Stephen King’s “Joyland”

sieve memory sieve, back on a blank page with my futile good girl intentions

they rape only the beautiful ones with teeny tiny waists, big, silicone breasts, and an eye for Donna Karan, I know because I am not

starry eyed models line up single file, Malibu Barbie and Ken dolls in whatever fashion whores the Maker

I am gone, acceptance speech, erased

I hate the make-up, the foul stench of Nair and Net, your bleeding vaginal yeast a patent on clones, bondage foreign snuff films from my mother or our babysitter, one and the same

on the last page, I cry for a boy who doesn’t exist

I watch them watch his kite sail in the air above “a sunny day in April of 1974,” when my fiction first began. It was beautiful and poignant and so very Hollywood, movie-ready after the money men and their hired guns put the finishing touches on the happy ending with a liberal slant. Their media masks back in place.

Everything is a lie.



Bad Attitude

Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

this one bites, that one barks at the moon, is that a leopard?

eenie meenie miney mo, the one-hit wonder sounds the same as the legend

he still looks stupid bouncing behind his guitar

I hate everyone now you will see I am a better actress than the one you fell in love with rubbing her out with every affirmation in 140 words or less

no you can’t read the plot of my demise your discomfiture by spotlight, it is Marc Anthony, not the celebrity death du jour tomato soup for lemonade you will never see me coming they almost took my life my family my my my must be careful with mental fiction

as the sun peaks over the horizon somewhere far away Brisbane Aiea Tampa why not I wear your hand-me-downs, use the gifts you hand-picked for yourselves with my name scratched over the recycled tag, as thoughtless and ignorant as the day I checked my bags

leaving security for a panting, sweaty five inches of pulp fiction

some for simply breathing, eating with a fork not a spoon, the common way he said a word, how she always brought the conversation — we haven’t seen each other in months — back to herself, their Silpada excuses for fellowship

oh, that bright November morning when Mr. High Horse showed (off) his godless porn, hijacking Matthew for Catechism when none of us really wanted to suck dick, it’s a numbers game, and our number was up

close doors, close chapters, close my accounts, I will soon be left with nothing but the shit on my back, and the memories I managed to keep during my garbage dumps

I’m sick of Marc Anthony now, but you didn’t know that, did you?

checking out with five books, no date

Sun Over Marymoor


Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

The sun always comes with consequences. The burn of blistering skin cancer that always kills you between courses, just as you work up an appetite for the first time in 20 years.

I enjoyed the sun playing tricks with summer and fall, in the digital photos I click in a thumbnail box on an LG screen one by one. Hours later, skipping sleep. My entire life experienced in status updates, tweets, and video uploads.

Soon, I promise to sit with the other parents and remember when you lay in the hospital bed afraid to move, as the best nurses and doctors gathered with their notepads and their Prednisone shots, with a wrinkled, metallic soccer balloon floating above the wires and the tubes in this sterile sunlit room by the little park wealthy patrons bought and paid for.

Today, I ate the last meal of the condemned, not knowing if my hunger would ever end. I ate for tomorrow and the next day, and the holidays in between this eternal waiting.

Somewhere in the distance of this four-lane collision, people died. A helpless passenger stuck between Bellevue and Totem Lake pissed into a half-empty Kleenex box. Because of the cancer. Febreeze and baby wipes should remove most of the stink.

American Girl

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

The girl who raced horses in Big Sky Montana sits absolutely still, save for her shaking doll hands. Stuck behind the smoking wreck of her well-intentioned life, thoughts and memories merge into the grey dusk of this popular town. A lone bee doesn’t know summer’s over.

The Northwest rain is unforgiving. Fat, cold drops keep her from thinking straight. Her 360 finished the job. She wishes she could go home again.

Leave it.

Tom Petty’s hard-fought radio hit leaves a strange yearning sensation as shoppers slip and slide to their parking spaces from a nearby mall.

She wishes she could fly fly away before these strangers see her cry.

There is no one left to trust.

There is no one left to save her.


99.5% won’t be able to do it

They showed me the distance from my stand to my soul. I asked, Would I miss very much? The equivalent of the pain index.

It’s your soul, child. You’ve been distant for too long. Would it be so wrong to come back?

I grow attached. It’s been too long here, here where I am no longer fixing breakfast for your families but waiting for them to turn out the light. Each star dims, I count the ones that lead the way toward a familiar bridge, a bridge I’d almost forgotten.

My soul, I’m coming home soon.

dream, Oct. 1, 2017

Le Pichet

Photo by Peter Miranda on Unsplash

His world is meat and potatoes, hold the beans

I held his coagulated blood in the palm of my hand one fretful night between the cancer and the next colonoscopy. The red liver tissue jiggled like Jell-O.

I am here, always, waiting for you, cafe au lait beside my notes and my rusty pen. I know the difference.

