Month: August 2012

Without wounds

Please see an excerpt from my short story available from Amazon. The story presumes that Native Americans and Europeans learn to live in harmony.
A stretch, I know, but that’s why it’s called fiction.
You can check out the cool cover and first chapter for free.
You do not need a kindle, this will download to any computer.

Please pass the link onto others who might have interest in the work.
My thanks.

Yuta fed the white man with bear berry and rice porridge that had simmered through the night. He signed, hands to mouth. The White One took the food, watching to make sure that he was not being poisoned or tricked. After a year of eating mussels, sucking fish, and rats, the food he was offered had remarkable flavor. The white man had so many questions for which the two lacked common words. He tried with the sign language they shared. “How many Nations are here? How many People? How many languages spoken? And how big is this land?”
Yuta laughed deeply in his throat with a low rumble. To answer all four questions, Yuta drew two handfuls of dust and swept the grains into the wind with a wide motion onto the lake below. “The Peoples of the Nations are as many as the sands under the sea.”
Suddenly the Earth shook around them, Yuta felt the forces of the Spirits shift wildly. He wondered if the Turtles that held the Earth had become dizzy, for the immense spruce trees snapped and spun around him. Was a handful of berries and grains offered and accepted from one race to another an offense? Had the communication altered the axis of the Earth? Indeed the Spirit had spoken.
The actions changed the way that history would evolve between the two races, altering an otherwise unalterable pattern of conquest, contagion, and contempt.

The Grill

This seemed like one of my Really Great Sunday 5 pm Ideas. I wanted a barbeque grill. One of those instant lighting-don’t have to wash a pot or pan-deals. And the End of summer great bargain prices.
It turns into one of those trapped in Discount City Underworld moments.
I find just the critter, but no identifying price code bars marks. Without the Sacred Code, ye shall not pass the screaming electronic door.
I find a box with the approximate model and pilfer the required sticker. We can’t go home without it.
With immense embarrassment, my husband begins to roll the clattering beast to the front of the store.
After a long slow ascent to the register and plenty of disregarded stares from people, the checkout spots appear. The absent clerk beeps the tag. No response. She smooths the tag endlessly smearing the bars and makes several vain passes with the less than magic wand. Mystified, she stares at the bars.
She suddenly remembers that with effort, she can type the tiny numbers into the computer. She needs 6 or 8 tries to finally read the tiny jumbled numbers. $88 the register rings.
“ Eighty eight dollars,” she triumphs. Yeah, just like the tag reads in regular human numerals.
“Thanks a lot.” she smiles, throwing us out of the store.
“We need a propane tank.” my voice trails off like a grade B movie ending. Blue vested clerks begin to move in terrifying slow motion dream-like states. There is no code, no access to purchasing a one gallon tank full of propane in these here parts.
An hour has been sucked from my life, and the heat is rising inside my head. I feel primal scream surges. The beet red of my face must provide clues to an emerging tirade.
My spouse shakes his head, “Don’t do it.” He warns and sends me from the store. He must maintain a proper community presence because he is a librarian.
I don’t. I rage like a fool in the parking lot.

Somehow he gets the Discount clock starting again. Both the grill and the agonizingly obtained propane loaded.
Visions of steak and mushrooms ease the rising tempers.

Ah, but Discount hell still burns on an August weekend.
Grill is set. The tank gingerly attached to burner, igniter clicked.
Just like your home computer, nothing.
No flame, but an odd odor of rotten eggs drifts through the yard.
A try with a lighter leads to a spectacular blaze that eliminates my troublesome eyebrows. I check my brain temperature. 108 degrees.

The valves from the tank to the grill are not actually connected and another hour slips from the clock as I search for missing wing nuts in burnt grass. The sun sets and the mosquitos descend just as the steaks slide from rare to medium.

Finally satisfied with T-bone and buttered mushrooms, my disposition sweetens. In my butteriest voice, I want to call Discount City to rip them a new place for their hearing aids. Their failure to connect the gas valves to the grill nearly gave me a Mohawk. The comfort food sends me to the recliner instead of the phone.

Perhaps that which is hard earned is more savory sweet.


