Damaged (NYC Midnight FFC 2019)

They say old flames never die.  They were wrong.


Lily raised her key to the lock.  The wind shifted slightly in a way few would have felt.  She closed her eyes and withdrew into the silence, taking soft rapid intakes of breath to read the air.  Vanilla.  Blueberry.  Sweat.  The right corner of her mouth twitched upwards as a hand slid over her eyes from behind.

“Pretty ladies shouldn’t be wandering these neighborhoods alone.”

Lily leaned back into the voice and sweet sweaty smell.  Her right fingers plunged into a sea of curls and her left ones set anchor into the man’s wrist.  With knees lowered, torso twisted, she pulled him closer and snapped forward.  Up and over her crouching form, the man twisted and fell through the air.  He landed on his back with a knee in his chest and a knife to his throat.

“Next part of you that touches me without a permission slip isn’t going to be reattached.”  Lily slid the knife back into her boot and returned a few strands of purple hair to the tangle of knots on her head.  “You were supposed to be here yesterday, asshole.” She reached out her hand to him.

“So you were warned!”  He brushed dirt off the back of his pants and shook his head, grimacing at the grimy souvenirs of the New York alley that fell from his hair.  “Jesus, Lil.  You should really get laid or lay off the caffeine.”  He held out a crumpled brown paper bag.  “Peace offering?  I stopped at that place you like on the west side.”

Lily unrolled the top and inhaled deeply.  “Pre-chewed cheesecake?  My fave.”

“Well I wasn’t expecting a journey-through-space-and-time-type greeting from you.”  He shrugged.

“I’m teasing, Johnny.  Thank you.”  She shook the open bag and steered a few chunks into her mouth.


The Agency found Lily by accident when a recruit showed up late to a knife throwing contest.  As a handful of people practiced on the remaining targets, a woman on the fringe quickly became all the recruiter could watch.  Though quiet and unremarkable, her aim was deadly.

Lily passed all of the physical and written tests.  The mental ones were waived.  The psychologists left a note in her file that said “Damaged.  No emotions.”…but that mattered little to those who’d taken an interest in her.

The Agency quickly learned there was little to teach her and she didn’t respond well to authority.  Martial arts, marksmanship, self-defense: mastered.  Her higher ups dubbed her “The Feral Cat” and her handler treated her as one:  gloved and from a distance.

On paper, Lily became the tattooist for undercover ops.  She could replicate any tattoo from any criminal gang in the world.   When agents returned from assignment, she switched from ink to laser and erased her artwork.

Only highest command knew Lily was also called in to erase people, assignments she did with surgical precision.


Lily led Johnny through the dark into the back of the parlor, closed the inner door and flipped on the lights.  “Drop your pants, cowboy.”

“Why Miss Lily, I do declare. I didn’t know you still fancied my man parts,” Johnny lilted and fanned his hand over his face.


“C’mon Lil, I was joking.  I know it was just a nine-time thing.” He winked.

“Three-and-a-half if we are talking timed events, Quickdraw.”

He slumped his shoulders and flopped into the chair, whistling the sad Peanuts song.

“We can probably do this if you lift your pant legs.”  She pulled the laser arm towards him.  “Such a shame though because those stars were,” *chef’s kiss*, “but all good art must end in destruction.” Lily snapped the latex gloves against her wrist.

Johnny slowly rolled the cuffs from his ankles to his thighs.

Lily leaned closer to inspect the scars on his knees.  “Jesus.  What did they do?  Drag you through the Kremlin on sandpaper?”

“Turns out your ‘I bow to no one’ stars don’t survive acid.”  Johnny sighed as he pulled his shirt over his head.

Lily wrangled her glasses out of her purple knot of hair and wheeled her chair closer to his chest.  Her head was cocked but her face showed nothing.

“That eagle has great line work.  The woman’s body in his talons will take time and I can’t do much about the blood today.  I have to rent a laser for red pigments.” She pointed the beam at the eagle’s head. “Guess this means you won’t be back to Russia again.”

“It’s not what you think.  They initiated me at a party.  Those psychos can drink gasoline and piss out water.  All I remember is waking up with a dead girl and this goddamned Russian pigeon “he’s a rapist murderer” tattoo on my chest.  They said I left the bar with her.  I don’t know what happened.”


The laser pulsed and the eagle bubbled and frothed.  The burned smell of skin reminded Lily of corn chips.  She made a mental note to pick up chili for dinner.

