“Every muscle in my
body feels like it’s
been in the back of

a dump truck, driving
down an alley in the
Chicago Federal District.

I have gone to yoga like
9 days in a row – six of
which Kevin kept the room
at over 110 and 60% humidity.
He says things in his class
like “My wife thinks I

hold the postures too long.”
As I’m sitting in balancing
stick for a full minute.

Am I going to feel better TJ?
I can barely walk.”

She just giggles her

fairy from another world
giggle.

“I don’t think so. You
know the drill.”

I turn on my laptop
in search of a
groupon massage.

TJ pours

the tea.

Continue reading

The pragmatic crystal ball

I cut off
most of
my hair the

other day and
it feels

free. I went
to the Dr.

33 years old and
a primary care
practitioner

for the first time
in my life. I checked

“no” for about
187 different illnesses
as Nancy from Missouri,

with an emphazima
cough, oxygen tank and
peering stare took

the waiting room
hostage. The Dr.

sat with me for
a long time today.

Asked me a lot about
being treated by
doctors when I was a kid.

I started crying
like a crazy person.

Sometimes the last
memory I have of
being in a doctors
office is

of being 18 and
9 months pregnant
on a sleety gray

city weekday. My
boyfriend showed
up to the appointment

and said
“I’m out”
and

walked away from
me. I could have
either have followed

him or went across
the street for
blood work and it

was the first time
I just didn’t

follow.
Through my
jobs I have

worked with trauma
on a daily basis for
a few years but I

am always the blank
screen for them to
find themselves within –

so much and so often
so that I have forgotten
a great deal of the things

in my life that I have to
used separate myself. I
just stopped having

the time for pain and
fear to matter so
much.

Until in my modern
adult nearly mid
thirties lie I have to
make a

doctors appointment.

My mind does the same
effortless put it off,
don’t talk, don’t feel

just move forward except
this is my health and

I am terrified.

Of going back to
that girl on

Dempster in the fog
and the sleet. I

don’t want
to feel it

and those long
put away versions of
self come out at

the most awkward of
times, like when my

new Dr. is sitting with
me asking about

heart failure in my
family and

pregnancies and a laugh
at how I’m allergic to

all
narcotics.

Yesterday I
cut off most of
my hair and it

feels like I
didn’t follow

the version of
who I always
wanted to

tell you I

was.

Two hundred eighty eight different numbers

The robot voice
asks for my

social security
number. Birthday.
Zip code. Phone
number. It’s

funny. I
can walk into
a hot room that

I might die
in daily.

I can dye my
hair myself
the worst

colors and
not care what
people think.

I can stand up
in a room and
teach a yoga

class. I can
sell my art.

I can not use
drugs or alcohol
without much

of a thought most
days. I can
show up to my

life with grace,
a lot of the time
but

there is no fear
to me like the
fear of going to

see a Doctor. I
dial the number
and my mouth

goes dry. I
don’t know how
to make appointments

without it being
a big deal.

It is a
vulnerability
and shame that

I can’t place.

So. I’m going
to the doctor
in two days.

Hopefully
I will get
used to

such things.

Starlight

I still
drive on
every freeway

in the middle
of the night

for very little
reason.

Eating a whole
bar of foreign
chocolate

listening to
Van Halen at
max volume

just because
it helps me
feel.

Sometimes I
have nowhere
to go but

my head
gives me the
impression

that I do.

I signed and
epoxied another
canvas today.

I named her
“The Sage”

because of the
iridescent shell
I was holding

with a sage
smudge in it.

I woke up at
7 and started
applying for a

job in an art
supply store.

My husband
said “no”

He said
“Just do
what you love
and

take care of
yourself and
the rest

will follow.”

I’ve been in
therapy for a
long time now

but the best
therapist I’ve
ever had is

the desert
freeway late
at night and

old classic
rock that
sounds like

my Dads record
collection and a

Ford Mustang
with the windows
down in this

dark
hollow

place.

Happy Hunting

“My latest
idea
for a

childrens
book is

going to be
about an
overweight cat

that can transcend
dimensions

when he meows
between
the shower

curtains.”

My husband
and the cat
do not take

their eyes
off the computer
screen.

“Kevin!”

Both him and
the cat turn
to me.

“What he’s never
seen fish on
youtube

before. We
were hunting.”

Coopers Hawk

I decided to
quit drinking
in April of

2009. I had just
come off a
rough break up –

had split my
face in a club
on the floor

in front of my
x and his fancy
friends. I was

that girl, screaming
and covered in
blood from

what they told me
later.

I got into another
“relationship”

shortly after and
while I have had
a ball character

sketching what a
piece of work that
one was in my

latest novel I

know at the end
of the day it’s
only a reflection

of what I allowed
in my life.

I swore I could stop
drinking – I just
didn’t feel like it

and
some of the
hardest years
of my life were those –

realizing that I
had no control.

February 13 was my
original clean date.

I worked at this
chain restaurant that
sold a lot of shitty

wine in fancy giant
glass cone
shaped decanters.

I started work at
ten am that day.
The sixty

or so decanters were
filled with water and
had to be taken off of
a shelf, dumped out and

dried.

I hadn’t had a drink
in days. No cocktails
to deal, no shots to
have fun, not a single

beer to be able to just
sit with people.

My hands shook and that
was easy to ignore or
say was a result of

9 espresso shots but –
I picked up that

decanter shaking and
dropped it. The shatter
didn’t even make me jump.

I just picked up another
one. Dropped it.

And another.
And another.

I wasn’t sure if I was
shattering them on
purpose or accident.

The floor covered in
water and glass.

Getting clean has been
my greatest salvation

but at first it felt like
exactly what I just
described.

Today I am grateful
for the pain that it
took to come up with

the willingness
to do something

different.

Sarah

15 years
have passed

but yesterday
I asked her

if she could
give me a call

and
within
minutes

she did.

Her voice is
like a different

time from a
separate version
of a far away
life.

The comfort
is
concise.

We had the same
jobs as teenagers

at K mart and
Portillos. We

always watched
movies in a finished
basement with a
fish tank

in it, Dr. Pepper and
chopped salads.

We shopped at
old navy. She

taught me how to
write my first
poem.

I remember
titling my first
notebook at 21

“The complete
works of
myself.”

I want to
ask about her Mom,
her siblings, her

cousins.
I remember all
of their names and

what they liked
in school.

In a way we
will always be

going on sixteen.

Listening to
Godsmack with
college boys and

Marlboro Reds.

That desperate
kid inside just
trying to shut up

to seem like
I want them to
think that I seem.

Grounded and
ungrounded.

Dumped and back
together.

Hot summers &
giant grocery
lists from her Mom.

A golden retriever puppy.
I would cry on the
floor in the kitchen

over my boyfriend
with her Mom while she
was up all night
trying to potty train

that dog. She used
to say to me late
at night

“Someday I promise –
this isn’t
going to matter.”

Her Mom was right –
and that took what it
took but

there are elements
of connection that
as I get older

from before
cannot be
replicated.

She called me within
two minutes to give me
advice.

To tell me
I wasn’t alone

and in that few
minutes where she
listened to me I

realized
that I come from
many places,

and situations and
relationships –

and as I get older
the ones
that built

the best aspects
of my character

resurface and
re present
themselves.

Her voice is
strength. It
is my voice

when I’m having
a good day and
feeling aware

but
if I’m not I
can ask her
to call me

just to hear
where I

come from.