Monthly Archives: June 2008

You know how they are.

I had asked him how long they’d been dating.

“Since January.  So not that long,” he waved his hand.  “Met at a bar, a real shady place.  Didn’t think it was going to last this long.  You know how the gays are.”


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I just came back from a wedding and just read the new guidelines for the next session.  I had originally signed up for the novels session, but it consists of having to write everyday and write one chapter a day.  It can already be straining to write everyday and to add the chapter requirement seems unrealistic.  I’m thinking.. microfiction.

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Dear Expresswaylane.

I used to really listen to music, not to say that I didn’t just have it in the background or even sing-along but I really used to listen, like study the words and tones and keys and voice and timbre and instruments in my mind and ingrain them into my psyche, and your psyche.  Because I view them like books and movies as defining characteristics.  There are some very good songs that make my heart gush and bleed.

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To LA.

When I walked in, I saw the California section of the LA Times set aside for me, and the cover page photo immediately struck me:  a high school couple, kissing while waiting for the bus.  The boy has both hands on the sides of the girl’s face; the passion of his emotions physically throws the girl backwards.  Imagine it in print.  This is why I love LA.

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Before I leave.

Dear Brother,

I have to leave and I don’t know when I’ll see you again so I should tell you everything about our father.  You know he was a miner and died with 110 other men in an explosion.  I think that’s all you know.  Mom never felt the need to talk about him because as crazy as it seems, she never missed him, not in the way you think.  She only mourned him while he was alive.

When he would come back from the mines, his face and hands and the back of his neck were lightly dusted in soot and his dirty blond hair masqueraded as midnight black.  He’d tell mom, during dinner, what she’d already heard repeatedly like orbits going nowhere except in circles–  how the conditions at the mine were deplorable.  The supervisors assigned more than the maximum amount of people working in one shaft, or the mine wasn’t dusted properly and it could be potential for an explosion, and how they all knew and the inspector knew and the union knew and even the government agency knew, and no one was doing a thing– not a goddamned thing– and he’d bang his fist on the table, crushing mom’s overtly cheery mood she learned to develop over the years to compensate for dad’s.

Mom’s shoulders would sink and she’d visibly deflate and she’d shudder and bite her lip before catching her composure and calmly tell him that he has to leave the company for me, for you in her womb, for her, and for him.  In one way, I’m glad you never saw this but in another I’m sad you never will.

He never considered this an option.  He couldn’t leave his mining buddies he’d worked with since he was sixteen and lusting after girls and adventure.  He was a union leader and that made it all the more difficult.  He felt the pressures of looking after everyone’s well-being, not just ours.  Mom understood this after a while and instead of asking him to quit she tried to come up with different options, like the time she told him that maybe he and some of the other guys could write a letter to the governor.  Who knew some company men.  See if he would listen to their plight.

Dad thought it was a great idea and everyone loved mom for that.  They were nervous and took their time writing and editing and using the right words and making sure their commas were correct and that no participles were dangling, I’m sure.  It was a huge disappointment when nothing came of it and no acknowledgment was received.  It was devastating but dad never said anything about it again.

I slept in the room next to mom and dad so I know when you were made.  It was always late at night, silent except for the door chimes the wind gently pushed around.  I heard their love sounds, muffled through blankets and walls but I knew it was ok because they were our parents and they loved each other.  So I was never afraid of sex.

Mom went into labor when dad was at the mine.  I went with her to the clinic and since dad was away, she had me call one of the other miners from the union. He came by first to check up on mom and said he’d go get dad because no one was answering the phone, muttering under his breath that the manager was a dipstick and some other words I didn’t really understand.  He patted me on my head on the way out.

But he didn’t come back when we expected and dad never showed up either.  After many hours you howled newly released from your amphibious state and burst into tears at the shock.  Later mom would say that you cried the way you did out of defiance.

We heard, through nurses and doctors at the hospital, huddled around whispering, that dad’s mine blew up.  A spark turned into an explosion from the excess of coal dust that ramped up the shaft in lightning speed and every man there, all 111, were killed.  They left 99 widows and over 70 children behind.  You were the 77th.

Out of shock mom refused or neglected to mourn and came to believe you were dad reincarnated.  We didn’t tell people much about this.  Thing is, you were born in the same hour dad died.

Did you ever read The Little Prince?  When he wants to go back to his planet, he says it will look as if he is dead but he’s just shedding his old body for light travel.  Maybe that’s what mom had in mind when dad died.  That he shed his older, tired body for a lighter, fresh one.  She relished having him/you in a perfect state of happiness and innocence that was so far from the frustration and helplessness that he left behind.

I saw dad’s friend, the one who came the day you were born and dad died, at a coffee shop I was working at many years later.  He was drunk and sloppily wished aloud that he died with dad and the others.  I told him dad never died.

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Dear Writers:

For this next writing session, we have to make a singular choice and stick with it every single day for three months– letters, poetry, or fiction– and I chose fiction, because it’s the hardest.  Letters are a masquerade, anything can be done, and poetry is almost the same.  If I were really really lazy one day I could write a poem like this




and I could say that I was channeling e.e. cummings, the literate equivalent of Jackson Pollock.

On other lazy days, I could write this poem:

Green m&m looked at the blue m&m
and thought:
You’ll never be one of us.


So I chose the hardest one because I’m all for making one’s life as complicated and difficult as possible.  Right?

Unfortunately I’d love to write more tacky poems but I’ve got a paper to write, and because I’m trying to learn how to sleep early (before 1 am), I’ve got to go, and while I’d love to write and read and drink coffee and lounge around in shorts and kiss all day, mundane world kicks in, and let me tell you, it demands for practicality to take precedence over preference.

Good night and let’s check in tomorrow.

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Even when the sun got you I still loved you.  I might have loved you more.  Because you were saved from the lifestyle we’d been cursed with when our forefathers toyed with science, wrangled and got rough with things like molecules and atoms and burned each other to space and through time to infinity.  At that time they took technology very seriously as the epitome of human achievement, which turned out to be a robotic dependency.  Still I wonder why people would gravitate so strongly to something that produced no emotion.

When our planet, green and lush still, even with early twenty-something century fears of climate change, with towers of concrete and steel and glass, finally crushed into fine dust, they still did not understand the huge finality, the encompassing of their actions of hostility and pride and honor.  Things were alternately created and deleted in speeds that were never meant for humans to achieve– moving at sound and light—and it never occurred that anything except death could be permanent.

I met you in the dark.  It was always dark.  Half the sun died and what remained pulsed weakly from the moon’s surface.  Our eyes had died when the morning sun died. It didn’t keep me from reaching out to you. I never knew what the ancient words meant.  “Warm” meant nothing except the opposite of normal.  “Light” was abstract, described as being carefree.

I brushed my lips on yours and felt metaphorical sunshine.  You burned hot into me.

We could never fully understand what it was like before the sun died but when you left this world I thought for one second I saw a flash.

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