Monday, May 13, 2013


It can be hard to put into words. When depression sweeps like a black cape.

When you think your brain has been ruined by nights of drinking. (And it probably has.) You can't remember things anymore and you have no new ideas. And you're not a man, so you can't drink and grow better or wiser. Only forget, forget things--into big gaping holes. 

Was that a dream, or did I respond? Did I speak to her? What did I say to him?

Medicine doesn't help anymore.

Waiting... waiting. The clouds gather over head and you think about things. Sort of think about. Not like you used to (when you contained complex emotion.) (What do you contain now? Nothing?)

Nothing but endless scrolling and maybe the chance to hear his voice and see his face.

But needing to be something that is worth being in love with. Needing to remember the purposeful self.

Ah, but all purposes fly away! Or ossify to be skidded across a lake or hidden in a hole.

And you wait... wait.

Re-read, re-look, re-watch, review review review those scenes from the past, the pictures, the words you wrote. From Kings Road or Lumpkin or 52nd Street. From the pier in Greenwich or the tree in Worcester. All seeming more present than the present.

Trying to achieve Frida's miniature brush strokes. Is impossible. As impossible as Charlotte's miniature pennings from Top Withens. Woman--bead, minimus, acorn--small strokes of great feeling. Buying the flowers yourself. Maybe always being sad.

Making him coffee and bringing it to him.

"Thank you, sweetie pie. You're so good to me."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Patricia lies in a small bed dying.

Hollow, clammy flesh on the bone begging for expiration, as the ceiling fan goes 'round and 'round. Click click click. All things rasping and barely rising and falling and even the dance of wispy hair is painful.

Her lips are too parched to come together, to wet the tongue filled with sand, to cool the throat that is on fire.

And always relentless sunlight through the blinds.

On shoulders at swimming pools and young men and times when she remembers being happy and young. Dances with soldiers and radios and sewing doll clothes.

* * *

Anne's desire for him was a blinding fire in her head.

She admired in the mirror the way her own breasts showed through the white nightgown. She wanted him to see her, to touch her. Staring up at the ocean of a ceiling. The sleeping fan.

(At once primal and pure: kneeling in front of her to wipe the wine stain from her lips. Gently, one hand holding her chin. The sensuality of his fingers touching her teeth. When his job was finished, he kissed her, deeply.)

And, o! To be swallowed, eaten up completely by him. To exist no more out of too much love.

Still young and simmering and firm. Aching and cooling in his mouth, on his skin.

Talking, laughing, being happy. Happiness in the modulation of his voice. Those crevices where sunlight cannot peer and where moonlight and thunder have their say.

All of it washing over them, click click click, to expiration.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Carrion (Part II)

The odor of rotting flesh rattled around in Anne's brain like an obsession. It would someday drive her mad. Drive her to pull up the floor boards in search of corpses. And he would come in to find her with bloodied fingernails, hunched over the earth, weeping.

Hunched over damp Southern earth, surrounded by decay. Rancid sun and mosquitoes and heavy air that catches her lungs and makes it hard to walk. To walk, to stand, to unfold from a bed and face the dripping branches and the swamp.

Weeping over her steering wheel, weeping over corpses, weeping over the Southern earth.

She drives away from the past.

And his future: she had one of those faces, one of those mouths where when she smiled, she looked like a toothless old lady, Anne thought. Or like a pointy little bird.

And there she is coming up the overgrown walk. And speaking to him in confidential tones with her little pecking beak. Peck peck pecking away what has happened before until it is insignificant nostalgia.

So Anne drives away and is enveloped in limbs and morbid night sky and the carrion scent.

Back home, she spread her arms wide across the bed so that the vines could wrap around her wrists and the smell could knock against her skull. And the flies, they tried to escape from her mouth so she swallowed them one by one.

Monday, March 12, 2012


A small animal curled up and died below Anne's bedroom window.

The smell of his rot permeated the stolid apartment air and wrapped fingers around Anne's neck until she could not breathe.

Doubled over on bathroom tile. What had she done?

(She smiled at the familiar shirts on the rack. At the closeness of his shoulder to her waist. Sitting next to him. Wanting to touch. Loving, always loving him.)

And then she shrouded his sunshine face.

* * *

When she was young, Gina had had a lover who fell apart. She told Anne.

