Saturday, June 23, 2012

Phasing Out

It's been a really, really long time since I last posted. In the year and a half that has passed since my last post A LOT has happened. Even though I'm still writing, I've decided not to post my creative pieces. I have decided to share those writings with a small circle of trusted friends instead. Because of this decision, I doubt I'll ever post on this blog again.

While I will not continue this blog, I will continue my online presence. I have a new blog, which you can find at It won't contain my creative work, but I will occasionally talk about the writing life, among other things.

Thanks to all my followers and everyone who read.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Offense and Offering

I am the eye plucked out. I nested
your affections on my lips and sent
them rising away. My tongue, a
millstone about my neck,

burns with coals now and
my words are ashes falling
in gray, dull sorrow
on the bruised and heavy knee.

I wash myself in the wool
you set out for me, and empty
my belly but for the bitter
bite of your unheard reply.

I would you were God to hear
my prayer and forgive me now.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sweet Dreams

A strong contralto voice wavered out of the speakers with a slight reverb over the drum-line, pulled in an anguish he recognized for the first time. They had danced to this song three and a half years before on the orange gym floor of the community church, poorly disguised with plastic Roman columns, fake ivy, and tulle to look like their idea of an up-scale hotel, when in reality it only looked cheap. She in her discount dress and he in a navy second-hand suit. The only luxury between them were the mother-of-pearl cufflinks she insisted on buying him with the money she saved wearing her sister's shoes and not wearing a veil. They couldn't even afford real rings, but she surprised him with the gift, because she so desperately wanted him to have something nice. Back then, this song was an indication, and announcement, a promise, that they were each other's dream and they didn't need physical or material things.

A year ago, they danced to this song again, on the chipped and bubbling linoleum, the breakfast bar that served as their only table littered with glossy grad school look-books, bank statements, and loan applications. Her cheeks had more color then, her bones more flesh, her eyes more hope. She laughed then, and they talked of the dream at the other end, when hew would have rows of cufflinks and new suits, and he would buy her a real wedding ring.

Her cheeks were sallow now, her bones wer razors cutting through her skin, and her under-eyes licked with blue, unable to see the end. As he listened to the impassioned voice wail, the irony of it pierced him--sweet dreams weren't made of this.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hoodie Days

Thursday was meant to be a "hoodie day." In high school, I allowed myself one day of the week, just one day, to look like a bum. I called this day "hoodie day." It was usually reserved for a day when I felt crummy, when I couldn't brush the bitter taste of teen angst or socio-political rage out of my mouth or simply didn't feel like making an effort because everyone needs a day off. On this day, instead of wearing a nice top, I wore a hoodie sweatshirt, usually my favorite Lucky Brand in faded black, with roses on the sleeves and "Live in Love" embroidered on the chest. No matter how hot it was, if it was a hoodie day, I was wearing the sweatshirt. The hoodie was a self-admission that it's okay to feel crummy; I didn't have to be perfect or put together all the time.

Thursday was meant to be a hoodie day. The night before, taking my pre-bed shower, I hunched my shoulders to protect lungs seizing from being forced to hold in angry sobs, though I had still cried. My arms dangled beside me, missing the soap, barely able to lather, from clutching my books to me--the books I used to protect my heart when I was upset. When I was a sophomore in high school, I once heard a senior girl say she liked to hold her scriptures when she felt scared, not necessarily read them, but hold them. Ever since then, when I was uncomfortable, upset, or scared, I did the same--I wrapped my arms around them, pressed them to my chest like a bulletproof vest. Now my arms were tired, my biceps twitching as water dripped off them. I washed my hair, knowing I wouldn't dry it, but would go to bed with it wet, pressed up against my pillow. It would probably look terrible, like it usually does if I leave it to its own whim.

I got into bed, making a quick phone call to my father, and looking up "Resurrection" in my Bible, because it felt like the right thing to do, the right thing to fall asleep with on my mind. I closed the canopy on my bed, because I've grown to think it keeps me safe and I can't sleep without it closed. Though my arms were tired, I clutched my scriptures to my chest like a child clutches to a teddy bear at night.

I skipped my swim class in the morning, even though I desperately need to do well in that class to graduate. I heard my roommates rummaging around to leave, but didn't notice them open the door to check if I was awake and ready to go to class. My back must have been turned to the door.

When I finally got up, I felt better than I had the night before, but I still wanted to wear a sweater, and I wanted to stay in my pajamas, reading in bed all day. Thursday was meant to be a hoodie day, but it can't be.

