Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Dear Open Window,
Think I accidentally used my real name in that last post.
Ya got me.
In other news, I went to that thing last night with the bar, and the microphone, and the score cards.
Pretty solid I gotta say.
Nothing stood out as horrible, plasma penetrating the vagina, or cotton ball to the teeth.
Perhaps its time to embrace said storytelling community.
Start small.
Don't even start, just do, and see if any limbs fall off.
Stop playing the virtual oral stimulation game with the idea of Ira Glass.
That's counter productive on so many levels.

Skin/Toast/Adventures in the Narrative

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

That Went Well

Tap Water,

I always used to expect college campus' to be sad during the summer months.

Like a Metra station on the weekend.

Or the Evergreen Plaza on a Thursday night. Linda had her therapy sessions in the back of the Evergreen Plaza. Don't worry, it was in a real office. But, I know what you're thinking. You read The Lovely Bones, you know what goes on inside the underbelly of a typical fiction mall. No, I tend to write mostly from the actual, relying on metaphor, or food to clot any wounds that might still be exposed. Thusly ignoring the voice that barks "why are you laughing"?!--At my squeaky peripheral vision. Bruce was his name. The therapist, he called himself Bruce. And come to think of it, if he wasn't morbidly obese and walked with a cane, I'm sure she would have fucked him. She fucked everyone. EVERYONE. Except for the ones who fucked her, of course. You had to walk through the food court to get to him. If we got there early enough we could get some pizza from Sbarro. Pepperoni and a diet coke please. What do you say? Thank you? She was never hungry, just sipped on the soda that I never finished. I usually ate half of my jumbo slice. Because the one time I finished it she said "Wow, hungry girl tonight", and shot me a glare that made it clear that I should never ever finish anything ever again.

Apparently not even school. The first time she was on Hospice, (yes, she's been on Hospice more times then I've been prescribed Zoloft, which is many) sprawled out on the couch like Cleopatra, Bruce made a house call. I helped him up the stairs by process of elimination, Linda was half my weight, and Tom was making the monthly pilgrimage to the Indiana border for cheap cigarettes. Anyway, once big Bruce was settled in to the vintage upholstery, we all talked, or something. About the funeral. So weird. I was sitting on the radiator not saying much. Wishing Tom would hurry up. He was thin too, but the only one still strong enough to hug me. Which was something I liked. What ever happened to him? It took me about five years to trust him hard enough to hug back, trust that the hug wouldn't go below the belt. And then he was gone. C'mon Tom, I don't look anything like Linda, I wont remind you of her at all, promise. Anyway, I always stayed in the waiting room during their Plaza sessions, chatting about Disney movies and Highlights magazines with the secretaries, so this public living room session was mildly interesting I guess. Where's Tom?

And Linda was dying some time in the next three months, and Bruce was going to read something at the memorial, and I had to make a list of people to call, inform, that Linda had passed away in her sleep surrounded by people who love her, and damn it, WHERE IS TOM!?

And I remember this whole time table was hard to grasp. Confusing to say the least. Three months? Really? Is there some kind of advent calendar to help me track this kind of thing. I'm a visual learner.

And I remember Bruce said, trying to be nice I'm sure, "Well, there are certain things we know for sure, you'll never see Jessica get married for example, or graduate college, or even learn to drive".

Hmm. For someone who seems to be paying more attention to how long they can bare their perch a top the 1920's radiator before the dry heat penetrates there kids size 13 denim apparel, I think I really took those words to heart.

And what hurt the most I think, is the way Linda answered, with a "no, no, no, no, no, definitely not, ha, ha ha". Like it wasn't even sad. After all that pizza I threw away for you? Nothing? In return?

Step in any time Bruce.

Tom!? No, Chinese food. I'm not hungry anymore.

Where was I going with that? Oh, the campus! North Park is in a major metropolitan area! Not lonely at all during the summer months.

Progress. And life. And air conditioners.

