I’m working on the last draft of ISIS LEAVES IDAHO while searching for a home for LIKE HE WAS GOD. This would be much easier if I wasn’t teaching writing full time at CSUMB! Below is the link to the first published flash of my ISIS series…
And I’m in foggy Monterey after sweltering in SoCal. It’s funny how we can’t imagine being cold when we’re hot and vice-versa: I didn’t think I’d need socks! I’m gearing up to start teaching and sending out last minute queries and fast fiction. I’m posting a few pieces that were recently accepted in Wordriot and Flashquake below:
His forehead beads with sweat––he seems a monster now. A woman waits in the bedroom, wrapped in a sheet by the window. Her left arm bleeds, but she’s breathing. He’ll wake her when he finishes. Perhaps leave a note in the medicine cabinet. He can fix himself, independently, the American way, with dignity. He sheds tears too. Scalding hot water lines the white tub. A ritual bath to purify him.
She works in a bright fluorescent place: doughnuts and popcorn and bubblegum. Sizzles and pops and sticky cries crowd her day. Televisions blink off and on, the remote in her head’s always flashing, searching for more, more, more. Number Four works long days on her feet: liver and pot-pies and refrigeration. She has a teenage son and the younger one. Married, or sometimes says she’s married an ex-con. For now they live at his mother’s house with the kids. Motorcycles abandoned. She was pretty for a few years. Red Harleys and faces flushed with youth sped by, her voice roughened like her hands and feet. Her laugh is guttural: knowing he won’t do what he promised, but loving him just the same. For that shine in his eyes.
You’ll feel better in a few days, Vicki said, sounding like a nurse. Once I sent her herbs like hyssop and lavender, St. John the Dragon Root, magical words to recite. They didn’t help her boyfriend much. Addiction is hard to heal. She warned me.
More blood: thick and black in chunks. I had to use Kotex like high school. I burned redder clumps in his mother’s fireplace. Diane watched. The doctor sent a prescription to slow down the bleeding. It hurt. We talked about the boys.
I cut my bangs and dyed my hair maroon. John went back to the Idaho flatlands, back to work at the nuclear plant. I drew a salt circle before my fireplace, used the Seal of Solomon, invoked Adonis and Isis, burnt pungent herbs and hair. It didn’t help much. After burying my heart under blue spruce, I scorched the linoleum floor. I never did get my deposit back.
In the beginning, there was a vast, velvety darkness. Like the midnight sky, it stretched on forever. Yet it was alive and breathing, and you were a part of it. The darkness was so blue and deep, it became violet black. It flowed so long and so far, that endless night gave birth to time. And you were a part of that moment.
As time was born, there was light. It came in a blinding flash, and it was very, very bright. And you were a part of that light. One huge ball of fire blew up across the sky, breaking into hot pieces. The sparks were stars just like the sun. So the darkness was lit with fiery stars, flickering down through the night. And you were a part of them.
Tiny suns split off, grew bigger and fell into a whirling vortex. The shining balls cooled, mixed with gas, air, and water. They twirled around and around, creating a galaxy. And you were a part of that galaxy. One hot spinning piece broke away. That molten rock, seething with lava and pitted with craters, spun steaming through space. It tumbled down, gathering speed, and became a new planet. And you were a part of that earth.
As time stretched on, the little globe grew cooler. It covered with clouds that rained so long, volcanoes and craters flooded with water. A huge muddy soup covered the hardening earth. And you were a part of that sea. Small wet bits and pieces came alive, tiny cells filled with energy. And there was life; there were lungs, breathing, there was a heart, beating, there was a brain, thinking. And you were a part of that being.
An infant who knew skin, scent and breath, you were made from the stars, from all creation. As an infant, you knew without words but couldn’t talk. As the days passed, birth faded to memory. You were a child, a part of a family. You are still a part of the beginning that will go on forever. You are part of the night and the light, the sky and the ocean. Made of stardust, part of the galaxy, a piece of the first explosion; you are a child of the universe. And this is your remembering.
This is much more difficult than I’d imagined. In May, I opened this account to write about my recently finished book, Like He Was God, before it was published. Blogs, twitter, and facebook were the recommended venues. Though it felt natural to write about my (previous) sex life in a Word document, it’s entirely different online in Firefox. Even though no one is listening or looking, I feel like they are. When I was little, I hid behind the big Wing chair in our living room and listened to visitors. My parents had to coax me out. I feel like that now, but no one’s here to lure me into the open. For now, I can only listen.