Still in the city with slow blood. Awnings heave full like guts then sink then shake their stripes reproachfully.

It is your average haunting. Thieves and librarians. We wake wearing both pinstripes and polka dots in antagonistic colors. 

The grocers stare through eyelashes and iron grates. Few carrots, too many pears. Yesterday, a train barreled through the pool hall and I finally won the game.

I have the password and a pale daughter who spits from her ears.

The place you seek is under the four-chambered fire station. We eat the lightning trees and wait. Signal with your one white hair.  


Greeks bearing fits


Dear Pen,

I tried to take it back. After I found out, I went to the sea and scrubbed myself head to toe with sand. It wasn't wine-dark that day, more like an ale, slow-moving and sweet. The droplets clung to my skin like honey and I licked inside my wrists to be sure it was water. The gods get up to such mischief, you see. But you know this.

Look, old girl, it's a hard world. We don't get to keep anything for very long. I had a pet bird for a few years. She sang Wagner and the hymns of extinct peoples. But then a storm blew up and Zeus sent her away. She spent forty days and nights searching for land for some jerks in an Ark. Her heart gave out when she finally succeeded, and she died in my palm, warbling que sera sera.

Have you ever been alone on an island? I mean really alone. Walking from end to end takes 30 minutes and I can run it five times before my breath turns to lace. Only the clouds and the water change. I've named every iteration after a cooking herb. Today we've got mustard clouds, and my skin is flaking off from yesterday's abrasion. I can't destroy all the evidence, but don't worry, I won't have his baby.

So you see. You'll get him back eventually, and I'll be the demon. I am building a boat out of reeds. I am moving to the city and launching a career in stand-up comedy.

I am filing down my horns and teeth to harmless nubs.

All the best,
Lustrous Calypso
Dear Christine, sometimes you fall silent at the table and you look into the brown puddle of coffee and I know then that you know, and you have come back from 1911, and it is a century later all beautiful metallic, and suddenly the only natural thing left grows huge and pulls the asphalt into makeshift waves and we become afloat in the sea of ourselves. It matters again that our blood dries the same shade. Sometimes I smell bullshit on your body. Sometimes I don't care that you have tangles in your chemical make up. I want to put you in a room with people who believe they are the third coming of Christ. I want to throw your matchbox collection into the shitstink river. I want to slap you upside the head. Leave you to the steel tipped dogs. Let you tumble from the lip of the window. Dear Christine, sometimes you make me laugh so hard my eyeballs fracture.

diner lingo


dear you, who used to sit at table #23,

monday/special: reuben with a side of licorice sticks/soup: bone button borchst

the architect came in today. oh, does he drink coffee. i bring it to the table in crystal punch bowls.

remember when the power went out and i was serving that table of 10 who promised me a huge tip, my very own banana tree, if only i would bring them their order? 

the architect built us an electrical plant out of eggs over easy.  as soon as we scratched them with forks. light. banana splits on the house.

tuesday/special: organic pancakes straight from the aerosol can/soup: coconut peanut butter

all sentences directed towards me contained 0 grams of sugar.  spit in many tapiocas.  went home and laid on  leftover napkins. 

is it difficult to walk when you have to move yourself and the person clinging to you? you’re married. i’m sure you know. maybe i’d be a natural.  i can carry three plates and two sodas at once. as long as the soda is diet.

wednesday/special: tootsie rolls/soup: tootsie rolls microwaved in a bowl

we ran out of everything but tootsie rolls.  it’s not a big deal. people are used to accepting tootsie rolls in lieu of better things.  we learn to do it at a very young age. usually at parades or halloween.

we’ll have everything again tomorrow, except a few things.  you, for example, have been on the 86 list for 120 days now. it’s a record.

thursday/special: meatloaf of the gods /soup: daddy’s whisker soup

this will be the last one for now. these waitress pads are small. summer is looking straight at me and promising to take me to the beach once my shift is over. his car is the color of cherries. it is hard not to take a big bite.

your pie is still waiting for you,


Dear Phil


Which are you? Are you doddering Phil, drinking bourbon in the greenhouse, or do you glide through the alleys now, rain caterwauling off your hatbrim? Are you the shadow nosing just far enough past the doorway to aim a pointed observation? Have you learned to detect like Janus both the past and future simultaneously? It would look good on your resume.  I hear they have seminars for it, and they are brimful with undertakers, morticians, and raincoat salesmen.

