frank and fireworks

10th Street….

“Hurry, get Frank! She’s waving a pistol on some lady’s porch!”

“Where is he?”

“Just find him!’

“Honey, what’s wrong? Put the gun down and tell me?”

“Your son beat my boy and took his twenty dollars. I want it back.”

“Here, take my twenty dollars. I just want to squash this.”

“NO, I want his!”

“He’s not here.”

She starts wailing and swinging the gun around the lady’s front porch.

Grady Avenue…

“Sounds like someone’s shooting off some fireworks,” she smiles.


silent american orders hamburger


I went to the Haiti hotel where Graham Greene used to go all the time. There were these great murals. They had buckled but had not fallen in the quake.

We decided to grab lunch. A guy who knew the spot well told us all that the avocado clubs were the best.

I wanted a hamburger. I had been thinking about it all day– a big juicy one…with a lot of bacon.

I was there with about forty Americans sitting roughly in the middle of the temporarily joined tables.

One by one they ordered avocado club sandwiches.

Around the tenth person with their stupid avocado club, my inner monologue fraught with insecurity and heightened by my temporary famine starts wondering.

Do they know something I don’t know?

My mind skips to the murals. What would Diego Rivera do? What type of lunch would “the people” want me to devour?

Solidarity or personal desire?

My mind jerks to how cows buckle and fall when shot with air darts before slaughter.

Why was the life of the cow more poignant to people than the life of the avocado?

The waiter looks at me; I open my mouth and stutter my choice.

The American next to me orders the hamburger.



as i grasp my huge lunch and shove it into me,

and the quiet american eats his tiny slider,

i realize avocado greene is people.


may you buckle but not fall.




Gypsy in Chains

“They hang out at the less hoighty toighty ski resorts, the ones with cross-country granola skiers instead of the women in three hundred dollar ski goggles.  The gypsies just grab their chainsaws and carve these bears and sell them for a few hundred dollars and live off the money off season. They had a big fire. I was cold and wet, so I went up to them and said, ‘Won’t be buying a bear today, but would love to talk to you.’ I really wanted their story.”

I remember my bear. Her name was Fitzpatrick. Every day, they would line us up in alphabetical order. Fitzpatrick was always called at least three times. He was either sick, on restriction, or unable to hear his name over the cacaphony in his unquieted mind. So, every day, I stood there looking at a picture of this bear with her (?) cubs on the hallway wall waiting for Fitzpatrick to get his shit together.

I stared at Fitzpatrick, the bear not the man behind me, and wondered about something capable of so much rage and comfort. I wondered if I only noticed this duality, because I like Fitzpatrick, the man behind me not the bear, was grappling with my own in the form of bipolar disorder in a mental institution in Staunton, Virginia.

“I don’t think my parents would ever let me do that!” prattled my  caseworker.

“Buy a bear?”

“Be a gypsy.”


“Yes,  a gypsy life is not for everyone.”

God, how mundane medicated normalcy has become.

Won’t be buying a bear today.

Ash Rose

I am your tabula rasa.

You imprint your sterling rose on my right solar plexis.

“She’s too young for silver elegance. Make her red or yellow. Let her brightness be primary.”

“Mamma, it’s not silver, it’s grey. It’s protection from the evil eye and forgetting. I can’t let her forget me.”

“A woman of twenty with such silly fears. She cannot lose you any more than she can lose herself.”

“Mamma, people, especially little girls, lose their way every-”

“Do not try to advise me, dear one. If you believe you are lost, trust your guide and open yourself to a new compass.”

I am your tabula rasa.

X-ray Vision and Sub-Atomic Dream Particles

“That’s fantastic. That’s magnificent,” he exclaims as he fingers the cobalt blue medicine box she has handed him.

Fantastic? Magnificent?

Has he never seen a double rainbow?

Has he never seen a baby smile for the first time?

Has he never seen a sunrise after a dark night of the soul?

Well, these phenomena are just gas based illusions.

His medicines may make him solid.

I try to remove my look of disdain. It’s down to my left pinky nail as he finishes effusively thanking the box and looks at me.

I wonder if the medicine makes him see or see right through me.

