By The Time I Get To Arizona . . .

...I'll be wicked tan. Empty wallets don't provide gas money, much less the luxurious air travel option, so I'll be hoofin' it across the Gulf Coast towards the Southwest and it's gonna be a long haul, commencing end of cruel April, May west, westward, wayward, May-ward into June cleaver? June's a warm, white beaver so no need to worry for Ward or cleaver; they filter through our screens black and white but white knows white from white even when immigrated grey via Telemundo satellite. Leave it to those cleavers but how long will The Cleavers - how long will that circling Phoenix leave her amidst this stale white-bread fever? Who knows how long if my feets don't fail if my skin stays pale under a brutal all-day waxing into late-evening sun. Maybe I'll thumb a ride here and there but once I near the AZ, I'll pocket the thumb because in the crazy AZ the thumb is a sucker - an invitation for a sucker-punch for those of us who tan wicked under summer-sun - we who've been asked over and again, "Are you Mexican...or just really, really tan?"

By Truth or Consequences I'm wicked: dark, deep-olive shiny with Texas oil - I'm Grandpa, who could pass for black so pass truth, consequences - I'm Anita who can glass the crack the white lines state lines dividing - I'm the glassy eye glassing, eyeing this Grand Canyon of white dividing, cracked wide open, grand, a Grand State of thinking and as I'm passing and eyeing I'm thinking of The Misfit: a good man's so hard to find but he knew, if they wanted, any one could find another - woman, man, good, tan - 'cause all you need are the papers: nome, they don't put you in by mistake, not when they got the papers on you. But we're not driving through Georgia, ma'am, we're high-flyin' Phoenix and these papers shown everything off balance: the proper papers prove you've committed a crime because they have the papers on you!

Because there was a "need" to call for these exculpatory papers in the first place - and there was a "need" for you to carry them.

Because you "need" to show the papers, you're a criminal - wicked tan: wicked woman, wicked man.

Because you "need" to show the papers, a wicked crime has been committed against you.

“That's why I sign myself now. I said long ago, you get you a signature and sign everything you do and keep a copy of it. Then you'll know what you done and you can hold up the crime to the punishment and see do they match and in the end you'll have something to prove you ain't been treated right. I call myself The Misfit,” he said, “because I can't make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment.”

By the time I get to Arizona, my hair will dreadlock: dark, heavy follicles dirty faster, curls swirl uncombed when unwashed like I've let it go in the past and if it's left to grow past my shoulders in thick brown-black collections of wind and dust my greasy hair will lock in dread.

By the time I get to Arizona, I'll be dark, dusty, broke, dreadlocked, broken, dreaded, mocked, profiled by Cherokee cheekbones, a Native American nose, brown, almond-shaped eyes and wicked tanned skin: oily thick leather that rises in ugly, red coiled snakes who spit putrid venom to the touch, burning pock-marks, hyperpigmentation, tell-tale signs of too much melanin but the true state of this nation is by the time I get to Arizona . . . I'll still be a white woman with an Irish name.

By the time I passed in Phoenix, they'd ask me for my papers and I'd show them my Irish: a shaking fistful of pale plastic identity belying my current color, misfit marker, wicked tan.

By the time I get to Arizona, that Phoenix will die - for it doesn't, freedom will.

And dust to dust if Arizona wants it such because if Phoenix sees the light and ever again tries to take flight, by that time, I'll have turned my back on Arizona.

I'm well content to stay home to suntan with the bigots in Florida - 'cause "Jesus, Jesus!" - I'd rather burn in Hell than with you racist assholes in Arizona!


“Turn to the right, it was a wall,” The Misfit said, looking up again at the cloudless sky. “Turn to the left, it was a wall. Look up it was a ceiling, look down it was a floor. I forget what I done, lady. I set there and set there, trying to remember what it was I done and I ain't recalled it to this day. Oncet in a while, I would think it was coming to me, but it never come.”
Flannery O'Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”

“Go fuck yourself, Arizona.”
Ron Burgundy, Anchorman

(Quote may be somewhat altered for context, and excludes Arizonians against SB1070.)

