floor, I only felt more angry. Just one more thing to be disappointed in. Nothing happens the way you want it to. You aren't even in control of your own destruction.

I consider picking it up again, returning to the same position, a certain distance from the wall and having another go at it, but that would have required further energy when I had already expended it all. There was none left for another toss. I had had my chance to cause an explosion.

Acme. I thought of Wile E. Coyote. Now those were some explosions - even if he did miss the intended mark, at least he got to see the fire, the smoke, feel the ground shake. Know at least he had done that much. The bird may have gotten away but the earth knew he was there. He covered the sun, created as much heat, blew something up. Such things are easier accomplished in cartoons. In cartoons, when something or someone was thrown at a wall, there was an almighty crash. Or a satisfying sluggish slide against the vertical surface, ending in a plop to the floor.

As if in a memory, you lean against the far one opposite and allow your body to slink into position and do the real life version. This you can do. This appropriately matches the energy left inside of you and the mood its absence has left behind. Your butt lands to the ground and your curved spine rubs its knuckles against the wall and it feels right. Finally, something feels right. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


manumit\man-yuh-MIT\, verb;
To free from slavery or servitude.

There once was a boy who lived at home and although all the doors and windows were open, he couldn't leave. Instead he would wander the rooms, keeping everything in place. And there were a lot of things to keep. Stacks and piles of things, all of which he would try to keep in neat, little towers. He had to do this because often there was a wind. A wind that would rush through the windows and doors and if the boy was not careful, the wind would knock everything down.

The boy had parents but it was almost as if they were not there. The mother would continually walk in and out of the doors, bringing in more and more stuff, placing it on the floor, before going out again to bring in more. It did not matter what it was. Whatever was outdoors she brought inside and the boy would pick up the things that she put down and place them in a pile which he found appropriate. In this way, they were in constant motion. She bringing in and he putting away.

Now the father - the father did something different. From time to time when the boy's stacks would get rather high, and the wind would blow, some of the items would slip and slide and fall from the top to the bottom and clatter to the floor. And if the boy was not quick enough to pick this thing up and place it neatly back upon the pile, the father, hearing the noise, would get up from his chair, upon which he always sat, pick up the item and, without emotion, throw it out one of the many open windows. Upon watching it fly out of the house, the father would then laugh loudly for just a moment before turning and returning to his chair which waited for him.

The boy did not always see this when it happened, but if he did, he would slouch and shake his head and sometimes even a tear would escape his eye, but he would not blink. And then his mother would come through the door and place another item on the floor at his feet, prompting him to resume.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


zephyr\ZEF-er\ , noun;
A gentle, mild breeze.

Earlier, I swept
the boards of my apartment floor
and the pieces of dust and hair
would cling to the fibers of the broom
and float into the air
I watched them fall
and wondered where they would settle
if they would settle at all

Later, I laid
On sheets dusted with fine fibers,
looking at them and sighing, I began
plucking them between my fingertips
and blowing them away

They would flutter back
onto the fabric and stick there
while I looked at myself in the mirror

As a strand of hair fell to the floor.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


gambol \GAM-buhl\, intransitive verb:
To dance and skip about in play; to frolic

If the horses could do it, why couldn't she? The day was cold and called for dancing.
The field open and littered with buttercups, yellow cups lifted up on thin stems; she tries to leap between them, but like dodging raindrops, this is impossible. She crushes them and they spring up again, only not as tall as before. She worries for them amidst her pirouettes. Would, or could, anything bad happen to her for stepping on such delicate and helpless things, so crisp and golden.
Before her mother can call her in from the afternoon, she quickly drops, falls among the blades of grasses, high enough to hide her, tall enough to tickle the blue of the sky, dapple the sun. The heads of the yellow flowers bend and reflect, highlight citrus spots on her skin. She closes her eyes and breathes in the onion grass. She searches with her fingers for the wide, striated blades of it. With a fist she wiggles and pulls and frees one of the fragrant bulbs and lifts it to her nose. A dusting of dirt falls on her face and lips. She scrunches up her nose and it falls away; she breathes in the sharp, earthy smell of the wild onion. Putting the grass into her mouth, she feels the groves of the blade with her tongue and then bites, snapping it in half with her teeth.
Her name is called. She hears the whap of a screen door closing. Through the vibrations of the grass, she can feel the approach of Snooks, the dog, before she can hear him. And then he is there, running over her and sniffing. He thinks this is a game. The girl is hiding and he has found her. In its excitement, the dog steps low on her stomach, forcing her to sit up and gasp for air.
"There you are," she hears her mother call.
"Here I am," she whispers.