“Gas dreams and x-ray vision… A nurse shouldn’t think such things,” she admonishes herself gently putting the rest of the pill boxes away.

noir writing prompt & contest: “Casablanca Knight?”

“The bar has been closed for some time now, the neon lights serve as a reminder that the place exists and I should come back in the daylight. I don’t think so. I have spent my hours this evening on a bar stool at another bar a few miles away. Seems like the flashing neon is a sign to the dark city that it’s time to wash away the troubles of today as a new morn is approaching..this is good news for…..”


she enters the room. My eyes go up from the run in her hose to the grit in her eyes. I knew that look of hunger, lost pride, hope’s glimmer. There was a she before her who taught me the pain of approaching a flame that blinds such as love at first sight. The memory makes me shiver on the mid-June Casablanca night. I pretend to look at the broken clock above her head and turn away. Remembering.

our life’s fabric

according to an elder i met in new mexico,

eden’s serpent was cotton-mouthed.


the hooked-tooth fish-eater came to the garden

drawn by her sea scent and his dry speech drew the dewy doe.


satan shared sere spills of softly spoken superstitions.


he took the knowledge as cider soothing his burning tongue.

she took the knowledge as nakedness and fear burning all.

death didn’t come

death came to my door early one morning.

grouchy, curious, and barely dressed, i greeted her

taking in her new gucci scarlet shrouds.

she kissed me full on the mouth.

she pressed hard and forced my lip’s cavern.

she inhaled my white gardenia deeply.

confused, i scratched my head.

i smiled, the movement disengaging.

i pulled away and explained her mistake.


“i keep my hair short, so my wigs fit better.”

an angel, a demon, and confucious

an angel, a demon, and confucious perform a tchaikovsky ballet on a copper needle head,

as the llamas and camels jump through its azure eye.

they leap into each other to odette’s song.

never mindful, they swivel, sip ambrosia, and sundry speak.

“i am condemned, because i was created most beautiful, and i proclaimed i was the light,” the demon confesses.

“beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart,” confucious advises.

“i am condemned, because i was created with no heart,” the angel wails.

the two look down at their feet and jump through the needle,

leaving two half filled waterford pieces, two sets of sandy footprints,

and negative space to build and grow.


cop trick

“Welcome to CIT training. I have a degree from UVA in English and Philosophy. I am a peer support specialist and on the Board of this and that. And, I like karaoke. Also, as some of you may know, I have been hospitalized for mental illness over ten times. One cop ‘redirected me to the ground” colliding me naked into a Florida red ant hill, cuffed, and hog tied me, and ignored my cries for help to remove the constantly biting and burning ants. I had another officer sit with me for hours in the e/r talking to me about miracles and John Grisham.  What kind of police officer do you want to be in mental health crisis?”


A father’s plea


“Veronica, as your father, I demand you stop doing this. People get killed in their own homes. Control yourself. Please.”


“One of the first things I suggest is slow down. You’ve arrived at the situation. Now, it’s time to be patient and diffuse…not create another crisis.”


a cop trick


He worked for vice. She was doing a little something she wasn’t supposed to be doing.


He bought her an afternoon sweet tea at a bar near her dorm with medium lighting and a lot of cheap wood paneling.


He gave her once overs, smiled, and nodded a lot.


They decided to try each other out in a motel near grounds.


As she entered his car, she noticed his siren.


“You know most sex acts are illegal in the state of Virginia,” she says pretending to be coy truly being cautious.


“I know. I break them regularly.”


They had pivotal, shallow, masterful sex.


He taught her how to fuck with the lights on, and then they broke a lamp.


During the two year affair, he traveled hundreds of miles all over Virginia to be with her, dealt with pregnancy scares, and sent her a graduation card.


And, never fucked, saw, or called her again.


“Another suggestion is make it personal without taking it personal. You are dealing with a person who is not dealing with you but with themselves and their pains and their fears. Be kind even when we are unkind to you.  I believe if there is any judgment after this world… it’s about how we treated those who mistreated us.”


Occupy ousted; cops take naked lady.


they never showed me smile at the arresting officer.

they never showed me reach out to shake her hand.

they never showed her reach down and take my hand.


They never ask me to speak at a CIT training again.