Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Wood Chipper

Weekly Journal Entry
Mr. Bates
Your name here

Q-What do you think is the best thing and the worst thing about living in a small town?

The very worst part, I have found, of living in a small town is the older you get, the more people you get to know. Like at first my world must have been pretty small, just Mom and Dad and my older sister. Same for all of us. Then maybe a few people your parents know are suddenly there. If you're lucky, a kid or two lives next door. And if you're a super lucky kid like me, you get to meet people like Baby and Princess Poo-Poo too. But then it is like BAM when you start school. All of a sudden you know 30 people your own age. Then 30 more and 30 more of all ages. By third grade you know everyone in the school. And some of their parents and some of their friends and the teachers, the people on your streets. It just keeps going on and on. There's 600 kids at this high school, there were only 200 in my elementary. So many new county kids. And you got to be so nice and happy and friendly to everyone of everyone all the time. That's tough, I think, even for the average person to accomplish. I don't know exactly everyone in town yet, but I'm pretty sure I will achieve that by the time I'm 20. That's like 8000 people, at least. I know people from lots of places. But here, I will know who is from where is from what. Some inside and all of out. The worst part about living in a small town for someone like me is everyone has always known who I am. And if any of their brains were starting to get forgetful, the news reminded them a lot this summer. I was everywhere.

The best part about living in a small town is clean air, I think. My one grandmother lives in Hamilton and the other lives in Toronto. I get home from those places and I'm always coughing for days afterwards. Blue skies here don't mean blue skies there. In fact, most of the times I have been to those cities, the skies are paler, greyer, even when they’re blue. But it's worth going always anyway. Everywhere you look in those cities, there are people you don't know. So many meaningless faces everywhere. My grandma in Toronto doesn't even know her next door neighbour! But who cares about that? Grandma knows everyone at MuchMusic and I get to go there ALL the time. They’re getting to know me too, remembering my name and a lot of them say, Wear that red lipstick all the time, so I'm gonna because who knows...future and all, right? I think I would like to live there. Live where I get to choose what people I know. I wouldn't have to know 8,000 people and they wouldn't have to know me. I could probably get away with knowing 800 in a big city like Toronto. And I could choose what they would know about me. But probably not now. Because it has all been brought up again. After twelve years. My face everywhere. National newscasts and papers for over a week. So who knows when they will do it again.
I feel like I can’t do nothing.
I don’t want this backstory.

Sometimes, Baby and Princess Poo-Poo are more real to me than my own parents. But this is not the time or place to contemplate them or that. I suppose that if you ask the right questions, sometime in the future, I will have to answer them.

Ugh. Tap it out. Erase. Delete. Conform. I can't. We have to write it in pen. In this irreplaceable notebook that you have given us. But I can rip this page out. Start over. Here we go.

The best part about living in a small town is the clean air. I love clean air. It's the best, don’t you agree? I go to big cities a lot and trust me, small towns have way better air. And water. And we have trees that are, you know, big and alive and giving us that air and they are beautiful to look at, don’t you agree? Me too!. I don't see too many trees in Toronto, when I go there, but the ones I do see are little. True fact. And trees are pretty important, so Toronto needs to get more. Like yesterday! Don’t they know we’d all be dead if not for the trees?! I’m getting pretty deep here, right?

OK, now the worst part about a small town is there’s nothing to do, don’t you agree? It’s so boring. I like listening to music loud sometimes, but because I have neighbours and I have to be nice and friendly, I can't do it as much as would like to...Actually, the worst part about living in a small town is the concerts. Who have we had here in the last year? Kim Mitchell. He might rock, but he's not cool,. Don’t you agree?

Ugh. I'm too tired for this. I can't possibly come up with anymore this late at night and meet that crappy full page, front and back requirement of yours. So, I've decided to keep the first page in. And this one too. It's probably close to the limit, but I'm not going to count lines and make sure of it or anything. Besides, I write too hard with pen anyway. You're a teacher and so probably smart enough to notice the imprints my writing makes on future pages. Smart enough to lightly scratch the pencil on a thinner sheet of paper and then decipher what I wrote anyway, I’m sure.
Uh-oh. This one. She's flagged. Might be trouble. What’s with the lipstick? Could be the suicide note.

High school's gonna really suck.

Maybe I will just lose this notebook on my way to class tomorrow morning. Or I could get my sister to do one of her cool hairspray tricks that she likes doing so much.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Punks-Starting to Remember

Minnie is 14. She likes wearing bright red lipstick and getting high.
Right now, Tommy is arguing with her. "Vitto will be waiting for me then."
"He can wait longer," she tells him. "Tell him there was too many cops following you around or something."
"Yeah," Tommy says. "That might work. Vitto would believe that. Three different cops stopped me on the street this week."
"What?" Minnie almost shouted. "Oh, Tommy. They are on to you."
“No, they aren't."
But she knew. "For sure they are. Listen. Meet me outside the pool hall at 9:30. I'll havethe dope then, Tommy."
“No. I really should go see Vitto first.” He kisses her quickly on the forehead and then runs home to make himself some Kraft Dinner for supper.

When he walks in the front door, there is Momma with a bottle of whiskey tucked between her legs, her head rolled to the back of the couch, her mouth open.
"What the fuck, Momma?” Tommy slams the front door to wake her.
Momma starts her laughing, something she still knows how to do like a normal person. "Just a little nap, Tommy, c'mon..."
"No, you come on," he yells. "You come on and be a mother. What the fuck are you?"
"You are going to come in here and tell me what the fuck anything? In my goddamn house?” Tommy watches his mother's head snap up. Her long legs twisting unnaturally, as she staggers to her feet and points at him. "Fuck you, Tommy. You're just a no-good criminal like your father."
"Momma, shut-up, you're drunk."
"No shit," she laughs, walking towards him, finger loose and wagging, like her legs. She gets up close to him, into his face. "You'd be drunk too, if you had a bastard of a child like mine. Causing nothing but fucking problems all the time. People's parents, the police. Now your fucking principal calls me today. Whatcha gotta say about that, Tommy?"
"Don't you blame my dad for how I am. Maybe I'm a bastard because you're a worthless drunk," Tommy spits the words in her face.
Momma grabs him by his shirt and shakes him and Tommy watches her face and words that have no form fly from her lips.

It's two o'clock in the morning and she is still up, even though it is a Wednesday night and there will be school in the morning. She has already decided she would not go. She's been doing that a lot lately. It's getting too hard to go.
She could not stand the hateful stares and the constant whispers. She knows the teachers are offended by the sight of her. And keeping her head down had only gotten her tripped. And spit on by fucking Melissa Walker.
Laying on her back in her bed, Minnie pounds the thin mattress with her fists. She is angry.
She is angry most of all with Tommy because he had not shown-up that night. He had not met her at the arcade and so she has smoked the whole gram of hash to herself. Even though he had paid for it.
She smoked it in her room, not even bothering to open a window. It's not like her mother notices a damn thing anymore. Locked in the spare bedroom, with her over-the-counter sleeping pills. The ones she sends Minnie to get every few days."Get me three boxes. The purple boxes." A rattling of bones from the darkened room. Sometimes the alarm clock would go off for hours, playing rock songs on a background of static, before her mother would snap out of whatever those fucking yellow pills are doing for her. Forgetting, they are helping her forget, Minnie knows that now, wishing her mother would at least remember to buy groceries or pay the hydro bill on time, wishing everyone would forget about her.

In the darkness, Tommy's mind works out what his eyes could not. He is on his bed unsure if he had made it here on his own.
He has to piss.
Zipping up his jeans up and turning, Tommy sees a soft glow coming from the living room. Momma and her candles were going to burn down the house someday. Before he puts it out, he looks over at his mother, laying on the couch, her legs sprawled wide open and blood coming from her nose.
Tommy kneels beside her and puts his hand on her stomach.
Please, breathe... he thinks because he can't.

