Monday, June 29, 2009

Let Me Sleep, Arnold Faulkner!

On the second floor of the Vermont house we've all rented for the weekend, a brown and white photograph of a young boy named Arnold Faulkner hangs on the wall. He is inside a small dark wooden frame in the bedroom Scott and I choose. The boy holds a bow, an arrow and a look of cross eyed death. I show everyone the photograph during the hours of safe daylight, but when it is time to sleep in the boy's room, I await for his arrival like warm dinner rolls in fancy restaurants.
Tired and terrified, I creep into the crease of Scott's neck and fall asleep. The next night, I curl like a connoli into the covers as Scott turns off the bedside lamp. After he is settled, I hear something from the left corner of the room, by the long empty narrow closet. It sounds like the chewing of wood. Scott doesn't hear it. Between my panicked panting, I giggle, nervously thinking how it is probably someone trying to scare me, but no one comes out. Everyone is in their own creaky creepy beds.
Shaking, I dive into the sheets and completely submerge into the off-white cotton. "It's safer in here." I explain. Scott pulls me out and onto the island of pillows. He wants us to sit up and face our fear, but I'm too afraid so I hold my breath and slouch up only slightly. Then I hear the crunching of wood again. I grab Scott to save me. "How did you not hear that?" I beg. He calms me down with a strong confident voice and he puts me to sleep in the crease of his neck.

At 4 a.m, Scott grabs my face awake. "I'm sorry, but I can't take it anymore. I haven't fallen asleep. I've been drifting in and out of disorienting dreams for hours. I've been just waiting for the sun to rise, but it's taking too long." He explains. I tell him a boring story about a picnic and he falls asleep in the crease of my neck, leaving me now, all alone. Somehow, I fall back into sleep. We wake up early the next morning to make breakfast for everyone, just as we had promised the night before.

Like a child raised on candy store sugar.

Like a boy whose pet is a Slush Puppy and whose girlfriend is a Little Debbie, an obese cloud comes running excitedly toward the fragile farm house as if he had been lost in the cereal aisle of the Green Mountains for ten terrifying minutes. At the hip of the house, he wraps his arms around the shifting wrinkling shingles and clumsily dumps buckets of rain onto the gray tin roof.

We all stand together watching water wet the windows.
Then the sun comes and kicks the buckets.

She is homemade strawberry ice cream in a world of overly processed jelly doughnuts.

She has too much Love to hold it in tightly, to let a moment escape quietly. So she smiles her freshly freckled cherry plucked cheeks and coos.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I am pooping!

Alone, absorbing the late morning, I walk along the dirty floral sleeves of the Connecticut River's outstretched arms, stopping frequently for photos of weeds, tobacco fields, old weathered wooden barns and my own muddied reflection in the puddles of yesterday's rain. I wear black sweatpants, old Converse sneakers, white sunglasses and my pink flamingo tee-shirt with the sleeves rolled up. I walk for the better half of the hour before realizing that I might have to go to the bathroom.

I might have to poop.

Stubbornly, I walk for another twenty minutes before acceptance spanks me. I have to go to the bathroom.

I have to poop.

I turn around. A man, a woman and their dog are walking toward me. Smiling stiffly, I pass them. When they are far enough away, I stop to hold hands between my legs. I have to go to the bathroom now.

I have to poop now.

I shuffle a few feet. Fuck. I am going to the bathroom.

I am pooping!

I run into the forest of the river banks. I do not go far and I do not survey the landscape. I throw my sunglasses, camera and pants to the ground. I crouch, cursing quietly, and reach for the leafy roof above my humiliated head. Afterward, I kick back dirt and bury my underwear. Then I grab my sunglasses and camera and check the path for tractors. All clear.

At my friends' condo, I am alone. I shower, put my clothes in the wash and decide that I will never go camping.

For the rest of the day, I sit innocently under the generous shade of old trees, reading, writing and watching the path for a dog with my underwear between his teeth. My day is uninterrupted and my secret is safe in the dirt of the river's banks.