Stand by SB1070 and you stand by racial profiling; you spit on the Constitution. And if you think you're "immune" because you were born in the United States or because your skin is "white" or you don't "look ethnic"... Let me recommend you reread your history books; the scope and definition of "white" or "ethnic" in these (for lack of a better word) situations never stays the same. However, if you wish to keep with your line of thinking... May I suggest a plastic surgeon?

And a bottle of sunblock - perhaps SPF 1070?

Where The Day Took Me

there's a way to run the day or make it your partner running alongside you; there’s a way to make it work, call the day your friend; there's a way to do it: a way to try. if you should meet interference - wrong ways, passionless, wayside partners, unwound works, friends stuffed full with enemy tongues - there are ways to run ‘round these obstacles with the day, still yours, in-hand.

you must pause at the roadblocks, acknowledge them cordially but do not over-respect them or the day will lose respect for you and disappear - wonder why you counted higher, weighed greater the grievances of storms over sunshine and daylight saves - you, itself - daylight is a measure in self-preservation - and the day will leave you should you choose the thunder over the lightening.

there are families to tend to; mouths to be made, money to feed and the day, we lament, does not provide us enough hours to do these things, obsessing our private lives - day needs to give us more time to do what’s necessary. children must be schooled, learned so they might one day work and parents already educated must put their education, schooling to work so they might cling to their average day and i and the daytime know what all schoolchildren learn: those to whom evil is done, waste daytime in return. do not let your mouth stuff itself full with enemy tongue, vain language pouring competitive excuses; mismanagement and grief: we must suffer them all and over and again but do not over-respect this elderly rubbish or the day will leave you - leave you alone amongst strangers you call by the same name - the error bred in the bone of each woman and man is the error the day cannot abide and it will leave you to be loved - alone.

but who can live for long in an euphoric dream? these are merely unexpired clever hopes. hunger allows no choice: i’ve none to tend to and though no one exists alone… all i have is a voice.

a voice…and the day.

as i walk out in-hand with the day - my partner, my lover - the crowds do not stop and remark at the romance; they do not see the glory of normalcy shining, the iridescence of obstacles overcome. instead, they remark on the brilliant resonance of bands and the songs of their lead-singing lovers: until the ocean runs dry, till China and Africa meet, love it has no ending, salmon sing in the street.

and i and my day go by unnoticed, as do the city clocks whirring and chiming my lover’s desperate lyric.

but band and singer play on,
loud like squawking geese gone about the sky,
and the day’s timely message clocks in as a miss;
i and my lover walk gone,
hushed passion, like deserts when they sigh - then
singer coughs, we laugh and, in naked shadow, kiss.

late, late in the evening, lovers are gone with their crooked hearts, off to love crooked neighbours - 'o, let me not deceive you! - even day will leave. but…my lover always returns: you cannot conquer time.

day disrespects us most grievously when reminding us of that - the day is not ours at all but we belong to the day and when the day decides we aren’t to have anymore of lightening, saving, it’s the most tyrannical of appointments - one never intended for our planners, calendars. whether the days cut short are yours or those of another there it is: the unscheduled reminder that yes, you may work with me, you may call me friend but i am the more powerful of us two and no matter how well we work together, at the end of the day, at the end of days, i am the one in charge, i am the dictator - after all, you orbit me.

we don’t believe this; don’t want to, anyway. we wouldn’t buy plane tickets to Boston to see our parents next Christmas if we thought they were going to die in August; wouldn’t renew our driver’s licenses or stock up at wholesale clubs, purchase extended warranties on $4,000 flat-screen TVs if we didn’t believe we were going to be around to enjoy or use them.

“And yet it moves…”

that’s how you work with the day; make of the day your friend. do not look beyond it to the next day or you'll quickly come to know your friend, partner is a selfish one: the focus is to be on them. in fact, they want you to seize them! what passionate partners days can be, if you get to know them, the ways to love them! take what this day offers and make of these offers the best gifts you can and what cannot be made into gifts - what surely are obstacles - you will do no more than acknowledge them cordially - do not over-respect them - before returning to the day.

even when the mercury sinks into the mouth of a dying day, there is a damn given, emanating from a lightening ray: the death of a poet is kept from his poems.

when we mourn death, lament the passings of our dearly departeds and we do - we do lament, dearly - some sound the “Funeral Blues” but many never know they’ve stopped all the clocks, cut off the telephone to the smirking bemusement of a passed poet who never meant such sorrowful sincerity; rather, satire. brilliant satire, at that.

