Friday, April 29, 2016

deadly sins

You are mistaken.
I am not wrong about this.
I am never wrong.

What's that you have there?
It looks just like my Precious.
I want it. Need it.

Inside me, a fire,
Tempered napalm waiting for,
Your wrong move. Kaboom!

Two dozen donuts
For the price of one. Gimme.
Don't ask me to share.

Faster. Harder. More.
I can't get enough of you.
You're life's sweet dessert.

The remote control
Is just out of reach. Blast it.
Brady Bunch reruns.

I don't just want mine.
I want yours too. Yes.
And his. And hers. Mine.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

rules for barking

by Jackson

1. When my human opens the back door and I burst into the back yard, I must joyfully bark three times in rapid succession as I bound across the patio towards the grass.
2. If any neighborhood dogs bark an alarm bark within my earshot, I must bark.
3. If any neighborhood dogs bark a joyful bark within my earshot, I may choose whether or not to bark.
4. If my human asks, "Are you hungry?", I must bark wildly and joyfully while running in chaotic circles.
5. If Priscilla sounds a low "ruff" upon hearing an unidentifiable sound while my human is trying to go to sleep, I must immediately respond with my own "ruff" while joining her in staring down the dark hall at possible intruders.
6. If I am inside and my human turns off the alarm system, thereby signalling her return to the territory, I must bark with abandon until she opens the front door.
7. If my human asks, "Are you going to go get it?" while holding any of my toys in the air, I must bark wildly and joyfully while running in the direction I believe she will be throwing it.
8. When the doorbell rings, I must join Priscilla in barking a warning at any human who wishes to enter. Barking must continue until introductions or greetings have been completed and only if trust is established. We mean business.
9. I must bark any time I am startled.
10. If the garbage or recycle truck engines are heard, I must bark furiously.
11. I reserve my most vicious barks for the mailman. I plan to bite him some day.
12. When my human's male friend visits, I bark my most joyful barks. He is clearly the Alpha male in our pack. If I ingratiate myself to him, he might let me stay.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Each stage of life punches me between the eyes. And despite the fact that I've previously watched while others dealt with the challenges that I now face, I'm as shocked by each new event as if I've walked in on a room full of people yelling, "Surprise!"

My mother is in a nursing home. She is miserable and wants to die. But she can't quite manage it, so she's mad as hell. And I am helpless.

Meanwhile, I have 32 months until I can collect my retirement benefits. I need them now. Too bad, Toots.

Did NOT see any of this coming.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


I was eight when we moved to Georgia. To better assimilate, I quickly picked up the local accent, including the pronunciation of "pee-can." Mother, born and raised in Virginia, tolerated my "you reckon" and "bray-yud", but on this she drew a firm line in the Georgia red clay. "No ma'am," she said, "it's puh-kahn. A pee-can is something folks without indoor plumbing keep under their beds on cold winter nights."

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Is it holy? Or -
     Is it unholy? Not sure.
          Powerful voltage.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

wacky writing prompt scavenger hunt from the write practice

"Will you read the letter?' cried Harriet.

I looked up from my corned beef hash. Before she interrupted me, I contemplated the potential highs and lows of the trip ahead. Our suitcases were laid out on the hotel bed. One was mine. One was Harriet's. But Joanne had brought three big bags. Harriet looked disgusted.

My hand clutched at my cheap, aqua housecoat, covered with once cheerful but now faded watermelon slices. She placed the letter in front of me. My silver and black hair, overdue for a cut, fell across my face as I bent to read. I reached up and tucked it behind my ears, already engrossed.

The letter was from Joanne. The urgency of the situation was immediately apparent. "Please come bail me out. I tried to call, but these stupid phones don't work." She was right. I had tried to make calls several times. Between the time change and the spotty service here in Papeete, it was a wonder anyone got through to anyone.

"What's she in jail for?" I asked Harriet.

She rolled her eyes. "Keep reading."

"I have until midday Tuesday," the note went on, "at which point they'll deport me and I'll miss the cruise entirely. I didn't even realize I was holding those black pearl earrings when I walked out of that shop!" Today was Tuesday. I checked my watch. We probably had less than an hour.

I thought about the ten day cruise through French Polynesia. Joanne and I were scheduled to share a mini-suite. We had a ritual to make being together easier on these vacations. A night owl, Joanne used a book light to read late into the night. An early bird, I woke at dawn and read up on deck for several hours, returning mid-morning with a cup of coffee and a big platter of bacon.  It worked, but I never got enough sleep.

Harriet, who could afford a private cabin and didn't much care for Joanne, remarked, "It would be a shame if she missed the cruise." She retrieved a pack of cigarettes from the paper bag, opened them and extracted a cigarette. "Do you have a light?"

I reached in the pocket of my housecoat and brought out the plastic lighter. I looked at it a minute, then flicked the fire into life. I slowly moved the letter from Joanne over to the flame, watching as the corner smoked, then burst into a satisfying fire. I looked at Harriet over the burning paper. She grinned.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Look in my underwear drawer.
It isn't neat.
Lace thongs tangle with cotton grannies.
Body by Victoria bras range from shiny new
    to almost Goodwill.
There's the green crotch-less bikinis he bought
     as a present to himself
     on my birthday, of course.
Underneath a Spanx, you'll find some stockings
     that used to go with that bustier
     until I lost the detachable clips,
     one by one, in various places,
     he and I under the influence
     of varying degrees of passion.
He's everywhere in this drawer! I didn't
     notice that until now.
It's just as well. I like having him there.
Ohhh! The black slip Grandmother gave me!
It belonged to her, but she had so many
     because my aunt kept sending them.
     "Don't tell Aunt ****," she whispered,
     as if she might be listening from the next room.
Oh, he's back! In a full length nightgown,
     in a grayish blue satin. Well, that
     sounded weird, like he was the one
     wearing it. No, he bought it for me.
     Really for me this time.
Haha, lacy black garter pantyhose.
Hello, built in buzzer.
Half of this stuff really has to go.
Or maybe we'll just give each one another go.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

the truth

Tell the truth.

I don't want to tell the truth.

Tell the truth.

I'm afraid of the truth.

Do it.

People read too much into truth. They reinterpret it according to their own view of the world. Their view of you.


I was born under muddy water. I didn't know right from wrong, no.

Cut it out.

By the time I was born, there were four other siblings.

I know that one too. Get to your story.

That actually IS my story.

You know what I mean.

I am the daughter of poor circumstances. I bargained with the future and I took my chances.

You're impossible.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My dog is an escape artist. After living in an apartment for several years, we've moved into a house with a gorgeous back yard. But apparently it's not enough for this former stray who once led a pack through the streets and desert. Nooooo ...

She tunneled under the fence. I was inside the house and recognized her barking coming from the FRONT of the house! I opened the front door and let her in. She looked so pleased with herself, the little tickturd.

I must admit that I have a little escape artist tendency too. It's harder for me to figure out where to start digging, though.

Monday, May 18, 2015

red sting

Aged hands with porcelain skin,
(because ladies stayed out of the sun),
hold fast the Mecuricome bottle.

Onto my skinned knee, the red sting.
"Blow!", instructs Grandmother to my cousins.
Nine mouths blow germs at my torn skin,
their breaths sounding like a steam engine,
punctuated by giggles and shoves.

Then back to playing on the hillside,
aunts and uncles watching,
ice cream churning,
laughter and story-telling as background music
to a Southern childhood.

I survive - joyously!