My words are thrown like stones hitting a wall. They penetrate nothing. They fall to the ground in a pile of rubble. Not even the dust is able to rise around them.

Why do I continue to reach for another stone? Why can I not be released back into the lake of complacency where I was first ensnared? Why must the words be pulled like a child being ripped from a mother's womb? They breathe life and then they must be nursed. They are imperfect. They are demanding. They will ultimately control me.

Have mercy on me. I live in the abyss of mediocrity. This I know. And this I cannot endure.

I reach for another lovely stone...

Friday, May 7, 2010


A beautiful word. There is softness in the breath when spoken.

Prettier than fragile, I think. You see, fragile is stamped on boxes thrown into those bins at the post office. It’s written in bold, black letters on small placards in front of thick, misshapen pottery at the flea market. Handle with care. You break it, you pay. That’s all. Just be a little careful or something may happen. Nothing usually does happen, so I disregard the warnings. Fragile is only the possibility of brokenness.

But fragility, well, fragility is inevitable brokenness. With fragility, you could peel back skin and see fissures winding their haphazard patterns along the hardened shell of what used to be a vibrant labyrinth of a supple and fluid life. It wasn’t enough. The constant thumping of blood across tissue just isn’t enough.

Fragility is like the glass cases that enclose and protect those delicate, glass-blown figurines. Tiny, see-through castles perched atop cliffs that aren’t large enough to hold them. Birds so beautiful that they can only be storybook creatures. Perfectly figured ballerinas with expression-less faces, but always a touch of pink on their lips. The prismatic reflections draw you in to see the wonderment, but you would never think of actually buying. You wonder who does the buying.

You lean close to the case because the beauty entraps you, but there is no touching, no tapping on the glass. There are no breaths. Breathing could begin the shattering. You feel the risk being too close. Too present. It is so frightening, this fragility. All that’s needed is an object, just heavy enough, to be thrown into the glass to start the process. To prove fragility.

It happened the day I realized I would never be first again. The thought had never occurred to me before the moment I heard the word on the other end of the phone line. “Halt.” A heavy word. I felt the force of a flat palm slam close to my face. So close to the glass. “We must halt.” I wasn’t sure what that was supposed to mean. But that’s what was said. And what I heard, was ‘You have no choice. You are not first, and you never will be. It’s too late for you.’ Halt. I picked myself up off the floor and walked into the bathroom to watch the crumbling begin.

It is what happens in a life like mine. A life of fragility. Anything… anything can become the brick.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I cannot move. I seem comfortable in my warm and sleek bed, the covers loosely thrown across the silken pajamas, white sheets framing the freshly brushed dark hair, the arm crooked awkwardly above my head as if I am protecting myself from unseen blows. But I cannot move.

I cannot open my eyes. Even if I could, I know I would see nothing in the dark room. I would see nothing if there was light. It would be the same either way. Because I am blind to what surrounds me. There is only what is inside. I can see that. I writhe and scream inside there, but it does not matter. The inside is what paralyzes.

I see my sin crawling through every vein, taunting and cajoling me. My sin terrifies me. Its evil laugh drowns out the small, desperate prayers that attempt an escape with each gasp of air. Its sharp claws slice through the packed matter and I begin to bleed. Again. Unhealed scars from long ago rip open slowly but methodically. The pain is almost unbearable.

I can still cry. There is always that.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Do you still fly?

The question slammed back at me without mercy. Without emotion. Written innocently with my own hand, it was just a simple postscript of an email to an old friend. He was a pilot. Or a former pilot. I wasn’t sure.

I sat and stared at the words as if they had some bewitching power. I stared until I saw the eyes of the words glaring back at me. Until I saw the grin in the sarcasm of the question.

I pointed the arrow to the ’send’ command and retaliated with the press of the enter key. Take that, I said to the question. You can’t hurt me if you’re gone. But it was still there. Still. Do you still fly?

I pushed away from my desk and walked around to one of the narrow but tall windows in my upstairs office. The room with the light. The room with the view. The room that was screaming, Do you still fly?

I threw the window open and leaned over the sill out into the chilly air. I looked down across the barren field that adjoined my house searching for the usual sense of serenity. But now the tired, cold grass, pock-marked with rocks randomly scattered looked staged, like a movie set. The rocks mocked me as they called, Do you still fly?

And then I felt it. There was no need to pull it out from some hidden recess of brain matter. It was just there. I was there. Standing on the edge of my neighbor’s carport. That’s what we called them back then. Not a garage, really. Just an open place attached to the house, with a roof and large enough to park a car or two. This house was built into the wall of earth, as most of them were in that small country town hammered into nooks and crannies of the Blue Ridge mountains. A grassy hill sloped steeply away from the back of the house, an illusion of modern cliff-dwelling.