"The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good."

it’s precisely the kind of sarcasm and wit i’d want read on my last day.

but if on the morning of your mourning these words reach down your throat, into your heart and pull out a cry of unhinging understanding then for love’s sake, may the day be your friend and let not friends stuffed full with enemy tongues share such stupid knowledge with you but if they do, you will do no more than acknowledge them cordially - do not over-respect them - before returning to the blue day, its glimmering ray of hopeful lightening and the damn that love gives.

oh, how difficult it is to maintain these relationships: every twenty-four hours awaking to a fresh, dewy kiss from the day, this new lover, a stranger met in one night’s stand amidst the royal blue velvet pouch of midnight’s sky; that precious purse unknotted by some careless hand who indifferently slung wide, like loaded die, Auden’s stars that do not give a damn. from somewhere across the universe pocked with burns, that gaping bag hung over your head, the day plucked passion and swore it a diamond, promised equal affection and, hopeless with dreams, engaged your hands then you fell fell fell from the sky, fell to bed, slept with the day now kissing you awake and you blink, think, fumble for a name, “Which day is this?” this new day, this day is new but this day has an old name and when this new day rouses you with droplets of dew they trickle down your spine with chilling, day-old familiarity: the bored, itchy trigger-finger of a seven-year spouse who, like certainty, fidelity, will on the stroke of midnight pass: in rapid-fire succession for the last time stroke you with itchy-finger, disengage from your hand, run out the door towards the horizon and quietly shoot for the moon.

how difficult it is to maintain these relationships, every day, over again.

you awake with the day after all of the other days - different names, all the same - and you give small pause to ponder these battles.

you roll on your back, look up at where the stars once were and know, quite well, that for all they care, you can go to hell.

you try to roll away from the day but the day is on you; you must go where the day takes you.

you must face the day.

and when the day is done the same lullaby is sung and once more i’ll lay my sleeping head, dear love, human on your faithless arm.

but in your arms, sweet broken day,
let the living creature lie,
mortal, guilty, but to you
the entirely beautiful.

let not one whisper, not a thought, not a kiss nor look be lost do not disrespect the day do not forget to keep it close, your partner, your friend who, even when giving you their worst must be recalled as a gift, treated with love.

“We must love one another or die.”

i don’t know that it can be stated any simpler than that. but it doesn’t seem to be taking, so maybe write it down, tack it up someplace where you’ll see it upon waking each and every day.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness find you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

W.H. Auden, “Lullaby”

Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

they're the most beautiful words ever strung together. there's no diamond more brilliant, precious than those eleven gems. they promise forgiveness, absolution; they promise humanity; they promise unconditional love; they promise tomorrow...and every day after.

i hope you make friends with the day. i hope you make a friend today. mostly, i just hope you have a nice day. and make it a day that another will find nice, as well. you can do that by saying something as simple as, “I hope you have a nice day!” or, better yet, “I love you.” but I’m a crazy-ass, bleeding-heart, writer-type who woke up this morning thinking, “I’m gonna’ take a break from that piece that’s kicking my emotional ass and write something light and easy!”

and here we are.

i love you. and i really do hope you have a nice day.

and if this image of Auden's wrinkly old, floppy face doesn't in some way make your day a little nicer, well...i dunno what to tell ya.

"Why, this tastes even fresher than the Hell I brew myself!"

Yesterday, somebody secretly replaced my regular Fresh Hell with two piping hot mugs of new, hormonally-activated Fresh Hell. Let's see if I could tell the difference!

