The Malevolence of Everyday Objects


It starts when you ascend the stairs,
drop your keys square on your foot
kick out and send them rattle-clang smack
down the three flights
your arms full of groceries, you lose it

as the bottom of the sack
packed by that lazy pit-faced troglodyte
at the Shop-n-Sav gives way
when the freezer spinach plastic
slick with condensation soaks the corners soggy

lurches from your arms, heavy black bean cans
he stupidly set  atop the bags of frozen stuff
tumble and roll goddamn it and you
went to all the trouble to sort that shit

on the conveyor belt to save time
and every fucking red light in the world
and the AC doesn’t get cold until
you pull up in front of your building and fucking great

the goddamned fucking box of spaghetti
you almost didn’t buy since gluten
goddamn spills out fuck fuck fuck
joins the cans and the keys on a nice trip downstairs
God must fucking hate you fuck fuck fuck

the eggs, of course
are fine. Some kind of lesson, God.
Thanks for that. The flour. on the other hand
drifts in powdered mockery, whiteface
bags of chips, blood, shit, drop your guts like a slit hog right
there in the fucking stairwell

sending you a goddamned message

burn down this joke of a life, it says
one thing and another
all roads lead to Rome

because the Goddamned Romans built the roads

Follow the keys and the cans and goddamn


The Daily Post: Ascend

Two Upon Four of Us


Two upon four of us
Thank God there aren’t more of us

You never escape our kind of poverty, not fully. Nowadays I overhear a woman on the way to the chip stand say she’s starving, see how her bum spills out of her waistband, remembering all them winter days walking to school with my fist bunched into my belly, trying  to fool myself into believing there was something in it aside from the hunger that carved me hollow, made my cold bones ache all day, clots of hair in my comb and gaps where second teeth never came in.


Friday Fictioneers

There Will Be No Peace Without Canada


Adams slouched in an elbow chair,  snoring softly. Jay set down his pen. He sprinkled the wet ink with sand, blew it off in cloud that also extinguished his candle. He held up the document.

“Mr. Adams,” he said. “I’ve finished.”

Adams started up, blinking. “The proposal? Excellent.” He stood and stretched, not much taller standing than seated. “Let us show it to Franklin.”

“Where might he be?”

“I’ve an idea. Come.”

Jay followed Adams through the gilt halls of the palace and out into the blinding sunshine of the gardens. The familiar rumpled figure of Franklin was seated next to the fountain, his gouty foot raised on a bench. Adams strode over, the paper in hand.

“This is it, then?” said Franklin.

Adams nodded.

Franklin took it and read. “But you’ve left out Canada.” Franklin’s tired eyes blazed with anger. “There will be no peace without they give us Canada.”


What Pegman Saw

The Peace of Paris was signed at the Palace of Versailles on September 3rd, 1783  by representatives of King George III and representatives of the United States of America. It formally ended the American Revolutionary War.
Negotiating for the new United States were John Adams, John Jay, and Benjamin Franklin. The initial talks began in April, but John Jay realized he could get a better deal for his country by negotiating directly with the British (who rightly saw the former colonies as a valuable trading partner).
Franklin pressed for the annexation of Canada, but was persuaded to settle for all of the area east of the Mississippi River, north of Florida, and south of Canada. The United States also gained fishing rights off Canadian coasts in exchange for allowing British merchants and Loyalists to try to recover property seized during the war.
Not bad for their first treaty.

Inner Man


Since my seventieth birthday I have assiduously avoided mirrors. I find it is better for me not to remind myself of my appearance, for it belies my inner man.

This is not to say that I have the boundless vigor and flexibility of youth, but I certainly feel better than the shrunken visage of sparse white hair and sagging skin my barber tries to show me.

But what of the myriad youthful ambitions that shaped me and drove my life? Let me say that a swimmer who has safely reached the shore doesn’t pine for the struggle of nearly drowning.