Tommy shows up, knocking at her window, now after three in the morning, and instead of running to open the side door to let him in, she just opens the window. Tommy's right eye is swollen shut and his white shirt is blotched with blood. "Did Vitto do that?" she asks him.
"Oh, fuck, oh, fuck, I forgot about Vitto. Quick. Let me in." She takes the shirt off of him, as soon as they are in the basement and standing next to her bed. "Tommy," she says, as he drops to her feet and sobs,"Why is it so hard? Why is it all so fucking hard?" His ragged fingernails scrape up her naked legs and she drops the ruined shirt, so she can run her hands through his hair.
And she cries because he is. Only quieter, so he won't know.
He pulls her down to the floor beside him and grabs her face and fills his mouth with hers. She runs her fingers over his bare chest and feels his heart racing beneath her fingertips. She does not resist, when he turns her around and undoes the zipper of his jeans and lifting the long shirt she is wearing, so he take her from behind. He reaches forward, grabbing her tits, squeezing hard, as he uses them to help push and pull his dick into and out of her.
It is over fast and collapses on her back, his mouth close to her ear. “Someday, Minnie, I am going to arrest that fucking bitch for everything I can.”
"You ain't gonna be no cop, Tommy," she says, as she untangles herself from him. "There's something you keep forgetting. Vitto."
She rolls him a roach joint, all that's left, mixed with the tobacco from one of his cigarettes; he does not ask her where the rest of it is. She lets him smoke the joint to himself.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


When it's springtime, that's when it all flows back into her. When she can pick up the guitar again. Every song she has ever sold has been written in the spring. It's not really surprising that when you coop up, every chance you get, from the weather 5 months of the year that you get to know the ugliness of people, of yourself. That first winter living together, the first time she sold a song, she told him over dinner, her smile so wide, her hands a-flutter, until she realised he wasn't listening, just muttering, "Uh-huh. Mmmhmm." She snapped, What, Daniel? This is the best day of my life... And he told her, Listen, I don't give a shit what happened today. Every day is always the best day of your life. All you do is chirp, chirp, chirp and I wasn't even listening. You really screwed up my day.
He was mad at her for not ironing his work clothes right again. Didn't she realise he got ready in the dark, so she could continue sleeping and he needed her to do her fucking job right.
She said to him, angry that he was swearing at her, "Maybe you wrinkle yourself up getting ready in the dark. Maybe you should turn the light on because I didn't care if you do. Maybe you should get dressed in another room. I don't really care what you decide to do, but I wash my hands of it."
"Your fucking play on words all the time fucking annoys me," he said.
"Except for when it makes you laugh," she replied.
So, she didn't do his wash anymore. Thank god.
And she didn't tell him when she sold a song. Having that secret kept her happy and he eventually got happy too and they smiled at the world again. Probably because it was springtime. And if his wintertime tirades sometimes got to be a bit much, she could comfort herself with her secret and the thoughts of long grass, leaves on trees and gentle winds that would soon be coming. Her secret always kept her feeling good. Especially now that two of her songs have been on the radio. Especially more, the day she saw Daniel knew the chorus to one on a drive up to visit her parents.

When the twins were born, in June of last year, Daniel started working from home most days of the week. The communications company he works for installed another phone line and fax machine and gave him a computer to use in his home office. They even let him buy a new chair on their money. It helped out so much, having him home. Megan was only 18 months old and still not potty-trained, when Alexander and Andrew were born. Daniel cooked a lot of suppers, kept a playpen in his office and would throw a load of laundry in whenever he needed to get up and stretch his legs. They were a lucky family. Of all the children, Alex took the longest to start sleeping through the night. 6 Weeks old.
But still, by late October, everyone was losing impatience, including winter. Odd snowflakes fell. You were lucky for the day if one touched your nose.
By mid-November, he only spoke to snap.
By the end of December only to complain: Why is it always so loud in here? All the fucking time? I need to work.
Stop playing your music.
Shut the kids up.
Shut off the fucking vacuum. Do it when I'm not here.
But he was always there, so instead, she just didn't bother to do it at all for three weeks.
In January, after a few nights of sleeping in his office, on the blow-up mattress us, he told her he was moving out. Two weeks, he says. He gives her the countdown every night and then he leaves on time.
And no one's fucking happy now.

When Lolz places her cordless phone on the coffee table, it vibrates loudly against the glass before she lets go. Her hands are shaking badly. She glowers at them, how stereo-typical. She has the sudden urge to sink her fingernails into her eyeballs, get grip in them good enough to steady her hands and pull them out from their sockets, dragging them down her face, until what she sees in her head makes her throat constrict and gag. She realises, no, she should want to just cut off her ears. She doesn't want to hear anymore bullshit. Instead, what she does is bites her fist and when she gets to the kitchen, lets out the knuckle-clenched scream, Fuuuuuuck You. And she thinks, Fuck you. Fuck you, God, or karma, or whatever this all is....FUCK YOU. Why is this happening? Why would someone else join in now? And why her??? I've been doing so good. We've been doing so good. Daniel had been home again for almost seven months. We're getting happy again. Aren't we?
Now she wants to run upstairs and shake Daniel awake and scream in his face, "You liar! Only her, my ass!" And then shake him some more. And some more. And some more.
She should go for a walk to the nearest corn field, so she can sob freely, wail, let this boiling volcano in her gut spew out its hot hate and get it done with. Come home and cry herself to sleep on the couch with the lights on.
But they would wonder where she was, so she grabs the beer she told them she was going to get and heads back to the phone.

Friday, April 11, 2014


She hasn't told anyone. Not her friends, co-workers, not what's left of her family: a brother, an Aunt Mo, a father in a nursing home. Her father would be the easiest because he wouldn't understand anyway. He rarely remembers his own name these days, three months since he has remembered hers. But then there's the nurses, the cleaning staff, the other visitors visiting. What if they heard her? What if that reverend heard her? No thanks, that's too many people and any audience that includes God is far too big for her.
But it screams up from her belly at the worst times. When her mouth is full of muffin, or when she's in the grocery store's meat department, or at a red light during rush hour, too many times to count at work. Swallowing a scream burns the whole body. She's popping into bathrooms a lot more these days because if a scream can't roar out the mouth, its gonna leak out of somewhere. Come to think of it, her ears have been hurting lately too, like those mad cartoon men with smoke steaming out the sides of their heads The longer the guy doesn't call his kid, the more she smoulders. It's been a month of this now. Soon, if she doesn't snap, she's gonna snap.

Thank god it is just her and Kevin. It's hard enough to deal with the 11 year old emotions, giving him the words for betrayal, shame and blame and explaining why he should feel none of it. It's fucking hard. Maybe her son should feel some of these things. It's not good to always reason away everything bad. If there were more kids, she is certain she couldn't cope. It's getting harder to walk by unoccupied rooms and not lock herself in to cry, fry, crucify, nullify, hang it out to dry.
Wasn't she too old to be failing at this too?

He offered her nothing. Certainly no answers to her questions. The worst part is not knowing for how long. He just gathered up his clothes and left. Disappeared. She figures that must be easy to do when you don't have a job. She is envious. Only once she called his mother, but the woman offered no answers either. She just kept repeating that she loved her son, until finally Karen blew up. "Well, you shouldn't. How can you love someone who treats people this way?" Karen knew that Janice knew exactly where her son was. And that nothing much would be said to him about this phone call either. Her husband's ears had long fallen deaf to his parents and they knew it too.

The church at the end of the block starts hosting Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. It's on their lit-up sign, chained close to the front doors. Tuesdays 7:00, Saturdays 3:30. She wonders if she could get away with going to one. She figures if she calls her husband Whiskey that she would be believable enough. Too bad there isn't an Adulterated Anonymous,she thought to herself. Or...

The next day, during her lunch hour, she makes a few calls. "Free Trail Period, eh? Set it up." The next day Karen places an ad for Saturday's Expositor.

Adulterated Anonymous
Did some jerk do it to you? Need to talk?
Call: 519-885-2062 Wednesday 9:00 pm
Women Only!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Jump Right In

It started happening right from the first one. Jack, that's his name. Well, not his real name either, but that should have been his name, so that's what I'm gonna to call him here. He wasn't all that good looking, he had a lot of pimples, but he had his man voice and it was deep and slow. Really easy to listen to. Talking to him on the phone was the best thing about him. I still love talking on the phone. With anyone. I guess that's why I'm honestly here. I know it sounds silly, but I wonder if that was the start of where I went wrong, ten years ago talking to Jack. I was learning the arousals of conversation, when I should have been learning to arouse boys. He made out with Emerald Johnson. Forever why? I still ask myself that. I remember him making all kinds of weird and nasty jokes about her—because she was weird and nasty—and then he went and kissed her?
The last one said he was going to leave his wife for me. A week after we started dating, and two weeks after, he was in his own apartment. I don't know what I thought I won. Why I was so sure this was guy was finally the one. Because two weeks after that, I wanted to surprise him with his favourite morning coffee and...

Geena doesn't have a problem getting a boyfriend (although she has ACTIVELY and CONSCIOUSLY not been dating the last four months), Geena has a problem keeping a boyfriend. And while she has dated more men than the majority of women of all ages, every single one of them has cheated on her.
Maybe because sex is hard for Geena, she willingly explains. It is neither pleasurable or unpleasurable and though she has always been willing to do it, she doesn't really get it. Ultimately, she thinks it stems from her inability to sing in key or dance to the beat of any sort of music. She has no rhythm. She's awkward.