Monday, May 31, 2010


threnody \THREN-uh-dee\ , noun:
A poem, speech, or song of lamentation, esp. for the dead; dirge; funeral song.

Much can kill a man.
I knew one once
that hummed.

Friday, April 2, 2010


popinjay\POP-in-jay\ , noun;
A vain and talkative person.

They just sit on porches and talk to themselves. Old men that never had anything to say to anyone before now rail against the fences lining their property defining the edges. Pop McGuintrey and Jay Cunningham, neighbors for fifty-odd years had never said more than a few words to each other. Their wives and families took over the day-to-day requirements of communication - if there were any - and really there hadn't ever been. The wives exchanged cups of sugar or flour or milk. The children called to each other and clambered between the houses. And unconsciously they all stayed away from the two men. The ones that worked hard during the day were generally left alone to recover in the evenings.
As widowers, though, there was nothing but time for talk and "Remember the time" became the favorite phrase. Each one surprising the other over how much they actually saw and just how much of what they saw actually affected them. Story after story they recounted their lives to each other, sometimes interrupting and talking over one another, sometimes not realizing they were telling the same story. Their wives became "the wife;" their sons and daughters became "the kids" for they were talking as much to only themselves as much as they were talking to one another.
And in the evening when their throats were hoarse and the stories had been worn down for the day, they would stay sitting out there, on the porches, sending the creaks of their rocking chairs echoing into the darkness.

Monday, March 29, 2010


cozen\KUZ-un\ , transitive verb:
1. To cheat; to defraud; to deceive, usually by petty tricks.
2. To obtain by deceit.

There they were again, and the cat snuck somehow into the gaps between their legs. Her small bed left little room for space apart. The heat could only build; their skin could only stick together. There were attempts to spread out but the cat prohibited such movement. She did not like to disturb it when it chose to curl up beside her, usually at her feet, making it difficult to move. Even if it created some awkward positions, for her, that was love.
Against the heat, the most they could do was push the comforter back and flip their pillows over. The radiators had kicked on at some time during the night and she imagined she could see the shimmering coils of heat rising along the walls in the darkness. Already too warm from the early Spring weather outside, the apartment would soon be a sauna.
She heard him moan next to her. Although asleep, she was certain he could feel the rise in temperature. She hoped it would not wake him. She valued her time alone during these visits, letting her thoughts roam, feeling the deep breaths of the cat against her calf, the beating of her heart, the throbbing of her head, and now the gathering sweat on top of what had dried from before.
Feeling dirty but not any regret, she thought of how she would get up in the morning at the sound of her alarm and go to the bathroom, brush her teeth and take a shower, and how when she opened the door and the steam raced out, he would already be gone. Making an effort at a kind gesture, he would have made the bed, and the next time she saw him - if she saw him - she would remember this and thank him, thinking how this proved the deep-down goodness of his person and it would be possible that something so simple could lead them there again.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


quixotic \kwik-SOT-ik\ , adjective; Caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals; foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals.

A Brooklyn apartment with laundry room, dishwasher, and a clean tub that never needs Drano, all included. Office snow days and coffee for a dollar with free refills; a bar where every other drink is on the house. Mangoes that don't over-ripen; an oven that works; knives that cut without sawing. Spending time with the ones that will soon leave, before they do. Realizing when a moment is important before it passes and making that moment last, making it count in its singular beauty. Having good things coincide like new romance when the roads are closed and the cupboards are full and snow is falling outside. Like driving cross country, stopping at every diner along the way and taking a coffee mug from each - just to remember it all by. Sailing the Mediterranean. Sleeping outside under blankets and the stars. Opening a cafe. Looking around and thinking you couldn't have done it any better.


Panjandrum\pan-JAN-druhm\ , noun:
An important personage or pretentious official.

