Cup Full of Butterflies

Preface: This was written in mid-December of 2008, about 7 months into my sobriety/clean-time. Not only did I struggle with sanity—as in, the concept smacked me fresh, brilliant and terrifying with its sting of clarity (and lifelong unfamiliarity)—but now that my mind processed thought un-anesthetized, I was forced to deal with painful current and past issues as they arose—without allowing the needle to lapse into the vinyl pink flesh of a Floyd groove. That is to say, to I could no longer spin "Comfortably Numb."

That winter, I traversed some bumps in the road—maybe a little…definitely a lot rockier than I like to let on. It's the past, however, that came crashing over me—a rockslide of traumas I'd for years (a lifetime) been, in various ways, not feeling. The memories battered, with spectacular bursts, my so newly righted head and the anger...the sadness...the loss flowed from within until I felt I'd bled it...with-out. I spent that fall and winter loosing a landslide of my own via the written word (Grandpa always said I had "a headful of rocks") until finally, I could focus on the present. I suppose you could say that by getting clean, I ended up "stoned...immaculate."

Additionally, there was a good deal of (heavy-duty) therapy going on at that time. It does a body good. It also makes for some fast and fierce writing you don't necessarily think of as "publishable"—in fact, you're not quite sure what the hell to do with it—until you delve into the cyber-world a few months later and discover this "blogging-thing." Yeah, this is pretty bloggy. Blarghy. Whatever.

I do not mean to offend anyone with the opening half of this piece; then again, I am a writer, like it or not. (Notice, I did not say I am a good one.) This is a piece—a piece of me. As a writer, it is not my place to apologize to the reader. Given the forum on which this will be posted, however, I say to friends and loved ones of different beliefs: we are of different beliefs—and I love you, just the same. I hope you feel likewise. ~A.


December 30th, 2010.

Additional Authorial Note:

If I offend you with my truth below . . . .

Fuck off and be gone.

Sincerely—as one could possibly be,



You’re familiar, I’m sure, with the adage, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” Right?

Fuck. God.

That’s the first time in my life I’ve ever felt comfortable—in fact, a rapturous joy—saying that. That I might not be smote or blindsided by misfortune once more, guilty of some blaspheming treason. Always youthful, innocent or stupid verbal accidents in the past—angry blunders for which I immediately, profusely apologized.

Now, quite intentional—and unapologetic.

You’re God. Damn. Right.

Because really, were I to be struck down by some calamity or disaster…who gives a holy fuck? I mean, at this point, The Twelve Days of Christmas are just an accrual of more catastrophe, anyway. What the fuck. Do I fucking care. Anymore?

I don’t.

Because, apparently, the lightning crashes irrespective of guilt. God gives not one shit whether you missed Sunday school to stay home and play with your Big Bro, cousins, build Lego cities and listen to Cyndi Lauper on cassette. He’s indifferent to your collegiate gluttony, your bacchanalian revelry, imbibing alcohol to the point of stupor, blackout. He pays no mind to your sinful lust outside of marriage—your careless, wanton premarital carnal acts.

Lest we forget, dear flock, the countless, innumerable acts of reckless, naïve youth. Lest we forget the countless, fucking unspoken Others who served as the Almighty hands of retribution for that wickedest of all sins...


He only concerns himself with the aftermath; the punishment due these transgressions.

There. is. no. fucking. GOD.

Even if there is, I’ll go into his sweet hereafter on his judgment day, look him deadly into his dead eye with a spirit full of spite and a mouthful of rage and I will spit in the bastard’s face.

Then I will turn on him as he has on me time and countless time after again, walk out of his Eden without even the slightest nudge of desire for a look back and reclaim my seat in Hell.

It’s warm there—because the sun never sets. Like the son, it also rises, ascends, rolls away from the horizon—away from Earth—like a miraculous boulder.

Just before I descend from sight, God remembers me and stiffens into a terrified pillar I wept sky-scraping lengths, now dried Dead Sea salt.