"Tuesday was rather painful but - phew! - the worst is over and I sure am glad about it! Since I'm out of Calgon, I think I'll take me away by lying myself out on the couch in a completely prone position, immobile, barely breathing so as not to disturb my innards. But first, perhaps a soothing drink? Something warm, relaxing and - I know! I've two brand-spankin' new cans of Fresh Hell in the pantry! Why not make the utterly assclown move and get up off the couch, head towards the kitchen and POP THOSE BITCHES OPEN. Oh, my! This tastes like exquisite, bloody hell - more flavorful than I recall! Well, my - that is pungent! A bit...bit strongly-brewed, I'd say! Maybe I'm just TASTING IT WRONG. PERHAPS I SHOULD GIVE IT ANOTHER GO. THAT WOULD BE THE S-M-R-T SMART THING TO DO! So I'll just get up AGAIN and brew myself another ROILING HOT CUP OF HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE BECAUSE I SO ENJOYED THE FIRST BATCH. LET'S BREW TWO, TWO, TWO POTS OF PAIN on two separate occasions because gosh, it just tastes so good, I can't help but want to savor the AGONIZING flavor!"

Now, I'm thinking of two, two, two very apropos movie moments (when am I not?):

Orphan Annie: "Yesterday was plain awful!"
Daddy Warbucks: "You can say that again..."
Orphan Annie: "Yesterday was plain aw-ful!"

Smart-mouthed street urchin. The other:

"Jim never has a second cup of coffee at home..."

The Airplane! quote, obviously, the superior of the two.

So, yes, I'm a stubborn, stupid jackass - popped a cyst whilst innocently walking from my mom's kitchen back to my place (it's a whopping...patio-length. Don't ask me for feet/yardage/numbers - you'll get fucktarded Annie Math); thankfully, Mom was at my sore side, serving as crutch, helping hobble my stupid ass to my couch. She wanted for me to stay at her house, to take care of me; I refused. (Refer to section on "stubborn, stupid jackass.") Wrapping one strong, thin arm under my right armpit while delicately lacing her fingers through my left hand, Mom paused a moment to take in this picture of her emaciated, hunched over, moaning, Fluffy-Pink-Robed daughter. I could feel her prying, knowing fingers needling my ribcage.

"Jesus Christ, Annie," she groaned. "You look worse than Grandma did right before she died. I'm serious - it's not funny! She weighed about 87 pounds and the woman had Alzheimer's and you look worse!" Together, we took a timid first step and I let loose a low moan. Mom sighed. "What the hell am I gonna do with you, Little Girl?"

At the time, pain robbed me of wit which is ironic, given that had I my faculties, I would've responded with, "Dose me with some Alzheimer's so I forget that I'm in pain."

Mom's good people. She's also a retired nurse so only a real knucklehead would turn away her care. I mean, you'd hafta' be a real sicko suffering from a serious case of Assfaceious Syndrome to say, "No thanks, Nice Lady! This misery don't want no company!" What kinda' moron refuses the tender loving care of Mom, RN?

What has two thumbs, one ovary and a serious case of Assfaceious Syndrome?


Here's the straight dope, folks: as a recovering addict who cannot treat her pain with anything stronger than a heating pad and small doses of ibuprofen, I knew what was coming and didn't want anyone around to witness it. Not even Mom, RN, who's seen me bottomed-out at some really, really dark and ugly lows.

It's called screaming. Top o' the lungs screaming, howling, wailing, baying, mooing, expletive-weaving of such strange, off-colors one might think me speaking in tongues and really, with the snot streaming out of my nose what, with all of the crying - bawling, sobbing - and the contortions of body and face, baring of teeth with every new twist of pain... Yeah, you could call me The Devil. "Now kindly undo these straps!"

Thankfully, the battle against evil wore me out and I fell asleep. When I awoke two hours later, I did so with four thoughts in my head:

1) I have to pee. Really, really a lot bad wow now.
2) Something crawled into my mouth, shit on my tongue, walked into the back of my throat and died. Need water. Possibly bleach.
3) Madame Ovary has quieted herself into a dull roar; I can handle this.
4) The bathroom is...some feet away. Fifteen regular steps? That means it'll take me about 45 minutes to shuffle to the toilet. Nobody'll notice if I pee on the couch. Will they?

I didn't pee on the couch.

I should've peed on the couch.

By standing and walking, I awoke Madame Ovary who also felt compelled to rise and give a standing ovation of her own.


