The Wind and the Butterfly: a fable

Once upon a time, there was a crepe-paper butterfly, tied like a kite to a wisp of spun spider-silk pulled taut in a teary lifeline. Flitting and turning, tilting and lilting, the creature circled in the wind on the end of the thin strand.

Till one day, a southeast stormwind whispered in, sighing long songs of warning and want, words stirred like smoke from a deep Atlantic hearth.

Gently spoken, but brutal was the touch of his breath, violence striking the creature’s wings mid-flight, tearing great beauty half-in-two and sending her parts to the house of day and the mouth of night.

What words were lost to the lesser frame as her name was shorn and stripped, but hatred lacing each gusting phrase?

“No,” the wind wept and groaned, and mourned, and unseen, secretly grieved: “I only meant to lift you to the places I will never see.”

Invasive Fantasies, Bankruptcy Court

Beside you,
Courtroom pew.
The man beside me
Could hear me breathe,
Could feel the rush
My skin released.

Attorney XXX was
Much too short
And sharp
With the wife who spent
The family’s hard-earned cash
On glitter heels
And facial masks.

The freshman kid
With a freshman bride
And the oil-field paycheck
And oil-field dreams of
Loaded SUVs,
Cosmetic surgery,
Upward Mobility,
Twenty-something sexy….

I was thinking on
The blue-collar shade of
Forest green
Along the seam of
Your fading slacks,
100%-cotton button-down
And the pen-pocket I could
Crawl inside,
Slimy in an elegant way
And boldly naturalé.

The summoned names,
The bank accounts,
The fourth hour
Becoming six,
My tangled fingers
Your fist,
My nails pressed into
Bruise half-moons
Across the back of your hand.
Which man

Did you have in mind
To bend my spine,
Break the seal
Of propriety,
Invite beneath
The skirt of decency,
Pin my wrists and
Spit in the face of authority?

No income.
No assets.
No boundaries.
Initial here,
And here,
And here.

And please —
Take my card.
Call me.

So much American tragedy,
Collapsed industry,
Old-fashioned irresponsibility.
Such hardship is obviously
Not lost on me.
But Sweetheart,
I would do that
While you do me
While we find a way back
From poverty.


I saw you through a blackened window, the one you took great care to shade. But how could you know, your long shadow casts stories and histories, and how far, how deep, how wide, and how low.

You own your home and the tricks you build brick by brick…so imposing and beyond reproach. How impressive are the shoulders upon which so many worlds rest and depend.

But from this end, I clearly see silhouetted sins, feel gloved beats and pulsing heat, confessions heaving every heavy breath.

Your bleached pillars and stucco façade erode and blow away in choking clouds of powdered decay.

And there they are…mouldy beams, moist and stinking, black and green as vintage envy. And lo! each carefully fortified wall keeps the sickness in, hidden, unsullied by fiends like me.

But I do see, truthfully: you, too, are diseased humanity.

Subject’s Cry

20160918_135504How she swoons…Summer, having spent herself flourishing, flourescing her bright burns upon upturned eternal-spring faces, begrudging the tiny fires flaming in each child.

She has her revenge, as she sends to worn skins like mine plagues of flies, and steams my breath right out of my breast.

And how she departs in a churning swirl of vaporous skirts, laughing and mean, promising next season’s duchess shall be all the more vexed and will accept nothing less than cold, hard penance for all the frolicks spiting fall, the denials of November and her bitter winds, the sleeping ears drowning out her sister’s sounding arrival.

O’ Summer, have mercy: Extend a gloved hand to the dried-up knee, the foggy eye that shall evermore see how brief is your visit, how all too quickly your heat recedes when spurned by the child and her tiny fire and her cries of victory. Worn skins like mine pledge fealty.

Fucking Saturday

Sunshine on ice,
+++Frosted mason jar,
+++Split lime.
+++For once,
+++My brain is straight.
A man’s Pandora streams
+++Pieces of 90s sexual memory,
+++Before the kids,
+++When we breathed
+++Fucking & cigarettes
+++Fucking & pool
+++Fucking & fighting
+++Fucking & sleeping on the beach
+++And fucking,
+++More fucking,
+++And never enough
What does remembering
+++Do to you
+++On a middle-aged afternoon
+++Dividing shifts,
+++Bankruptcy calls,
+++Disconnect letters,
+++Our fury girl
+++++Who has only just begun
+++++To grope
+++++That same slick landscape:
+++++++The charged structure of
+++++++Perfectly squared love and
Protracted Saturdays.
+++A sweating mason jar,
+++Recycled grunge,
+++Watered-down sunshine.
As close as we come.

Setting a low bar.

20160907_005631“Elephant Purée…The no-chewing-no-choking way to eat an elephant.” You want to run a more efficient home, be a better mom, eat healthier, throw a better party, make a fancier door wreath, whiten your teeth, etc., etc. Well I don’t. I just wanna be able to stomach the day without heaving it back up.

I’m afraid this is no place of self-improvement. As a matter of fact, my company has a way of sucking the hope and motivation right out of people.

I tend a table of disjoint — or bar of disjoint, if you will. I am not a woman of sound mind. I serve instability, artlessness, temper, strife. I house grime, debt, regret, dysfunction, addiction, contention, dependencies, broken things, things that shall never be right. And decidedly absent…shame that typically hides such flaws from the light.

No tips, tricks, life hacks, or natural remedies here. For help and how-to, allow me to redirect you to Pinterest or YouTube or Best of luck to you and a new, improved you.

If you decide to hang out here, though, there’s a chance you may walk away feeling better about yourself than you did before — if you conclude you’re at least better off than “that elephant lady, Lord help her.” There’s the context, and it has nothing to do with efficiency or holiday decor.

A little sidenote: I would never actually eat an elephant. If I were ever tempted, I certainly wouldn’t put the poor thing in a blender.

I have a strong affection for elephants. They’re a majestic species, yet far more critically endangered than most people realize [See CNN article: Our Living Dinosaurs]. They’re worthy of our respect and protection.

I have a strong affection for traditional figures of folk speech, too — like, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” and “I’m so mad, I could kick a chicken.” Such turns of phrase are admittedly “rude, crude, and socially unacceptable,” as my mother liked to say. I say, Long live hyperbole, unnecessary expletives, and crass, antiquated rural euphemism. Surely there’s an endangered list somewhere for language like that.

As a jaded, off-balance, graceless statistic of small-town America, I find hope and motivation in subjects like figures of speech. I may not be able to control the health of the job market or the anxiety I feel at lunchtime when it’s way too early for vodka. But I can control my liberal use of idioms and relish them, no matter how trite, corny, or inappropriate they may be. How ’bout we put that in our peace pipe and smoke it? Let’s see if that dog will hunt. How ’bout we throw that against the wall and see if it sticks?

You get my point. Plenty more where that came from, my friend.