Sometimes, I think there are talismans. If you can hit on the right configuration, you can open doors to other places. If you’re patient, you can pick the lock. I’m still trying out different combinations: a pocket watch and a pitcher of Wyler’s Electric Grape?

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We didn’t have time to complete much of a medical history, but I knew she was a sex worker and soon I’d be treating her customers. After my examination, I gave her a prescription to take to our pharmacy. Elliot handed her condoms on her way out.

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I had a feral streak and that day when the ice cream truck passed by I ran out of the house, straight into a big sedan driving down the street. I bounced off the side right by the front wheel.

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In tonight's episode, a team of Army doctors treated roughly a dozen different patients: one spinal cord injury, one missing ear, multiple lacerations, contusions, and abrasions. One solider suffered from shock, one inflamed appendix requiring surgery, and of course, multiple gunshot victims.

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The bunny person takes off their head like a series of Russian nesting dolls, over and over again. Unexplainably, each time, beneath the previous head is the same head, the same size, the same texture. How do they all fit?

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As Howard gathered bags of marijuana and Etienne’s expensive
     New scale
That he had stolen from Lady Snow’s,
I smeared my blood on the walls in a detached, tongue-in-cheek
​     Gesture,

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I have no genetic fitness. I did once: my genetic material was carried by my sister’s daughter, my godchild and niece, Irene, whom I raised and let down. She committed suicide at the age of 35. She was a psychiatrist who knew pharmacology well and a determined individual who said that if she were to kill herself, she would do it so that no one would know.

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At the same time, my suicidal mutterings and fantasies became more frequent, and more pronounced. I have mentioned that I sometimes spend days thinking of nothing but reasons I should kill myself. For months in 2016 and 2017, I thought of little else.

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Someone took over a five-story hotel in the Filmore/Bush district of San Francisco and started renting cheap rooms to hippies. They named it, cutely, “The Greta Garbo Home for Wayward Girls (and boys also).”  Over a hundred old hotel rooms all rented to folks in the scene.

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The girl capsizes herself with alcohol, Black Beauties, angel dust, sex with strangers, and slicing. Darkness barely discusses her. Blood covers our kneecaps one night from smacking into a lamppost. We buckle under her when she passes out.

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When the black hole swallowed my relationship with Mom and my entire US-based extended family three years into my post-MFA writing drought, I was left to make sense of a story that seemed to have come to its natural conclusion.

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It rained rocks in the old neighborhood where I grew-up (or just grew). The neighborhood known as “Zylonite”—a little patch of earth on the outskirts of a small mountain-town just south the Vermont state line.

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Mandated by the court to enter therapy, his chart had a red notation at the top I didn’t recognize: “Violence/aggression risk.” His diagnosis was “Schizoaffective disorder,” and the chart noted he had a long-term substance abuse problem.

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Later that night, I was haunted by images of mortars and shell cartridges, but remember distinctly that even before the tree-planting school trip I used to think, “what if I wake up in the middle of the night to find myself in the fascist encampment?”

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The siren sound of labouring mothers—groans and intermittent screams—came from behind the swing doors, and, when we pushed them open, we were greeted with the smell of bleach and Dettol.

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“Dad, we’re on strike. It’s crazy here. People get arrested just for looking the wrong way at a cop. And a lot of time it’s not just the regular police but this special Tactical Squad that’s full of nutcases who LIKE to hit people.”

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The paddy wagon door opened, the floor white grey the color of seagull shit. There was a small barred window and a metallic bench. As the door closed, six Tactical Squad officers lumbered in, helmets strapped, visors down.

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In this dream I am 112 stories high, a fluffy kitten placemark thrusting up from my summit adds another 13 stories. People crowd the windows of the observation area on the top floor and ooh & ah at the violet-burnished clouds, the sun squeezed tangerine at the horizon.

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Fax a copy of your driver’s license, fax copies of the death certificates of long passed relatives mentioned in the debt paperwork.  Fill out the questionnaires, all of them.  So many people to please, so many people to pay.  All those supplying required services require compensation.