“I’m scared, Lily.”


Her mind searched the halls of memory for a spark of empathy.  None came so she looked for shapes in the places where his skin sizzled.  A dog in a beret.  A frog with a cigar.

She turned off the laser.

“Gotta pee.”  She stood up and walked towards the back of the room.  Johnny grabbed a magazine.  Lily slid the blade from her boot, held it loosely between her fingers and flicked her wrist forward.  Never hold anything tightly or you lose control.  The knife lodged into the base of his skull and he slumped over.

Lily looked at the clock.  The cleaners would arrive in a half hour and Johnny would disappear.  She turned off the lights and locked the door behind her.  An orange alley cat ran up and wove in between her ankles.

“Sweetness, I have a treat for you today.  Mommy’s assignment left a snack!”  Lily scratched its chin and dumped the cheesecake on the pavement.



Requiem for an I (NYC Midnight FFC 2016 Round 3)

Hitler had a terrible nose picking habit.  The moustache was unsuccessful at curtailing it.  He also sang opera.  Beautifully.  As though every good thing in him were condensed and transformed  into song. “O dieses Licht, wie lang verlosch es nicht!” was his favorite line to sing as the hairless skeletons were dying.  When I was Hitler, I sang that line more times than I can remember.  I also heard those words as the gas vacuumed my lungs.  As everyone I knew was shot in the head in front of me. I killed the nose picker while he was in a bathtub.   I killed them all.  I was every SS guard praying quietly at night for forgiveness.  I was all of the bodies dropping into the holes before being set on fire. I couldn’t keep any of it from happening.  So I stopped trying and shot myself in the head.

“Welcome to Hallory’s.  First time?”

“Yes.  I never noticed this shop until now”.

“What suits your fancy?  Chocolate, sour, sweet, pick your poison”.

I glance at the shelves of multicolored sugar forms and see my reflection in every surface. The nausea of returning is already sliding down my throat so the candy looks like schools of dead fish artfully arranged in various bowls.

“Whatever you’d recommend is fine for me please”.

His eyes flash.

“Nobody has ever asked me that before.  If you trust me, I’ll put together something just dandy”.  He closes his eyes and hums.

“Ahh yes”, he whispers and bends down below the counter.  When he rises, he looks at me.  Through me.  In a way that very few people can do without getting arrested.  He lifts up a bowl of misshapen candy coated blobs.

His hand hovers, playing a piano of air molecules, stopping only to pluck a random fish corpse and drop it into a plastic Faberge egg before returning to his symphony.  His eyes leave mine and briefly dart to my bandaged wrists.

“Rough times?”

24, I thought.  Maybe 26.  In the last loop.

“Just an in between day sir.  Tomorrow  is a new start”.

“Indeed it is.  Always waiting like an old friend,” he nods as his fingers fish out one last candy bit that he hands to me.

It sticks in my teeth as I look down at his curated selection. The egg is filled with a rainbow of squished stars that look like the remains of some ancient deity stomping out its creation once and for all.  The image of a god tantrum curls the corners of my mouth.

“You have a lovely smile.  Don’t change a thing.” He winks and shoos me out the door.

Martin Luther King Jr talked in his sleep.  Mostly limericks about things he would order at restaurants once he was allowed in them.  He could make just about anything rhyme with lobster.  I marched with him.  I heard his sermons.  I saw his “I Have a Dream” speech.  I was him.  I wrote that speech.  I was every ‘amen’ murmuring body in the crowd.  On April 4, 1968, I killed him.  I couldn’t stop him being killed.  I was never James Earl Ray.  I was everyone who cried or laughed at the news.  I stopped trying and hung my own self for a change.

“Welcome to Hallory’s.  First time?”

Every goddamned time.  I’ve tried to figure out a pattern based on the color or shape of the squished star blob stuck in my teeth.  None discernible.  Loop after loop.

I was JFK and all of Dallas, but I was never Lee Harvey Oswald.  I couldn’t stop anything so I jumped in front of a train.  I was Gandhi and I was Godse and everyone who loved and reviled them.  I exploded in the Challenger and I was every child that watched it live.  I jumped from the highest floors of the World Trade Center.  I flew the planes.

I know all of the things nobody is saying.  I know everything that has ever been redacted or erased.  If there were anyone to tell, they wouldn’t believe me anyways.

