Trixie’s strike

bowlingMr. Big lounged on the vinyl and watched Trixie’s lazy wind-up.

Tiny peck on the dome, seismic butt wiggle. Skitter, swing, release.

Lucky persimmon shot like hot lava down the slick alley.

Her shriek shrill over the clatter of pins.

“Yeah, Trixie baby.” Damn, he loved his wife’s strike.

He was up.

A true story in 52 words for the Shapeshifting 13 over at Grammar Ghoul Press.

Her heart in his hand

laboratoryDr. Jeremiah Longlove found his cellar laboratory chilly in the mornings. This particular morning, a Tuesday, the sun hung low, cloaked by heavy clouds beyond his half-height casement window.

Dr. Longlove’s cellar laboratory lay at the bottom of a steep flight of stone steps, lit only by half-molten candles and heavy with despair. Glass bottles lined wooden shelves, bottles that contained the elixers of life, according to Jeremiah Longlove: Strontium salicylate for healing skin ailments, Capille pellets for facilitating balance, worm lozenges for irritable bowels, p. Conii powder for alleviating depression, and his precious indigo, as good for cooling a fever as for curing blindness. His ever present and immaculate mortar and pestle stood at the ready in one corner.

Along the far wall, Dr. Longlove had arranged his tools and devices on hooks in order by size. At the far left hung a large, well-sharpened pair of shears, followed by his other implements, gradually descending to his tiniest glistening scalpel. Each and every tool had a special place in Jeremiah Longlove’s heart. Dr. Longlove’s cellar laboratory was his pride and joy, second only to his abiding passion for Angela, his longtime mistress and love, who currently lay dead on the operating platform before him.

Dr. Longlove vastly preferred using the operating platform for fucking his beautiful mistress. Her untimely death due to an unfortunate bathtub accident and today’s autopsy came as a surprise and a shock. Jeremiah couldn’t seem to look at his poor helpless patient without seeing her in their favored position: Bent over the table, her legs spread to receive a pounding from behind as he yanked her head back and kissed her long and deep. No, her death couldn’t have come at a worse moment, just hours before their next regularly scheduled tryst.

Dr. Jeremiah Longlove walked round his patient, who lay before him naked and exposed to the cool morning light. Jeremiah regretted the brutal scene, wherein Angela’s chest lay split open, her heart conspicuously missing from the gaping wound. The sight of his angel ripped to shreds, such as she was, simply broke his heart.

Just then, the clouds shifted, casting an ominous shadow on the ground. Jeremiah turned his attention to his scale, which at the moment held Angela’s heart, bloody and raw. The arrow on the scale pointed squarely at 300—300 grams, that was. Jeremiah permitted himself a small smile, more out of relief than anything else, at the discovery that his love’s heart was in fact a bit on the small side. This, Jeremiah realized, surely explained why Angela would never take him up on his offer to elope.

Jeremiah lovingly replaced his mistress’s heart in her chest cavity and whispered in her ear, “If only I could put you back together and reset you.” He moved on, separating her liver from deep within her corpse. He slipped the organ into the weighing tray. He must press on; his schedule required it.

“Finally, I can see you crystal clear,” Jeremiah murmured to what remained of his soul mate. Suddenly he became overcome with grief and gripped his own chest. Pain coursed through his upper body—sympathy pain, he surmised. He had done research on such matters. Dr. Longlove ripped open his waistcoat and shirt to reveal bloody tracks mimicking Angela’s.

“The scars of your love, Angela,” Jeremiah reasoned. It made perfect sense. He limped to his shelves to locate the appropriate balm, all the while shivering in the chilly air.


I like Belle Knox

Photo via Rolling Stone
Photo via Rolling Stone

Have you heard of this girl? Maybe you’d recognize her by her real name, Miriam Weeks. That’s what I’m going to call her. Miriam is a Duke University freshman (yes, freshman) who was recently outed as a porn star. A friend and Duke frat boy recognized her in a porn scene and asked her about it. She admitted doing porn, and he promptly shared his bounty of knowledge with his entire fraternity.

The thing is this girl is honest. When news traveled beyond the frat party, Miriam spoke up for herself. I’ve read a bunch of interviews on her and blog posts that she wrote herself. I particularly love this quote from xoJane, where she stands up for herself, “My sexuality is not some sort of blackmail to be used against me, granting you ownership over my life or my story. It is my life. It is my story.”

This girl keeps her cool. From what I can tell, Miriam didn’t start slinging mud to vent her anger. She never even named the frat boy who outed her, although another Duke student did. She simply defended her decisions and her family, saying, “My family deserves to be left alone…let’s keep this one to one. You don’t like what I do? Tell it to me. Have some guts.”

This girl is realistic. “The adult industry,” she writes for xoJane, “racks up $13.3 billion in the U.S. alone, and do we honestly wish collective evil, shame, and condemnation upon every human being involved in this gigantic (and… legitimate) business?” As they say, money doesn’t lie. So can’t we just hit the pause button on the public shaming and see Miriam as a girl who has discovered a way to get herself a first class education without racking up tons of debt?