You will smell my hair before sliding into the seat, pulling mine closer, an embarrassing display — one I have hungered for, given my American diet. You always sip thoughtfully, tearing dainty bites of one croissant, lightly scorched at the edges, fingering my arm. Every morning, the same petit déjeuner while I run to catch up.

I miss this world, a world away. And, neither of us are French. We gypsy in and out of focus when the cause suits us.

I wonder where you are this very moment, stuck in line at the nearest McDonald’s, because she says so, stuck in a book, while the children gather around the manufactured extra-large stuffed crust.

We celebrated a birthday, my love. I thought of you when the sommelier passed by, on to another table, while watching these familiar strangers gorge on flesh, adulterated Yukon Golds.

lentils, parsnips, little plates of octopus, this crepe I turn away for hamburger until the day I bury this life beneath ten thousand

Your kisses taste of wild strawberries.


this man, he went to the Big Island without me

not a word

not one word

those months chasing my attention, pretending to be interested in the same things… Spam musubi, Korean soap operas, sunsets on the beach

until my check was in the mail

this woman went off to Maui with a chosen four, the Fab Five, they called it

I used to beg her to go with me, I would’ve paid for everything just to see her smile at Molokini

now, I watch them tell their tales on this computer screen, posts and pictures, the same fucking drivel everyone else taps into

I wish I were there

Phrygian Mode


the monsters are real,

I find them staring back at me with raccoon eyes

we are but the sum of a mathematical equation, beauty, 5+5

notes on a page, an interlude arranged by a higher power — Zeus or the Wizard of Oz

these storytellers, they tried to tell us in fairy tales to cushion the blow

a spoonful of sugar, right?

I was never born

I was hatched, except the cocoon came from parts made in Japan, meant for the sex trafficking trade, the one the authorities cannot yet find

none of this matters anyway

a footnote, a place-holder, a means to an end, while the rich men laugh all the way to the bank

and here I am, unable to make change, because these quarters keep changing into the faces of foreign leaders, a game show host marking time, dots, lines, and edges of Groupon

my right hand an open vagina able to take all of him in, a vaguely familiar stranger, the anorexic covers random Jons make from a spare Saturday night before the wife and kids, “stop,” he says, “right there,” it’s too late for what they call LOVE

will he spill over, over steak and lobster, and their busy talk

the sensual music fades away, as a new record begins in diminished 5th — the forbidden portal

I am called into another room altogether, dressed up like a nightclub

lured inside by the promise of steak frites, and friendship

I obey, a cog in their machine, so certain of my own mindful mortality



The sound of Bobby playing hoops would become my favorite sound in the whole wide world. Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash

The sound of death is the percussive snap of my shoes on branches — the leaves bleeding paper soldiers, the perilous drip of a faucet left to dry, my throat catching as I try to hold onto him.

He mattered to me.

He was a kind of home I will never reach. In the vast echoes of this prism universe, their potluck laughter, the time they waste over barbarian customs, their acts of random kindness… none of it touches me.

I interview his classmates, the students he taught in Sunday School, his youngest brother, Jimmy. Impossible hypotheticals for some signs of life, from before.

My loneliness, oh my god the loneliness sits like an anchor in this terrible sea, keeping me from his sun against my skin.

Under the streetlamp of my youth, at the junction of Juniper and Ironwood, I forced myself to memorize every detail. The moment would become a memorial.

Now, memory and dream fuse until I can no longer tell which came first. Maybe I made him up.

A moth flutters against my bulletproof, double-paned window, and drives out into the night, as if to say goodbye.

I don’t want him. I just want him alive.


Apple Cider Donuts

Photo by Vicky Gu on Unsplash

6:23 a.m.

They were like these, see. But a mound of them left for sale, these, these, brittle, hard, cold fishwives, they reminded me of the day after my son tore his MCL — and the village fled. She thought I would abscond, I always found that word just as harsh but pure, with this useless $5 ticket. I forgot, my simple crime, following the crowd into the lion’s den, my age and my careless mental collateral, falling at the same time.

Three of them angry with me on sight, because they saw my need and assumed I would take without asking, like the little fat-faced, slit I am, this gookchinkjapchingchong street urchin of my shoplifting youth (a green girl’s handbag is all). But I had the money, a pile of ones and fives in Japanese, Australian, and Middle Eastern currency from the man who sought to poach what was left of my life.

His name was David. I think, he loved the idea of me once, Carol superimposed over Harmony, but really a castrated Indian girl. An ass suspiciously wiped clean of hair, gay in the parts he hid.

I could taste those apple cider donuts. Three, at least, maybe four. Fistfuls of fall. Only, I couldn’t find two dollars, just this paper with gookchinkjapchingchong on the front and his thirsty face, showing me his own white picket fence in a desert sea: “Your son would love the wild frontier between Perth and Brisbane.”

We had two daughters, in his dreams.

I am left with nothing. Mother’s whore.