Friday, September 27, 2013


i hear her talking to her dolls. she makes up these long, drawn out conversations. and i think about wearing headphones and letting her scatter her letters about her legs like rose petals and then drying them out and sewing them into a bag to stick in her underwear drawer. a sachet of imagination unencumbered by politics and disagreements and financial (in)stability. she will wear the scent of myopic selfishness around her like a musk. and she will shed her skin slowly, leaving dna all over the place.

these are the things i think about when she talks to her dolls.


we all judge each other, don't we? about our choices. is there a part of this that is healthy? a piece of this that means we are doing something well? i know that i judge people constantly, without even trying. friends have told me i am the least judgmental person they know. and yet...that isn't really possible, is it? to be an active human being with your feet steeped in sticky relationships and personal history and experience and not somehow categorize the choices others make and make a mental flow chart of how, exactly, their choices affect you. i think this gets exacerbated once we have children, but i don't know. because i only started really caring about it once i realized people were judging me in relation to them. before that, i stayed aloof, distant. at arm's length when it came to disagreements and conflict. like i said, i was the one friends said was the least judgmental but i'm pretty sure it was only because i was the one least likely to get involved.


my son takes a nap while my daughter sits in the front yard and yells hello at the neighbors. the seven year old boy next door comes over to our house to play almost every day and i watch my five year old daughter emulate his mannerisms and talk with his phrasing. i watch my two year old son run and hug him like a long lost relative every time he walks in. and i think, this is the village. the dolls and the judgments and the politics and the imaginary conversations we have with strangers in a crowded room.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

sleep to dream.

my daughter dreams in loud, piercing segments. vivid color, fear and pain and abandonment. her good dreams are mild, something to mention over toast and juice, usually forgotten between the mattress and the floor. sometimes i think the bottom of her feet are littered with her peaceful thoughts and that is why she never has callouses. since she was a baby she has awoken at night in terror, as real as the hair on her head. and we soothe her and we give her tools to manage her fears so that her terrors at night do not spill over onto her skin during the day. so that she does not walk around the world bruised and battered by her own mind. we pinned a dream catcher above her head and told her that its web holds the tiny tentacles of bad thoughts so that she doesn't have to. that they disappear before she wakes up and turn into glitter. (she added that last part; it's a genius idea.) she and i both know the dream catcher doesn't work but it sure is nice to have something to tell yourself in the morning after a particularly exhausting night of sleep.


two nights ago, i was in an underwater boat with my husband. not quite a submarine. more like a boutique hotel in dubai, high rise and luxurious, completely submerged. the walls were glass and there were long tunnels where fish and plants floated around. we walked through them and marveled at the sheer grandiosity. so safe. like a cocoon. there was an anchor. above us. it was round, golden, lit up. a larger than life golden snitch. there was a creaking, loud, clanging and banging. the anchor shot around the boat like a mystical flail and crashed into the glass. the air was a vacuum, loud and silent at the same time. full and empty and i remember thinking i couldn't define the difference between a noun and a verb. and i thought about my children. and panicked. i knew they weren't there but i wasn't sure where they were. and i wondered what would happen to them now. i was sliding down, reaching for my husband's hand. he locked eyes with me, fingers outstretched. "DO NOT FALL ASLEEP," he screamed above the din of rushing water and i looked at him quizzically, thinking it was strange that he didn't tell me to hold my breath. my arms started to drift up. "WAKE UP! WAKE UP!"


the dream catcher in my room is small, attached to a key chain. and i wonder sometimes if it just plain does not have a big enough web to save my psyche from drowning.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

hand to foot. train of thought.

end of summer, i hear. and i shake my humidity filled fists in the air and scream at things i cannot control. i wear rage on my arms like sunscreen, toxic and streaking in jagged lines. i fill the tub with ice and stick my arms in to the elbows, numb and red and glistening. it is hard to breathe sometimes in heat like this. and i'm only partially talking about the weather. i dump metaphors on the ground and stomp out their juice, drink it from my palms and remark how it tastes so sweet. so bitter.


i wonder sometimes what my twelve year old self would think of me. because i remember her so vividly. so wildly sure that she would grow up to be someone inherently different. she didn't realize at the time that you cannot change some of that invisible ore that makes up the soil from which you feed. that sometimes trying so hard to grow into somebody new means you lose the best parts of yourself along the way and then you spend the rest of your life trying to retrace your steps to take them back. she didn't have enough regrets yet to understand that wearing them around your neck like a talisman will only make your journey harder, the road longer, your muscles weaker. she knew so little for knowing so much.


