Not like a newspaper; I am not topical... Not like Face Book; you don't need to tell me you like me... Not like Twitter; I will usually be more than 160 characters long.
Read this blog as you would an anthology - some of the work appears or has appeared on the web; some has been published in print magazines and journals.
This blog is where I keep it together in one place, my virtual filing cabinet.
Friday, July 4, 2014
Finally posting after a year-long hiatus. I have been writing a lot but publishing little and since this blog is mainly a repository for my published work, I haven't posted much, until today that is. The Ampersand Review just published a new piece of mine "Latin for Butterfly," which you can read here:
Or below, in case the link fails, though the whole magazine is worth checking out.
The Ampersand Review is a lovely online zine, visually beautiful, great people to work with, too. Enjoy. -------------
Latin For Butterfly
be in the tonsils, cancer of the tonsils, caused by a virus someone gave you a
long time ago, caused by a virus you gave someone or more than one someone, a
Trojan horse of sorts:
lips, thighs and hips; smooth, curved, welcoming, and well coming in all shapes
and sizes, dispositions, and native tongues; coming in various degrees of fury
and need and needless fury; want, desire, admiration, affirmation, affection,
and (occasionally) love.
Human as in
Mary, as in Jane, as in Mary Jane; as in names forgotten, names remembered,
names chanted, whispered, sighed; names with strange consonant clusters and
decorative umlauts; confusing and lying names.
tasted salty and sweet and salty sweet; names that betrayed, names that
caressed; names you will never say again; names tripping off the tongue and
swimming–not in your blood, this is no aids virus, but treading water in
swallowed mouthfuls of mournful small deaths before burying their molecular
structure in the soft tissue of your oral cavity.
molecular structure, when seen under a microscope, resembles the laurel
wreathes presented to Olympian athletes first to cross the finish line. Only
you are no winner, no champion, just a falling, fallen star: tramp, vamp, slut,
tart, floozie, bimbo, hussy, strumpet, whore.
you call yourself in those unforgiving hours of those first nights come from a
voice bequeathed but never claimed.
papilloma: like papilio, Latin for
butterfly; or papillon, French for
the same; or Papillon, the 1973 movie
starring Steve McQueen, which your father took the family to see at the local
drive-in theater; a movie about a prison and a leper colony, a movie about
friendship and freedom; and when the scene came where the bare breasts of the
native women flash onto the screen, your mother leaned into the backseat and
told your sister and you to lie down and close your eyes.
There was a
leper with skin covered in boils, whose hands were missing fingers, and when he
offered Steve McQueen the cigar from his mouth, McQueen took it and puffed,
How did you know that I have dry
leprosy, that it isn’t contagious? asked the leper.
I didn’t, answered
boils, those hands with missing fingers, you were allowed to see.
Papillon, as in
butterfly, as in the tattoo on McQueen’s chest, as in his nickname, as in the
movie’s final scene:
Papillon made it to freedomand for the rest of his life he lived a free
and leprosy and the names you call yourself in the middle of the night and
Paloma Picasso, whose advertisements for sunglasses were everywhere in the
nineteen eighties in the big department stores of Stockholm, Sweden, where you
went to reinvent yourself (and where you, quite possibly, were infected).
Paloma, Paloma Picasso: a stunning older woman, and you liked older women;
dark, sophisticated, elegant.
had you been born the daughter of the century’s most celebrated artist, would
you have used your name to peddle sunglasses to the wannabe wealthy and
you are not that daughter.
was a tool and die maker who took the family to the drive-in theater to see
action movies and who also got cancer, though another kind of cancer, but not
from a virus: lung cancer, and it killed him in the end.
butterflies, as in prison, as in the glamorous daughter of a famous artist, as
in all the women you ever loved, even those who broke your heart, especially
those whose hearts you broke.
jumping off a cliff into unforgiving waters and trusting in a raft made from
as in the
butterfly effect and the sensitive dependence on initial conditions, a theory
whose sole purpose is to stifle the chaos;
drive-in movie theaters and bare breasts and not looking away from bare
learning by the age of thirty to love your body, how it feels with another body
but not always the same body;
learning by the age of fifty, in spite of those pre-dawn lapses into
self-flagellation immediately following diagnosis, that it never did matter
whose body, or how many or how few hours you knew its name before you exchanged
phone numbers or bodily fluids;
as in Steve
McQueen’s character, an innocent man wrongfully accused and sentenced to life
in a penal colony, who jumps from a cliff with nothing but a crude flotation
device and the desire for freedom;
unfolding, as in emerging, as in transforming,