Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Flight Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, and I was afraid:
A blizzard had blown in; my flight was delayed.

My stocking was hung in a house far away
In hopes that I’d make it home by Christmas Day.

The airport was buzzing with passengers stranded,
Whose holiday hadn’t gone quite as they’d planned it.

And mom’s to their children were muttering, “Crap!
We might as well find ourselves somewhere to nap.”

When out on the runway arose such a clatter
I sprung from my spot against the wall where I had been charging my cell phone and playing Solitaire to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Knocking a European family aside with a crash.

The moon brightly shone through the buffeting snow,
But what we were looking for I didn’t know.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer

And a great bearded Santa in a bright orange vest
Who was guiding the pilots through that frosty mess!

The tower lost power; he was all on his own
As he waved to the planes with those glowing red cones:

“Now Phoenix! Now Houston! Now Dallas/Ft. Worth!
On Cleveland! On Newark, you folks were here first!

To the top of the runway, airlines great and small!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!”

Like coastal folks fleeing a great hurricane,
A mad rush of people tried boarding our plane.

They jostled and grunted like apes at the zoo
as stewards attempted to usher them through.

I flashed them my ticket and rushed to my seat,
Hardly believing this miracle treat.

And then, once the passengers all were aboard,
They stowed the last luggage; they closed the last door,

While I at my window glanced out to the wing
And saw quite a magical, wonderful thing:

Santa called out from the seat of his sleigh
And the blizzard subsided, the winds died away!

The snow seemed to melt right in front of my eyes
As Santa’s eight reindeer leapt up to the sky!

The pilots all followed, and mine not the last,
All hoping this break in the weather would last.

Some veered north to Portland, some south to L.A.,
But ours kept up close behind dear Santa’s sleigh.

He guided us onward straight into the stars;
No flight ever flown sped so smoothly as ours!

When we landed, thank heavens, the runways were clear,
But gone were our guide and his special reindeer.

We couldn’t find Santa, his reindeer or sleigh;
Their mission accomplished, they’d flown straight away.

We taxi’d a moment once we’d safely touched down,
Grateful to finally be back on the ground.

How could it have happened? Was it some kind of trick?
A break from the blizzard! A visit from St. Nick!

No one dared to speak once we’d emptied the plane;
Our families would all think we’d gone quite insane,

But we knew he’d been there, that he’d yelled to the night,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good flight!”


O dear, sweet Avocado. Who was I before I met your plump lips? Your voluptuous green meat, hidden from my world by your blackened shell. Where once I found you disgusting, revolting without reason, I am forever grateful for the day that my heart let you in, and I was deemed worthy of your sweet ecstasy. How could I have expected that the more rotten your exterior appears, the more luscious, juicy, and bright you are within? How could I have lived so long without your nourishment, and your significant contribution of Vitamin B6 to my diet, bringing my dreams to more vivid life and attempting to soothe my Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder? You bring focus into my life, Avocado, and you bring life into my dreams, and so it would stand to reason that it is you who bring my dreams to life. They call you climacteric, because you ripen off the tree, but I believe it is because you are a climax in and of yourself. A delicious, creamy green climax.

I love you so much that I don’t even care if your name means “testicle” in the Nahuatl Aztec tongue, because, to be honest with you, Avocado, I might even go gay if you asked me to.

Not that, you know, I’m gay or anything. I just really like avocados. The fruits, I mean.

(Although, technically, they’re berries. No, seriously.)


(for PK)

Before the days of searching for The Hole, before Spahn’s, before
the man formerly known as The Gardener found her on a park bench
with her dictionary and mascara, she was a star — pretty, poised, perfect
in pitch, singing songs from “Annie Get Your Gun” as the adults praised
her fine performance, her politeness, her gentle way with the little ones.

Before Tex, Sadie, Gypsy, Ouisch, Katie, Lulu, Cupid and Capistrano,
before old George bestowed the first pinch that would yield
her onomatopoeic moniker, she was the pet of the older Lariats,
those singing, dancing, wholesome kids she’d come to know as Family.
Always more at home on a bus than in living the American Dream.

Before the drug burn, Hinman’s severed ear, before Cielo, before bloodied
“paw prints” on the LaBiancas’ wall, before they all would ever admit
that things got evil like BOOM — she was the glue. She held the licenses,
the gas cards, minded the horses, minded George, knew the communal
pile of clothes well enough to outfit the party sent into the hills that night.

Lynette, stripped of sparkle, status and bonds, dons her red robes
in her attic apartment on P Street.
Who would deny
the fresh-faced, pig-tailed Lariat the chance
to again do “what comes naturally”?

