Las Vegas, Nevada, Planet Earth

It was validating
for a while.

Waking up at
6 in the morning.

Putting on business
casual clothes.

Driving to work
in morning traffic
with the new

sun. It was

validating for
a while –

rewarding as if
I had arrived
within a life that

was never supposed
to be for me.

Being the professional
adult in the room.

Facilitating four hours
of group therapy a day

wondering why I felt
so exhausted. I never
had a degree or a

single credential but
they just kept
promoting me and in

the end I left my
keys on the counter
and quietly

walked out in the
middle of the day
because I couldn’t

fake stability within
the chaos.

It was nothing like
in the movies. I was
terrified of how

we’d pay the bills
and suddenly – the
validation of

facilitating space,
bank hours, an office
and business casual

attire

was gone and I felt
like I was nothing and
worse. But.

In those three years I
learned to play
ping pong like a

fucking champ. I learned
that nothing but my
own center will validate

my life experience,
and I learned how to feel
what others felt and

not make it about
me.

I went back to my
old job as a server
in a fine dining

restaurant on the
Strip. I was so
grateful they

took me back. I
don’t work much but
when I do I put on

a sexy outfit and
do my hair and face.

I have cute over the
knee sued black boots
and I drive a white

mustang. I like
myself better when
I’m in that car

in my boots at
1 am. I listen to
so much loud

Van Halen in that
car because I know
that someday, I’ll

be old and tell
younger people
what my life in

Las Vegas
was like.

For now I try
not to put
too much into

what I thought
would make me like
myself. Anything

can be validating
for a while but
never in the way

we imagine.

Muriel

You walk into the kitchen. Filthy from camping. Film on your skin. Eyes sparkling. Sunburnt nose. Wide smile. Your crooked perfect teeth have always been something about you that I find special.

“Americans love their cosmetic dental surgeries.” You once sniffed to me, probably after I told you I had to have my whole mouth filled because of what my choices did to my teeth.

Today the sun shines through the kitchen. Sweltering fat sun outside. The cats lay in the lounge, sprawled out and flicking their tails. The dogs prance around, excited to greet you.

You wrap your arms around my waist. I hug your shoulders & breathe into your neck. You are warm.
I am

free.

Best Day

Taylor Swift
released her
whole music

catalog to
spotify at
midnight last
night.

I’ve been re
living the
tame parts

of my 20s all
morning.

It came from
nowhere, a long
forgotten

song that once
I wrote the lyrics
to in a card

to my Dad. I
made him listen

to the song
with me, driving
down the
freeway.

I can wait another
six years to
hear it again.

I wonder every day
what my Dad is now.
Where he went because

all thats left are
the moments that got
immortalized when I
wasn’t

paying attention
until the attention
is all suddenly

thrown back into
those lost seconds.

Sometimes I’m just
caught in between
the pulse to normalize
it all until I can’t

feel the memory or
wish I could lose
the memory again so

that when it returns
nothing
but feeling

could be as
clear.

Non specific

It is never a
memory just

the memory.

It’s never
specific until
it is.

Until all of a
sudden it’s

15 years later
and for the
first time in

that time the
entire complete
dialogue of a

poem by Sole1 can
just pop
into my head.

The poem we’d
recite
thousands
of times that I

thought was long
forgotten.

You know they
called you junkie
number one.

They said everything
was wrong with me
because I

missed you so much
at an inconvenient
time. I was a kid

and the older I get,
the younger of a kid
you were too.

I have done so
much work. So much
writing. So much rage.

So much sadness and
so many reality checks
of what we actually were

and who we would have
lived to die to
become.

I don’t do drugs.
I’ve been clean from
all drugs and alcohol

for seven years. I can’t
remember the last time
I said your name out loud.

It is never
a memory just

the memory.

Of words all put
together it’s a poem

a gift
a haunting.

It would have been
easier if you would have
just become someone
from a lifetime ago

that I

could stalk on the
internet

but
something else
chose the lessons.

I hope you are
resting

in
peace.

Married in the Kitchen

“Have you even seen
lately the amount
of shit

on the counter? We have
cabinets for that. Why
does every dry ingredient

for your smoothies
have to live on the
counter top? We have
so many cabinets.”

He offers a few different
ways of where everything
can be put away. I can’t

be bothered. “I was just
saying that theres too
much shit on the counter,

not that I want to
organize the kitchen now,
at midnight.”

