The train has cut my moorings, and they trail behind in a long and lonely wake. Simi
Valley Station is, to Amtrak’s tight schedule, the briefest of flirtations, and it’s been anhour. On the southeast horizon, the Santa Monica Mountains keep signalling home.
I am going a long way north on the line called the Coast Starlight,
Continue reading… "Coast Starlight on the Home Meridian"
Occasionally I seem to fall into myself, and I have a limited number of holes to accommodate that, which is to say I’m capable, one chance in five, of being an asshole.
You see, I’ve just gotten out of bed and I remember some things I said and did yesterday while I’m trying to make some pancakes look and smell like pancakes before I taste them, and I’ve reached the point where flippancy is the other side of intensity and both of them have burned the pancakes.
Continue reading… "Distemper"
I was headed to Theatre-by-the-Sea in Rhode Island. I’d gotten the part of von Trapp, or the Captain, as he was known, in The Sound of Music at because I was tall, had a mature look (due to a receding hairline), and so could conceivably be a widowed former naval officer who had fathered seven children. I was twenty-nine years old, but looked forty-two. Also, I could sing, thanks to my father’s patient voice lessons, and was emotionally not unlike von Trapp,
Continue reading… "Summer Stock Story"
There’s this video of my dad and me lighting our hands on fire at the kitchen table. It starts with him walking around the kitchen, opening and closing cupboards. He must have been looking for something—I’m sure he was looking for something—but a small part of me wonders if maybe he was doing it just for fun. This is the same man, after all, who dragged home a hay bale for us to practice “knife throwing” on mere hours
Continue reading… "Some Kind of Smoke Signal"
It was my need to belong that drove me to learn Persian. I prided myself on my command of the idiom. The secret to my steep learning curve was pretending. Make-believe was my major strategy. I was not content to merely memorize verb conjugations and the uses of the subjunctive. My tactic early on was to convince myself that I was Iranian. Even before I had the vocabulary, I had mastered the cadence of a Persian sentence. I
Continue reading… "Persian Lessons"
His walls are an altar to our May/December tryst, framed nude drawings of a teenaged me. Back when my body was flawless, his hand, steady, his lust so palpable, sparks flew off the paper.
We met at Christmas. I had been dumped by my first love. He welcomed me into his lair.
Now, in his ramshackle cabin near Santa Cruz,
Continue reading… "Visiting My Ex-Lover’s Cabin Twenty Years After the Affair"
he night I escaped the sinewy charms of Don Baker, I ran down the rocky dirt road from the drive-in, dodged behind garbage cans, and sidled into the recessed doorways of a strip mall to avoid being seen when Don drove by in his VW van. I walked home from that very scary date and swore to myself “Never again.”
A sophomore at Arizona State University, I thought I knew everything about college, men, and, oh yes, life.
Continue reading… "College Education or Desert Walkabout in Indian Madras"
“It’s twenty-one minutes before the hour.”
The radio announcer’s voice is cheerful, but the words sound ominous. Before the hour of what. Death? I shudder.
It’s early morning when I hear this on the radio and my sleepy mind panics as I’m trying to think of everything I ought to do before I die.
Continue reading… "Twenty-One Minutes Before the Hour"
The cinnamon freckles that are dusted on my body are identical to the ones on the bodies of my sometimes former, sometimes current, nighttime, kind-of-friends. [I wouldn’t go as far as to call the speckled procession, ‘lovers’]. When our bodies combined, the specks were capable of soaking up twice the amount of vitamin D — especially in dark rooms.
Continue reading… "Freckles"
Ephelides awoke in the sunshine. But stormy weather would wash away the little stains,
I crouched next to the green rocking chair as Alejandro faced his twenty-seven third-grade classmates. They were cross-legged on the threadbare grey carpet, waiting for him to read his first completed story of the year. I tried to intercept the gaze of any who would glance my way, my silent plea to receive his story kindly. Things didn’t come easily for Alejandro.
Continue reading… "Only Eight"