"Can I get you something?"
"'S'mofo butter layin' me to da' BONE! Jackin' me up... tight me!"
"I'm sorry, I don't understand."
"Cutty say 'e can't HANG!"
"Oh stewardess! I speak jive."
"Oh, good."
"He said that he's in great pain and he wants to know if you can help him."
"All right. Would you tell him to just relax and I'll be back as soon as I can with some medicine?"
"Jus' hang loose, blood. She gonna catch ya up on da' rebound on da' med side."
"What it is, big mama? My mama no raise no dummies. I dug her rap!"
"Cut me some slack, Jack! Chump don' want no help, chump don't GET da' help!"
"Say 'e can't hang, say seven up!"
"Jive ass dude don't got no brains anyhow! Hmmph!"

Let's just say by 9 pm, Nurse Mom had brought to my couch-side a ginormous bottle of ibuprofen, a phone (I am phoneless - happily so), a fresh glass of ice water, two nervous, knowing, pulse-checking fingers, the suggestion that this time, the hospital might be in order whether I wanted to admit it or not (I didn't), and one last item...

Grandma's left-behind walker.

"Spirit of Pegasus." It has rubber grips on the handlebars, wheels and a seat if you need to pause for a rest, a bag snapped beneath the seat to hold personal belongings - just all kinds of fancy.

Mine's not this fancy. This one's slicked-out in "Death-Defying Black" and mine's glazed over in "Death-By-Boredom Beige." Also, my walker doesn't come equipped with emergency hand-brakes. Why something called a "walker" would have hand-brakes mystified me so I checked it out and, sure 'nuff, this is the manufacturer's "Blade Runner" model. Built for speed. Me? Built to bleed. So far, I've only made use of the seat; it happened to be right where I needed it when a gut-punch shnockered me, so thank you, winged Pegasus - spirit me away to absolutely nowhere!

But why not use the walker for its actual purpose? Why stubborn myself to death (anguish)? Just grab the Pegasus by its rubber horns! Quit being so thickskulled, Assface, and accept a little help! Why not?


Because I'm a stubborn jackass and refuse to use my dead grandmother's goddamn walker simply because I'm a reproductively challenged 33 year-old - that's why!

If I'd gone to the hospital last night and they'd ripped out what remains of my dysfunctional reproductive system then, yes, sssoitenly, this Stooge would be happily pushing her way around hospital corners. But - Hey, Moe! - that ain't the case. I've had to live like this for a long time - too long - and a lot of that time, I lived alone. Don't know how much longer I'll have to live like this but hopefully, soon, I won't be living with my mom; rather, on my own, alone.

I don't want to learn to depend on anyone - or anything. People leave, situations change, things break and so on. I know many if not most of you are judging me right now and that's fine, but this is what I've come to learn over my lifetime experience with chronic illness. This isn't to say that I don't want help, that I don't think to ask for it because I do. Yesterday, alone and screaming on the couch, there were a few times I allowed myself to cry out - Christ, this is hard to admit - "I want my mommy!"

Yup. As basic and primal a cry or yearning I can think of. More so even than "I'm hungry" or "I'm thirsty" because who do we first turn to when seeking out comfort for those needs?

I want my mommy.

I want to be a mommy.

I don't want to admit defeat.

I don't want to spend another 9 weeks locked up in my house because I am unexpectedly, painfully, at every turn, defeated.

I don't want to lean on a body, a crutch, a handle, a pegasus because I've leaned on people, on love, relationships and I ran with synthetic horses, dragons and all of them taught me: learn how to stand on your own two feet, goddammit - even if they take away your legs.

For thirty-one years, I depended on everyone, everything else to get me around, get me through. This month, I'll have two years clean. Two years new. That's toddler age.* Walking's still a relatively new thing, but now we've hit the milestone of walking unaided - well, it's an entirely different type of flying altogether!

"It's an entirely different type of flying!"

19 to 24 months
As your child becomes more sure on his feet, he'll start to feel more comfortable walking while holding something in his hands, such as a ball or a stuffed animal. He'll also challenge himself by carrying heavier loads, so don't be surprised if you catch him trying to lift something too heavy for him, such as a briefcase. He's also thrilled to discover that he can run, not just walk, from one place to another.