While you were diving, I walked off with your wife. She was just a kid, knock-kneed as a pelican, or so I thought. You never know what you are getting into, with women. It turns out, they can have agency. This one, yours, I forget her name now, she had all of Jupiter storming about inside her. She had gravity. You know I’m no good when I’m actually wanted. You know it makes me go all racehorse in the gut. Anyway, she still left me first, dragging me like a polluted wing behind her.

Consider that maybe even we never truly know ourselves. I drew my self-portrait only after several interviews with experts who think they know me from the movies. Consider the subjectivity of how we perceive color. The sea is blue with oil and the fishermen, sunburned, who dip their nets in and out and in again empty, their necks blister with green. Consider that shellfish makes my guts roll up like a ball of yarn, and that you shall get them yourself and I will gnaw sullenly on yams.

Last night I dreamt I saved your life. You were drowning. I put my mouth to yours and blew as hard as I could, then punched your heart until you sputtered back up like a boat motor. In reality, I could not do this even if I wanted.

 - Humphrey

Dear Humphrey


I have a diving suit in the basement you can use. I have been meaning to show you. Actually I tried it once and went into the water. There may be problems with the oil now, but you have to try it to be sure. 

It is more real than the past. Maybe you have a special power, but I cannot re-experience my memories as well as I would like. I don't believe anything can be replicated. Does this make the diving suit light or heavy? 

If you go in to the black water, you will see yourself. It will be like the Christmas party. You will realize how terrible it is to be pure, to be independent, to be the ideal American. 

Pick up some of those white crabs, while you're at it. I can cook it into a stew, and you can have it. I'll bring it to the office. Things far away taste different. I have never seen a jellyfish. More and more I feel that life is becoming mythical.


Dear Phil,

Thanks again for the invite to your office Christmas party.  Enjoyed meeting your assortment of solitudes, the whiskey, the slant trajectory between sorrow and a point unknown. Found it awkward to be the only actual guest, chewed noisily on ice cubes and made small talk with the venetian blinds whenever you wandered off to paw at a question. You may have seen me leave early. You may have seen me lingering across the street, hunting your women, haunting the empty bottles in front of the bars, granting wishes.  Who wishes for riches? Who wishes for fame? Who wishes for a breathing apparatus when they dive deep into fiction, a straw, a reed, a metal tube that spits fire? Will tell all the guys back home about your excellence as a host and aptitude for catastrophe. I look forward already to next year.



Dearest madam,
It’s March already and the fire
danger is high—dead growth, old
winter, dry wind and etc.  So tomorrow
I’ll marry you. With water
we can ease the shock
of transplant. Sunflowers
and nightshade for you, if you wish,
radishes. We’ll thin our lives to their
strongest points. Good things will swing
toward us broad-hipped as cellos.
The long evenings will crumple
in our four fists like receipts
for small purchases.
- E

Oh, hello there,
I sorrowed much
to hear of
your vast affection. Physicians
say there is no
known cure.
Except maybe the
old wives’ remedy:
salt on your heels, red
cabbage in your armpit
(left or right), 30 years between
the walls of your father’s
house, eating red beans,
reading only reviews of new
appliances by a narrow crack
of light.
- P

.always tired.


BB Wolf:

Since you're gone I've been writing to you more, and it is now obvious that we don't actually talk about anything when we are together. and I have never been able to admit it but your looks do bother me. You have big teeth and freaky eyes. And a big nose. I can't really think when I am around you. I feel like you're going to eat me. You'd be popular among Twilight fans. 
How is Alice doing? God. I can't believe you're doing Alice. She's half as tall as you. 
Just now there was a giant thunder clap and it made me think of you. Some people might say it's romantic but you should know that the only thing it means is that I blanch when you enter the room.
So, good thing you're not here. 
My garden is doing moderately well. Last week my flowers were not so hot because I forgot to water them. And then my virtual garden pretty much died because I accidentally hit erase. 
Ok, well, talk to you later I guess.

Little Red.

i’m writing this while leaning against a streetlight, 
looking like a lost cat poster.

i’ve been here a long time. there are prizes 
from the machine in my pocket.

you’re probably pissed. join the crowd waiting 
for me in the parking lot.

dirt like me has no choice but to give you everything 
should you find your roots buried.

when someone grabs a pizza, everyone picks off what they don’t want.  but no one can grab some toxin out of the ground and feed it to a dog with his fingers.

you are covered by dirt. i wouldn’t necessarily call that holding.

i am going to step back from the picture. or the water. 
and look down.