No. I'm not kidding. Every one of them. Even the Unlikables. You know, the greasy or smelly or just downright ugly, she says. All of them.
She is asked, Do any of them ever come back?
But what's your longest relationship then? You've had so many. Eight days? And no one have ever came back?
Then sex is not a factor. Most men don't know the difference between good or bad and will take it whenever they can get it and you are obviously handing it out a lot, so maybe you're the one who's unlikable.
What? You don't have to be so mean to me.
Please, forgive Lolz. She's still very angry. It's recent. Lolz, be nice. Maybe she just has a knack for picking sleazeballs.
I just think it's rude. I want a life partner or even a long-term partner, but not a rude one. Maybe if they were polite and said, Hey, I want to sleep with someone else, I could deal with it. I haven't been angry about it for years," Geena says.
I'm getting another fucking beer, says Lolz.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

That One Over There

Along the path, she can run the length of her small city and back again. Everyone at home knows that when she says she is going for a run that she won't be back for around two hours. They do not know it takes her far less time to make the run, but some of her friends do. Sometimes she's worried she has told the wrong people.
Today, as she does her warm-up stretches in the grass, she watches from behind her sunglassed eyes as another woman walks down the park path. The woman is tall and willowy, wearing a faded flowered skirt, a newer brown shirt, cinched at the waist. Her long brown hair is slightly disheveled; maybe. Brown, sensible sandals on her feet. A modern day hippie. That woman probably has only sensible thoughts in her head too. Drinks homemade carrot and wheatgrass juice in the mornings. She is probably everything Jolene has ever wanted to be. She has never wanted to be this tiny, blonde-bodied shell that she is housed in. A pat on the head and warm, sweet smiles. For fucksakes. Her whole life she has been indulged. She is a free-spirit too. A poet. Just like that woman walking by. She probably makes her living off her paintings, Jolene bets. Goddamn it. Why couldn't Jolene do that? She would never be taken as seriously as that woman is.
But she is—no, she was—mostly satisfied in her life. Thought everyone else in her house was too. But no. Her husband tells her he wants to be unfaithful, or maybe it is faithful because he is telling her that he wants to do this, and no, he has no intentions of leaving the marriage. He won't do it, if she says no, he tells her, but he really feels he just needs to do it. He loves her still. More than anyone else. More than the kids, Jo, more than the kids, but honestly, don't you ever just want to fuck someone else?

She was 15 years old when they met. He was going to be 20 in a few months. But he played hockey for an OHL team and her father loved hockey, so no big deal was made about his age. She was allowed out with him two nights a week. Just have her home by 11, then soon it was by midnight. On other nights, he would come sit with her on the porch or sit with her and her father in the front room watching hockey or baseball. Jolene's mom secretly hoped for grandbabies.

Of course she wants to fuck other men. Yannik Bisson. Tom Cruise with vampire hair. Zac Efron. She hadn't minded her daughter's High School Musical phase. She'd watch the girls over and over as they learned the dance routines and sometimes she even joined in. Much cleaner dancing than what she had been exposed to at the same age. She loves her husband the way that women who have only been with one man do. Faithfully. She doesn't think of other real men. It doesn't cross her mind.

Her head is too full as she runs. Full of the movie of her married life. The other times when things were not so good. She falls down, a dip in the path made from winter wear, and bearable pain. A voice behind her, a hand on her shoulder. "Let me help you."

Michael is remembering those times too. Like a few years back, when, for the first time, he wanted to strangle his wife's perfect little neck. He wanted to watch her all-knowing eyes bulge just for a second. No longer than thirty seconds. He's never imagined it longer than that. Don't judge. It helps him cope. There's some girls up in Toronto he can buy for that and a few other things, if she lets him do this. He would never do those things to her. She's too little. He loves her too much.

"One month," she says to him. And you can't be here."
"Whaddya mean I can't be here?" he says. "Where will I go."
"I don't know. And I don't care. We will tell the kids you are away for your job. Whatever. They're little, they'll believe what they're told. But I can't look at you coming home and wondering if...and what...and no."
He understands now. "Maybe I can stay with Brent."
"And--I'm not done--maybe I will too."
"Do what?" he asks.
"Do whatever, whoever I want."
"Jolene..." he begins, but can't finish. How do you explain your base perversions to your tiny, blonde wife? You don't. He knows she won't do anything or anyone anyway.

As it turns out, he doesn't end up doing much of anything for the month he's gone. He tries at first with a few of the big city bar flirts, but he either passes out or can't get it up. He starts think he doesn't want to lose a few hundred dollars to try out some of those other things he has always wanted to do.

But she does do something. When Michael calls her three weeks later and says he wants to come home early, Jolene makes him wait it out, so she can continue a little while longer.

Michael doesn't ever move out of the house again and twelve years turn to 22. Their last fight, that had been something else. A bad one. His finger, louder than his words, pointing and jabbing at her from across the supper table. “Fuck. You. Jolene.” Just like that. Right in front of the kids. But he took down the monstrosity he was building in the backyard. They both grudged for a week.

So maybe she's not so happy now. Nope, not too much these days. She's really not. She shakes her head and bites the inside of her lip and heads to the kitchen. She's waiting on a phone call. 6:16. And maybe, she figures, she will make them all one last meal. Who knows? Maybe she'll be getting herself out of here tonight.
But there is Michael on the floor, his face is pale burgundy, and she sees the relief in his eyes when he stretches his arm out towards her, at the same time the phone rings. She rushes over and picks up the handle and quickly places it back down. Holding the handle firmly, she wills herself not to cry, she counts to five, then picks it back up and dials for an emergency. She goes to Michael and cradles his head in her lap, fingers smoothing his hair, as they wait for the ambulance to arrive.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Play, Boy

Her husband has been adding women to his Facebook. The kind of women considered whores when they were in high school and still appeared to seem so. Selfishly, her husband likes their 100s of half-naked photos and leaves them risqué—no, lewd—comments, passing by on homepage tickers everywhere.
The children see and become uncomfortable around him.
His parents see and become uncomfortable around her.
It’s been too long since she’s been a comfort to herself.

She starts moving her stuff into the guest bedroom. Her favourite blue sweater on Tuesday. Tubes of her lipstick on Wednesday. A bookshelf by Saturday. He is happy because he thinks books are ugly décor, so he notices that, but nothing else. She notices that the purple shade she painted the guest room years ago doesn’t look good at any time of the day, so she covers the walls with more of her bookcases and buys two new lamps and a dark green blanket for the bed.
28 days later, Lyndsay officially moves out.
Her husband doesn’t notice for a further 36 days. She has always went to bed after him and always been up before him. When he catches her, he foolishly thinks that this is her first night away from him. “Oh, shut up and go to bed,” she says to him. And she fucking actually goes back to reading some stupid book. “You’re a bitch,” he says, knocking the Richard Yates novel from her hands and onto the floor. He glances quickly at the title. “Some sort of feminist bullshit? Maybe you better move there,” he boils, pointing his finger in her face. She crinkles up her eyes and nose and shakes her head back at him in mock amazement. “You truly are an idiot, aren't you” she asks, she sighs. “Just go to bed. Please.”

Now the kids are uncomfortable around her. She moves a few bookcases back out of the room and buys a can of paint and a new set of curtains and makes the room hers. She asks the kids if they would like the same, a new look for their rooms and yes, they do very much, thank you. “Everyone needs their own room to do whatever they want with,” she tells them, when he daughter picks the brightest colour of pink the Home Hardware has. The kids start to see nothing else has changed—well, except for maybe the x-rated movie cases that Jay had seen in his father’s room that one day while he was rooting for loose change—yep, everyone is getting on the same. The same people doing the same chores. Everyone still eating dinner and watching Jeopardy together most nights. The everyday is like every day else, so they too slip into the new normal. Besides, who cares? They’re moving out in a few years anyway.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cookie Jar

The first book officially half done. The others, so heavily researched, stagnant. Sometimes, I do not write for months. Or years. I should be more serious. I need to get more serious. Somehow, it matters so little that it matters the most.

I read an article the other day; maybe it was online at The Atlantic. 'You can't write for yourself' it said. That's bullshit. Worst advice on writing that I have ever read. I try to stay away from advice about writing anyway, but sometimes it pops up out of nowhere. I think if you cannot first delight yourself with your wits, make yourself weep absolute torment, laugh with abandonment, at your own words, how can you possibly begin to write for others?

I am ten years old. I hide the paper, folded in half and folded in half again, in between the pages of a book. There are several on the table that sits by my bed.
I know I should hide it. I have used the word hell a lot because that is what I have written about. I have been in trouble for swearing before.

Grade Two. I am walking home from school, behind two older boys. I do this as often as I can. When we get passed the crossing guard, I yell things at them: You're dickheads. Go fuck yourself. Take a flying leap off a galloping goose. They always laugh at me and I laugh with them. They secretly think I'm a cool little kid. They sometimes hurl insults back at me, but they are lackluster, lame. I tell them how much they suck. And one day, when they say, 'Shut-up', and I don't, I soon realise they were warning me. As they turn their block, across the road, I see my mother.