It hasn’t been all bad though. Drive-in movies in 1958 are just about the most perfect moments to be alive.  I tried to stay, but the microchip was invented.  I knew where that would eventually lead so, grudgingly, I stopped trying and ran a razor up both arms.  Not across the wrist.  That’s fixable.

“What suits your fancy?  Chocolate, sour, sweet, pick your poison”.

Son of a b*&$!.  Blobs.  Air piano.  Don’t change a thing.

In 2027 the culling begins.  A handful of cars missing here and there from the commute each day.  No lines at the bank.  The produce is a little more ripe with fewer finger indentations.  Texts, Facebook likes, and Tweets come faster than ever.  Nobody notices that people are disappearing and the replies and likes and responses are algorithmically generated.  Eventually, all of the “smart” machines take control.  Cars drive off of the road or into each other.  Refrigerators and security systems spontaneously explode without a sound.  Phones and computers emit a frequency that scrambles and deactivates any brain within reach.  Until there are no humans left.  I know this because I’ve been all of them. The machines and the people. There wasn’t any difference.

I don’t remember when this started and I don’t know who I am anymore.  Only that I couldn’t change any of it and that one day it stopped when I’d finally run out of ways to kill myself.

“Welcome to Hallory’s.  First time?” I say.

When they leave, I pass time tap dancing on the stars and picking candy bits out of my teeth.  Someday, someone will miss their bus and run in randomly to escape the rain like I once did and ask me to choose.  I’ll bend down and scoop up a special galaxy of squished stars and I’ll tell them not to change a thing.  Maybe I can spare them the heartache that comes with trying.

BS in Herpetology

BS in Herpetology

Sometimes when you take care of a person’s dogs, you bring home fleas.  Other times?  You bring home a turtle.

I don’t know anything about turtles but this little fella hadn’t been fed in a week or let out to roam in quite some time.  He was pretty dirty and sad looking.

A quick Googoracle consult revealed that these guys like having water to lounge around in.  A mini turtle spa, if you will.  I dusted off our special casino giveaway dish reserved only for guests and filled it with purified water.  Just outside the reach of the heat lamp, I served him his shredded carrot, Romaine, and diced banana salad that he has added to his room service tab.

After a brief dip, the casino lap pool has become a bidet and he is now requesting his banana salads be served on a chilled plate with a sliver of shaved carrot on the side.  He has informed me that he will no longer go by his slave name Morty and will henceforth only answer to his proper gladiator name.

Ladies and germs I present to you:


(if you wondered how long it will be until I figure out which Barbie clothes will fit him…well that is well under way and in the sorting process.  In this lifetime, if only briefly, he will be posed artfully in a plastic cowboy hat)

