Sunday, March 10, 2013

New Digs!

Hello, dear readers! I have a new, permanent home for all of my writing. Please visit me at and see what I'm up to!

Photo credit: House 95 by jaci III via Flickr

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flash Fiction: Onset

“What happened before this?”

“I was sleeping! I woke up like this!”

“No, what happened in the days leading up to today? Was there anything that stood out?”

“Nothing. Everything was normal—I was normal. The past four months have been the same day, every day. I wake up, go to class, come back to my dorm, eat, sleep and repeat—every day except today. Today I woke up and I couldn't see the same. Everything is broken—it's like I'm looking through shattered glass. I see all the pieces, but they're not where they were before. Nothing's whole.”

“Look, don't worry. Don't freak out, okay? I almost don't remember whole, I've been like this for so long. This isn't bad, it's just different. You'll get used to seeing things this way. I have. Sometimes I run into things I can't see, but I understand now—more than I understood when things were together.”


“You're going to be fine. Just promise me—you have to promise me you won't tell anyone. Can you promise me that? If you tell anyone, they will send for you. Their doctors will cut out your eyes and try to make them like before. And if they can't, they will keep them and give you someone else's. Then you won't be able to see me, and I can't come back with Simon Cowell to save you and the others. We'll all die, you understand? Do you promise?”

“I promise.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wound Care

Birthday Cake by Will Clayton
Birthday Cake, a photo by Will Clayton on Flickr.
We begin life mourning. We're thrust into a cold, harshly-lit room, screaming and helpless, no longer weightless and suddenly responsible for our own respiration. We lose our secure quarters--our comfy situation--and straight away, we instinctively try to mitigate the loss. We root and we suckle; we cry until we're soothed.

We get over it eventually. We get over lots of things eventually--best friends who move away; parents who divorce; lovers who leave; parts we don't get to play; promotions we don't get; wishes that don't come true; mistakes we make. I've gotten over quite a bit in my 39 years. Some of it was easy; some of it felt like a fight for my life, but I've always managed to work through loss and pain. I grieve, but at some point I find I've processed the loss and it doesn't hurt anymore. I wish I could say that I've conquered every loss, but I haven't.

My brother died of AIDS in 2006. He spent much of his life in pain. Not physical pain--his heart was broken. He wanted our dad to love him. He wanted people to be kind to one another. He wanted to be able to trust everyone. He wanted everybody to have everything they needed. He couldn't have any of those things and it tore him apart. Especially the part about our dad, I think. This is the part that makes me so sad: He never got any of the good things he wanted and deserved.

You could say I have been mourning for my brother since I was a little girl. I knew he did things that were reckless and dangerous. I knew that he would self-destruct one day, though I thought somehow I might stop him. Maybe he'd think I was too sweet to leave behind. Maybe he'd need to stick around to save me if I was reckless too. I tried. Part of me never gave up. The night he died (technically it was morning--2AM), I was still sure I could make him smile in the morning. Another part of me was braced for the loss. Or so I thought.

He died on March 18, 2006. I cried. I wrote crappy poetry. I spoke at his memorial service. I put one foot in front of the other in a world my brother would never see again. Eventually there was a day when I didn't think about him. Then clusters of these days together. But then something would remind me--A song; my nephew's face at a certain angle; a nightmare; a dedication run--and I would hurt. I'd be angry. I'd wish it was different. I'd want to try just one more thing to make him well.

Last Friday I was coming home late from a work event and I took a route I don't normally take. I ended up at a bus stop right in front of the hospital where he died. It was the first time I had been there since he died. The sights and the sounds and the feel of that night came clawing at me as I stood there freezing. I wished for the bus to come quickly and take me away. I was lucky--in about two minutes, I was whisked away by the #80 Irving Park bus. I thought I was home free, but 20 minutes later, when I was home and in my pajamas, I could still hear the sounds from his room that night. I couldn't distract myself, so I went to bed. In the morning I was startled by how upset I'd gotten the night before--I mean it has been six years. Shouldn't I be over this? Is it normal for me to tear up EVERY TIME I hear Here Comes The Sun? STILL? It is? Okay...

Today was his birthday (well, it was yesterday--it's now past midnight), and I was sad all day. I had been watching this day get closer and closer for weeks and had planned to get through it quickly, without feeling awful. But I had to fight with my tears all day. I had to force myself to focus and be enthusiastic and productive all day. When I finally got home, I broke down. I cried myself a headache. I cried myself empty. I cried until it didn't torture me anymore. I cried until I accepted that this will always be sad--a wound I should care for and not neglect. I'm not going to fight with it tonight. I'm going to take care of myself and go to bed. I'm going to say one more thing: Happy birthday, Andy. I love you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Cut-Throat Commuting

End of the day... by -Tripp-
End of the day..., a photo by -Tripp- on Flickr.
Some of my tweets from yesterday morning:

"People on public transportation who have no concept of personal space make me feel stabby. "

"A woman who carries a purse the size of a chunky toddler on a rush-hour  train should be slapped to sleep."

"Props to me for not choking anyone on the El this morning!"

"I almost couldn't claim this distinction. De-training was pretty cut-throat."

Here's what happened:

To my right was a woman with a giant bag on each arm; and to my left was a woman holding a rail, with her back facing the direction of the doors. I said, "excuse me" to her because I couldn't get around the bag lady to my right. She didn't respond, so I started making my way toward the door and in doing so, I made contact with her and with the bag belonging to the woman on my right. "What are you doing?" she snapped smugly.