I may not know nuthin' 'bout birthin' no babies, but I do know a thing or two about challenging myself, carrying heavy loads and - unsurprisingly - trying to lift things that are too damn heavy for me. Never a briefcase. Lotta' suitcases. And one lifelong mental case that - Sweet Flippin' Slippin' Freud! - you'd need to haul by semi into a weigh station to total the sheer tonnage. That ain't Annie Math - that's NASA Math.

Recently, I was thrilled to discover that not only can I walk from one place to another...but I can also run.

Well, not literally - I'm staring at my dead grandmother's walker parked...some...feet away from me and it ain't for decoration - but the writing, writing, writing and submitting, connecting and so on... Stretching my metaphorical legs.

I've rambled incoherent (and with good reason you're soon to discover) but yes, I'm hardheaded and bullish but no, I won't stubborn myself to death. If I really need help, I ask for it (usually) but c'mon, man: I live with my parents, they allow me to live here rent-free, they feed me and provide me with every necessity because I'm in such piss-poor health and because my mom knows I want to write and get back into teaching and I'm doing all I can every day towards that end how much more help should a person ask for I mean, The Great Fact of Life is:

"Shanna, they bought their tickets, they knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash."

I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.

Which would you choose: to fly a whacky, unsteady Airplane! ride piloted by a man with a drinking problem, or push the boring beige limits of The Spirit of Pegasus? Well?

"What kind of plane is it?"

"Oh, it's a big pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows and wheels and it looks like a big Tylenol!"

Trans American Airlines it is!

"Excuse me. I happened to be passing and I thought you might want some coffee."

"Oh, that's very nice of you, thank you. Oh, won't you sit down?"


"No, thank you. I take it black - like my men."

Black - and fresh...


*Cyst numero tres popped after I completed that sentence and made the utterly assclown move of getting up off the couch, stepping outside to chat on the phone with my concerned little brother, then returning indoors to sit back down on the couch. Wailed/writhed/cursed obligatory period, tried to rest and leave this alone, finish it later. You see how that worked out. This is my treatment, my dope, my junk, my pain-reliever, and I'm so terribly sorry if you're unlucky enough to have been wasted by it.

"You'd better tell the Captain we've got to land as soon as possible. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital!"

"A hospital? What is it?"

"It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now!"

NO, I'm not going. This, too, shall pass. And if it doesn't...well, then, maybe I'll go. BUT I AIN'T USIN' NO GODDAMN GRANNY WALKER!

When the Bough Breaks

last night, i daydreamed before sleep, like always. fantasies, nightswims, whatever you want to call them since there's no day involved, but i'm sure you know of what i speak: not worrying or fretting over Life - quite the opposite. projecting Life cinematically against the silver screen of your mind, how you wish it was written, how you'd write it out for the future.

when i nestled into my pillow, i was more than happy - i was giddy. it had been a wonderful day, Monday, with lots of positive feedback on my writing, lots of connections with new friends and sad stories swapped that stirred within me a joyous high - the old body electric - remembering that it's tough all over, we've all been to Hell but each known different degrees and pain is the same, even if the stories aren't exactly. but we walk through the fires, come out the other side - lil' charred, lil' toasty - but wiser - and warmer - for it.

with these notions in mind, i smiled, relaxed, waded a bit into unconscious streams: the future, my future and i don't know how much time lapsed but there was a stretch of grey then me, standing on a city sidewalk, and i was struck, thinking, "I look so pretty. I look so happy..." i knew it was autumn, my favorite season, because i wore my long hair down, tousled in loose ringlets, a scarf needlessly wrapped about my neck and a light suede coat over my shoulders. i pressed myself up against a strong, beautiful man i've never before seen; i had to lean up on my toes to touch my forehead to his and he smiled - we both smiled this genuine joy that shone like the blonde of his hair - and i reached out, touched his upper arm for balance, my fingers alighting on the strange junction where thin white t-shirt cuff met strong tanned flesh and sinew - and that's when i knew. i knew why we were so happy. i knew why we were so in love. i knew why we were smiling.