The Blimey Stone

The Blimey Stone

The following is a cautionary tale, not so much of star crossed lovers nor two cities. It’s not even a story about a man named Jed trying to keep his family fed, but rather a story about nerds, nerd-dom, and a meteoric descent from a yet-to-be-paid-for-how-many-deferments-can-they-give ivory tower (soon to be seen under the Craigslist missed connection ad with the heading: Philosophy degree for sale or barter….barely used).
Ever since I was young, I’ve been playing Jeopardy. My dad and I would sit down every night at 7:00 and duke it out. Anyone who has ever lived with me, or even been near a tv in my company at that time, knows that I’m physically incapable of having any kind of meaningful dialogue. It consumes me. I don’t really care if there are people around or if I’m playing alone. I’ll chirp in the form of questions not so much all day erry day but all day as long as it’s between 7 and 7:30 PST.  For that ephemeral half hour, it’s like all of the things I once read or studied that people said I would never use or need come rushing back in a funhouse mirrored carnival of minutiae that flirts on the tip of my tongue. Ready to fire out into the city around me with the velocity and furor of  a sheer hollow point randomness caliber.
When I went to Mills, there was a common area in one of the dorms that had a tv. 7:00 was typically dinner time, so I usually had it all to myself. Like Gollum…hunched over my precious remote. One night, all of the stars aligned and there laid out before me in blue were all the categories in my wheel house. Both rounds. On that fall evening, I was one with Cliff Claven.
Nobody can play Jeopardy without blurting the answers out loud. I tried it once.  It’s like walking without swinging your arms. I don’t think it’s physically possible for extended lengths of time. While in the Zen zone of barking answer after answer, I didn’t realize that the crew team had walked in and were standing behind the sofa where I was sitting. I don’t know how long they were there (I was a Shaolin monk of nerdville at that point), but as the final jeopardy music sparkled in the twilight around me, the last answer escaped my mouth in a twinkling decrescendo of potent potable perfection. One of the crew girls burped. Like a dude. I think it even rattled the light fixture.  And the moment was gone.
I’ve been chasing that night ever since. Like the fish that got away…or the lottery…or the girl from high school…or a picture of the Yeti. I was one with the quadratics and I keep trying to recreate that.
Along came the internet and within a few short years, online tests were given annually to screen contestants. I don’t know how they used to find people. Sometimes I imagined they had scouts that would sit around bookstores and wait for someone to be reading something heady or say something super profound, and they’d shoulder tap them with 2 tickets to LAX. Crikey. Not kidding though, it’s my favoritest time of year. There are 50 questions in 50 different categories and you have 15 seconds total to read and then type in the answer. The first year I tried was the antithesis of my glorious Mills moment. All sports, modern television series, and pop culture type questions. I bombed. Terribly. Second year? A little better. But the pop culture and modern music questions slayed me once again.
So this year I decided to take a different tact. I watched a brief moment of the AMA’s and Grammy’s. Didn’t recognize a single act and the music was so awful I had to turn each of them off. There was a dude in a hipster suit who sounded like he’d just graduated from the critically acclaimed Eminem for dummies online program, kinda dancing, not really singing or rapping, and then somehow for some odd reason his manager thought it would be a good idea to bring out some dancers dressed like freakin Chaka to leap in arrhythmic circles around him. That was officially the end of my modern music experiment, but I desperately clutched out at the hope that maybe in those excruciating forays somehow I would have taken in something…anything…through osmosis.
This year was the 3rd time to take the goddamn test. There were a few things I didn’t know (opera…sports…ballet…and modern fiction which I default answered Verdi, Buccaneers, swan lake, and ‘who actually reads new fiction?’). When the last question came up, I was feeling ok. Civil War was the category. I wrote a report about it in the 6th grade.  I got an A because I soaked the paper in old tea bags which made it look super authentic.  I don’t remember the question but it was something about the nickname of this general blah blah blah. Jackson. Goddamn Thomas Jonathan Jackson. They didn’t ask for the nickname, but I figured I would add it (and maybe detract from the fact I didn’t know the name of some Adele song….I’ve never heard her music…never been that interested…the world could be filled with rotten avocadoes and if someone offered to lower a rope in exchange for the name of one of her songs, I’d be stuck like the old Pitfall game swinging from brown avocado strings for the end of my days).
Did I write Stonewall? Noooooooooooo.
My dear friends, in my smug and giddy attempt to recapture a long ago evening, I wrote Stalwart. General Stalwart-Laura-really wtf you should stick to Wheel of Fortune or the Price is Right at this point in life-good thing you spent 2 hours researching the history of the Supreme Court -Effing Jackson.
With this I lovingly conclude the cautionary tale of the dark side of nerddom,
Turd Ferguson

Nibbled around the top right edge (part one of?)

Nibbled around the top right edge (part one of?)

I just found a bag of poems I’d written over the years.  Some of them survived my bunnies’ nom nomalypse.  Some have all of the first or last or middle parts completely chewed away.  Others are mainly non magnetic refrigerator phrases with hair stuck to them.  That’s where interpretive dance comes in handy.  Picture me…and probably a one finger salute…and maybe an old Ice Cube song.  For some reason he’s been in the playlist recently.  Here is one that was mostly intact.  ish.  

Editor’s note:  If Monty Python’s Holy Grail ever comes up non sensically, it’s because I’ve absorbed it through osmosis.  It makes more sense to me than most things.  The world would be a better place if we all rode invisible horses and had minstrels


I remember laughing here

More than once into breathlessness.

They’re stepping on plastic now,

wishing it were glass

because scars seem to have a way of making the journey

(the selfies)

more interesting.

On the outside anyways.

I don’t remember her ever smiling at me

But she did

Just now

In a way that seemed to ask:

You sure you want to go down that road again?

I came in a different way this time

where the angles aren’t as steep.

A man with no teeth used to stop by here

to ask what I’d become.

He’s gone now.

I heard the needle was still in his arm two weeks later.

They found him and a note

that said only that the light was changing.

Learning about love’s role in life

requires winding through the finer times.

Mastering the art of falling into the space

where the moon holds her tiniest secrets close.

Just beneath the skin surface

as though a small flower were planted

or picked

or blossomed

to mark the passage of the times nobody ever speaks about.