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Robyn resembled Liza Minnelli and belted out a bit of “Cabaret” to anyone who would listen. I listened. She took a fast fancy to me in a bar one Saturday night, but when I learned she was nineteen I waved goodbye being thirty-two.

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Our silence bangs against the heater.
He draws the blinds partly closed,
says he longs to bring Jerusalem here,
heart of his, held captive when
they banished him, forbade return.

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Memories fade, even of those dearest to us.  That’s how it should be, probably.  Mom passed down her boxes of memorabilia, but I wonder if they are worth saving for future generations.  Do we need more than a handful of posed snapshots, outlines, caricatures, and legends?

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And so
some dreams will merely be delayed a year,
some dreams will be realized ahead of schedule,
some dreams will be deferred, perhaps permanently,

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One day, the first time she had left the house in days, much less showered, we passed by a swan in a lake, her neck improbably high and elegant as she floated by. Absently, I commented on her beauty.

“Swans, seriously, swans? You think I want to look at a swan? You are so clueless. You disgust me.”

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A man waves his AR-15, a woman her tiny pistol, at non-violent demonstrators in St. Louis. They must only eat cake in that palace of theirs; inside, there’s a wooden hiding place from the Reign of Terror.

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I wanted to explore the afterlife with my characters, I wanted to let myself fully free, while still tense in the form of literature I have chosen to lock myself into. The death of the world, the death of the ego, the death of the self, the death of god.

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My father raised his hand—I could see pale blue veins through his almost translucent skin. I felt again the ground shift as it did the first time I realized much of humanity will learn orphanhood before they die. With a trembling finger, Papa wiped both cheeks.

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Beginning with appeals to authority, we tend to believe we were born because we exist, we’re be(ing) here now and also, everyone knows you can’t have a chicken without an egg. But for some reason, being born is not always enough. You need more proof than that.

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He had been laughing it up with cronies about a cross burning on a young Black woman’s family farm, when we overheard him say: “I want to split that dark oak.”

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The Hoedads were real hippies. They weren’t television and movie hippies—all flowers and headbands and incense—but actual funky, fiercely independent and often downright ornery Freaks, who were also idealistic and compassionate almost to a fault.

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Drenched in sweat, I march on, holding my breath past an odorous empty lot marked “Toxic.” Up ahead, the four young men rest beneath the shade of a tree, long enough for me to pass, before they begin walking again.

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But when I was growing up, when I was hearing them tested every Tuesday morning at 10:30, the sirens were still called what they were when they were first installed during WWII all across a frightened America – air raid sirens.

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They didn’t wear hoods and Sam recognized their faces.  Some from the church balcony.  Some men who squeezed his bicep, asked him to come work for them, pushed him down when he did not.

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Because winter is a cataclysm for creatures like us. We, the green and leafy masses, unfit for city life, need warmth. We can’t create sweetness alone and in the dark, it has to be drawn out of us with rich soil, sweet breezes, and rays of light.

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Jealousy is the anticipation of loss, real or imagined, to a rival. Envy is prompted by covetousness and a wicked desire to supplant someone else. But it seems to me that jealousy is a euphemism for envy—one of the seven deadly sins, the hatred that prompts Nemeses to lead Narcissus to the pool. We call envy jealousy to hide its danger—Echo and her laughter.

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Without warning, the truck sped up and drove intentionally a few feet to the right, into the deepest puddles, and the massive tires sent waves crashing over him, pounding him like surf, forcing water into his mouth, eyes, ears, and nose.

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My intention is to be open, willing, and ready to any opportunity that might reveal itself as fruitful - to be in the right place at the right time, and, with the help of the universe, have all the pieces within my frame align with balance, order, and meaning.

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When his perceived enemies were the targets of mail bombs this fall, he never once reached out to the many high profile targets, but instead decided to whine about how the news coverage affected “republican momentum” before the midterms.

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