without pulling away from him, without removing my arm from that strange junction, i leaned my head over his left shoulder - a "peek-a-boo!" - and there he was, strapped to the back of this man i did not know, do not know, this man i love, harnessed to his shoulders was a cherub with round blue eyes - not mine, most certainly my love's - and a face...a smile i see every day of my life. and how that angel laughed for me, let me kiss his dimpled cheeks, rub my nose at his until he relaxed his sweet face into the smallest of smiles, drew together thick and dark his long lashes and approvingly, soothingly assured me, "Ahhhhhhhmmm..." the three of us standing pressed together like this for what felt like hours, was likely minutes, just us three on this urban sidewalk in some empty city, a white t-shirt bleaching out the sun, our smiles striking out the shirt, the sun, every star in every heaven this cherub comes from a shinier place, a place that stuns the sun, this angel comes from

and that's when i choked—sat straight up in bed, choked, smashed my hand over my mouth but heaved with a cry despite it. sobbed, let loose a wail like i haven't since April 2003, when my little brother had a near-fatal accident. i think 7 years between wailings a permissible, tolerable passage.

i cried myself to sleep. what i dreamt - where my mind took me, what script it wrote without my permission - is far stranger, of course, but just as easily analyzed. i was back at FSU, walking the corridors of the Williams Building, the English Department, and i was younger, grad student age - 26, 27? i walked the hall most familiar to me: right off the elevators, keep straight, TA office to the right, one in front of me but the hall turns, left, and there, on my right - that's my office. but why are all of the office doors shut? where are all of the TAs? why do i think that if i were to open their doors, i'd find live audience game shows recording in there? why am i thinking "What's behind Door Number One?" why am i alone? why do i feel so timid, this sense of foreboding do not open your office door, Annie - do not - but i have to, i must, there's something in there to know, to understand, to learn so open it - turn the silver handle, throw the door open and quickly step away, back, up against the wall so that whatever's inside cannot hurt you.

which is what i do and what i see is a young woman, early-20s. she wears her shiny brown hair cut in a chic angular bob, knee-length khaki cargo shorts, new-ish running shoes and a loose-fitting stark-white men's t-shirt. harnessed around her chest, legs, waist like some sick blue nylon joke of assurance is thin rope and it digs into her thighs, breasts, shoulders - her weight, her body, the enemy - if she rests back, the ropes tighten, pull-purple agony and she must lift herself up again for relief but her arm aches. an anchor rope clipped to the center of the blue web leads upupup the face of a canyon cliff here, in my old office, that rope leads up to no one, nothing - not a person, cactus, tumbleweed - certainly no rock. the young woman is screaming blood, her face boils sweat - she is stuck at the midway point of the cliff and i cannot tell: is she trying to go up or down? which way does she want to go? but it doesn't matter which way she wants to go because she cannot move, she cannot take her right hand off of that rope because the left hand is clenching white knuckled for dear life because on her hip, she carries a baby.

and the baby is not harnessed. the angel has no wings.

but this is the desert, barren wasteland and little can survive here save heat, sand and snakes and christ, that's when this thing...this serpent taller than the cliff looms at the young mother, taunting her, nudging at her as if about to strike but instead, turns his giant head behind her and spews a wall of fire at her back and she howls, contorts into a statue of fear swinging from that harness and the baby wails, his face purple and all i can think is, "Which way is she supposed to go? If I just knew if she wanted to climb up or down I'd find a way to help her but I don't know."

that's all i remember. woke up this morning, thought about the dream a while, then put it away.

a little over an hour ago, the left side of my abdomen kissed with an ache - looking for some recognition, i figured. can't be. that would mean nine - nine separate cycles and/or cyst ruptures in almost eleven weeks. i've had a working week off - five days. i thought it was done, over - just another bout of madness like oh, the so many these past twenty-two years.

writing this has gotten me through the beginnings of what appears to be another rupture, so whether or not anyone reads this...inconsequential. seems i've got a very weak yet somewhat effective narcotic here - addictive but one i most certainly can call a fiend. i have a band-aid, in any case. but it's coming off now, drowned in all this saltwater so it's time to rip it off. i need to close my eyes though why i would after all of...

pain is indifferent to pain. pain is the same.

as i conclude this strange stream,
i curse consciousness,
curse nightswimming,
curse every goddamned dream.