Those scars are ones we hide even from ourselves.

Learning about love and life

necessitates the mirror being touched and touched again

from the inside out.

And sometimes not knowing what will fall away or who

makes you better at being quiet.

Most people really only turn up for the afterparty.

I trace circles in the sand now.  Try to write my name in spaghettios.

Sometimes god comes to visit

Asks me for a light and if I’ve got the time

A Christmas Ditty Mau

A Christmas Ditty Mau

I’ve been meaning to tell this story for some time.  Partly because it is one of the many tales that explain how it is I ended up this way, and partly because, as of today, March 27th, we still have our wee plastic tree perched precariously on a box of old LP’s by the front door.  I was never entrusted with any festive family heirlooms (the hippie wanderer and breaker of valuables gene in me runs strong).  So our tree is a glorious random collection of Star Wars figures, Hot Wheels, owls, ever beloved members of the Fellowship of the Ring, and a solitary lonely pickle.  The exception being Buddy the Elf.  He is welcome to grip his light anywhere and anytime. Even if it’s on our late March 2017 Comic Conzaa tree.

One of my Mom’s ears sticks out more than the others.  She says it’s the one that the nuns used to drag her around.  None of us children ended up with a wonky ear, so maybe she’s right.  We were raised in a somewhat Catholic-Lite with lime style.  Baptisms, first communions, confessions, church on holidays, etc.  Once we were confirmed and had the Holy Spirit riding shotgun, it was kind of a laissez-faire affair.  If you wanted redemption, it was up to you.  And you had to walk to church to find it.  Plus you had to bring the donation envelope because my Mom said they wouldn’t bury or marry us unless we showed proof of attendance.

Christmas was another story.  From the time we could walk, we went to Midnight Mass because it was less crowded and reliably fell in the start to finish 45 minute time span that my Dad could tolerate.  All business.  Once Pops popped the wafer, he was out the door and had the car running out front to usher us off into the night.  The dangling carrot that kept us going year after year?  We got to open a present when we got home.  Nothing like childhood greed to spark the flames of piety.  I would sit quietly through mass hoping that my new pony wouldn’t eat the reindeer carrots.  It never did…mostly because it was never there…but it kept me quiet in mass for a few years.

All that changed when, on a lark, my dad decided we could choose from the random boxes and open a gift before mass.  I got a 3 pack of white socks (not kidding…but in my defense they were wrapped super fancy).  I don’t remember what anyone else got, but Christmas changed when the last bit of wrapping was torn clean from its innards.

My dad’s gift?  The VHS director’s edition of Godfather I.

His eyes lit up like our friend Buddy the Elf.  He said when it first came out he wanted to lean out of every window and scream “F&*k you world!  I’m Italian!!!”.  And promised we would want to scream it too.  Except we had to find a non swear word.  Or say it in Italian so people couldn’t understand.  We weren’t raised heathens after all.

And just like that, my dad decided that exploring our Italian roots Coppola style would substitute for Xmas mass.

The following year brought VHS Godfather II.  The next year? Godfather III which we all decided had ruined the tradition and we would have been more entertained and/or redeemed at church.  Awful awful movie.  I fart in its general direction.  I’m not entirely sure, but I think the floaters in my eyes are the scar tissue left over from watching Sofia Coppola’s incessant hair flipping.  The pattern is eerily similar.

After dinner the next year, my mom handed my dad a VHS tape shaped bundle of gold and silver foil wrapping.  We eagerly anticipated and yet dreaded the course of the next few hours.  What could it be?

Gentle readers, if any of you guessed The Deer Hunter- I applaud you.  And caution that we should probably never meet in person.

As the popcorn hovered seconds before the too burned to eat because too much wine had been poured mark, my parents set up the movie only by saying we would appreciate it because it was set in a town much like the one they called home before heading west.  We should know what their lives had looked like when they were young.  Plus it had Fredo and Don Corleone in it.

183 minutes.  I don’t remember much of anything other than the movie playing and then somehow for some reason they sang God Bless America.  I looked around and all of us were in a strange quiet daze.  My dad sprung out of his chair, clapped his hands, and announced it was ‘present time’.  My sisters’ boyfriends grabbed their coats and headed for the door.  My parents laughed and laughed at their candy ass California kids.  We skipped gifts that night and all went to bed.  I remember my parents still laughing downstairs as I frightfully tried to keep Walken from entering my dreamscape.

