I'm still learning who I am

A woman

With boyish handwriting

A voracious appetite

Nothing is ever enough

I want to shake harder

Sleep more but lie supine less

Do more

Be more

Dare I say have more

Know more

Write more

Back when I drank

Drink more.

A woman

Open to womanhood

As a map

To joy.

For more modern life poetry please follow this blog or subscribe in a reader.


She Loved Colors

In response to this week's Tipsy Lit prompt: let’s see what kinds of locations/professions we can imagine ourselves (or our characters) in. Write a scene that describes the location in a way that also gives us a sense of the person who works there. There was no way out. She had to force the door open upon arrival, pushing clothing and spike heels and sundry items out of the way of the viridescent particle board on hinges. Even so, every time she wanted to leave, her belongings had managed to sneak their way back against the door as if plotting their escape, peeking under the crack for fresh air. The only window was old and painted shut, but at least it was single pane.

She lived in a one-room apartment with a closet-sized bathroom and no closet at all. In one corner, a sink and an electric range comprised her kitchen. The countertop was the color of the ripe flesh of a mango, and the fridge was child-sized. If she bought a six-pack of Corona, she had to drink four bottles in one night because there was only ever room for two. Warm beer rotted her insides. She’d wanted a microwave since she moved in but she could never save enough. Every bit of her monthly allowance went to rent, food, drink, pot and paints.

She had a knack for running out of food and money simultaneously. After starving for a day or two, assuming she wasn’t in the middle of a masterpiece, she would show up on a friend’s doorstep, bringing a painting she’d discarded before finishing, claiming that it came to her in a vision after their previous visit, and they would be so flattered that they inevitably offered her a drink or a snack or a whole meal. She never invited them to her place. Most of them didn’t know where she lived. But no one ever stopped opening their doors. Someday those paintings would be worth something.

She painted in front of the bay window. Beyond all of the buildings and smog and cement, she could see a sliver of ocean. Always waiting for her, no matter the blackness of night or the numbing of her mind.

She sold a few paintings at a farmer’s market, standing like a pathetic hippie in her long skirts and gladiator shoes and John Lennon sunglasses and vermillion lipstick and homemade earrings, praying to Jesus that the people of Los Angeles would see beyond her youth and recognize her for who she was.

The sales were demeaning and the tent cumbersome and the afternoons stifling. She quit selling at the market as soon as she’d earned enough for a queen mattress. A real bed helped her to dream. She had no other furniture. No dresser or shelves or couch, nothing but an easel and paintings and books stacked everywhere like the buildings around her, and piles of clothing and jewelry hanging from thumbtacks on the walls that were splattered in paint. Not in any particular pattern because she hated patterns, but she loved colors.

Painting. Photo credit: JennyMaldonado via Compfight cc


Written for Trifecta. The prompt is to use the third definition of "fly." "I'm here," the little one announces, chest taut with hope.

His mother ignores him as easily as she flouts the tax man. She's talking on the phone and looking out the window, running fingers through broken yellow hair. She speaks in a low voice sweet like honey, whispering secrets and lies, topped with whipped cream and cherries.

"Who're you talking to, mommy?" But he knows the answer already: the clients. Every time he asks to become one, she lights up a cigarette and blows the smoke in his face until he coughs. He'll cough forever if she'll keep looking at him.

He says, to no one in particular, "I'm hungry, mommy." He bites his lip, it's almost as chewy as a gummy worm. He approaches his mother. He stands close enough to smell her perfume. Roses fused with nail varnish. His favorite scent in the world.

She turns away from him so that her bottom is in his face. Ripe and round as a peach. He can't help it. He's so hungry. He bites her in the ass. She drops the phone as her arms fly into motion, swatting at him with both hands. He runs away, the screen door slamming in her face. She doesn't follow him.

He hides behind the neighbor-man's truck where no one can see him. The man's belly is so big that the boy thinks there might be a baby inside even though his mother says only girls can grow babies. He watches as the man grills hot dogs, one after another. He drools like the skinny mutts who roam the trailer park, the dogs too ugly to feed, or love.

When the man drops a hot dog onto the gritty earth, he doesn't shout "dammit!" or "fuck!" Instead, he peers into the shadows where the boy hides and he calls to him.

"Hey boy, do you want this one?"