The Heat Is On

In my

SWAT team




There Are Too Many

Part I

Reynold stayed the night at his parents’ house because his father has gotten too old, too bent and crooked to cut firewood himself. He does not live with them, not since – and he would say this proudly – he was seventeen. He moved out with a trash bag full of clothes into his very first apartment, Mrs. Stone’s basement six houses down. Now he’s got his own house two towns over that he built himself, too big now without Jenny there anymore.

It’s barely six am when the crows outside his window start their calls. It starts in the background of the dream he’s having – something about a bump under Jenny’s dresses and a look in her eyes he remembers her having – and then his eyes are open and he’s wishing they weren’t. He shuts them again, squeezing tight and pulling back the dream images that have already begun to dull and look away and shut their eyes right back at him. Those damn crows keep calling.

The next sounds he hears, of his father getting ready in the next room, are familiar in sequence but not in pace. The shuffling of feet and the buzz of the electric razor Reynold got him for his birthday years before seem to move forward without decision. Reynold wonders if his father’s replaced the blade since he got it.

The crows call louder, trying to get his attention again, to remind him why he’s got his eyes open instead of closed, enjoying the way Jenny’s belly looked once upon a time all rounded like that, all promising. He moves the curtain to see where they’ve gathered, and the elm tree that was bare just last night is solid black with birds, standing there like replacement soldiers for the leaves.

The sight is scary, but Reynold is not scared. He waits for his father’s descent on the stairs, the click of the deadbolt they added last year when the Bergmans’ came home to a kid with a knife in their bedroom, and the start of his pickup to clear them out. He stares at the birds, waiting for the satisfactory dispersal.

“Hey!” His father stands at the base of the tree, waving his arms above his head, looking smaller than all those birds together above him. Some of them stare down at him as though trying to interpret his dance, but most of them ignore him, their calls drowning out his curses. After a moment, Reynold hears the pickup truck start, watches it drive down the street away from him.

I Miss You Terribly

It’s true, I’m terrible at missing you.
So bad, in fact, that I’ve been asked to leave

for fear of contagious terribleness,
as if protracted apathy could be

a deadly new emotional disease.
It is believed by those who know such things

that my lack of general interest
in the business of missing you proves

the existence of corrosive nodes, or
at the very least blackened valves through which

no blood can flow, though doctors hold high hopes
that exploration of the dark places

may yet reveal a temporary cure,
so I might miss you terribly no more.

Yes, I know it’s cold; it’s fucking snowing. Now take your pants off.

“I really can’t stay…,” I told him, biting the left side of my bottom lip. Which, you know, wasn’t untrue. Sam Vallas was having an end-of-the-semester party, and I told Jackie I’d go with her. But Eric was right — it was freezing out, and the snow was falling harder every minute. He wore that same sardonic smile, tight-lipped and crooked, the way he does when he thinks he’s being just so fucking clever. Still, it was cute, if a little smarmy. He looked at me with narrowed eyes as he swept the shaggy brown hair out of his face like some kind of rock star.

“But baby, it’s cold outside. And your eyes…your eyes are like starlight now,” he whispered.

“Thanks. I really had better scurry…” I looked down at my feet and smiled nervously as I took the two pink gloves out from my left hand coat pocket. I always kept them in the same pocket together, one rolled inside the other. But before I had a chance to put them, Eric cupped his large, rough hands around mine.

“Are you sure? It’s pretty bad out there. And your hands feel like ice. Come on. I’ll put on a record on, we can have a drink. Just one more. It’ll be quick. You can tell Jackie you were stuck waiting for the train or whatever.” He played this routine in precisely the way that both Sarah and Meredith told me that he would. Every line rehearsed, every action carefully choreographed.

But I still went along with it. “Well…maybe just a half a drink more,” I answered, finally looking up from my feet and re-connecting with his shit brown eyes. Sure, there was a part of me that knew what was going to happen, or at least thought it did. But I played dumb against myself, or else I was just stupid all along.

“Great. Here, let me take your hat.” I tried to hold it on my head — the knit wool hats always messed my hair up, and I didn’t want him to see. “I think your hair looks cute like that. And gosh your lips look delicious.” And again, he had me, though I’m still ashamed of falling for such an awful line.

He went over to the iPod stereo dock and turned on the Postal Service, then left for the kitchen to fix our drinks while I fixed my hair in the mirror by the door. He returned with two full pint glasses that looked like rum and coke.

“I thought I told you half a drink?” I said with a flirtatious smirk, cocking my head to the right.

“You did,” he said, again with that stupid smile. Every time I saw it, it looked a little bit seedier, and a little bit sexier. “Cheers.”

When I took my first sip, I noticed that something was off, but I couldn’t quite place my finger it. “Say, what’s in this drink? Is it — ” I took another sip. “Is this Coke Zero, or Vanilla Coke, or…something different about it.”

It wasn’t until I woke up in his room the next morning that I realized it was rohypnol.