This girl owns her pain. Miriam has admitted to being raped at a party in high school. So instead of giving into her fear and becoming a victim, she’s tried to turn her experience around. It’s exposure therapy. Plus she’s doing something she loves. “For me, shooting pornography brings me unimaginable joy,” she writes. “When I finish a scene, I know that I have done so and completed an honest day’s work. It is my artistic outlet: my love, my happiness, my home.”

This girl is smart. She’s turned the negative conversation around, speaking out against sexual shaming, and in alliance with other sex workers whose experiences have been more degrading and whose prospects in life are leagues below hers. She’s taken her so-called 15 minutes of fame as a chance to market herself, and to take opportunities as they are presented to her. Miriam wants to become a lawyer one day and advocate for women’s rights, using her gifts and experiences to help other women in the sex industry. I have no doubt that she will succeed.

This girl is responsible for herself. I admire her. She has a plan for the big picture, but she’s going with the flow along the way. She’s willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. She’s not letting her parents’ financial misfortune determine her future. I hope that each of my three kids grows up to be as daring, courageous, and intelligent as her.

This girl is learning. As a women’s studies major, Miriam has tossed around a fair amount of feminist commentary. I respect her for it, but I think feminism is beside the point. What really matters is being whole. In other words, to be truly healthy, each of us, regardless of gender, needs to come to terms with our dark side, sexuality included. Miriam’s is an extreme case, but it’s a good template for everyone. Let’s take a lesson from a teenage girl: The world would be a happier place if we could all share porn with our friends, shame excluded.

Miriam impresses me. She’s got guts. She proves that a girl can be smart and sexy at the same time.


My motivation

I see you there

Glaring at me



Brimming with hatred

Warning me not to come too close

Not to try

Because my story won’t fit on the shelf next to you.

Thirty-three words inspired by beasts in unexpected places.



Present tense: Picnic dinner


Last night we had a picnic dinner at the botanic garden. It’s something that’s on the weekly schedule but I almost cancelled for clouds that looked heavy with rain.

I’m glad that I didn’t.

Prep work was hard as usual. Imagine kids screaming in the background. The same song playing repeatedly in the kitchen.

The one-year old crayoning on my laptop screen. The five-year old intermittently screaming and eating everything in sight. The seven-year old singing along to that same damn song.

The drive is quiet but for Gabe’s questions and lectures. The kids can’t help hitting each other a few times. We stop to pick up Geoff from the train.

Finally, we reach the garden, cool and surprisingly sunlit. We eat pesto pasta, fruit, and brownies while jumping up from our blanket to chase Nate away from the water.




We’re all having fun. Looking at us, you’d have no idea the scenes we’ve endured to get here. You’d have no idea of the conversations Geoff and I had earlier this week. You’d only see the result: a happy family. So simple.


You wouldn’t know that Gabe would momentarily run down a grassy hill and fall on the gravel path below, scraping himself in five places and shattering his happiness. You wouldn’t get to see Nate’s joy at splashing in a fountain, and you wouldn’t have to chase him out of the fountain. You wouldn’t know that Anna and Gabe would have an extensive fight over my water bottle on the way home.


You’d miss Gabe’s never-ending soliloquy in the car. Once at home, you would miss our bedtime conversation:

Me: It’s quiet time now. I need you to stop talking.

Him: Why?

Me: Well, the first reason is that I’m tired of hearing your voice today.

Him: (Jokingly) What’s the second? The third?

You’d miss me hugging him, laughing.

This is going to be a fun few years. You really should hang around.


Walk with me

Let’s go in the rain-wet air
Why do I always write in poetry?
My step is my meter

I like the dead trees
Their black gray white permanent
Against the temporary greenness.

Walk with me
See the goose on the water below
Cross the bridge with hollow footsteps

Come quickly now
There’s a black dragonfly
A white moth

The field of coneflowers so elusive
Like you
Can you see it, set back from the trail?

Never speak only listen
Hear the birds and the silence
Hear our footsteps

Sun on the muddy forest floor
Spots of light in darkness
Do you see me?



Six days and counting. We’re all excited, but I intend to draw it out. I’m going to savor each and every moment leading up to our departure.

Six days until our first camping trip of the summer. Six days until we load the car with the bare necessities. Six days until we close up the house, leaving the realities and responsibilities behind. Six days until we return to ourselves.

In preparation I will make a list. Food we want, the special things that we eat only in the wilderness. Sugary cereals, smoked sausages to roast over the fire, eggs to cook quickly after our hike, whole melons, and marshmallows, of course marshmallows. And beer.

Also on the list: sunscreen, band aids, flip flops, a new frisbee, some rope, bug spray, ice. Only the necessities, remember?

After shopping, I will pack, arranging everything carefully so unpacking will be effortless. I will stuff the cooler and have it ready to toss in the trunk at the last moment.

I will check the directions and show the kids the campground on the map. I will begin the process of detangling from the demands of home. I will begin to let go.

I will make a playlist of music, a small pile of books to direct my thoughts in their wandering. I will pack my art supplies and sketchbook. Finally, when all is readied, I will wait, excitedly. I will close up the house, shut the curtains and leave things neat to ease our return.

At last, when the sixth day arrives, I will help load the car. I will buckle the baby into his carseat and watch as the kids settle themselves into their seats. As we begin to drive I’ll let my thoughts go, watching and listening. Being. At last.