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The Battle for Authenticity

10 Oct

In love and war

they say,

All’s fair.


But drafted from the battlefield

a declaration of dependence

violence, fear and distrust

is brought into existence

Reclassified as love.


We volunteer for this.


Our planes – one minute soar

the next – shot down

Our parachutes – one minute open

the next – hung from a tree

Our bodies – one minute able

the next – taken prisoner

Our minds – one minute lucid

the next – held hostage.


But the enemy is me.


What wages war for freedom fought?




I surrender.

Overheard @ the Art Museum

2 Aug

She, the voluptuous one

With the violin lips

Satin mocha arms.

And he, the ardent one

Six-stringed and

Witty to boot.

And her, the silent one

The one paraded, coveted

By the rich, the old, the infirm

The newlywed’s gift

The dream of man

The promise of immortality

She sang through her eyes

And we listened


For a hint at that secret

Her clarinet shoulders

Cooed and babbled

And we took it as god’s grace.

She’s awake again.

It’s your turn.

No, it’s yours.

No, I took her last night.

You’re mistaken. That was me.

No, it wasn’t.

Please, I’m so tired.

But I worked all day.

And I didn’t?

You slaved.

Yes, I did.

I bore her.

Yes, you did.

Let’s go together.

Are you sure? No. I’ll go.

No, let it be me.

If you’re certain.

I am.

I want to.

For you.

Get some sleep.

I’ve got this.

You rest.

I’m going.


My darling, I am so sorry.

We need you.

I know.

Nutsack Girl

28 Jul

She carried a bag of nuts with her wherever she went. One day I asked her about them and this is what she told me. “These are not your ordinary nuts. These nuts are hard to crack. Some are shaped oddly, some have a thick outer shell, some are slippery and well, you get the point. The fact is that these nuts are a lot like people and I carry this bag around to remind me of that. You have to have just the right tool and just the right technique to crack these nuts. If you don’t do it right, you stand a good chance of getting hurt. Or worse, hurting the tender meat that is sustenance inside the shell.”

Then she lit up a joint and I knew our conversation, at least the part that made sense was now over. “So here’s how it works, sis. Every day I take out one of these nuts and study it just like this.” She slid her long arm bronzed from daily exposure into the small opening she had created by pushing two fingers of each hand into the tiny hole drawn tight by a double drawstring at the top of the bag and gently massaged it open as if she were pulling back the red velvet curtains of a tiny stage. She never looked inside. Letting her arm relax, I could see her wrist and hand begin to writhe inside the bag like arachnid acid. She was getting off on the feeling of the nuts passing between her fingers as she grasped a bunch and let them fall or just let her hand pass underneath them, through them; sensing this one and that with only the deft touch of her left hand. The sound was quite entrancing from my end but that was not her gig. She loved to touch and she was good at it. She continued on like this for some time, letting out a squeal when her hand, which now seemed separated from the rest of her, found some tactile treasure and felt it necessary to share that pleasure with the brain. Her brain was now in a fog so deep it would take hours for her to come back up. She could still register pleasure and pain without the tedious business of thought to bog the whole mechanism down and this is exactly where she sought to be when she got high.

She touched something she liked. I gauged this from her reaction. Her body never lied when she was in this state. She could hide nothing. The tone was lazy this time and more like a moan that she maintained at a lower octave than the others as if to say, oh now this is the one. Then, lazily she threw her head back and with it the hair that had been shielding her face like blinders on a Thoroughbred about to race the Dubai World Cup. Her perfect face now flushed with excitement over the tiny nut she would remove from the bag and attempt to crack. There was a moment of sheer silliness when she realized she had gripped the thing so tightly that her fist made it impossible for her to get her hand out of the hole she had created earlier. She wasn’t tender this time. She pulled the bottom of the bag with her right hand and without loosening her grip, yanked her left fist out of the top, leaving a red mark around the base of her hand where it met her wrist. Why she didn’t just let the drawstring go slack, I didn’t think to wonder about then.

It was a Brazil nut. Nigger toes as dad used to call them. It makes us both cringe to think that there are people related to us who still talk this way. We raise our eyes  simultaneously, but there is no one here to correct or to be embarrassed of. “Brazil nuts only grow in virgin rainforests you know,” I didn’t know. “Not only that but there is only one bee – the bombardier bee – you know the really big one? The one that looks like a B-52? It could just swoop down and bomb your little insect town at any moment.” I know she’s really gone when she starts mixing perspectives like her colossal fondness for WWII aircraft and irrelevant penchant for calling my mons a little insect town, but she’s my sister and I love her. She goes on to tell me about the great coiled hood of the Brazil nut tree’s yellow flower which contains a sweet nectar unlike anything ever tasted by man and that this bomber B-52 bee is the only one with a tongue strong enough to lift the hood and long enough to navigate the coils. Sounds like a legendary invasion my little insect town could hold a parade for or name a street after. Brazil Nut Bee Lane. Yes, lane. Boulevard sounds too spacious and street well, that’s just plain trampy. Lane it is. BNB Lane people would affectionately call it – home of the sweet nectar of the yellow-flowered-Brazilian goddess; a narrow two-laner, recently-paved, smooth and relatively quiet. You wouldn’t want to drive a Cadillac down there though – it’s definitely Not a Thru Street and the three point turn would be a bitch.