On the backside of that carport on the small precipice of brick, my grass-stained toes gripped the cold roughness as I fought to gain my balance. I looked across the rolling valley that melted into mountains, the summer air teasing the beads of sweat gathering in the soft wisps of hair that surrounded my face. Then I looked down on what had to have been only several feet, but felt like a lifetime of expectations. Down upon the faces of my childhood. Faces that taunted. Faces that teased. Faces with no compassion. And what I heard was, Can you fly? Do you fly?

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I have finally realized why I need white. Why on a whim, I painted my office white the other day. Why I just bought that expensive white shirt that I do not need. Why I can’t break away from a white bedspread, sheets, pillows, everything that surrounds my skin.

I am trying to erase my life. A blank page. A blank canvas, beckoning me to start it all over.

Colors remind me. Red is the blood from a surgeon’s knife that left me feeling like a partial woman. No one told me that I would feel that way. Yellow is the field of flowers that I happened upon in my youth when my skin was soft and dreams were my reality. Blue is the ocean that pulls me into its current over and over again only to frighten me away each time with its turbulent hidden world beneath its surface. Green, the color of a lover’s eyes. The one that left me wounded.

On and on they go. Lovely yet dangerous, they caress across my every memory until they begin to overlap. Streaks of orange slashing through the pinks, purples overtaking the reds, silver and golds sparkling until they feel brown. Over and over they swirl, one color upon another, until they cannot help but to darken into black. The color of a void. The color of dying. I cannot risk any more colors.

White rescues me. There is nothing in white. It saves me from myself.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What we want to believe....

I found two pearls. Biting into raw oysters chased with dirty martinis. My young friend immediately saw some sort of good fortune and attempting to pass on the fleeting intrigue, she picked up her phone and projected her fascination into cyberland for all to share. I don’t see it that way. I like the taste of oysters and biting into the sliminess means you could end up with pearls.

These are not the first I have found. The first was with a friend, only a few months before this bounty. I didn’t believe him then when he told me the miniscule brown stone was a pearl. I couldn’t believe a rock rolling inside my mouth would be beautiful if it had more time. Of course, it was too small to be beautiful. I felt small when I was with him.

But this time, the smallness and the ugliness would not intimidate me. The pearls rolled nervously around the bread plate, where I placed them for security, trying to find a place to land. A sort of reverse psychology, the dull brown pearls against the shiny white porcelain. It does something to what we want to believe.

I grew up believing that pearls began as tiny grains of sand, trapped in the oyster’s shell. But the truth is that the pearl begins as an irritant, a parasite, trapped inside a foreign place and coated with layers and layers of shell material. Some parasites become perfect. Spherical, iridescent perfection. Others become small brown rocks rolling around a bread plate on a fake Cajun restaurant’s dirty bar in a strip mall. Either way, we are all just parasites.

Now I have to sort out what to do with my pearls that are nothing more than parasites disguised as rocks and labeled pearls only because of their birthright. How to keep them from falling into a crack somewhere and getting lost forever. My two new ones join the first in a cheap, felt-lined reading glass case, the glasses long ago broken, lost or wherever reading glasses end up.

I am holding three shell-hardened parasites in a reading glass case. Maybe my young friend is right. There must be some meaning in that.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

'Fantasmic' should be a word...I want to use it...

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Isn't it strange how moonlight on snow creates a sense of loneliness, no matter how beautiful it may be....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Falling Sideways....A Short Memoir

The snow falls sideways. It is beautiful, but it is not right. It is explainable, but it is not excused. The ground does not blanket properly as little white mounds scatter selfishly amid random patches of dingy, green grass struggling desperately to survive the onslaught.

I need the snow to fall in its proper order. I want the snow to stay focused. I reach my hands out into the disturbance. Pieces of white, so small they seem not to exist at all on their own, swirl briefly around my hands, their pattern broken and battered. I realize I might break up this sideways snow if only for a moment. I lift my arms into the air above me and hold my face up in brazenness to the apathetic sky.

It is cold and I become tired. My arms fall down by my side in resignation to my brief rebellion. The sideways snow does not stop.

A dusky gray light shadows the room as it creeps its way down between the tall, brick buildings, wrapping itself through the alleyway and into the one small window that faces another small window that I could never see into. The scarlet red walls lose their sensuality in the gray light, becoming a colorless darkness that fades into unending blankness. A tall, shabby dresser standing in the far corner mounts the only defense, its creamy wood looming boldly in ghost-like confidence.

I lay prone and still upon the bed, my blankets pushed and prodded away from my skeletal form like the delicate folds of a satin-draped casket. An ancient black phone with its long cord of tightly spiraled plastic sits on the table by the bed. The headset lies across my chest, over my heart, breathing my breaths. I weave the phone cord around each finger, over and over, the only movement in the room. I stare at the scarred ceiling.

