Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I'm miles from dandelion afternoons;
My life and lawn are manicured.
The world spins submissively atop a plate,
Ready for my consumption
In one minute and thirty.
I haven’t felt hungry in years;
I’ve long devoured my desires.
I can no longer hear God
For I’ve eaten Him, too.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Lie

How many lives you have been complicit in tarnishing, perhaps even ruining? How many lies have you told? How many rumors, however outlandish, have you been all-too-eager to embrace and perpetuate?
For years, my childhood friends and I were terrified of Old Man Tim, the ancient (at least in our eyes) hermit who lived in the corner bungalow on our little tree-lined street. None of us had ever spoken to him, and hours of spying through the man’s window never yielded anything more controversial than his awful taste in daytime television. Despite our enormous lack of proof, we felt certain that Old Man Tim was a pedophile. We made up stories so convincing that we soon bought them ourselves. Eventually enough of us believed our scandalous tales that our parents did as well, and the poor man became a pariah.
The years raced by in front of Old Man Tim’s living room window, as did the block parties births deaths skinned knees fireworks love affairs heartbreaks tulips marigolds falling maple leaves snowmen. When he died, no one in the neighborhood attended the funeral. Many in the neighborhood rejoiced to see him go, still firmly believing that the old man was a child molester, though in truth, no one had ever spoken to Tim, and no one could claim to have been victimized by him.
In all likelihood, Tim was simply a lonely widower, all but forgotten by his children and grandchildren, who only ever called on Sundays to make sure he hadn’t fallen down the stairs or drowned in the bathtub. But with the brutality that is so typical of childhood ‘innocence,’ I helped make Old Man Tim a monster.  

Friday, May 6, 2011


Do you have a favorite creation? I do. I've written countless poems and narratives over the years, but for some reason, my favorite is "In Memoriam," a poem I wrote a few months ago and published on my blog. I love this poem because of the love I put into it. Each word, each image was carefully chosen in order to illustrate an experience too beautiful to bury in abstraction and cliché. In the end, the piece "worked" for me, but I had no idea whether anyone else would appreciate it. I'm flattered that there are people out there who do. Check out the poem on Bolts of Silk, and while you're at it, explore the fantastic collection of poetry from around the world that Crafty Green Poet has anthologized there:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May is Short Story Month

Do you read short stories?

I enjoy reading them for the same reason I like poetry. I'm amazed at how writers of either genre can manipulate language so meticulously, often down to the morphemes, jam-packing their brief works with rich images and ideas. Short story writers as varied as Herman Melville, Junot Diaz, Jamaica Kincaid and Milan Kundera astound me with their ability to develop a character so thoroughly in so few pages.

Who do you/have you read? Which short stories have endured in your mind over the years? Do you write short stories? If so, where can one read them?

May is Short Story Month. In honor of this event, I have set a goal of writing at least one short story this month. It's in progress - stay tuned. I also challenge YOU to write a short story and publish it online in May, either on your own blog, or as a guest post here (just let me know; I'd be delighted). Additionally, please write me if you encounter any excellent short stories during this month or anytime - I'm always on the lookout for new reading.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Funny People #1

I’ll never be the funny one – in the family, in the relationship, among my friends, or in the workplace. I’ve come to accept my position in life as the object of the jokes and not the joker. However, I appreciate the humor in others, and I like to surround myself with funny people, particularly those who are funny without effort. One of these amusing characters is my mother. She's here on a visit now, and I can't get enough of her personality. When I'm with her, it's never long before I'm shaking violently with one of those so-hard-I-almost-peed laughs. Here are a few reasons why.
Her Cuban accent: When she wants me to pay attention, she orders me to “Fuck us, Nadya. You must try to fuck us.”
Her colorful idiomatic expressions: 
Concéntrate, mojón de gato. Translation: Concentrate, piece of cat shit.
Yo no soy peo que aguanta calzoncillos. Translation: I’m not the sort of fart that can be held back by underwear.
¡Porque me salió de la papaya! Translation: [Why did I do that?] Because it came out of my vagina, that’s why!
The Magic Wand: When I started attending my first dances at fifteen, my mother sat me down and warned me about what she'd dubbed the Magic Wand (an adolescent boy's erection, caused by irresponsibly close dancing). Before each dance, my mother kissed me, traced the sign of the cross on my forehead, and then whispered ominously, “Beware the Magic Wand!” She frightened me so thoroughly that for the next two years, I maintained more than a Bible’s length distance from my dance partners, afraid of being poked by their deleterious wands.
The Senior Citizen Conundrum: My mother unabashedly asks for the “senior discount” everywhere she goes, but she gives the evil eye and the arthritic middle finger to anyone who dares refer to her by those cursed words: senior citizen.
My Mom Keeps it Real: A few years ago, my mother began asking me to teach her American slang words and bits of pop culture. She wanted to speak the language of the young folks, to keep it real. A few favorites:
Mullet.  My mother now notices mullets everywhere she goes: “Ooh look! There’s a mullet! Business in the front….wait, wait, don’t tell me…I know this…Oh! Party in the back! Right?”
She is tore up from the floor up! My mother likes to say this while people-watching at Wal-Mart.
Vibrators. “Do those things really work? Um, actually, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know, and I don’t want to know if you know.”
Lady Gaga. “I like her! I don’t care if she’s a hermaphrodite. IS she a hermaphrodite? Not that there’s anything wrong with that….”