I take it out whenever I can. Early morning, late at night, when I get home from school before my mother, when she is watching baseball. I read the words, covering one page, front and back. I have put words to paper before. But this is different. I. Wrote This. One evening, sent to bed in daylight and into the night, the light from the kitchen beaming a muted ray across the foot of my bed, until I was exhausted. And it is awesome! It is great! I will be famous someday.

I forget my mother checks my books sometimes. Seeing what needs to go back to the library. Maybe herself with nothing to read, she takes one of mine.
Maybe it scared her. Maybe it scared my grandmother more. At least, they acted that way. My Aunt Sue. My Grandfather. All of them there.

Where did you get this?
Who gave it to you?
Did you get it out of a book?
What kind of people are you hanging out with?

I wrote it.
I wrote it.
I wrote it.

No, you didn't.

Fittingly, my family decided to burn it. My grandmother sparking up her lighter, encrusted in its jeweled-sheath.

-Fuck you. I hate you. We don't even go to church. Unspoken thoughts, sliding through my brain. Angry sliding across my face, heated tears and snot. -I will hate you forever.

I mourned my loss for days. My pen quieted for a while, but I never lost it. They didn't stop me. And I didn't hate them forever. Over the years, I had my words ruined at the hands of others again. Ruined their pages myself. Lost them in moves, or in bags, on a table somewhere, to a leaky basement. I have given my words away. For top school marks, for love, for fun. No, my family could not stop the flow of other things they did not want to understand. They couldn't stop me. And it was a battle they gave up. And truthfully, my words going up in flames probably did more to spur me on. -They don’t believe I wrote it! They think I copied it from a book! It was awesome! It was great! I will be famous someday.

John Irving has been quoted as saying, 'Why shouldn't it take years?" And I believe it. I just go-along. A few taps here, a few taps there. When there are no words, I say, That's okay. See you again soon. And I mean it. It doesn't matter when the words come because they always do. And when they do, whether it is the timed 30 minute, write and edit exercise, otherwise known as a blog post, or the words to a good, ole country love song, or those 4 pesky stories my mind refuses to erase, I have what I like to call Best Fun. Because it’s all about me, baby. What I can create. I have penned perfect sentences. I will pen more. Me. Not you. Maybe you’ll read them. Maybe you won’t. But I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read anything about yourself, that you’re actually wondering what I can create (ME!) for you. So, yes, I write for myself. And to be perfectly honest, I don't think of you at all.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

May Day

I wake up this morning and I sit in bed and I hope and I pray something Like this: Please, Jackie, please bring me coffee. I always want coffee, so it is never far from my mind; therefore, not an unusual thought, but my neighbour has only brought me coffee four times in eight months, so hoping she would be my supplier seemed futile. I do not want to drink that packet of instant-decaf lurking in the back of my kitchen cupboards.
I hear amazing is a word that is used wrong a lot. Apparently, things like crab apples bombing and breaking your cell phone and your sister's new hair-do are not amazing things. But whatever: when I received a text less than 15 minutes later from Jackie asking if I wanted some of her coffee because it was stunning; the best ever made pot, I thought it was amazing. And the coffee? Well, it was amazing too.
And so was the morning front porch: the sunlight. The blue sky. The trees and the leaves and what? Why would anyone care about dandelions, Jackie? It's spring, we cheer.
And my early afternoon nap? My soft blanket? My new fan tickling my feet? Good rest and pleasant sleep. C'mon now, everyone things that's amazing. Right? You know it's true.
And the soup, my wonderful and creamy potato soup, and the after-supper coffee, and the car ride: where no one in my family argued about a goddamn thing. All fucking amazing.
Sitting outside in a cozy blanket, under a midnight sky, writing this silly blog post though is by far the most incredible moment of my day. I used that word right, right?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Something of Nothing

We watch the news and she laughs about the wars. They ways by which we legally and morally kill each other Everyday. Cleverly, she says inappropriate things to catch me off-guard. She likes to watch the shock on my face; I know it, but it comes out anyway. I gape. And then she'll laugh at me, and I know she does not really mean it-but sometimes I am certain she's evil.

She goes to work early just to brew a fresh pot of coffee for the early newspaper readers. There is only 6 of them these days. All of them are older than 50. This should make her sad, but the younger people come in during the evenings to sit with the 6 computers. As she wonders around her library, she sees them studying.

They add her to Facebook. Two or three, sometimes ten, one time 300, each month. People she doesn't know. She adds the tally up inside her head. 1029, 1030, 1031.
Sometimes she looks at their profile. Sometimes she thinks she would like some of these people; she thinks about adding them. But she doesn't. She won't.
She tells him to add them all when she's dead.
He rolls his eyes. He probably won't.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Soul Stealers

There just wasn't any reason to hold him longer, so Tommy was released from the jail two days short from the end of October. The skies threatened rain, but the sun, a bright orb, was up for the battle against the steely grey. Tommy was waiting outside of the gates smoking the cigarette the lady guard, Bonnie, had palmed him on his way out. 'Fuck, kid, calm down. Most kids are excited to be leaving here.' She shook her head at him.
Poor fucking kid.

Tommy didn't really want to leave the jail. He liked it there. At least better than home. In jail, he had food every day and his body felt good. There was lots of time to think in jail and that was good too. He wanted a different future, one that didn't include Momma.
"Thanks for coming to get me, Momma", he still said, When she pulled herself out of the backseat of the taxi. She fussed with her hair; a brighter blonde than he had seen on her before.
"What a bunch of bastards, Tommy," she declared, as she threw herself around him, "We can sue."
"Yeah, Momma," he whispered, pushing her away, "I don't think so."
Tommy looked at her as though she were crazy. And Momma flinched. "Let's just go home," she said.
Tommy stared out the window, as they drove through the country roads. It was so nice to see trees, and houses, and cars again. He wanted to ask the driver if he could roll down his window; just to feel the air, but he did not want to make anyone else cold. It had been cold every day in jail.
Momma soon started again. "If we sue, we can talk about deplorable conditions. I am sure everything was terrible there, wasn't it, Tommy? Besides just falsely arresting you....."

Inmates pissed on everything they could. In the corner of their cells for the hell of it Most of the prisoners would not drink the coffee, but Tommy wouldn't eat the eggs or potatoes either. He knew they were powdered mixes.
It had been bad.

But Tommy just snorted out a laugh at her, "Momma, quit showing-off to cab drivers." And that had shut her up real quick.
When they were home at the entrance of the apartment building, she grabbed him by the back of his shirt, "Just get in the fucking house, Tommy," and she added, words of no thought tumbling out of her mouth; just anger. "Since you think you are a big man now, you need to start carrying your weight. And since you are mostly a good-for-nothing, I don't see how else you can come into some money to support yourself. Because that's what men do. Support themselves. So, you'll have to sue. I'm not gonna keep paying for ya.""
"Momma, all I want to do is go home and go to sleep in my bed..."
"You don't have a bed anymore," Momma said. "Until you pay some rent, you got the couch."

There was nothing for dinner that night. "Men feed themselves," she told him.

"Where are you going?" Momma asked Tommy, an hour later, when he started to put on his shoes.
"Men don't need to tell people where they are going," Tommy spit and slammed the front door behind him.

His footsteps slapped the slick sidewalk, the rain came when the moon climbed higher than the sun. He kept walking anyway. He did not want to go back to Momma's. Not yet. It was after 11 o'clock when he sneaked his way down the familiar driveway.
But Minnie would not answer Tommy's raps on the window. Not even when he drummed out her favorite Judas Priest song.

He heard the car behind him and knew who it was without looking.
"Out looking for new victims?", the cop sneered; rolling down his window.
"Hey, man," Tommy answered, "I'm not looking for any trouble here."
And he kept on walking on.

*Needs to get here
-Not even in a free country were their acts tolerated
*Last Edit
February 2nd

Monday, December 19, 2011


She doesn't know what to do. She doesn't expect this at all. She wants to cry out, instead she chokes on the heart in her throat. The very worst and the best in her life have always happened together.

She remembers it all. The fear. The anxiety. Wanting to vomit from something she could not yet describe, and from the snot. And then there is Johnny at her window. He would have been 13 years old then, and she had to have been just turning four, her birthday in late spring and she is wearing her Tuesday panties and she is warm; she remembers her hair slicked to her forehead. Sweat. Or maybe it is more blood.
God is punishing her for being disrepectful to thou parents.
Because she dropped her glass and broke it.
Because she told her mother what to do.
'Stop yelling at me!'.
And as she cried, she wondered why Mother was not going to bed right now too. And she knows god wants you to cause no one harm. And Samatha's mother had throw the butterknife at her and the blade had stuck into her head.
Samantha knows her mother hates her. And she is pretty sure God wouldn't either.
But there is Johnny, with his brown hair always in his brown eyes. There like he always was when she cried.
"Hey now, baby, everything's going to be ok..."
And the joy she felt when she looked in his eyes.