I can hear the drums already. He is coming.
It is thunderous as a storm. The ground rumbles. Or is it that I am shaking?
I look out the window towards the horizon, where I cannot yet see his approach. I feel a bit like Rapunzel, waiting for her prince, only I do not want to let down my hair. I do not want to be found. Or saved. I do not need to be rescued.
The space around me vibrates and I watch as picture frames fall over. I look around my room, wanting to take in everything. The simple lines of shelves and bookcases, the soft expanse of the bed, the solid stature of the desk with pen and paper and ink. The simplicity and order of everything.
The pages of a notebook flutter and shift. The mirror tilts. I look at my reflection, askew.
The day has come.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


beseech \bi-SEECH\, verb; to ask earnestly; implore

We had never been out here this late before.
Okay, that was a lie. We had been meeting up in the same location at least once a week for the last month or so, but I tried not to think about it.
Well I think about it all the time actually. I can't stop myself. The nights we meet are the most exciting things that have ever happened to me. Although I wouldn't exactly call it exciting stuff, I guess. It's not like we really do anything. We just sit there and look out at the ocean, the blackness of it. We more like listen to it, I guess. It's not like you can really see anything. Except for maybe the lights of far off boats...tankers...ships. There's also the sound of the water, lapping onto the beach and then being pulled back into the deep, like the sound of sequins falling to the ground. If the moon is out, the water kind of shimmers like sequins too, or how I imagine sequins would shimmer. Or like I imagine the sound of it falling would be.
I don't really spend my time imagining things like that. I don't know where that came from. I just get so excited to think about those nights, I guess. These are all things that I want to say out loud to her while we are just sitting there, staring out at the water, but I don't say anything. And she doesn't say anything. The night our meet-ups started, the first night I found her there, we didn't say anything either. When she saw me approaching, all she did was stick her finger to her lips and give me the signal to be silent. I was just so surprised to find someone else out on the beach so late at night that all I did was stare at her and then sit down right next to her.
Well it wasn't all I did. At first I was going to just walk on by her and try to mind my own business but I got about 5 steps away before turning back around. I had gone out to the beach to be alone and do my own wandering, but when I stumbled upon her, it just felt right to be her companion and to make her mine. Two lost souls staring out at the open water, dreaming of far away places...
Actually that isn't quite what I was dreaming of, and I don't really know what she was thinking at all. I still don't know. We still don't talk. But the same night every week, I walk over to that same spot and there she is. Of course she could be there every night of the week for all I know, but I figure she must be there for some sort of privacy and so I ought to give it to her.
Honestly I'd be there every night too if mom wouldn't fuss about it so much, but I know she would.
The beach really is so peaceful. It's like the world is quiet there. The world is so big and it curves, but on the beach its largeness almost seems small. Or rather you just feel like such a part of it that it can't be much bigger than you are. Or you imagine that's how big your insides are, how big your heart is, how large your possibilities. And it's where you can meet someone and not talk and still feel like you know that person through and through. Like you can see the light in them, way off in the distance.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


lampoon \lam-POON\, noun, verb:
1. a light, good-humored satire
ridicule with satire

Why do we want cigarettes if they are bad for us? Do we want them because they are bad for us? Is that the only reason to like any bad thing? Why alcohol is craved after work? Why a one night stand seems so compelling? Is it really compelling at all or has it become cliche like burning for a cigarette when out drinking?
Well whatever it is I like to smoke when I drink and when I drink a scandalous night romping in the bedroom sounds like a pretty good damn idea, and then give me another cigarette and a cup of coffee in the morning. Sure, I'll take it in bed. Why rush off?
But who am I kidding? I've never had a one night stand in my life, and cigarettes make my throat itch and cough up little green balls of goo when I brush my teeth. Hell, I can't even stand the smell of the smoke on my fingertips or in my hair or on my clothes. It pisses me off actually. Why does something that feels so good have to have so many lingering and malignant repercussions? And why does something as refreshing as a morning run so impossible to set in motion? Forget how good it feels afterward - the idea is just plain unappealing when you're lying in bed, snug under the sheets, warm toes, warm fingertips, maybe even a warm body pressed up against you with all of their warm toes and fingertips. That's good too, isn't it? Who needs a run then? No matter how good it might feel when it's done. You could trip and fall too. Get your hands all scraped up. At the very least your nose gets cold and it starts running with you only in an unpleasant way that won't leave you alone until you've wiped what's running onto your glove or sleeve and it seeps in there, glistening in the morning sun, reminding you of just how damned cold it is. Oh and your nose is still pushing out more. No, I say it's best to stay in bed.
Anyway, doing the healthy thing has yet to put a warm body between the sheets lying next to me.