He was put together all wrong and fell apart. Organs tucked in willy-nilly and knocking on his ribcage. A weak heart. Beautiful skin like milk and bad blood rushing beneath, rushing to the surface. Poisoning him.

It seemed that all the care of crafting had been left to his mind and his black eyes that looked out so angrily at the world. And then softly, soft. Like the trailing off and cracking of his voice. Or his lips on her shoulder.

* * *

(His face in the morning light. His lovely sunshine face. Beaming and searching for her answer.)

And Anne, oh Anne, she prattles and evades and curls up next to the rotting carcass and fills her mouth with flies.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine

Anne tore the card open and confetti hearts spilled all over the floor.

To be found years later in the cracks and crevices of the ancient wood.

A Valentine from her sister.

How much it meant, her sister could never know. To a little girl who always felt alone.

How much Anne loved the loops of her handwriting. Or the way she drew a heart where the return address was supposed to be.

She could never know.

Remembering her with curlers in her hair and the way she applied blush to her cheeks. The face she makes in the mirror as she examines the angles of her visage.

To Anne, the most beautiful of eyes and brows and noses and mouths.

Anne placed her hands on Catherine's cheeks and declared, "I wish my cheeks were soft like yours!"

"Be patient. Someday they will be."

And eventually they were. No longer the ruddy cheeks of childhood.

Soft cheeks, only to realize how much less alone she was then than she is now.

Then: when they shared ribbons and a bathroom and Anne peered through the crack in the doorway to overhear Catherine's conversations so she could emulate and imitate.

And so many years later... "my sister" ... my one sister. The singularity of it even more potent.


A lone Valentine in the mailbox "to my sister."

Anne tore the card open.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Two lovers stop to kiss in a cemetery and then move on.

But Anne remains.

She thinks about the dock in Greenwich. Eating her sandwich in a showdown with an irregular pigeon. He hobbles towards her, wildly eye-ing lunch. And then she walks a bit and takes a picture of the garbage washed up on the water's edge. It begins to rain, and she buys an umbrella she will later lose in New York.

Anne remains.

* * *

Anne leant over a table of photographs.

Simply framed in gold was Patricia as the gamine. She wore all black, a gaudy broach pinned to her left shoulder. Laughing, she tossed her curls behind her and held her cigarette twixt her fingers like air. The burgundy smile spread from cheek to cheek with elvish curiosity. Patricia's skin was young, white, and bathed in light.

Anne had little thought of Patrica being happy. But there it was.

* * *

Now it is Anne who is young, elvish, and laughing. It is Anne who pins things here or there or decides to put on a ring. Who picks out Patrica's shoes for her little stockinged feet and tosses her curls.

And Anne who contemplates a ladybug crawling down a window, or watches two lovers kiss in a cemetery and move on.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Anne felt silly.

He made it so.

Perhaps frivolous and small.

To think that these things mattered.

Tick tick tick goes the cursor, tapping its foot impatiently, waiting to see what does matter to Anne.

"As poor as a church mouse or as tight as a tick."

She said "Aunt Thelma" had been given two dresses to wear year 'round. (Anne saw her ladling out soup in faded calico to a table of brats.) Oh, Thelma was a "sweet woman" and her husband a pious despot.

Who had really known Thelma? This obscure aunt?

(Maybe she had a pale complexion with red ears and broken blood vessels around her nostrils. Her kitchen was always stifling, and beads of sweat stood out on her forehead as her toe impatiently tap tap tapped the linoleum floor. That sticky sound. She always used her wrist to push back the hair from her eyes. Bony wrists and elbows and knees, of course, and hair the color of a well wrought gravy.

But her lips... were beautiful. Like a valentine when pursed and like summer when parted. Maybe that's why Uncle Frank asked her to be his wife.)

And so perhaps Anne felt herself a Katharine Hilbery, finding worth and burden in the question of Cyril.

(Emily's guilty dread at having to pay Aunt Thelma a visit. To sit in that hot kitchen with its grimy windows grimacing out on Decatur. Patricia swatted at a fly that made to rest on her shoulder--she was thinking of swimming pools and young men. Thelma's coffee was like water, but she was a "sweet woman.")

Silly and frivolous. Like fingers covered in flour or bleach. Like picking out flowers and drawing curtains. Consuming thoughts based little on the world at large. But large on the heart at small.

He would understand?