The next morning, shockingly, my sisters’ boyfriends showed up again.  Everyone was quiet as the gifts were passed out.  It seemed strange to open and marvel at a sweater or singing wall fish after that night.  We all sat in a circle with an unopened box on our laps and nobody wanted to start the rotation.

And then suddenly there was a tiny murmur.       Di di.       I looked around.      Di di.     And out of nowhere my sister’s fella yells “MAU” and slapped the box on his lap.

It could very well have been the fractured remains of my psyche, but I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed as hard as I did that morning.  Every tear of paper, every unraveling of a bow, or opening of a box came with a side of Di Di Mau.

For some reason that made it all dysfunctionally ok again.

The tradition lasted as long as the boyfriends did.  Once they were gone it was too awkward a story to try to explain to a new face trying to find their hue in my family’s strange off color kodachrome pallette.  Plus it really wasn’t funny.  Still isn’t.  But goddamnit it still makes me laugh.

The next year we went back to the log with songs channel and pretty much stuck with that in lieu of church (except for the year my dad taped the evening horse races over the log so I wrote into the local tv network to get a copy and they fedex’d a tape that I gave to my mom that eve thinking I’d saved Christmas but really it was just a silent log burning for 6 hours).

Another di di story for another di di time….

The Cockblocked Orange

The Cockblocked Orange

The following is a dramatization of virtually every social media interaction I’ve had in the past year.  Some details have been changed to protect the innocent…or the guilty…depending on what you think of red and yellow and maybe skin cancer.  And apricots.  Please never give me a *hugs*

Original poster (me):  I absolutely love the color orange.  There’s something about it that really seems to tickle the nether reaches of the soul.  Any other orange lovers?  Holla yo!

Person A:  I hate everything about orange.  How could you possibly find any value in it?

Me (in response):  Sometimes when I’m having a really hard day (the kind that takes a potato peeler to your hope and self worth and sense of belonging), I watch the sunset.  On those days, it’s usually orange and somehow it rights the ship, plugs the holes, and realigns myself with my Self again and I make peace with the world around me.

Person B:  The sun kills millions of people.  Have you ever seen the statistics on skin cancer?  Not to mention that sunblock is tested on animals so you have to add those deaths to the equation.  Plus, no offense, your face is looking wrinkled.  *hugs*

Me (in response):  well typically the amount of radiation when the sun is going down is minimal so the risk of cancer is virtually nonexistent but thank you for sharing.  My face is more wrinkled from the bad days than it is from the sun.

Me (new mainline post…part of the original thread but I’m tech challenged so I don’t know the proper terminology):  Even the soft sweet smell and feel of a freshly picked apricot.  Like baby fuzz perfection wrapped in a tiny orange orb.  Regardless of any religious or spiritual affiliation, the first bite of a perfectly ripe apricot is absolutely heavenly.

Person C:  Orange is a combination of red and yellow.  Red makes me think of all the people who are needlessly dying all over the world today because they couldn’t afford an apricot.  Yellow makes me think of bananas, whose growing and harvesting are completely decimating the rainforests.

Person B (joins the thread):  the sun is yellow too.  It’s funny you chose to combine the two colors of destruction.  I’m sorry you’re so dark these days.  *hugs*

Me:  I see what you’re saying, but colors are really just wavelengths of light that the brain registers at a certain point in the color spectrum.  I hope you don’t have any issues with lemons because life has thrown all of us plenty of those (where my shuggah at?)…lol.  As for the sun, it’s technically UV light that our eyes and brain don’t recognize so in the scrambling to make sense of the experience our brain calls it yellow.  In regards to being “dark”, ironically it’s the orange that pulls me out.  All I’m saying is give carrots a chance!  Lol

(person B never responds and unfriends me…then two hours later friends person C)

Person D (randomly two days later) copies and pastes an article from WaPo about a study that found a small percentage of people who like orange are social deviants and possibly defective.  There is no context so I’m not entirely sure if I am effective or defective.

Then A, B, C, and D all click ‘like’ on each other’s comments and have a conversation about the awfulness of the color orange.  They mutually agree that they hope I’m doing ok and that I’m able to move through my struggles.

Me:  Deletes the original post.  Once again signs off and deactivates my social media presence.  Goes outside to watch the sunset.

*whispers to the glorious celestial event above* :


I fucking love you Orange.