Thursday is my favorite day of the week, and as my favorite day of the week, I want to make it extra special, so I have a rule. Every Thursday, I dress up in a skirt and heels and wear makeup. Now, each of these three things, separate, on any given day, is not unusual. To find all of them in one day is uncommon. Thursdays are special, and I want them to stay special, so I adhere strictly to this rule, having only missed one Thursday since I started this practice.

So, when I got up Thursday morning, even though I felt like a hoodie, I reached for a cardigan to match my skirt. I wore my favorite navy-blue corduroy skirt with my favorite gray tights and my essential black patent leather pumps with a slub-knit shirt in my beloved gray. I wore the navy cardigan, with the pearl buttons I put on myself, because I thought the original ones were boring. Through no effort of my own, my bed-dried hair looked better than it does when I style it, Taylor Swift wavy, something that has never happened before. I spritzed it with a little hairspray to hold down any fly-aways. Then I got out two clips--a set of small satin bows in navy, and set them in my hair to reveal the pearl earrings that matched the buttons on the cardigan. In a word, I looked adorable. I put on my 1960s-style wool coat and ruffled blue suede gloves, and headed out the door.

It wasn't a perfect day, but it felt that way. The previous day's distress still hung about in my lungs, but I felt lighter, more hopeful, like flowers were blooming where they didn't belong--like in the crevices of rocks. It felt like the way I feel when I'm walking home late at night, and I come across a bunny. It felt like the way I feel when I make a sudden discovery.

And the best part? Realizing it was Thursday. This might sound stupid, but on Thursday, I treat myself to one of my life's simplest pleasures: a steamed soymilk from my favorite coffee shop. I used to get one every day for breakfast, but then I started losing too much weight and spending too much money. So now I only get them on Thursdays for lunch. When I realized it was the day I got my steamed soy, I actually clapped my hands.

As far as days go, it was pretty good, and it started because I didn't wear a hoodie. I know I don't need to have it together all the time. I didn't make it through the day without my eyes swelling with tears, but not a one hit my cheek. It was a good day because I was determined to make it one. I was faking it, and it became true.

When I went to bed, I wanted to cry, but I didn't.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


The second of my memories with Mcartny.

I love the zoo, though it breaks my heart to see the animals in their concrete habitats. I ache with the beauty of these powerful animals in their long-suffering under hot suns, and I love them. Their spirits we don’t understand.

Today I am at the zoo with my aunts and cousins. Mcartny is five. And sassy. And impatient. She does not want to stand overly long to see the animals. They fascinate her long enough for her to know they have stripes or spots. Long enough to know they swing from trees and trumpet from their trunks. Then she moves on.

When we get to the giraffes, we do not want to leave. We stare at the mother and her baby in a way that would embarrass us if they were human. We admire the variance in the colors of their coats. I say “Did you know their horns are actually made of hair?” We watch to see the subtle shifts of the muscles in their thick necks. The curve of their backs. Their lashes—so long. The proportion of torsos to legs. Their bubblegum tongues. Their eyes are brown—slow and peaceful.

Mcartny pushes her mother to move on, pulling and pouting. Her mother says, “Hold on. I want to stay and watch the giraffes. I just can’t get over how beautiful they are.”

Mcartny commands, “Well get over it.”

My laugh is only stifled by the sad implications of her statement and the longing for the day when, like giraffes and the other animals her brown eyes will be slow and peaceful, beautiful in long-suffering, stopping to admire the giraffes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Jars of Honey

I close at the night,
petals folding inward
on a picked-over heart--
the exhausted nectar
I refuse to share
anymore from my lips,
you drank with a thought-kiss.

The dark and fragile petals protect me from

Your honey for my pain.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crown Burger

We’re at Crown Burger again—my older brother and I. Our little brother is with us. We just got out of being stuck in traffic for hours, and I’m late for work. Despite being tired from sitting in a car for so long, we are all in a good mood, laughing, teasing, joking. My brothers are trying to see who can insult the other one best. They have just used their favorites: “butt-sniffer” and “If I had a dog with a face like yours, I’d shave its butt and make it walk backwards.”—both of which they have stolen from the film Sandlot. No matter how crude they get, they think they are hilarious. As usual, my little brother cannot stop laughing. He struggles to stand up or walk straight as we walk into the restaurant. As we are eating, my manager calls me to find out where I am, and I tell her I am almost there. I shush my brothers quiet with a hand and wide eyes. Hopefully, my manager thinks the background noise of order numbers over a P.A. and music are only from a car radio. Still, my brothers are laughing. Today, I am not the sister who goes away and returns to interrupt their lives every summer. Right now, we are laughing, laughing, laughing—so tired, we are silly.