The Glamorous Life of a Writer!

A hearty FUCK YOU VERY MUCH goin' out to Facebook today. Their logic holds that if you've added a lot of friends recently, your profile "may not work correctly." Which makes perfect sense. More friends, less ability to socially connect with them. That's some Annie Math right there.

While I have been chained to my computer, it's not been for the sake of the Facebook; rather, the BlogBook. This thing, here, consuming my life. I haven't posted anything in a while because I'm working on a ball-buster that wants to make of me Tolstoy or Victor Hugo - Les Misérables, regardless. Need to drive down to The Keys, rummage around Hemingway's place, see if I can't dig up that eraser Old Brevity was so fond of using. Blogs shouldn't be so taxing. But I'm finding this medium a damn good mouthpiece for my a'musings since they don't fit in anywhere else...because they don't really follow any of the standard literary norms.

Or anything else.

In any case, I need to get out more. As in, ever. At all. Once. Is the sky still up?

A sign you've been hermited away too long: I've forgotten how to put on make-up. Once upon a time, in a real rush, I could throw on a fancy face in 15 minutes. Not a "We're goin' to K-Mart so getcher ass ready!" face - a fancy face. Last week, an awkward attempt was made at mascara and I ended up poking myself in the eye, crying globby, Blackest Black tears for over 20 minutes. I was still picking charcoal goop out of the corners of my eyes three days later. You should've seen the effort at blusher - before washing it off, I stood and stared in the mirror for several minutes, mentally singing that 80's song, "It's'a rad-i-o-active!"

Mm. Pret-teee.

As in, "Mm. Pret-teee sure the next forgotten ability will be how to drive a car. Oh, well. That's why I have feet."

Honestly, I never knew how to drive in the first place. That ain't a funny - that's a for real. Mm. Pret-teee sure the count tallied up at...five accidents, all told? But that's Annie Math so you're better off asking one of the few survivors - who also happens to not be mathematically fucktarded.

Honestly, I'm tired. That's the stupidest thing I have ever said. No, that is. But "I'm tired" is one of the greatest understatements of my life. This waking up at 5 am, writing until 2 or 3 pm, drinking mad quantities of coffee throughout the hours - then the exhaustion, like's like some purple-black F5 tornado-tidal-wave of sleepless 3 am and that makes no sense - I know - but that's what it is - comes up over the back of the couch in the middle of the afternoon and just wallops me, bashes me over the head and it''s fucking ausgespielt, is what it is. I'm out. But I can't sleep. Can't nap, rest (I know - lay off the coffee, dumbass), but you'd think with that kind of fatigue, a wink or two wouldn't be too difficult to catch. You'd be wrong.

No matter how much I eat, The Muse works it off. Last time I stepped upon the scale, I didn't recognize the numbers so I stepped off, back on again, stared, then quickly redressed and beelined for the kitchen, scarfing down two heaping plates of spaghetti. Haven't been back on the scale since because I know, despite my best gorging efforts, nothing's changed. Unless it's for the worse.

Did Twain go through this shit? Ginny? Joyce? Bill Shakespeare? Poe— well, Poe don't count 'cause yes, he did go through this shit but that had everything to do with WAHOO crazy Amontillado nights so just never mind Poe.

Here's a shocker: I'm tired. And hungry! And, loathe as I am to admit it, in pain. Why? To quote a really bad, unglamorous writer:

"'Cause like they say, March roars in like a lion but goes out like a lamb, damned.

And then…then that lupine-lamb snarls in April."

And April cruelly crushes your arthritic bones into Eliot's handful of dust.

So thanks, April, for these showers of yours. A hearty FUCK YOU VERY MUCH goin' out to April on behalf of my arthritis. Same goes for you, Eliot, you soothsaying bastard.

Time to hunt, feed, choke down an aspirin chaser then put my head to pillow, count lambs and try my best not to catch the winks of any wolves.

Now I hunt for me some food;

I hope it does my body good.

If I should die before I wake...

Well, hell - that's one less nap I gotta' take.