Bowling with Tom

Bowling with Tom

Dear Future Self:

Should you happen to find Tom Waits bowling in the next lane again, I implore you…lay off the beer.  Give yourself time to come up with a witty but politely non-intrusive ‘hey there Tom’ and sing a riff of 16 Shells from a Ten-ought Ball.  Or maybe ask him if bowlers in Minneapolis send Christmas cards too.

Be creative.

Whatever you do or however it is phrased, please refrain from telling him you use his music for cooking ambience…and, should the urge strike to give him a simultaneous bro pat on the shoulder, just keep eating your cheese sticks.

Uff da

Why Grown Folk Shouldn’t Do Math

Why Grown Folk Shouldn’t Do Math

I wish daylight savings would come, if it must, on Saturdays.  Only (selfishly) because I work on Sundays and the tricky magician origami folding of time and sunbeams is very confusing in a half asleep state.  I don’t have an alarm clock anymore…because I can never seem to remember to buy batteries for it…so I rely on my phone to keep on top of the arbitrary transformation and reassignment of light.

At midnight (or whatever time is designated by the powers that be for the transfer) my phone didn’t subtract the hour as I slept. For some unknown reason, deus ex machina decided to flex its muscles at 9am.  Which wasn’t helpful.  Don’t get me wrong, I respect anarchy in just about any form, but since I’d already spent half the night doing math problems in my head about how much sleep was left, it switched the denominator and left me wandering about the world in a haze.  I can’t remember which clocks I’ve changed so every room I walk into is a potential time warp.

Once my brain starts going with math problems, it’s all but impossible to stop the random number crunching.  I calculate seconds until an anticipated red light, the steps it will take to get to the corner, how many red cars I’ve passed on the last couple of blocks, the change due to the person in front of me, etc.  Kind of like playing solitary for hours until you finally win, there is always one problem solved in a way that satisfies my brain so it can move onto other things.

Today it was a population problem.  I should back up a few steps (not counting them thankfully anymore at this point) and say that I recently watched the first season of True Detective.  There were a handful of lines in it that still have me processing and deconstructing and trying to spit out a little calculator spiral of paper that says ‘solved’.  One of the quotes was about human consciousness being a tragic misstep in evolution, essentially making self awareness an aberration in nature.  The cure that the character proposes is to stop reproducing.  Let nature get back to being nature.

I started thinking about human population this morning and its rate of growth.  Most couples I know have two children so I used that as my starting point.  I’ve heard a handful of times from people that they stopped at two just to replace themselves.  So then the math kicked in.  One couple has two children.  Each of those two children also has two children.  And so on and so forth.  1,024 children would be the product of the tenth generation (a span of more or less 250 years…only just slightly older than the United States according to a 1976 quarter I have saved to use for scratchers because it’s the lucky one).  Going a little deeper, if you add up every life, including the original couple, there are 2,038 people total.

Good lord.  That’s depressing math yo.  Sorry.

Basically, I guess my brain is trying to say that there are a whole lot of footprints coming down the chute on this planet in the next eye blink.  Imagine beaming all of those people here all at once right now and think about how long it would take for the world to flip the bird and phoenix burn itself into ash.  I don’t think very long…and I wouldn’t blame her.  It’s high time we really really (really) start bumping environmental issues up in the queue of importance if we plan on the tenth generation having anything resembling an inhabitable planet.   Although I opted not to have children, I’m no less responsible for the welfare of those that have.  It’s part of being human. It’s time we get our proverbial shit together.  I don’t know that Mama Earth can give anymore of herself without our help.  And we shouldn’t expect her to forever give more than we take.


Shedding Skin

Shedding Skin

Now the starting over

after the erasing of all finite things

we are reduced to simple and necessary

but surviving and living aren’t the same

I’d leave the dying part to those with more time.

When one foot is in the air,

we’re coming and going at the same time.

Is there a difference anymore?

Might as well find a rhythm and just start moving again

without going through motions.

What lasts will linger

even when lingering has breathed its last.

My wings are taped on backwards

so the only answer was to switch shoes

shift to a higher gear

where F sharp is always F sharp

and E’s and G’s come and go.

Melancholy dissolves like sugar in time,

infinitely like breath and song.

Mostly because dissonance is its own analogy

one better left for the choir to solve.

So let’s dance then!

Laugh our way through love

turn everything on end

so our tiptoes touch the stars

leave the rest for beggars and thieves to call their own.

Shedding skin doesn’t mean losing.

In a sky full of twinkling holes

there’s no way of knowing

what waits on the other side