Posts tagged "voice"
Slapstick

Slapstick

I don’t remember every beating mom gave us. I just remember that we named them after All Star wrestling moves. She had an extensive repertoire of techniques. The Half Suplex. The Full Suplex. The Spine Buster. Also the body part specific moves: the Wrist Lock, Atomic Knee Drop, and Corner Butt Slam. Some included hardware,...
Thank You

Thank You

You will never know me, will never know your father once professed (many times, over a few months, the way boys will) to love me, will not know the first time we made love you were in your bedroom next door sleeping, and we paused to listen when we heard you (I worried, unused to...
Stranded

Stranded

for Tracy This night like a photograph neither one of us can make out when I call you fifteen years later to ask if you remember the gun, the men, the comet. The two of us are on the side of Highway 82 outside of Brownfield, Texas. Forty miles from Lubbock. It’s been a day-long...
Afternoon Affair

Afternoon Affair

On the light rail after work I sit down next to a homeless man sitting next to his black plastic garbage bag stuffed full. He asks me for my name. He is friendly so I give it to him. He is Popeye, he laughs, I am Olive Oyl. He has the sour smell of the...

Girl/Thing

Because I needed the cash, because it seemed like the girl thing to do, I took a certification course in babysitting to learn the essentials of diaper changing, of getting a baby to take the Gerber’s off the spoon, and of infant CPR, which we practiced on naked, rubbery dolls. But they didn’t teach us...

The Train

My beeper went off at 4:00 am. It vibrated across the night stand until I reached over and grabbed it. The message read, “Sally Card-pregnant-bleeding-passed out-407-648-5101” Sally was the lab tech in my Ob-Gyn office. She had no high risk factors. Her sonogram did not show placenta previa, a condition that causes bleeding. Placental abruption,...

If

… the six pathologists at Colorado’s Air Force Academy had voted differently on the diagnosis of the biopsy from your cheek–the same cheek you popped with your thumb before shuffling cards for Gin Rummy, if they had voted four melanoma, two sarcoma instead of the other way around, if they had not voted wrong on...

First Apartment—Brooklyn, 2002

Loaves rise, engorged as dangerous moons, all through the night. I ring the bakery’s back-door bell, buy Pumpernickel for a dollar. No matter the after-bar hour; the late-night bakers always take our neighborly buck. The dark street’s swollen with the smell of bread—intimate, in-folded—like the small humidity behind an ear, between the toes. I carry...
Tired

Tired

I’m tired of the usual—foofy dogs, West End musicals, Edgar Allan Poe.  Also leather jackets and the lost middle-aged men who believe that stretching a carcass across their backs brings Hell’s Angels cool.  Especially tired of not having one myself.  Tired of tragedy ending badly, gullible Hamlet taking the word of a rasping ghost.  Tired...
Story Boy

Story Boy

This is sixth grade.  We’re in that dim little hallway outside the closet-sized room where they sell popsicles during recess.  The big boys are teasing me, but it’s friendly bullying that I don’t mind.  They’re asking me leading questions.  They just want to get me started. Okay, I’m eleven years old, very hormonal, both smart...

Diagnosable

It comes at me through the back of the head, down by where my neck splits off, comes slicing through the skin and bone and ligaments and mixing up all the different colors of matter in my brain so it’s finally all grey stuff that hits the inside part of my face like John Henry’s...

On Being a Trucker

All the stuff I don’t have to say. How lucky I am. Like “I drive a truck of cheap perfume.” Of canned tomatoes, of cleaning supplies, I’m not sure it matters, or maybe it does in the trucking world: I drive tires vs. I drive milk. Oil  vs. Seafood. Furniture. Toilets. A truck of cars....

Julio At Large

I hadn’t known the girl very well, and rarely gave her much thought before she disappeared the summer between ninth and tenth grade, when my family lived in Buckhannon, West Virginia.  We both had last names that started with the letter “B,” so we frequently had to sit next to each other in classes where...

As I Unscrew: A Letter

Dear Karen, As I unscrew the cap to the bottle of Gordon’s gin, the boar’s head on the label looks appalled, its eye a wide dilated circle of disbelief (that yes, I am pouring yet another drink, that no, I am not measuring my pour, that yes, I do think a 1:2 tastes watered down,...

Aftermath

After the skies broke open with a stunning crack about two o’clock in the morning, brilliant flashes of blue flooding the Winnebago like strobe lights; after the rain cut rivulets through the sand, long scratches of some malevolent creature obviously displeased with the earth; after Kennie and his dad had been out on the beach...
Swerve

Swerve

I’m sorry about that time I ran over a piece of wood in the road. A  pound of marijuana in the trunk and a faulty brake light—any minute the cops might have pulled us over, so you were edgy already, and then I ran over that piece of stray lumber without even slowing down. Thunk, thunk,...

This Is Not To Say

So many feelings fit between two heartbeats So many objects can be held in our two hands Don’t be surprised we can’t describe the world And just address things tenderly by name. -Zbigniew Herbert This was supposed to be about the dirt that flies up in puffs between bare feet when the bees are buzzing...

Pheasant

As I heard the story she liked him but she wasn’t sure, so Gideon-like she asked “Lord, give me a sign,” and just to make sure the deity was authentically involved she said “make it a sign with a pheasant.” The next time Mr. X showed up he opened with “I almost hit a pheasant...