And the joy she feels when Tommy kisses her, his dark eyes and hands, they move right into her.
And suddenly she is there. Mother.
What is the reason? How is the reason...?
Samantha gets up from the picnic bench and runs.

Her family asleep and snoring as they always do. The skies were the transparent blue of a fine summer's night. She is going into the fifth grade. And she has snuck-out onto the porch to celebrate her favourite time of the day and she would end up forever wishing she could remember the name of the book she had with her; a random one pulled from under her bed, as cover up if caught.
She could hear his tears as he walked by.
And she said, "Hey, now, everything's going to be ok" and because she couldn't bring herself to say baby, her words came out sounding confident. Tough.
Or so Tommy thought. So, he toughened himself up too. Because girls,even if they were just kids, can't be tougher than him. At any time. Ever.
So, he sniffed off his tears and said back to her,"Hey, baby, everything is always ok."
And the light of the night shone over him, as if he were an Angel, she thinks.

* Needs to Get Here
-pigment used to block out particular areas on a negative
*Last Edited
-Feb. 8/12

Friday, July 29, 2011

It Figures

It would be me who cannot follow the simple Blogger templates and screw it all up, despite the fact they practically do everything for you.
I fixed the white links by repeatedly copying and pasting and retyping the very basic html code I learned years ago. From a boy. Who used to fix shit like this. And when I look over on his site, I see he is under construction and having issues with blogrolls too. The difference is that his template is so much more advanced than mine (not that I want mine to look advanced; I like it plain), but I know he will fully fix his someday--he is smart like that (despite the fact he is American). Me: Well, I will just keep banging my head and trying to steal design off blogs I like and never get it right.
And when I am fully sick and tired of doing that, maybe I will post something worthwhile.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Under Some Sort of Construction

Why are some of my links along my sidebar in f-ing white?
This makes me unhappy.
I am going to bed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Read On Another Blog

Have you ever had that feeling, the one where you tell everyone that your real ambition is to write, when really all you do is read what other people write?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

These Are My Words, My Neon, SIliconed, Carcinogenic Words. But This Is My Poem, My Poem About Elvis.

It was her first day in town.
Chewing on a fresh stick of gum, she was looking up and down the street; eyes sliding over the bustle of sweat and sin.
'Little girl lost?' I asked.
And she sighed.

I would say to her over and over again on that first day,'Laugh with me, Jenny,"
And sometimes she would.
Especially when I made my funny faces at her.
She would try not to; she would just roll her eyes at me, but that smile would come. White teeth and soft lips.
And then she would laugh and laugh and laugh, until her body shook and her hair was covered her eyes.
And I would want to kiss her and kiss her and kiss her...
But I dared not try.

I took her to see the kittens down at Paul's pet store.
She held them close to her, rubbing them with her face, but she fancied the talking bird more. He said, "Hi, beautiful," when he saw her. Really, to any woman walking by, but she did not know.

I took her down to see Bruno and his lunch-time sound; strumming his guitar and sucking his cigarette like there was nothing else to better to do. Washing the melody down with tequlila and rum. We sat in the corner and she leaned her head and her body against me. She closed her eyes. "Music is the best thing in life," she said. And it seemed to me an uncontestable truth.

I took her to Wagner's and she tried on all the pink shoes and I bought her a pair of 25 cent flip-flops and she hugged me and after that we held hands and I took her down to the beach; grit between our toes, swelter of skin.

And then back up to Sam's. He smoked with us a joint, in his tiny room, and we were mellow. When he told us the weed came from Wisconsin, she laughed with him.

We skipped over to Joey's and we ate some fish and when I tried to feed her elegant little bites from my fork, she was laughing with me again.

And when we left, I told I was sorry for all the walking and she said, 'Who owns a car? I came by bus.'

I took her back to Sam's for the night; there wasn't anywhere else to go.
I heard her in his arms that first night. I heard the soft whispers and moans.
I heard his voice.

Well, fair exchange bears no robbery,
And the whole world will know that it's true.
Understanding solves all problems, baby,
That's why I'm telling you

And on that second day, she would say over and over again, 'Laugh with me, Paul.' And sometimes I would, but only when I thought about the crabs Sam handed out to everyone.

I took her down to the graveyard. We read the old stones and I stole flowers from them to put in her hair. And when she went to pee behind some bushes, I ran off, back down to Bruno's, back on the prowl.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Later This Week

Perhaps I will just ignore my Dashboard for awhile longer. Blat on about my days or nights. I used to do that here too.

Get used to the feel of the keyboard under my fingers again. You know, write more than the 140 character twit.

It's not that I am empty. Just dissatisfied. And then, not even with everything.

There is joy in my life.

And it is springtime in Canada.

Always a good time for new beginnings.

Sunday, May 01, 2011


It's rarely quiet in my home these days. Even now as 2 am closes in around me the television blats in the background; more of William and Kate. I should be in bed. Children always wake early on a Sunday. Why is that? I remember sunny days and being out the door by 7 o'clock myself. The new dew soaking my sneakers, the cool breeze of early light.
Life used to be more than about the Everyday. More than going through the motions of the mudane tasks. It used to be about more than just breathing.
It was just a few years ago when the police officer pulled over Charlie and I on one of our middle of the night drives thinking he was a dirty old man with a teenager in the car. Now I look in the mirror of my 33 year old self knowing rationally that I am not all that old, but I can see the subtle changes in my features. I am aging. Somedays it consumes me. Enough Somedays that it is becoming the mundane too.
I used to think I could live on into the immortal with my words. One of my old Everydays took up too much of my time. Then I started doing things like smoking my cigarettes outside. And then I felt a sense of cynisism and bitterness start to set in. The lack of new and exciting. Just the same old. The same old. The same old.
I guess I'll start with a draft or two sitting in my long neglected Dashboard...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blank Slate

I have no idea what this blog will be turned into over the next little while. No idea if I can go back to creating the worlds of long ago. Or if I am capable of creating new ones.

Sometimes life happens and you forget.

Friday, July 17, 2009

3000 Miles to Nowhere

Mother complained, “When are you coming home?” And Father complained too. “The only part of Canada without decent skiing. Your mother is driving me nuts.”
“My parents are dead,” she told him, serenely, as though thanking God.

He constantly wanted to brush her hair out of her face, but she would fuss, even swear at him when he tried. “Please, don’t.” “Will you fucking stop?” But he would forget so easily, maybe on purpose, he was always just wishing to see her face, to see her burning eyes staring back into his. She found it rude to stare. She told him so. She liked to sneak glances at people who were unaware of her. Or at least unaware of her eyes on them, her hanging limp hair serving a purpose.
He was in love with her. He told her all the time. But she saw it in his eyes, his movements, heard it in his voice and his everyday words, felt his actions, those of concern and care. She could see and recognize and accept his feelings. She could not be sure she felt the same. Of course, she knew she loved him, but she had learned long ago that butterflies and blushes and sex do not equate to in love. She wondered really if there were such a thing as in love anyway, or if it was just all about hormones and stupidity. He acted stupid lots.
She approached everything in life differently these days, down to even the most commonplace of acts; she started brushing her teeth in the kitchen. Unless he was over. She did not want to make anymore mistakes. She did not know if she would ever want the things he did. He knew it too, but he was determined to prove himself worthy of her. She wondered if she would ever know happiness again. He endured her moods and her hysterics and her distain, so he could show it to her. It would take some figuring out, he assured her, but he was certain he could do it. “Just you wait.”

“Go away,” she would tell him, when he hovered over her, like a mother-hen.
“I just want to be near you. Make sure you’re okay,” he would reply.
And this would irritate her further. “Go away,” she would repeat.
And he would.
And when he was leaving, he would say, “This wasn’t enough. I’ll be back soon.”
She would never know if she should love him more or less for this.