Skin/Toast/And Tired Of Waiting

Monday, May 24, 2010

Smoked Corn

Tomorrow's the first day of summer math.
T--Bird was like,
Why didn't you call me?
And I was like,
They live in Pennsylvania.
They've lived there their entire lives.
You're from the north country T--Bird.
No child is behind you today.
Unless you count the bloody black baby in the forest.
Your welcome to give me some pointers,
Swaddling clothes are hard to find nowadays.
Just kidding.
Maybe I could have tried harder.
I really couldn't have tried any harder then the beer can collecting brother in law.
One brother in law remains.
I think he recycles his cans.
I don't know.
Maybe we can all meet at the Golden Apple every Sunday morning after church and scream at each other till it makes sense.
That's how I imagine a math break through.
Like Meg Ryan with a dirty face loud.
I promised myself I'd go into this with an open mind.
The last time I had my mind open was the time I pretended to inhale the back alley behind the Academy.
Joe was there.
He had lost weight recently.
Wisdom teeth.
He went to Columbia.
All the three art's club ladies told me to go to Columbia.
I should have listened.
Their minds were open.
Grand Canyons.
Poetry contests.
You gotta make your own way.
Make it out of maid of honor dress scraps and duct tape.
Too hot to sleep.
Too bored to dig out the air conditioners.
Conditioned and ironed into square shaped hexagons and third powered exhaustion's.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In Town #2

Tone Tone,
Meet me at my Starbucks,
Close to your hotel,
That's a lot of money Tone Tone!
No way,
Your mom?
Busy month.
Get to travel.
Do you want something?
You look exactly like your Dad.
I know,
It's receding that way.
The women in this family are just like that.
Maybe it's a problem,
It's just the way it is.
How have you always been so nice?
Every time?!
I know, the sandbox, it's the sand box.
Every time.
Yeah, and the little balls of cookie dough,
Yeah, well, it was cookie dough ice cream.
No, no, you put those balls in there.
Ice cream doesn't just come with balls.
What are you crazy? Of course it does?
So, am I the great aunt?
I don't know.
No way, high school?
Not fair.
Oh, that's good he's living on campus, that's good.
You look the most like your Dad.
Yeah, I heard he's the only one who sent anything on Mother's day,
Well, we have to commit to our estrangement.
Of course.
I know, she said she made a decision to eat even when she's not hungry-
So that she can baby sit her great grand daughter-
Yeah, I know.
If I had known that's all it would take I would have gotten pregnant at sixteen.
Well, it's still nice.
Your right, your right.
Where did you get that watch?
I found it on the window sill at my office.
Of course.
Of course you did.
No one claimed it.
Oh, I'm buying a house.
Two stories.
So you don't regret any second of the marines? not a one?
Absolutely not.
Business degree.
No, not really.
I'll think of something.
I just can't ever wear a blazer. Personally.
No, no, you look good.
You always look good.
I know!
I swear there are lines on my face that weren't always there.

You have more rocks on your beach then I remember.
No, I wasn't around for that.
But, I can see it.

On the count of three,
More then you'll ever know.

Oh, yeah,
Short trip,

Skin and Toast

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In Town.

Dear, Summer?

And then it's like, now what?
Draft one of the memoir?
Send some samples to the Believer?
Foster some reptiles?
Hatch butterflies?
Buy a juicer?
Retile the bathroom?
Load of laundry?
Seek Rogers Park affordable three bedroom?
Take this opportunity to invest in the acutane, that medication that definitely zaps out the adult acne, but might destroy your liver, and probably makes you infertile...?

Some times free time leads to time travel, so we have to be careful, and by careful I mean wrought with goals and deadlines.

Taking advice,
Skin and Toast

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rough Draft

Dear Clock Towers,

There was a moment

Some time last year

When you sat on the edge of the queen

There was a moment

Some time last year

When you nursed on the edge of my eye

There was a moment

Some high of some noon

When you plucked on the strings of your world

There was a moment

Stolen from flight school

There was a moment

Pleading and soaking

There was a moment

Some time last year

When you sang with your head to the side

When your voice echoed planets and snakes

There was a moment

That I drank

Lying down

There was this moment

Turned from brisket

To a sweet sauce

I felt this moment

Churn from acorn

To a yogurt

Smooth as slippers

There was a moment

Some time last year

When I knew

As always

To Stay


Inside the amber of your opus



Monday, May 3, 2010

Check's In The Mail

Dear Mom,

Today was the last day of classes for the spring semester. That means that I have been back in school for an entire cycle of seasons. Can you say miracle? No. Your tongue is too swollen. Nevertheless, lets reflect in list formation.