My parents said I was too young to attempt my first High School Sponsored Roller Skating Party. Far from my home, transportation was a problem, but I finagled a ride. The night is muddled in my memory but photos in the high school yearbook emblazon the ruins.
I had to catch a glimpse of Daniel again, suddenly remote since his Freshman year.
Silent, after our youthful years of murmured exchanges and vows over the phone. I had idolized Daniel, a much older man, since the 5th grade. He was my first whispered secret, my first embrace. Naively, we promised: not high school nor distance would change our grade school romance.

I held to that promise tightly on the long cool ride downtown to The Skating Rink.
I saw Them, first. The cheerleaders and A squad that pretended to ignore his athletics: Judy, Lois, Beth, Donna, Bonnie. I hated them because he called out their names as he spun to the outside of the circle. They looked away and blushed, joining him with feigned giggles. Showing off, he balanced his skates against the rails and his long arms swept Them into swirling lights.

He could not see me as miserable tears blurred vision and hands trembled to lace the ridiculous white high top skates. Legs, weakened, didn’t even allow a single wobble around the multicolored rink.
He was lost to those who conceded to him. He ignored me because I refused. I mourned that our old relationship was such an embarrassment that I was not even worth one round in the pounding music.
I remember this moment frozen in anguish as this was the exact hour in which I realized I was invisible: I was alone in a crowd of one hundred. I did not know I had been so all along.
The music silenced. Lights dimmed. My ride left me alone at the Roller Rink, as the skates were put away and I blindly fumbled with knots. Frantically, I wept into a pay phone to an unsympathetic operator who tried only half- heartedly to reach through the busy signal at home.
I was confident my absence would quickly be discovered by my large family as Roller Rink managers closed the doors behind me.
A shattered splinter on a bitter Denver night. I scrunched, against a failing mercurial light, terrified. A shadow fading into the dark.
I cannot provide a time for my parking lot wait for in these situations, seconds feel like hours.
My inwardly enraged father arrived in his empty navy van. There were no skating rink employees on which he could vent his anger at pushing a child into the dark. He was a War veteran, though, and at the risk of his ulcer, expressed the intensity of his anxiety by calmly indicating I would not be allowed out again on a school night.
As he smoked, I eased onto a familiar naugahyde bench and vanished into the midnight, Blue.

Coriander seed

He tries to empathize

‘If I could, I would erase all

The sadness and angst

Of your life”

for He knows of every false step

Failure and Fall from Grace

If I could,

I wouldn’t.

For each and every

Brought to me strength and wisdom

In its transition. 

In the mix, I blend


I analogize,

‘So coriander is to spice

 it’s what tuna is to fish’

 The nameless


fragrance suffuses all.

 the failed

poorly planned

The-store- is-closed

late invitation

the invented


Despite the sharp edge.

an angry wedge ‘tween me

And the tight rope I walk.

I daren’t  look back much

Nor forward either.

I reach into the cupboard

For the dusky, dusty vessel.


…with coaching from aj

Ode to Cardboard

I have plenty of time to think
On these hot windy days
As trash blows from south to north
Rather than north to south

And I wonder at
items that come from
Super Mart
wrapped in plastic and in cardboard.
As the refuse rolls onward
Wyoming and Nebraska bound
Where it will become
Plasticine soil

I find it all a bit odd
Of all the peculiarities
Ice cream, raisins, flour, sugar, cereal, orange juice,
baking soda, spices, fish sticks
All come packaged in cardboard.
Seems these could use a little more protection…..

And in plastic?
Everything else
and requiring a hermetically sealed hacksaw to open it…..
Notebook paper, nail polish, hair scrunchies
Pens, pencils,
Hammers, pliers, wrenches,
Steel nails, bolts, screws,
Aluminum cans of pop,
Plastic measuring cups,
AA Batteries,
Swim suits, flip flops, water toys,
(they do know that these are going to get wet, right?)

And shrink wrapped plastic
Around plastic water bottles
And bubble wrap packaging.

In my mind,
I see cows in Nebraska
Slowly munching plastic hay.

.feel free to add your favorite packaging complaint below