She did not have pets of her own, but she loved cats, and fed the neighbourhood strays, and a few of the ones with homes too. If she had ever doubted animals spoke to each other, she knew for sure now they did. She wondered what they had named her place. Suckers Inn. They would come and meow at her window announcing their arrival and some would run away when she opened it to place the bowl of food outside, leaving it open in case they wanted to come in. Sometimes they did.
He brought the cat food over now; she refused to leave her home. He brought her food too, that she would refuse to eat most days. He cooked anyway. He brought her the Bic pens and she chewed on their lids, but she seldom used them otherwise, unless to do numbers. He brought her the drinking straws that she would chew between cigarettes, and the cigarettes, he brought them too, even though the smell and taste upset and disgusted him. He sat in her gloomy, smoky living room and watched old black and white movies, or did nothing, nothing at all, waiting for her to look up at him and glare or smile. He would bet against himself. If she smiles, I will do my dishes when I gets home, if she’s all bitchy, I will do hers….
Somedays, she would not say a single word to him. Everyday, she would mumble and laugh to herself, as he watched her pencil fly across the paper, or her fingertips glide over the keyboard, and he would wonder, What are you writing? He would leave little notes all over her apartment. She placed them carefully in photo albums (he did not know) or some she placed on the bathroom mirror, and she would write back to him in lipstick…

Fuck you.

Eat shit.

Go home!!!!!!!!!!

Sometimes with a heart, and sometimes not.

One night, Jimmy told him, “You’re nothing but a whipping boy.” And maybe Jimmy was right. But since he did not have other whipping boys to compare himself to, he did not take Jimmy’s words too seriously. Besides, he slurred them when he said them. “You should go talk to that blonde.” Jimmy pointed to a tart all permed and in hot pink and heels.
“I think the Jimster should take this one,” he offered back.
They tipped their beers at each other, as Jimmy and his boots swaggered off.
He would inevitably wind up at her window after a night out with Jimmy, and she would let him in. His kisses forceful, wet and all teeth; she would push him away and then once he slowed down she would give into him, barely uttering a sound, as he moved within her. And unavoidably, he would cry real tears. “Please…Please…” And she would really cry too. “I love you. I do. I love you. For always.” He would hold her desperate, and pretend to believe she meant more than what she was saying.

Friday, March 06, 2009

For Caerleon

"I have let down the blood in several places, and applied the dressings to the wounds. Keep them in place for an hour. He will be comfortable now, but he will not last the night." He touched her shoulder briefly, as he continued shuffling down the great hall, letting himself out.
She rushed to the windows and looked into the early evening light.
Something was so good about these lands. Something so good, it overwhelmed her sometimes. Made her sick to her stomach.
And they are to be mine now.....
She didn't want them.
Of course she didn’t. She was only seventeen, and she had never left the walls of Caerleon. She wanted to rebel, to be free.
She had wept on her father's chest for the last three nights in a row, but not for his coming death.
"Find a husband," he had croaked out his solution, while he smoothed her hair away from her face.

She had almost left Caerleon once. When the dark-haired stranger had shown up in town. He had slept with the horses like any other wanderer passing through. He was one of the few who had ever dared speaking to her, not caring about his place in the world. "Want to go for a ride, lady?"
Startled by his request, she agreed before she realized the improperness of it all. But soon the rides became daily occurrences; the horses frolicking through the sun-streamed canopy of trees.
He spoke to her of another life, another time, a little hut and tamed animals and working the land with his hands.
She said, "I want to come home with you."
And he replied, "I can never go home. The Romans would find me. But we can give ourselves a new home just like it."
She believed him, and they would laugh and dance and jump in the excitement of their love. He would kiss her hand. And then her lips.
Then they would make their plans of escape.
But the lands were invaded the night before they were to depart, and he had taken up the sword for Caerleon. Saving the day. So impressed her father had been, he made him leading commander for his army; wiping out her chance for freedom. But not love.
"Here; I have found everything I have ever wanted to be," he whispered in her ear.

She mourned for three days after her father’s death, before addressing the people of Caerleon. Meeting them out in the street, they soothed her soul with soft murmurs; taking turns to touch her hands, and she soothed theirs with her words. "I promise you Caerleon will always be as it always was."
And they cheered accolades for her and the land.
But she had only told them half the truth.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Life Is More Than Who We Are

If she wanted it that way, then it was going to be that way. It had to be that way. There was no other way.
Everything was black and white. Even if others did not want to admit it.
Did it mean she felt an overall bleakness towards the foibles of humanity--no. Did it mean she escaped overwhelming emptiness sometimes--no.
She was twenty-three years old when she left her hometown. She would not return. She knew she looked at everyone differently; she saw the things others did not, chose not. She knew their truths better than they did and they could read it on her face; she could hurt them with it. Sometimes, she did.
She did not want to be cruel anymore.
She left for somewhere new. Things would be better.
And they were. In Los Angeles. That's where she went.
Some nights she would dance in her living room to ZZ Top or paint pictures of fairies and Snow White on the cardboard of cereal and Hamburger Helper boxes.
When it rained, she would put on blue jeans and her favorite sweater, sit on her apartment balcony, coffee mug in hand, and call the day her own.
It was selfish, her whole life, she did not care.

Sincerely, he was a good man. A good-looking one, with lips that could pout. The kind of man all women look at. Her first true lover.
Three days after moving to Los Angeles, she met him. She had told him her name was Susan, and it was not. She did not think he would call her, when she left him her number in the morning.
But he did before she even arrived home.
It began as purely sexual. Sometimes she would stroke the side of his face after lovemaking, and think, "I hope you are my toy too."

And then it changed.
He liked her.
She liked him.
And she let it go on.
She told herself, 'I will end this next week.', 'On Tuesday', 'I will just stop answering the phone', but it was as if she never really heard herself.
Until one night, she was drunk, she told him.
And he asked her to leave; he did not ask her real name.

She worked harder than most out there, and cried herself to sleep listening to old Elton John records.
They found her 'refreshing', and she knew in this day and age, she was just a novelty that would soon wear off. She was twenty-eight and a half when she wrote and directed her first feature film; 'raw', 'honest', 'painfully truthful', they said.
She told them her name was Linda, and it was not.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Minnie was 14. She liked wearing bright red lipstick and getting high. When Daddy came home drunk again on Friday night, she waited in the kitchen playing Solitaire, until she could hear him snoring.
Creeping through the house and then into her parent's bedroom, Minnie knew she would find her father's pants on the floor beside the bed. The glow from the hallway bathroom provided the light for seeing into her his wallet.
Shit. There were no tens.
Oh, well. She took a twenty.

When Tommy saw Minnie on the other side of the glass, his heart leapt into his throat and he was so happy he wanted to cry. He put his hand on the glass and waited for her to put her hand up against his, and when she did not, he sat down.
He picked-up the phone and said to her, "Why haven't you come? Have you been getting my letters?"
She shrugged. Brushed her hair from her eyes and for the first time really looked into his.
"Oh, Minnie. I'm so glad you're here..."
Her eyes were empty of emotion.
"Aren't you happy to see me?" he asked, and then he whisper rushed into her ears, "...Minnie, I love you..."
But nothing changed. Her eyes stayed blank.
"Oh my God, you think I killed her! Please, don’t do that…”" Tommy cried.
And she charged him, "I saw you with her, Tommy. I saw you with her."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Scars Are Souvenirs You Never Lose


Minnie was 14. She liked wearing bright red lipstick and getting high. But stoned or not; even asleep, Tommy's words would come back to haunt her.

Dear Minnie,
How could you leave me here to rot? How could you not come see me? You must think I did it too. Well, fuck you, Minnie. FUCK YOU!!!!!!

She cried and cried everytime she read the letter; and she could do almost nothing else but. She wanted to go see him, but she was too scared.
Climbing through her bedroom window late, Minnie walked the all-night over and over again.
And waited for the next visit from Officer Rialian. He stopped by every other day.

She did not go to school. She stayed in her room and her mother never came down the stairs to notice. She erased the school's messages from the answering machine every day, before her father came home, until the one day, Daddy stayed home and Minnie had to go prentend going to class. And when she came home Daddy was waiting for her, with an envelope in his hand from the school. Thirty days missing. One more day and she would be expelled.
And he hit her.
He hit her.
He hit her.

Her return to school was the news of the week.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Dear Minnie,

You didn't come. I wonder why. Maybe because you thought I was going to get out on Tuesday anyway. Is your Mom sick again? I guess by now you know I didn't get out. The judge did't show-up for court and the other one was on vacation or something. My lawyer was freaking mad. He was jumping up and down and stuff. He said "We'll get those fuckers! We're gonna fucking sue!" He's a crazy guy. He gets so excited I swear he is gonna have a heart attack. But he also says for sure I will get out for Monday. They only have proof I was drunk. I want you to come see me on Saturday even though I am getting out on Monday--no matter what. Promise? The guys are cool here and all but I really want to see someone from home. I want to see you.
Did you go to the funeral?


Saturday, December 01, 2007

Comfort and Joy

And now it's thirty years later; she's almost 40 and she is lonely and sometimes she shakes her head and she wonders, Why, why, why am I so lonely? And then she remembers why.
It's Daddy. She buried him five years a go. And good.
She showed-up early in the morning and asked the diggers, if she could help. And they let her.
She took off her heels and shoveled dirt till the end.