(clears throat).

Things I have learned:

1)Listening to the gut is key. When you feel a voice other then your own pushing you in a certain direction; go there.

2)I can write.

3)It is speculated that John Donne might have been a homosexual. Also, and thusly, John Donne only gets cooler.

4)Audre Lorde.

5)Hard work feels good. Like a hamster sleeping on your eye lids good.

6)Really got a partner here, these little tests help to prove and strengthen the long awaited unconditional support. (You wouldn't understand).

7)I-Pad-equals-post-modern-equals-sulmacron-sp?-red pill-Lewis-equals-dada-equals-death-equals-balls-equals-tralfamadorians.

8)It's not over.

9)Get used to the idea of always being in school.

10)I have needs. They might be special, or at times really embarrassing, as long as I accept the advantage I'm given, who cares?

11)This is important. Pay attention.

12)A negative and a negative is a negative, I think.

~I'm sure there's more, but, never been too swift at the summaries.

Good Luck With Finals is the Thing to Say,
Skin and Toast and Pride

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Dear Pepper,

First: Make an effort to learn the names of the people you see every day. I practice this code in my barista life, it's very easy for me to learn the names of the customers, I only have to ask their name once, and it's immediately associated with their milk preference and time(s) of day. And what a difference it makes. As soon as they open the door, "hey Elizabeth. Usual"? Elizabeth is then much more likely to treat me like the human being that I am. And my morning is much more likely to endure. And I, in turn, enjoy learning the names of the many Clark cafe servers, not only do I sympathize immensely, not to mention cringe at the title "sweet heart", or "darling", but they, in turn, are much more likely to treat me like the human being that I am once I learn their name, "hey Mary, got any lemon cookies today"?

Second: When sitting at a gourmet brunch establishment with your lover, and half way through the meal/conversation; one of you looks across the sugar at the other's palmetto concoction and says, "hey, that looks good, could we trade"? And then without missing a beat, the two of you trade plates entirely, to the finish. That is intimacy.

That's all pepper. Now quit your barking and go to sleep. I can hear you from my kitchen table and smiley face pajamas.

Skin and Toast

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Skin Graft.

Dear Crust,
Turn up the Jewish folk music so that the absence of day doesn't hurt.
Doesn't pull.
Opening credits of a girl buttoning up her blouse,
And the drums,
And the drums,
Filled with unending possibility,
In this lifetime we seem to feel always on the brink of some rise.
Some new turn,
Some fine end.
And when I say we, I mean myself and the Greek chorus camping out in the wrinkles of my left brains.
Which is why we are always open,
Always spread out like Kentucky wild fire,
Ready like a virgin to receive any diagnoses they might throw at my card house.
And standing at the register,
For eight hours and counting,
At the base of some multi platinum corporation,
Get an animal stab in the back of my neck,
And humid Irish black curtains flickering incessantly at the bottom halves of my open eyes,
And the walls are silent movies,
Grainy and hypocritical,
And at the same time I not only see silhouettes of myself slaving and scribing away at the Iowa's Writer's Workshop, but also, as clear as Dorothy; know the way in which I will end. Know that the weakest parts of my body are my cider house bronchial's, know that the breath has always been my hurdle, know it comes at night, know that one fine fine night I just wont see the morning dew, mourning bride, morning jog.
Drive by some bill board inviting you to some reception, but excluding you from the family only ceremony, wonder just how narrow the opening will push, until it deconstructs us all to the Highlands of Glen Gary, and we find ourselves lost on a planet where all the women grow up not to bake pies, but to fill pies, all of their heart and liver pressed and flaked into a hate crimed filo dough "surprise".
But hark, young Mac Donald spry chil', at the bottom of this one sided Titus; sweet sweet butter of IN LAW, baked into the crust, tasting holy, next to sinful, next to himself, for the wounded. Back again.
And in the prime time of eleven,
Think alright,
I got an outline fare and square,
See, I have a chorus bright and fine,
Taking cover,
Taking over,

Skin and Toast