I sit at the table
drinking my plant
based non dairy

chocolate milk.
Warm orange light
bounces from his

natural glow. Fresh
hair cut and my
favorite face,

the one where his
beard has grown out
for approximately
three days.

Worn gray t shirt.
Deep blue linen

Thai fisherman pants.
He is the most emotionally
available and brilliant

human I have ever met
and right now he is
organizing the counter
top at

midnight. I have these
little moments
with myself, just

watching him that
leave me forgetting
to breathe. I feel so

safe. I feel so

lucky.

Blicks

Every time I walk
into the place I
feel like an extra

fraud. Now that
I have bangs and
my hair looks like

a wig a bank robber
would wear I take
note of my

reflection, and how
suspicious I
look in giant

dark sunglasses.

Just
walking through
the doors brings up

feelings of dropping
a lunch tray in Jr.
High. I want to

hide. My head
tells me I’m
supposed to know

what all of this
shit is and how to
use it. I try to walk

confidently to the
canvas stretchers – my

area of focus. The
thousands of black
and white tubes of
paint in all sizes

makes me dizzy. I
can’t even bare to
pick up the canvas

stretchers. I feel like
I’ll make a noise and
everybody will know

that I have no
idea
what the fuck

I’m doing. Or worse,
they’ll ask and I’ll
have to tell them, but

I won’t say that, I’ll
start talking like I
had to talk for

10 years of working
in hospitality. Polite,
nice, invisible.

I couldn’t stop
for too long to
look at any specific
thing. I felt like

a shop lifter – just
so horridly out of
place.

I gravitated towards
the kids craft section.

I felt ok there, but
that was it. Debated

buying rainbow shaped
post- it notes, took
note of a gallon bottle
of silver glitter on

clearance for $4.74.

I walked out
of the store with
nothing. When I

came home I told
my husband about it.

He said “You are not
and never will be
polished, organized

materials. Do you
make your art for
the art world or

do you make your art
for the real world?”

“It all only comes
from the places I
come from.”

He hugs me in the
dim yellow glow
of the kitchen.

“Someday maybe I’ll
get to go in there
and not even feel like

I don’t belong. In the
meantime I’ll goddamn

youtube whatever I
need to know.”

I constantly feel
inadequate. Like I’m
supposed to be taking

your breakfast order
in order to be doing
life right.

Going into that
fancy art store the
lonely kid comes

out, the dumb kid,
the scared kid. I

hope someday that
changes but it
wasn’t

today. In the
meantime my

business cards
came in the mail
and I edited 39

images of my
paintings for my
new website.

One foot in front
of the other

regardless,
as
always.

Cake & Balloons

I was never
grown up enough
to ask you what

your favorite
birthday was.

I didn’t know to
ask questions
like that

while you were
still here to
ask.

March 10th. The
perfect beginning
of spring with some
frost still.

Your Mom would
make you the
same cake every

year until my
Mom did.

Warm chocolate
cake white
buttercream icing.

In a bowl
of milk at
midnight.

You told me once
when you were five,
your Grandpa Dutch

showed up with a
brand new shining
red tricycle

for you. You
told me how
you remember him

taking it out
of the car, and
how in the memory

the red was still
so bright and the
sun reflected off

of the new shine
perfectly. I miss
those memories but
now they’re only

mine and I am
grateful for all
that you shared and I
was able to remember.

When I was 7 I
remember waking you
up at 6 a.m on your

birthday. I had
covered a pan of
vanilla wafers in
Reddi Whip, stuck in
and lit

35 candles.
You woke up
yelling at me

that I was going
to burn the house
down, but felt bad

and sat in bed
eating the cookies.
You let me go to

school late that
day. When you were
50, we pulled off a

surprise 50th birthday
party for you. I
snapped this photo

of your soul, holding
balloons. It’s one of
my top 3 favorite

of you.

Birthdays
are a
big deal, now
and especially

after.

I sang “Happy Birthday”
in all of my
painful and disheveled

yoga postures that
day. I’ve been

taking class every
day and it gets to

the point that my
body feels like a
potato bag of crystal

splinters. I
didn’t make a
cake yet but I

will. When the
mood is better,

and I feel lucky
that I even had you

long enough
to know

what I’m
missing.