Back when the summer shone everyday, she would run around or ride her bike, or swim in the lake with her friends, or run into the bush and meet up with Tyler Johnson and she would let him kiss her and she would let his tongue slide around all inside her mouth, or sometimes, she would just hang-out with her brother.
However, he was mean, as brothers can be, and he would do mean things to her- like hold her head under the lake’s water too long or practice his karate moves on her-and she would cry to her Mom, "Make him stop." But she never would.
No one ever listened to her. That's what she thought.

Into the middle of the night, the Christmas lights that covered the Johnson's trailer would shine too, and she could see them from her bunk, at bedtime. She would watch them blink on and off, and sometimes she would squint her eyes, so all the colors would blur together. She loved the lights.
She loved the Johnson's trailer. It was shiny in the daylight too. Mr. Johnson had spray-painted it bright green and yellow and he called it his John Deere. And that would make Daddy snort. He said the only thing Mr. Johnson ever farmed was pot.
But she knew that wasn't true. Drugs were not something good people did.

On Independence Day, there would be a street party and the park would light up, everyone was merry and red. Dancing and laughing. To Bruce Springsteen. The Doors. Duran Duran. Olivia Newton-John.
She thought it was the best time.
Until the year Daddy punched Mr. Johnson in the mouth. It was late, like 10 o'clock and she was tired and she almost did not believe it. But her Daddy did it.
And some of the folks even clapped.

Tyler met her in the woods the next day anyway.
"I'm sorry 'bout what my Daddy did." She did not even say hi.
"It's not your fault," he said. "Your Daddy knocked out one my Daddy's teeth."
And she could feel her body fill with shame. She was gonna cry.
"No-no," he said, grabbing her shoulders. "Don't worry, Emmie. Look at me. He's all excited about gettin' a gold one."
He hugged her.
And that's when they heard, "Get your filthy hands off my daughter.
It happened so fast.
Tyler let go and Daddy rushed him.
And Tyler fell. His head cracked open on a rock
And she couldn't or wouldn't scream.
He grabbed her by the arm, "We gotta walk outta here."
And they did.
And no one ever blamed Daddy.
Not even Mr. Johnson.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Thursday Afternoon

Dear Minnie,

I have been here for three full days now. The lawyer says he’ll get me out Monday. He’s a pretty cool guy. He goes on about how the cops are the real rats and they’re all corrupt and he tells me we will nail those bastards to the wall. He makes me laugh. It's fucking great. Most of the time I spend playing cards with some of the guys or drawing tats in my cell here. I have given some of my flash to some of the guys here. A few already have some tattoos. Mostly stuff they have done to themselves here. Mostly without color. Mostly terrible. But that's okay. A whole bunch of the them said they would come see me to have them covered up when I set up shop. If they all show-up, I have figured out I’ll make 6000 dollars so far. That's fucking awesome. I can't wait until I am old enough to apprentice. Birdie says she'll teach me, but she doesn't think I will want to do it for very long. Says I will probably give up. Don't you think she's crazy? Old people forget about destiny, I think. I do not know why I am writing about all the stuff I’ll just be telling you on Saturday. Just excited about it, I guess. It's not too bad here in the joint really. Someone cooks me three meals a day. And I get a clean jump suit everyday. They are orange. You would probably love them. The guys told me not to drink the coffee here cuz the guards like to piss in it, but I do not like the shit anyway. I'd rather be drinking something else. The worst thing is I can't smoke in here. I want one all the time. I will probably tug out all my hair before I get out. I'm not joking. There is some weird Mormon kid with big ears in here. Some of the guys says he's here for fucking a sheep. I am not sure I believe that. But the kid is pretty creepy. All pale and stuff. There's two black kids with AIDS here too. I wish you could see them, Minnie. But this is no place for a girl. I never want to see you here. No, that is not true. I DO want to see you on Saturday. I just mean I never want you to have to come here as a prisoner. I am not gonna be coming back here either. I miss outside. They do not let us out here. I guess I miss that even more than i do a smoke.
They're starting to let kids outta their cells for supper so I gotta go.
I meant what I said in the park that night.


Friday, August 24, 2007

The Slush-Pile Reader

Daryl wanted to touch Marissa's boobs. “I am gonna have to let him soon,” she told Miguel. “I have been his girlfriend for 2 months now.”
Miguel told her, “I think that’s gross.”
But Marissa did not care much about what Miguel thought. She stuffed her training bra with socks and she made him lay down on the bed beside her anyway. And he obeyed his older sister because knew she could kick the shit outta him and no one was home to save him.
“Touch my boobs,” she demanded. And when he did, his sister started making low moaning sounds. Miguel did not know why she was doing that, but it made his penis hard, and although his penis had been hard lots of times before, this was infinitely more exciting.
After that, whenever the parents were not home, it would always be time to ‘practice’. It was not long before Marissa was making him touch and lick her real boobies. It felt good to press himself against her body, while she was writhed her own beneath him. It lasted for half a year, but then it was done, his sister never made him touch her again. And Miguel missed touching her terribly. But he never told her that.

Every now and then, Miguel's father would let him come downstairs to hideout. They would watch wrestling, on the television, without any of the women yapping around them. Sometimes they would play a few games of pool, and sometimes, Miguel's father would let him have a beer. Or two.
Miguel liked it when his father would go upstairs, to use the washroom, because Miguel could play with the ashtray that sat on the bar and not get caught. It was the image of a man; a Budweiser can for a body. The ashtray was worn as headdress that reminded Miguel of what Julius Caesar would have worn. When you lifted the ashtray off, presumably to clean it out, the can of beer would rise up and a large red penis would pop from out from underneath it. Miguel could lift off the ashtray over and over again and always want to laugh, but sometimes he would wonder why the penis was so red.
Miguel liked it better when his father would go upstairs, to answer the telephone, because he knew his father kept his dirty magazines underneath the sofa. Often he would see them spilling out from the sides. Miguel was twelve and a half years old the first time he took one his father’s magazines. He would hide them under his shirt, inside the waistband of his jogging pants, his jeans, and once his leather pants. He would look at the pictures; by candle-light, late at night, in his bedroom, and he would remember ‘practicing’ with his sister, his fingers touching the glossy images of boobs. He liked the centerfolds best. The larger the boobs, the more of his hand he could use. Carefully; he did not want to rip the pages of the magazine. He did not want to get caught.
And because Miguel could read as well, he soon learned how to pleasure himself too.

Daryl broke-up with Marissa and she had spent the next three months crying and eating and locking herself in her room. “Leave me alone…just leave me alone…” she had moaned through the door, and for the most part, everyone would. She stopped going to school and after a few weeks of phone calls from the secretary, the principal and her history teacher, even they became willing to accept her request. But finally, the parents had enough of Marissa and her ‘attitude’. They enrolled her in fat camp.
Miguel got to stay home, instead of going with them, on the long ride to drop her off. And after an hour of being alone, Miguel ventured downstairs to the magazines. And an hour after that he found his father's pornographic videos. He set the alarm on his wristwatch. Then he hit rewind and play all day.
Her jerked off twenty-seven times, in just under 11 hours. He could not get off more than 9 times. He wondered what was the wrong with him. Miguel did not know yet that this was an amazing feat, nor did he realize the implications this would have later in his life. But he did know pain the next morning, he doubled over getting out of bed and looking down at his red penis, while he peed, he realized he and the beercan-ashtray man were idiots.

By the time Miguel was sixteen, he had his own modest assortment of pornographic material. His best friend, Fernando, had connections and money. Enough money that he hired Miguel to do drops for him. And Miguel was happily paid with porn and little bits of coke. Fernando’s nickname was Gopher. It should have been Hustler. Fernando was a good friend.
Most drops Miguel made were to women. It didn’t matter most of them were fat and older than him. They liked to share their weed and they were the girls with the biggest tits anyway. And Miguel liked doing things with tits. Grabbing them, shaking them, sucking them, rubbin’ his motherfucking face in them. And maybe it was just because those ladies were holed-up too long getting horny waiting for Daddy to come home and help feed these three damn children; but he didn’t care; he was getting to touch a lot of tit.
Sasha was the first one to let him tittie-fuck her. She was tall and black with a big, fat ass and belly rolls and a mountain of boobs. The first night he made a drop there, she had rubbed his head in her cleavage when she hugged him good-bye. Miguel had an erection for the walk four miles home. The next time he dropped her dope to her, they fucked and this worked well for the both of them for the next six months. One night, about three months in, she made the offer. It excited him. He would never have the nerve to ask for this, although he had been masturbating to the images for 3 years. He ejaculated all over her face and all into her hair, and she screamed; so angry and offended. “I am not a piece of shit, ya know?” she cried. And he had calmed her down because he knew she wasn’t, but he was really confused about why she did not like it. It was certainly not the reaction he got when he entered the porno business himself two years later though, through Fernando's connections. They asked “Lucky Rodriguez’ to do it and he did and they all likedit. He could pop quick and often. Tittie-fucking became his money shot.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Sitting in the back of the car, Tommy was sad Barbara would not allow him to get a dog. He had wanted one so bad. For so many years.
The world rolled by fast, as Dave drove down country back roads and the fields of corn sure were boring for Tommy. So he asked, "Why are all of us dressed in white?"
"It's Sunday; it’s God's Day. White represents the cleanliness that He wants us to live our lives with."
"Oh," said Tommy.
"And white clothes also keep us cool on terrible days such as today," she continued, and then to her husband, Dave, "If we put the top up, we can put on the air."
Dave laughed and reached over to pat her leg, but otherwise, ignored her.
"What does the color green mean, Barbara?" Tommy had picked his nose and was looking at a booger.

