Taxi ride prompt


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There was a time when I didn’t want to fly because I hated flying. You know, the act of flying. That thing where wheels up, pressed into seat and all the bad things happen in the first few minutes of flying or the last few minutes when rubber meets the road when it’s all gonna be okay or it’s the moment you wished you burned your journals before you left home. 

            Then there was the time I learned to understand how the act of flying works. You get over the fear of death thing and then you realize the bigger picture is you’re at the mercy of the airlines. Sure you ordered a ticket online (which no one taught you how to do, you had to figure it all out yourself, wishing you had someone looking over your shoulder to guide you and said good job!), then you marked the days you’d be away, getting ready for the big day like you were cramming for a test the night before hoping there’d be no mechanical failures or oversold seats or the other dumb things dumb airlines do.  It all works out, once you realize how flying works, and as long as you keep taking deep breaths and pretend you are a mourning dove flying or a dolphin diving you are fine.

            Then it’s all over and you need a ride home in the thunderstorm that kept you from getting a gate, sitting long on the runway but that’s okay, too. It’s like being stuck in a subway car or the DMV. It’s inconvenient but at least you’re not dead, okay?  So I walked the mile to find my luggage bag (which is actually Dad’s bag that he never used) and went outside to see if there’s a Norfolk taxi black and white available.  Nope.  Life is full of decisions, you know, like should I sleep on the plane or watch a crappy movie that the chick with the prosthetic right arm is streaming across the aisle.  I chose the Eastside taxi instead of calling for the usual cab because I was so tired, I just needed to get home and didn’t care as long as it had four wheels and a go.  An elderly black man abandoned his fast food meal on the front seat and loaded my one bag. I told him where I needed to go and I preferred the back way but he said I-64 was fine this time of night, no traffic, so I said fine, whatever. He drove like an old man and I liked it and then I was annoyed and then I liked it because I wanted him to move faster but if he did he’d be hitting the deep puddles that had accumulated during the thunderstorm I’d been sitting in at the airport.  Norfolk gets a lot of water but they haven’t found a way to drain it properly.  He was a conservative driver and part of me was like “go man go” and the other part was like “thank you for not hydroplaning us into a terrible accident that makes me regret not burning my journals before I left.”  And then!  And then.  He plugged in his music playlist and it all came home: Diana Ross of the 80s through the speakers.  Goddamn, I wanted my roller skates and silk shirt and forgot the airplane and my ache from sitting twisted so my elbow didn’t touch the other guy’s elbow and the crappy movie and leaving a writer’s nest and missing him singing ‘At Last.’ We made small talk. I told him to avoid the I-64 entrance across the way because it’s probably 3 feet deep by now, go back up town. He appreciated the advice from someone who’s lived here a while.  I tipped him good then dumped my stuff on the couch and slept like I hadn’t slept before. 

Lillies In The Vase


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Maroon lips, the blood we cannot talk about
Buddha robes, patient orange sit with me ten minutes straight,
or thinking thinking thinking,
name your thought is it salty or sweet
Saffron savory, orange tang touch it with your tongue you’ll never go away unsatisfied
(are you less thinking thinking thinking?)
Pink pale prim fuchsia blushing from behind happy to share water with you
let us walk, step right. Step left. Step right. 



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They nest every year in a pine tree the next house over.
Fearless. Curious.
One dusk I saw five of them on the branches, then they flew off, long legs trailing.
But one stood on the roof peak, tawny legs, tan roof, beak before the breeze. Its crest feathers and remiges flowing back, and I can’t decide if it looked like a dragon or a princess…

*yellow crowned night heron (Look it up, as my dad would say)

(in Just-) e e cummings


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in Just- 
spring          when the world is mud- 
luscious the little 
lame balloonman 

whistles          far          and wee 

and eddieandbill come 
running from marbles and 
piracies and it’s 

when the world is puddle-wonderful 

the queer 
old balloonman whistles 
far          and             wee 
and bettyandisbel come dancing 

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and 




balloonMan          whistles 

Life vs Laptop


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She smiled at me from her shopping cart, her perfect baby chiclet teeth all white in a row. I waggled my fingers at her and we went on our separate ways. I hoped her Mom didn’t mind a stranger trying to be kind.
He pulled back his cart and said, “Excuse me,” though he seemed 100 feet away. We smiled and nodded and went our separate ways.
The maintenance guy held up my brother’s bicycle as he was learning to go without training wheels.
A neighbor plowed our driveway when he knew my spouse was wounded and unable to do so, then my son, years later helped plow out neighbor’s houses when they had no way to get free.
There are thousands or more moments like this that prove that we are kind. That we are love. That we are worth saving and fighting for. We, being humankind. Mostly all we hear about is abuse and conspiracy and things we cannot change, and I believe we are impaling ourselves on the negative instead of seeing the beautiful children, men, and women who smile and share and give, the unnamed, unheralded. I look forward to the day that we no longer report how nice Miss Denise was because it had become so commonplace.
Put down the phone. Put down the electronic. Walk outside and make eye contact with the world… the world! The world breathes and exhales and makes and changes and creates. The world that is not parliament or congress. Walk away from the screen and embrace the living skin of the real world. Inhale the life. Accept being inhaled. Give without thought. Walk away from QWERTY. The best of us is there… right there and it will never be reported every day but you will see it and stock it on your shelves.