There’s a lawn-mower cutting a suburban yard in the distance, across the street. Some designated square of grass, somebody’s property, pride, hard work though today a chore, a grumble, a pain-in-the-ass.

The sound of tractors is the sound of heaven—as close as I’ll ever get to associating any music to the realm of the angels, the holy. Grass is sanctified: roll in its soft spring, smell it fresh-cut and listen as Mommy mows the top-acre by the swing-set, the fence-line at the top of the hill—“the only hill in Wisconsin!” Daddy always says, even though there’s another one right across the street. Watch Freddie play Legos below, downhill on the patio, Flopsy sniffing interested his Star Wars crater plate space station. Sip butterflies into my tummy from my little red cup with the cool, clean knowledge that Daddy will come home from the hospital soon, smelling of Speed Stick and Wrigley’s Spearmint, arms open for his Sweet-Pea hug.

And the way the green of it, the grass catches the summer sun and plays, throws it back to you, well, you can just lie there propped up on your elbows for hours, legs kicked crossed at the ankles behind you, above your head, toeing for the clouds, running heaven’s assured lengths barefoot, bouncing the light back and forth, blades to you and back again, tapping chubby fingers over their slight yet resilient tips. Every so often, there’s the interruption of a dandelion and oh, how you love those breaks in the verdant banter, adore those gossamer pauses! They whisper their interventions! You rise to greet them, bow reverent and while low in deference, pluck juicy their stem and they roll a clean tear of wistfulness—of I missed you!—down your pink thumb as you draw them close, cradle them baby-doll below your button-nose, alight their sweet-pea breath—their exhalations of Hello, Beautiful Girl!—in fragile rolls across the bowtie of your mouth—a conversation!—many minutes-long before, finally, with lashes drawn thick in tender goodnight—in genuine, desperate sadness—you sigh a secret farewell still unshared with another soul to the only friend you had in that insular, emerald world—you blow them a final motherly kiss Goodbye! Goodbye! I love you! Goodbye!

A cotton-trail caught delicate in the sweet summer air, Mommy’s fresh-cut green wind tickling the smooth rise, the naked tops of your innocent feet, yellow gingham breezes hemming sweetheart your sundress, blowing clear blue northern sky against your upturned face—the roundness of your cherub cheeks exposed to the sun shining celestial from a northern summer sky, baby-fine hair pulled pony-tail darling atop the roundness of your head, the roundness of your upturned face, cherub cheeks, exposed to the roundness of a kindly, smiling summer sun, wasting westerly in the memory of a northern celestial sky.

“That’s the sound of pulling heaven down.”

That’s an ode to joy.

That’s the diaphanous requiem of fallen angels raining dead.

That’s a dirge written upon the flights of dandelion wishes.

That’s the canticle owed Lilith.

That’s the passion due this twelfth station of a burned cross.

That’s the noise of scraping the ceiling of sky trying to reach the blue of your eyes.

That’s the music of tractors.


If there was a God, I’d pound him, beat his chest with the meat of my fists until my body gave out, gave up, until I had just enough breath left to ask:

Why would you ever take heaven away from a child…then freely gift her with Hell?

Why would you take from her bowtie lips a cup full of butterflies?

"Words and pictures can work together to communicate more powerfully than either alone." ~William Albert Allard

"Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be." ~Duane Michals

"A photograph is usually looked at—seldom looked into." ~Ansel Adams


  1. Terrific! I love that you're totally unapologetic. I'm sure many feel this way (or want to feel this way) but can't say it. I'm more in favor of taking God out of the equation entirely. Whether there is or isn't one he's never said anything to me.

  2. I just reread this and it tore me to goddamning pieces. Once I'm done with the two monsters I'm currently, simultaneously piecing together in Dr. Frankensteinian fashion, this - the root of the green grass - is the next topic to be tackled.

    Fuck fuck fuck fuck FUCK this tractor noise.

  3. You ARE a good writer. To be able to be this honest, to tell the truth like THIS, you MUST be. The whole thing is important. The opening lines still make me think, "Wow." It makes me hurt to read it--makes me feel. Makes me happy that you're here.