It was too hot in the church, so some of the boys had brought the long wooden pews outside and set them up along the side of the church. Most churches Tommy had been to were boring, but Tommy had never sat outside for a service, so he was a little excited. They seats were set-up right beside a river and birds were chirping everywhere and Tommy started wishing he had a gun cause then he would shoot a few, so he tugged on Barbara's hand and asked for one of those.
"I'll teach you what to hunt, Tommy." Dave laughed, thinking it was a good idea.
"Right on!" Tommy was exclaiming, as they were taking seats in the back row.
"I am glad I brought my hat today," Barbara was complaining.
And that is when Tommy noticed everything was different at this church. First off, everyone was black. And they kept popping out of their seats to clap their hands and sing. And the Preacher! He would run around everywhere, up and down and all around the congregation. Tommy could not help it. He did what they did.
"It's a mighty fine day, today. Oh, yes, it is! Our Lord gave us this day!" The Preacher was yelling. "A nice day for the water to cleanse our souls! Come and take a dip with Jesus. Won't you come?" He was looking at right at Tommy.
And oh, boy, Tommy was coming! This church was awesome! He couldn't believe they let you go swimming.
"The smell of that water will never come out of your clothes." Barbara grabbed Tommy by the back of his collar.

After church, Dave decided they would stop at McDonalds for French fries, but Barbara would not let Tommy use any ketchup on them. "Not in those clothes."
And Barbara added, "The first thing you do, when we get to the house, is move your butt to your room and get them off."
Remembering Barbara's words, Tommy was out the car door fast, when they arrived home. He heard Barbara say to Dave, "Can you believe the nerve of that preacher?"
"I think he's cool," Tommy paused to say through window, before running towards the house. He tossed over his shoulder, “I'm a quarter black."
"You mean a quarterback," Dave yelled out, correcting him.
And Tommy stopped to turn around for a second. He shook his head. "Nope. My Momma told me so all the time."
Dave and Barbara sent Tommy back to the State.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Punks-Big Mistake

Minnie was 14. She liked wearing bright red lipstick and getting high. Mostly with other people. But that had not been happening too much lately.
There is no Tommy. There is no Krystal. There is no one who wants to know her.
Except Billiy-Boy. Always fucking Billy-Boy.
And Phillip.
And Phillip is so popular. And he is so blonde and blue eyed.
He says he will talk to her in front of others--but he doesn't; at Minnie's request.
He really wants to walk her home at night.

It surprises Minnie how much you can get to know when people claim you as invisible. She hears a lot of conversations these days.
"I bought some new lipstick..."
"That Susan Howe makes me so mad..."
"I love Patrick sooo much..."
"I love the colour. It's great, right?"
"I am gonna punch her in the face, I swear."
"I just know he is going to ask meee out."
Melaine, Sandra and Nancy; smoking, in a circle of self-interest.
And she hears Phillip isn't asking anyone out. No one at school thinks he's a fag.
"He fingered me a year a go..."
"He's hot. I'd fuck him..."
"He probably has a girlfriend in Toronto. Or Paris or somewhere..."
"...A fashion model in New York City!"
"That's the best muthafucka out on the field. My boy!" High Five.
It was always good news about Phillip.
He doesn't deserve it. To be asociated with her.
So, when he says, "Minnie, I promise I love you...", she just kisses him or grabs his dick--whatever will shut him up the quickest.
Nobody ever says anything bad about Tommy either.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Samantha always hated going to church. 'Thou shall not this' and 'Thou shall not that'. She felt it was pointless to be told not to do what she wouldn't do anyway. And since she turned 13 and officially too old for Sunday school, there was no escaping Reverend Patrick's rants. His very long, very loud, two-hour rants.
Not that Sunday school had really been any better. Everyone was loud there too. Poor Mrs. Chute’s voice was so high-pitched, when she yelled "Quiet!", she just blended in with the screaming kids. Samantha felt bad for her, so she hid in a corner pretending to read her Bible; a pocket-sized copy of Huckleberry Finn or The Swiss Family Robinson tucked neatly inside, while the other kids ran dizzy around the room wearing the plump, little woman out. Mrs. Chute also came to teach religion class twice a month at the school. Mostly she would teach songs and read the stories she was never able to during Sundays' classes.

At home, Samantha read other things. Things she would not bring into a church out of respect. If her parents were home, Samantha would read her school books. One time, she had been in her sister's room and found a dirty magazine filled with naked pictures of women and stories sent in by the 'readers'. After reading three of the tales, she deemed them trash. She had put the magazine back where she found it. She would never rat her sister out for anything.
But she had let Krystal know anyway. "I see you have been reading."
And Krystal had let her know too. "So what, Miss Prissy? I will tell Mom and Dad you sneak out every night to the library. Who's ass will they be burning then?"

When Samatha was twelve, she asked Tommy, "Don't ya think it is creepy...? cremation...? burning yourself like that?"
"No, I like fire," Tommy had replied. "I think I'll do it when I die."
And Samantha had been horrified. She said to Tommy, "It reminds me of....Hell."
"I'm a hellraiser, Sammy. I might as well get used to the burnin' a bit before I get there." And Tommy liked the sound of what he said. He filed it away to use again and again. It creeped out the other kids too.
But he drew the pictures for Samantha. Jesus Christ on his cross and burning flames surrounding him.
She told him, "I think Jesus was black."
But Tommy thought they would make real cool tattoos.

Monday, June 18, 2007

No Sugar Tonight

Sissy threw her cereal around the kitchen from her highchair. Milk and Cheerios hitting the kitchen cabinets, before sliding to the floor.
"I want a cookie, Tommy, I want a cookie," she wailed over and over again.
But Tommy was late and he did not answer her. Instead, he wheeled the highchair into the living room and flipped on the television; finding a cartoon.
"Let Momma sleep awhile," he warned his little sister. Momma was still asleep on the couch.
"O-tay, Tommy," she replied, and Tommy reached over and took the two-dollar bill that was on the coffee table, and he ran out the front door and to school.

The big green doors of the school were pretty big compared to Tommy. He looked up at them and then down to himself reflected in the dark glass.
Maybe I won't go to school today.
Tommy had thought this before. Sometimes as a daydreams and sometimes as bed dreams and sometimes at times like these.
Tommy hated walking into class late. Everybody staring at him.
Everybody knew mothers were supposed to wake-up.
Everybody knew if you were late to class it was because your mother didn't.
The kids hated him.
His teacher pitied him.
And Tommy knew it.

Tommy decided he would go to the arcade. He didn't think to hide from people. Instead he ran to the arcade, and it was probably because he was running that no one noticed him. Tommy was the fastest kid alive. He could even beat a cheetah.
Tommy caught his breath
He looked up and the fat guy behind the counter was staring at him.
"Whadaya doing here, kid?"
And Tommy thought the guy was nuts for asking, but he answered him anyway. "I come to play video games, sir."
"Yer not supposed to be here," he sounded angry. "Yer supposed to be at school."
And Tommy conceded, "Yeah, but it ain't like this is habit or anything."
And Joe thought that was a good point, so he didn't call anyone to tell them about the boy.
Instead, he introduced the kid as 'my friend, Tommy' to all the men that came in to play pool that day. And he let him sweep the floors for more quarters. And he fed him Slushies all day long. And because Joe had kids himself, he knew when to shout, "Tommy, school's out!"
Tommy gave up the racing game he was playing immediately and he was sad, but he hurried towards the front of the arcade.
He felt obliged to say something to Joe. He said, "Thank you, sir. I had a really good time."
And Joe wanted to smile, but instead he pointed at the boy and said in his meanest, nastiest voice, "I don't wanna see you back here for at least a month, kid."
And Joe scared Tommy a little bit, so he turned, yelling, "Yes, sir!" as he ran out the door.