Home in Boston, I pray for rain.

One week later, little red bumps wake me up in the night. Soon, my body is decorated with hives and swollen finger nail scratches. My friends tell me they have it too. Must be from our walk to dinner somehow, they think and I hope. I realize now that it probably wasn't from our walk to dinner.

I probably pooped in poison ivy.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Headphones phone in music at low volume as I walk down Main Street's midday sidewalk. Across from the candy store is a man on a bench. As I pass him, he acknowledges me with a somewhat serious, "What's up?" I raise my eyebrows and give a pitiful smile and hide my eyes from contact when I hear,"HEY! GiMME some money!"
When I look back, outstretched is his cup in hand.
Thank you for your honesty, sir, but just because I raise my eyebrows slightly and give you a pitiful smile, that does not mean I owe you ANYTHING.

Oh I don't know, what are your unprotected sex plans for the near future?

"How soon after the wedding, do you think, you'll be pregnant?" "We have no money," I say to avoid the personal question and my likely consideration of the question.

I was eleven years old when I first started hearing little tit bits about the inner makings of babies. I was twelve when I heard about the man and woman "who loved each other very much." By the time I was thirteen, I was staring at pregnant women whenever the opportunity arose. She has done IT with a man. Why isn't she embarrassed? I would be embarrassed. Everybody knows lady...EV-er-EE-body!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I wait like a puppy tied outside a coffee shop.

I walked through the city to meet you. I thought we might turn and walk back through it together with peanut butter stained paper cups and plastic white spoons clinging stickily to our recently licked fingers, but you made me wait too long and so I left for the quiet train station.

I didn't want a drink with your friends. I wanted to drink water with you from cone-shaped paper cups.

Friday, June 12, 2009


"You shouldn't leave your bag open." An old woman says pointing to my purse on the cafe's carpeted floor. Well, you shouldn't tell me what to do old laaay-deee! I say with my mouth closed.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Train Comedian

A tall middle-aged man steps onto the train with his tan middle-aged pit bull. He stands holding onto the bar for balance and the leash for control. In a slow dry voice he says, "My dog is extremely dangerous. Don't even look at him." No one in the train car moves. After a long fat pause, he says, "I was only kidding."

The train comedian continues on with his act. "You wanna get a hot chick? Chocolate Lab, all the way. You walk down the Esplanade with a chocolate lab, you'll get a hot chick. She'll have sex with you that night...The chick, not the dog."

Age Defining Cream

photo by: Sandy Cummings

I stare at my pimpled reflection, open the bathroom mirror cabinet and see a tube of Age Defying cream. I am old enough to acknowledge age crinkling under my smiling eyes; and yet I am young enough to pick a pimple until it bleeds.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Karaoke Night

I didn't want to go, but I didn't want to not go again and so I went.

I have hid in the bathroom. I have made up excuses. I have run to the train station before they were outside smoking their cigarettes and organizing carpools.

I am not fun, I want to tell them.
I am exceptionally miserably terribly uncomfortably bad at conversations with acquaintances. I can't keep eye contact for longer than a blink and I can never hide the fact that I am drowning in social misery.

I didn't tell them this. Instead, I went.
Now they know not to ask me again.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Street

A woman stands beside her belongings upon the street she belongs to. Looking into the storefront window’s glass, she combs through her thick black curly hair deciding that she doesn’t need public restrooms. She doesn’t need anyone. Her umbrella is open and on its back. Her clothes are curled up into fetal positions and sleeping in the plastic bags by her feet.

Across the street, my heart lays face first on the cool early morning cement as I reach for my car keys and walk away.

Old Man

An old  man stands in the center of the city dancing. He is dressed like a monk. He wears a brown cotton robe, sandals, a head wrap and carries a statue of a porcelain Jesus nailed to a small wooden cross. He wears blinking red lights on his rope belt and a smile between his cheeks.

A young man takes several pictures. I walk along the sidewalk, watching, wondering about the old man’s sanity and my own religious future.