Procreation Nation

28 Jul

His tribe taunts me
flaunting the American dream
like a six-pack picket fence
His body tempts me
into accidental procreation
He wants to plant his seed
He wants me to give him a legacy
but I’m wise to the tricks of this
modern day snake oil salesman
He’s selling lies
I serve his potion with wine
in twelve matching crystal glasses
and my dinner party
goes off splendidly
though the slide show on the tv screen
is of someone else’s family
and the soundtrack is rather awkwardly playing
music that someone will say they like but never hear again.

Someone will hum a note or two
absent-mindedly, later that night or the next day
but the source will be forgotten as in a dream
or more to the point – post lobotomy.

Someone may well be awoken
and say quietly some thing equally important
before busying themselves into remission-
staving off the bestial cohabitation
of body and soul for yet another day.

Some one may thank you.
Some one may shake your hand.
Someone may touch you.
But they all affect you.

In the end, only the tribe remains
temptation exists for a reason
and evolution is not just a theory
if you don’t believe me
take a trip to the National History Museum.

The seed is always planted
whether in your womb
or the next.

Someone will get it.
Some one will experience pain
and finally understand
if only for a moment
but the source will be forgotten as in a dream
or more to the point – for all eternity.


World’s Best Veggie Omelet

1 Apr

It wasn’t the cheerful waitress.

It wasn’t the way you simultaneously flirted with me by flirting innocently with her.

 It wasn’t even that smile you gave me. The one that said, “remember last night” and projected a future filled with many more.

 It was the veggies, I swear!

And the butter, I’m guessing loads.

And was that paprika?

 It definitely was not the way you put your hand on my knee or when you needed both how your knee migrated closer to mine.

 You’re a toucher and I love to be touched.

 It couldn’t have been any of that though.

 That omelet was just too good!

 It couldn’t have been the moment you saw my hair fall across my face mid-bite and swooped in with your middle finger to brush it away as you let the other four whisper across my cheek.

 No, no. It couldn’t have been that.

 I’m telling you it was most certainly not that!

 The cauliflower had just the right amount of crunch, you see.

And the broccoli was bright green.

And the peppers were lightly grilled.

And the tomatoes were not too soggy.

And the squash…Oh!

 These are the ingredients of the perfect veggie omelet.

 Not including the fact that you said my name in at least a dozen ways I’ve never heard it said before.

 Jessica. Jessie. Jess.

 They’re all me and you know it.

Now you say, “You’re so cool.”

 And I blush but I blame it on a hot onion. Spicy too!

 You look away. It’s that thoughtful look I love about you. The one that says I’m pondering something very deep while you compose yourself and when you’re ready I can’t wait to share it with you.

 But here, let me draw it on this napkin instead.

 The perfect veggie omelet.

 Your simplicity is brilliant in the pre-noon light.

You’re magic!

How do you get your eyes to sparkle like that?

 You’re glowing.

No, it’s the peppers. I assure you.

 More blushing. More deep thought. “More drawings,” I exclaim!

 But the pen is dry.

The veggies are all eaten up and there’s a mess of yellow left on my plate.

 “Save it for later,” you ask?

 Nah, these things are never quite the same the next day.

You just can’t recreate the perfect veggie omelet.


1 Apr
The Secret Lives of Little Shoes

A day in the life of Jessica and Janaya's shoes

You talked

22 Nov

You talked together about exes and siblings, friends and parents; the choices you made that got you where you are today. You talked about the ones you were with while you were with each other and decided together not to tell them you were. You realized that love had nothing to do with it and you danced together on your toes to Billie Holiday and you sang your hearts out until you were horizontal and then it was all kisses. You tasted of each other’s breath until it mingled and became the breath of one. The one you still remember the day after in a wisp of fallen hair or on the collar of your shirt. The sweet smell that is not quite either of you and yet you pick out certain fragrances like a fine wine. You tasted each one and then you cleansed your mutual pallet with a bit of conversation. You talked with each other; making an offering of yourself – thin and fragile like the communion wafer and with all the same implications. First an exhale of the day’s events then empathy arrives like a deep breath or a good sporting commentary filling the lungs to capacity. The moaning begins slowly with a soft, long caress, a bit of history; builds to a climax as you reveal your secrets to each other and invent new philosophies that aren’t new, but neither is this and finally subsides like an unaccepted paradigm; bodies quivering with desire and glistening with passion until all you can do is hold each other tight and sleep.

 This shit’s all sterile you know. We wished for baby soft and what we got was nothing less than spiritual man. It was a lucky strike. It was real and true and it was all love, like true magenta. It was blue skies and cyan moon clouds just hovering, passing like when the sky just opens up and lets you have a peek. Eight ball in the corner pocket baby, yeah. And when I feel yellow he’s all red. He’s mean and he’s mine. We catch it. We catch it together. We beat it. We scratch it. We watch each other into submission. It’s the ultimate. It’s a fighting game cock until the black comes and the cone rises and the hen crows at daybreak. It’s primary colors, simplicity aggravated. Complexity unraveled like the rope that swung from the old apple tree where ripe fruit fell to the ground and we to our knees. The rope that swings gold and silver, silver and gold svelte around her pretty little neck. A portrait of water, blood and ink it was. The sweetest kiss is a long goodbye. Hey mister, can you spare a spare? Her ass was soft and fleshy and impenetrable, like a heart.

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