There is such a quiet in the room, as if the gray light blocks sound as well. No impatient horns or rumbling engines from the street, no downstairs apartment doors slamming, not even the train has announced itself with clockwork vibrations of windowpanes and antiquated back door locks. There is only her. Her voice gravelly seeping out of the headset that breathes my breaths. Her voice speaking over hundreds o f miles into my world, breaching the gray light’s power.

I am confined, tightly encased in the flagellating pulse of her words. They echo through my blood as they have done from my conception. Trapped by the circling steps of the tigress, unsure and confused by her instinct, I question what the tigress is protecting. The teeth are bared toward her own.

There was a time when I would listen. When I would attempt an answer against the words of accusations, each one sealed in stone and hurled mercilessly at her target. She spoke of betrayal as if I alone was responsible for the men who had not loved her. She spoke of rejection when all I had done was begun my life outside of hers. She spoke of separation and retreat when she had begun that process on the day of my birth. Honor thy mother. I owed her that. But it was not right.

I listen for a break in the steady hum of her voice. A possible release. I want to scream, but I know that will not stop her. I remain silent, slowly turning my cheek side to side.

My friend who loves me walks by my door. She stops as she sees the familiar scene that she cannot understand. Her arms push angrily against the doorframe as she silently mouths the words, “Hang up the phone. Just hang it up.” I shake my head back and forth, tears sliding steadily down my temples. As the wetness puddles into the black curls lying like swirled ink stains on the white pillow, I am aware of a slight chill creeping across my skin. My friend drops her arms from the door in defeat and stands guard quietly for a few moments. When she finally turns to go, I feel the look of surrender in her eyes, as when seeing a crippled bird on the side of the road, knowing there is nothing you can do for the creature, knowing his weakness will eventually overcome him.

I turn to look out the small window, the voice droning on and on. I see an edge of the darkening sky between the tall buildings. That must be where the gray light steals its way into my room, I think. I see it has been snowing. It is a beautiful snow. But it is falling sideways

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


It is possible to see and yet be blind. To hear and not listen. But is it possible to speak and yet be silent? I am a mute. I can see the injustices but I cannot bellow my defense. I hear the cries of pain from the ones falling around me, but I cannot soothe their tears. My silence screams.

The surface of the sea is my world. The gentle rocking waves pour over my words, suppressing them with the weight of the water. Underneath the obvious lie violence, survival, beauty and mystery….

My silence screams.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


When I had to look up the word "hate" in the dictionary, I knew I had a problem.

It isn't that I don't have 'extreme hostility' towards drunk drivers, bad drivers and inconsiderate drivers. I certainly 'loathe' and 'detest' child molesters and murderers. Unreservedly, I possess a 'passionate dislike' to liver, income taxes and of course, the familiar fingernails on a chalkboard sound. But when it all comes down to having a 'feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action', I know I am a failure at the emotion of hate.

I searched and searched the center of my consciousness to come up with a hate directly succeeded by an action, to no avail. I only remember the proper parental response to those early traces of human rage as in "No, honey,we don't 'hate' anyone. We only dislike them for the moment." Or the teachers, Sunday School and all, trying their hardest to keep control, stating,"No,honey, we must love our neighbors as ourselves,." Or how about the 'make love, not war' banner? That one has filled me full of guilt since the sixties.,

No, I sit idly by as hate-filled jihadists behead my fellowman without cause. I say someone has to do something. Then I criticize the government for making me strip at airport security. I watch television shows that make whores out of women and say someone should stand up for our daughters. I don't turn the television off. I see children in other countries with fly-infested eyes and hunger-infested bellies and say someone needs to take care of them. I write a small check, drop it in the mail,and feel good about myself. I watch cancer take my best friend's femininity and then her life and I say someone needs to stop this from happening. I am still only crying.

I hate that I am unable to hate...


"Apparently those who are happy can only enjoy themselves because the unhappy bear their burdens in silence, and but for this silence, happiness would be impossible. It is a kind of universal hypnosis.

Anton Chekhov

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Dreams are no more than curses for me. I am not talking about the dreams of the night that spew out all the twisted banalities of our consciences, but those dreams that are woven with our eyes wide open, supposedly driving us to the front battle lines of hope. These dreams fly away almost as soon as I create them. I picture them desperately fluttering their wings to escape the pull of my reality. If they get caught in that current, then they are no more. No longer dreams.
What do they then become? Hope? Doubtful. More likely, disillusionment. Either way, they are no longer dreams. Its best to let them just fly and flutter away to that mysterious place in my soul where the mind and heart have made a pact to imprison the things that hurt me. A sort of dream cage with a little trap door braced for the capture of each and every one. They stay locked away there, safe. Safe from being free, but tormenting me all the same with their constant flapping-each beat of their wings reminding me of my failure to become, to accomplish, to possess-until they tire from the entrapment. Ultimately they lie still, weakening in the recesses.
They cannot hurt me there….