Friday Fictioneers



When Tamura Takashi was growing up, his grandmother told stories of the terrible night American bombers turned the sacred city of Nagoya into a lake of fire.

“The next morning was so odd,” she said. “There was nothing left. No buildings, no trees, no people. Only miles of ashes as far as the eye could see.”

Takashi felt lucky to be born in a time when Japan was at peace with the world and such things belonged in the history books.

But when he exited the train at the Shinchi station as he had many times before, he had the same odd feeling his grandmother described. There was nothing left of the resort where his girlfriend had worked for two years. No shops, no trees, no buildings.

Her cellphone had been found a mile inland containing a final text he had never received: So much tsunami. Do not forget me.


What Pegman Saw


On Friday, March 11, 2011, the  9.0 ōhoku Earthquake off the coast  of Japan created a tsunami that killed more than 15,000 people. Many of the survivors never found out what happened to their loved ones.



Gone Like a Train


Soft words about how she’s waiting
only made it worse. As though her going
never counted for shit
as though it was only a step in a direction.

Why’d they say that I want to know
the part about her waiting was just to get me
to stop crying, but I think about it now all the time
picture her sitting in some station watching the door



The Daily Post: Serene


Mr Nervous


Our first winter on the farm, Ellie kept seeing him. We thought she had an overactive imagination spurred by too much television, but Ellie was insistent that Mr. Nervous was real. We would hear her talking to him, open the door. “He just left,” she’d say.

Odd things began to happen. Lights coming on in empty rooms, then shutting off as you opened the door.  Fragments of conversation drifting down the stairs.

One night I looked toward the barn and saw a boy swinging from a rafter, the rope around his neck. I ran out to help him. No boy.



Friday Fictioneers

What I Wanted To Believe


My memory was going.

That’s what I wanted to believe.

I kept losing time. Two hours, then three, then a whole day.

I would be in one place and then I would be in another with no memory of how I got there.

I talked to my husband about it.

He said I was working too hard.

We should go on holiday, he said.

He went online and found a nice bed and breakfast on the Isle of Wight.

Remote. Picturesque. We would get away from it all, he said.

It was delightful. Fresh air, the sea, endless meadows.

The strain of my London job fell away from me like an old coat.

We went for a walk outside the castle.

I smiled at my husband and heard the sound again, that familiar yet strange sound coming from everywhere and nowhere.

Once again I remembered as I began to float away.


What Pegman Saw

Things Take Time


She swore the trench knife
she carried in her purse

saved her life hitchhiking home.
She weighed maybe

eighty pounds
dirty tight clothes

that dared anyone to say shit
took the dirty spoon from my

dried-up cereal bowl
wiped it on her leg

tapped out a pile of yellow powder
from a film can

water from my night-glass
holding a match so it bubbled

asked if I ever wore a tie
I said no but

I had bought one
for Dad and hadn’t mailed it yet.

Gimme it, she said. You can
have it back. With a long nail

slit the Christmas paper
and unfurled the crimson silk,

wrapped it tight about her bicep
told me true terrible stories

waiting for a vein to rise
slapping her arm

put a dot of cotton wool
into the heated spoon

to soak it up
crimped the syringe in her teeth

filled it with one hand
held up her chicken arm

talking talking talking
almost ecstatic

“This looks dangerous
but it’s safe as babies.

I never wanted to stop
and you won’t either.”

Years ago she showed me
how to smoke.

I was bad at it,
coughing, awkward

She said I’d get it
this transformation

some things she said
just take time.



The Daily Post: Transformation



After the funeral, I made arrangements for the bills to come to my office.

Every month, I paid her rent, her electric, even her phone.

At least once a day I would call her number and pretend she might answer it, hear her voice on the answering machine.

At first I left messages, but then I couldn’t.

I’d turned her apartment into a time capsule.

A shrine.

In September I got a letter that her lease was up.

Time to face it.

I needed to move on.

I stood at her door a long time, key poised in my hand.


Friday Fictioneers