forty one. not really relevant in any kind of sociological sense except for the fact i can joke with friends about being the old one in the group and i laugh at memes centered directly around such ideas. i become friends with people on facebook i haven't seen in over twenty years and i still picture them in the hallway, near their locker, walking on the polished concrete of our school wearing the last great fashions of the eighties, right on the cusp of the fashion travesty that was the early 90s. i am also old enough to watch the 90s come back into fashion and i think, wow. i should have saved all those leggings and blazers.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


my first "boyfriend" was a tiny frat boy named tim. he was eleven or twelve, junior high. i was rounding that corner myself. we rode the bus together. a mutual friend who sat on the back bench of the bus as it hugged the rounded edges of the concrete road toward our condo complex asked for my phone number. to give to tim. he called me ten minutes after i got home. ten minutes of pacing back and forth, staring at the open refrigerator, eating three chocolate chip cookies. when he called, i pretended to be fourteen. because fourteen seemed like it knew what it was doing. he asked me to "go" with him. i said yes. and we hung up. the next day i ignored him. the day after that we stopped "going together." my first relationship was checked off the list. i felt successful, jaded, improperly mature.


i was always a bit of a late bloomer.


the first time i spent time alone with bryan, there was a shift. tectonic or magnetic. throw me chemistry or spirituality or destiny or time and place and i will smile at you and nod accordingly. yes, yes. and yes. yes.
we sat under a tree, surrounded by grass and we barely spoke. i imagined i was fourteen. times two. and then some. i showed my hand. i went all in. eyes closed and wide open, underwater and still breathing. i meant everything i said and my actions followed suit. i was the winning hand you always heard about. it was magic. 


seven years later and i am now the aftermath of the royal flush. i am the old wives' tale, the fable. the bedtime story. i am home. 

photo/august 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013


she holds an archaic, non-working cell phone up to her ear and walks around the living room in circles, hands touching random objects here and there. a finger on a plant leaf. her wrist on the edge of a book.

no, i actually have a daughter. not a son. nope. no son.
i have a necklace. not a bracelet. how about something else, then?
how about something, like, oh! i have to call you back.

when she puts the phone down, her just turned two year old brother picks it up and she reaches for it. he screams and she shakes her head.

i'm not done talking, yet, bubba.

he looks at her and hands it over. she drops it on the ground.

HOLD ON! she picks it up and and wipes off the back of the phone.
oh, good, you're still there. 
i have two one dollar bills. that's it. no, no, that's it. i'm going to have to call you back. 

numbers pushed. the two year old yells byyyyyyyeeeeeee. byyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeee. 

she retreats through the hallway and her voice re-enters before she does.

can you hear me? okay, good. we can do that tomorrow. no! (pause) no, i did not do it yet. i'll do it tomorrow. i don't know what you said yesterday. yes! yes, i can. i can do it all by myself. you will be proud of this. okay, no i can't, i have to call you back.

i am the stenographer sitting idly on the side, posture with purpose. i grab one end of the ticker tape and rewind it and loop it across the room, across the chandelier. i close my eyes and open the doors. listen to the wind rush over the loamy words scattered at the shore. the random machinations of her mind are unfiltered, spongy, amplified. she says them out loud without even realizing it and i know that my days witnessing the inside of her brain are numbered. that i better listen while i can.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

beginnings. and endings.

today was as good a day as any to die, i suppose.


a good friend's mom suffered a brain aneurysm. another close friend has a brother in a coma, brain swelling, body broken. my daughter started kindergarten and when she exited the class on the first day, she was sobbing hysterically, her eyes wide and arms overrun with a too large backpack, unzipped and spilling its contents. i felt a pound of flesh detach itself and land on the grass, subcutaneous fat butchered and jagged. these transitions, they sometimes exact a toll.


i outgrew my old writing space, i think. or it outgrew me. regardless, i would find myself there, fingers wanting to write and yet i couldn't do it. it didn't feel like me anymore. perhaps this is just a nod to the days when i would buy a new journal after a major period of transition in my life. a way to mark the occasion.


i haven't spoken to him in ten years. not since that email on my thirtieth birthday where i cried like i was twelve and emailed him back to ask him politely to never contact me again. he didn't. so there is that. he died today. at least that is what facebook tells me. (a sleuthing of sorts reveals an online death certificate so it seems to be true.) and i don't know how to feel about this. now that the day is here, i mean. even though he was sort of dead to me in a very metaphorical sense. i suppose i should feel free. or angry. happy. relieved. confused. mostly i feel deflated. the same way i feel on the fourth of july or new year's eve. like the anticipation was for something so much greater. the actual event is a sort of non-committal act of passive resistance. i feel like i should feel more than i do.


my son turned two today. so i suppose more than a good day to die, it is a good to celebrate being alive.


i wish my step-father peace. since he never seemed to have it here.