Flue Rules


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You will spell it flu and not flue because it’s the flu but you’re not really 100% sure so it’s interchangeable because when it’s the flue anything goes…

You will remember tiny steel cans of apple juice you drank in kindergarten. You will remember clean, shredded towels that came from your mom’s apartment. You will remember Dad in his bed and his legs and everyone around him and the moment he departed and you will look at his picture right there young, smiling in a suit from you don’t know when, and you will remember tomato soup and grilled cheese tucked in on the couch, mom ministering.

You will sweat sweat sweat in your hoodie not wanting to breathe on the Walgreens employees who are tracking you in the aisles ‘cus it looks like you got stealing on your mind as you wander with your hood up but all you really need is a thermometer you can’t find (which you really don’t need to tell you you are farked) but you pay for little cans of 7-Up and saltines and cough syrup and the girl behind the counter who knows you says “feel better” and you give her thumbs up and you float away.

You will walk out to your car like a drunk, concentrating one foot at a time, conscious of every movement, planning your route back home sweat trickling down your scalp, beneath your breasts, body aching wishing you had someone else to take up this chore, but when you exile yourself you only got yourself to make shit happen, so you drive home like you been drinking all night, hoping not to weave and you make it back to “your” parking spot, you drag yourself upstairs gasping for breath, sipping water, fearing food and your bed and all you got is sitting sideways on the couch watching NYPD Blue.

You will cough all day and night and your neighbors will take out a contract on your life because the coughing is keeping them up but you haven’t slept a true sleep in ten days and you figure by now if someone comes in and strangles you on your couch it would be a relief.

Your earlobes will turn into golden raisins because you ain’t got water in your body. You will be a fool for not forcing water or broth or saltines, but it’s all you got.

You will wake up on the couch and wonder where you are. You will wonder at everything and not care about anything and pray for sleep sleep sleep.

You will have that song stuck in your head, that phrase, it won’t go away and you’re good with that because nothing really matters.

You will wonder if you will ever sleep again and who will do laundry and if you will ever eat again.

“Don’t you love her madly…”

You will desire rain, hard rain, wind.

You won’t be able to breathe for a long time, but when your breath returns it will be unbelievable.  You will be able to lie down and cough often, but maybe not so much, but a dream will slip in and that means you’re not crazy anymore, or less so, anyway.

You will be able to speak in full sentences with your brother without gasping for breath (not like before when you told him “I really have to go now, sorry.”) You will take a little bag of garbage out.  You will sit upright longer than you have in a long time, the fog of flue receding. 

You will return to Walgreens to buy some frozen veggies (covered in cheese) and toilet paper. You will apologize to the counter girl for not speaking to her earlier as you were afraid to spread the flu and kill the world.  God bless her pretty cotton-candy blue hair.

You will sleep and dream.  You’re still not poised to journalize, you’re still not ready to make gourmet meals or walk five miles, but you’re in the 4th turn now and headed for the finish line, tissues filled with phlegm in the garbage can, one load of laundry done, and your bed made of clean sheets.

The flue no longer rules you. How will you celebrate? How will you give thanks for the sweat and ache and loneliness and perseverance thru a shitty flu?  

December Fog


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I heard rain was coming this week.  I was so excited. I love rain when it comes here, particularly the pounding rain on the roof I can barely hear because the building is built well and my ears don’t hear so well, but there’s just this something that tells me it’s rain and I run outside 20 times a day to see it hurling down and dripping from long, green pine needles.   

I waited up stayed up wanting to hear the rain and all we got was less than what I wanted, a fuzzy drifting wet, tiny things you couldn’t even call drops, more like midges circling the lamp post jostling for the best mate, only a little damper.  That was no rain.  

But fog did come.  When I finally caved in to the tired I stripped and rolled in and watched the orange sky (the one that tells me we’ve got weather, otherwise the sky is mediocre blue) but heard no beating rain. The trees beyond the window didn’t gleam with wet, but the one significant sound was white fog and one calling horn.  The foghorns did not sound all day, it was more like off and on, and mostly the horns are loud from the back bay, not the ones in the channel who tag team “horn” and “horn,” the lowing that I love.  

I slept eventually and the sun rose and moved but you wouldn’t believe it because the sky was white, mother of pearl white, drifting from north, damp, feigning rain, cloaking the sun but the horn keeps calling from the back bay. 

I am in love.  But the persons who pilot ships would not speak so honorifically of the white gray mother of pearl steel fog I uplift here, watching drift. They have reason to care.