Wednesday, February 29, 2012

one hundred word story #94: Exoskeleton

In high school I had a crush on a single boy. One day I decided I would just not like him anymore. It was cold, January. I wanted to leave my feelings out in the safflower fields. I sat down amongst the cover crops, hugged my knees, and the feelings slid off like a snake's exoskeleton. I was molting. Eventually I stood up, leaving behind the ghost shell of infatuation and the one thing he once said that made me feel pretty. I ground my heels into the dirt, crushing the crush. That night, my skin grew in even thicker.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

one hundred word story #93: High flyers

They were flying. I parked along the bluffs overlooking the water. I saw humans in the air, surfing marionettes tied to kites in the sky. The wetsuited men and women were strapped into wakeboards and harnessed to enormous kites, kites so large and powerful that the wind carried them over the crashing waves, into the air. They braided the water. There was at least a dozen of them skimming the water and leapfrogging into the air, shimmering over that velvet blue as if it were soft fabric. It was color, wind, water, sun, flight. I didn’t blink for thirty minutes.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

one hundred word story #92: Baby talk

Victoria never liked babies. She hated their spittle, the high decibels of their cries, their complete reliance on the world. As a babysitter, she was aware of all the ways children could be broken. Playground slides. Sharp corners. Scissors. Babies were like overripe fruit. Adults had to be much tougher. One night a white bird appeared in her bedroom, dangling a swaddled thing in its beak. She shooed it outside but the damage was done: the baby had already soiled her sheets. I didn’t even have sex, she said to the baby, who, despite his overripe smell, had broken her.

Friday, February 24, 2012

one hundred word story #91: Heartbreak

She has a heart but all it pumps is blood. She can't fall in love. One night an infomercial changes everything. There it is: a love machine. It arrives two days later, this small contraption that slips right in her bra, as close to the atrium as she can get it. She wears it on her next date, and immediately Craig is more attractive, more wonderful. Months pass. Craig proposes. She has never been happier. But she forgot to read the fine print. The machine short-circuits on her wedding day. As she walks down the aisle, her heart races, bursts.

Monday, February 20, 2012

one hundred word story #90: A question of choice

A panel of men is selected to decide if health insurance companies should cover birth control. While they determine who gets protection, and how, a panel of women assemble in a room opposite. Their topic? Little blue pills. While the men turn away women needing medication, their own special prescriptions are not being filled. That night, at the pharmacy, the line is long. Later still, their wives are even more disappointed than usual. How could you, the men pout. What we do in the bedroom is not your business. Oh, but it is now, the women say. It is now.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

one hundred word story #89: The bully

The bully spikes her chocolate milk with Tabasco. She watches the parade pass her by: the girls with their glossy magazines, the boys with their cards. Fear runs down their arms with sweat. Junior high is sticky. The bully spots her girl, the smallest sixth-grader, and pushes her against the wall. The girl crumples. This is it. This is her moment. Whatever it is the bully takes is never as good as the taking itself. But this time the girl leans forward and kisses the bully, a practiced maneuver, long and severe. It stings. The bully slumps; she’s been taken

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

one hundred word story #88: Legend in the making

She carries a pistol in her bra and a match in her boot. Occasionally the townsfolk notice the odd bulge in her shirt but they know not to ask questions. Not since the great stick-up of ’47, when One-Eyed-Wanda single-handedly saved the town from invading chipmunks. One day Wanda smells something suspicious wafting up from behind her cabin. She loads the gun, nestles it between her breasts, and goes downstairs. Two outlaws are roasting chipmunks on a spit. Wanda reaches for her boot and they freeze. She strikes the match and throws it on the fire. Bon app├ętit, she says.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


This video is an excerpt of "USA: Poetry: Frank O'Hara" produced and directed by Richard Moore, for KQED and WNET, originally aired on September 1, 1966. O'Hara was killed in an accident that July. I first read his poems in Robyn Bell's class at the College of Creative Studies at UCSB in 2003, and I haven't stopped since.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Evidence of a diabetic life well lived:

The blue needles are used to pull insulin from the vial into pump reservoirs. The black needles are the ones that go beneath the skin. The hypodermic needles are for the occasions when a pump site might be faulty.

I filled this box in about four months.

It's funny, the things you get used to, after eleven years.

Monday, February 6, 2012

one hundred word story #87: Back country

The tour guides on the bayou feed the crocodiles marshmellows. I often see them from my house on the bank. When they ignore my no trespassing signs, I fire a warning shot. Once I accidentally grazed someone with a ball bearing. He fell off the boat in surprise, his form collapsing into bubbles as the guide distracted the crocodiles with candy. This prompted me to post a new sign. The guide devised a new route, but sometimes they make a wrong turn. The crowd always gasps when they see my sign: TRESPASSERS MAKE GOOD GUMBO. I live for that moment.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

one hundred word story #86: Crunchy

He’s synesthetic. He’s macrobiotic. He’s vegan. Al eats only raw food that, when written down, appears yellow, green, or brown – colors of the earth. His body is so pure, so unadulterated, that if you stared down his throat, you could read the Adidas swipe on the sole of his shoe. His body is a wind tunnel. When winter turns to spring, you can spot him out west of town, shooting through the fields like a kite. I found him once, tangled up in my cherry tree, and asked, Why? Al’s smile was beatific. Because it’s wonderful, he said, being raw.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

one hundred word story #85: The curve

Isn’t it always a question of timing? She asks, hair swept across her face. I think it’s always about timing. George isn’t listening. He’s watching the race unfold. They are professional Nascar drivers. See how James takes that curve, nice and slow? She points. He knows when to gather speed. I don’t care how James takes the curve, George says. He turns away, buries his fists into his pockets. She stiffens. George, if this is about last night—. She senses him waiting. I can be patient, she says. Yeah, he says sadly, only when you’re in the driver’s seat.