"I'm getting off the train."

"Well, I'm getting off too."

"Oh. I said excuse me. I thought if you were getting off the train, you might have responded or turned to face the door."

"Go on, just go ahead of me."

"Okay, I will, but that doesn't make you classy."

*laughter from surrounding passengers*

Yeah, that was kind of bitchy of me, I know. Every now and then, CTA riders get their New York on I guess. The rest of my day was actually quite awesome, so I'm not even sure why I'm telling you about this trivial exchange (other than I haven't blogged in over a month, and this gives me occasion to do so). My job has taken over my life and my son has been home for the holidays, so every moment of my time has been spoken for for a while now.

Believe me, I have tried to carve out time to write, but I've been unsuccessful. I'm typing this at 2:25 AM, while doing a mountain of laundry for my son, on the night before the morning I have to take him back to school. It's shit writing, I'm sure, but I need to do it (apologies if this is MAJORLY boring, folks). I actually started writing about something else, but I'm too tired and too distracted to finish it. 

Anyway, I need to write. And draw. And paint. I feel almost swollen and heavy with unexpressed ideas and images. It's uncomfortable and frustrating. I trust this is temporary. It's temporary, right?

Well, that's it. I'm too tired to write anything insightful or interesting--I just wanted to dispel rumors that I had run off and joined the French Foreign Legion or forgotten the English language. Neither are true. 

I'll keep fighting for time to create.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Phoning It In (More Old Poetry): Shaken

Since I didn't get rotten tomatoes thrown at me last Friday for posting the poem I wrote for my brother, and I'm super busy these days, I'll share another old poem.


I cannot gauge the distance
Between St. Helens and Augusta
Not since the time
We were in both places at once
Kissing beneath her
Our every tremor seismic
And far-reaching
Where with god's sly eye she watched us
I can still feel the aftershocks
And you can hear my voice
You call me sweet love
You say you love to hear my voice
I tell you how to love me
How I love your hands
Moving over my body
Documenting the topography for past and future reference
Here and now we all wait
Everybody waits
I wait for you
I wait
Everybody waits

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Poem For My Brother

Poe's Raven by
Poe's Raven, a photo by on Flickr.
Okay, so I REALLY hate sharing my poetry because I always think it sucks, but I was inspired to share this when I read Michael Lassell's How To Watch Your Brother Die today. Here is something I wrote the morning my brother died.

"It's okay", I told him
"I want to be scared."
And I meant to hear him read aloud
Poe, you know? The Raven and Lenore
Not a 43-year-year-old never more
He held me
And he read to me
And he crashed the brown station wagon and fell down laughing
He disappeared under Daddy
And he just laid still
And he stayed on the floor long after Daddy had forgotten the morning
I sat there trembling
Afraid to touch him, afraid to leave him there
We rehearsed this scene so many times
Until we got it right, even Daddy
When he came home from work
At parties I shouldn't have gone to
And later, at the hospitals
The needles, his sleeves
His yellow, baron arms
You'd think they'd have carved something more interesting, more beautiful and true
Meaningful, but no, just yellow
He only a muppet
He loved me, secretly and away, but he loved me with all and then halted
I stayed
I stayed until I couldn't
I left
And he felt comfortable dying
He left
And I still needed him, who loved me most

So, I Have These Weird Dreams

The Ringmaster by Nevin
The Ringmaster, a photo by Nevin on Flickr.
And occasionally I write them down. I was just going through an old blog to find a poem I wrote about my brother (I will be posting that next) and I stumbled across a post about one of my weird dreams.

Here goes:

I was on an intercontinental flight with a hot guy who like-liked me, but was not my boyfriend. Even before the plane crashed, the dream was very sexy. The clouds took the shape of people having sex in unusual settings and when I got up close to the clouds, the figures turned into giant humans in the flesh...there was this one couple I distinctly remember--the guy was doing the chick from behind and she was pretty normal except for the strands of crystals hanging from her waist (like chandelier ornamentation), but as I passed the guy, I could see that he was wearing a bright yellow rubber ringmaster outfit with cut outs for, you know, and his penis turned into a giant red drinking straw and his movements were very stylized and exaggerated and all of this was going on IN THE SKY.

Then things started hitting the top of the plane and the plane was falling from the sky, but not super fast, more like a helium balloon losing air. Once we hit the ground, the plane became a futuristic office building and I was naked, draped in a cashmere blanket with hair wet from a shower, holding a toy airplane and talking to the captain of the plane who was now the CEO of the company.

I was being very flirty with him. He was not sexy to look at, but he was sexy to be around. He also resembled a ring master, but a classy, fully and regularly clothed ringmaster. Something about him made me want to have sex with him.

I had the blanket only around my waist at the time and he was totally staring at my uncovered breasts and trying not to get flustered as we talked, and I decided to press him a bit. I got up and pretended play with the airplane and 'accidentally' let the blanket drop to the floor, showing him all of my business and he got really uncomfortable.

He stuttered and said that he was married though and he reminded me of the hot-but-not-my-boyfriend guy that I had boarded the plane with and suggested maybe it was inappropriate for us to interact this way. I said something like, but we're in Europe now, can't we do anything we want?" and then my alarm went off.