All tagged adulting

Grin & Shimmy

People get an ass-backwards impression when I say I’m a backup singer at a karaoke bar in Orlando. What they think: bleak, drab, desperate. What it is: karaoke writ large. It’s a full band with a repertoire hundreds of songs long—White Snake to Whitney Houston, Adele to Aerosmith.

Candy Mouths Are Made of Wax

“Tell me something nobody else knows about you,” he says, sitting across from you at the romantic table. In most settings, he looks like a boy, but sometimes he looks like a man, or a cat, or a telephone pole. He looks past your left ear when he speaks, like your eyes are the production assistant’s camera, like your eyes are the burning loins red foxglove on the mantel.


The autopsy report is as follows:

EXTERNAL EXAMINATION: the body is that of a thirty-five-year-old female with no distinguishing physical marks or lesions.

INTERNAL EXAMINATION: The autopsy revealed there were three inches of standing water in her lungs.

Sweaty Duvet

Today she is not getting out of bed. She is not lazy. She’s not tired. She’s not interested in sex. There’s no one else in her bed. She’s not heartbroken and she doesn’t have a cold. Still, she is not getting out of bed.

Bloody Good

“Bloody Good” the article’s called, and in one picture, sparse sprigs of feathers hold blood to the light. Grim crease of mouth beyond hooked black beak, stern raise of brow above the eye. Their necks long, hooked and humble, as they fly. Serengeti gothic. In another: wild dog with wrinkled nose, teeth drawn, hackles raised over its shoulders like a hood. Caught in a deep-belly snarl over a picked-clean carcass and its drone of hovering, crawling, biting flies at a grimy vulture with beak left a crack open in surprise. Jackal sounds like cackle, as in, teeth that could laugh a throat right off.

Nice Twitter

Anyway, around this time I read a story about a professor who got fired for his tweets about Israel. The college world is supposed to be leftist, supposed to be progressive, and I was in the process of applying for jobs in academia. My Twitter feed was just politics, Batman, the Milwaukee Brewers, and jokes.

The Possible Causes of Your Suffering

Your mother. Your father. Mostly your mother. The fish that was only supposed to live in salt water. The new goldfish that had baby goldfish and then ate them. Learning about cannibalism. Catholic school. The Bible. Shakespeare. The word “counterclockwise.”

Your Problems Ain’t Our Problems

Alex and I call it one of two things: “living in the bell jar” or “Sylvia Plathing it.” It was the way we described eating dipped handfuls of peanut butter for dinner, snaking the remains from between the pruney bits of our finger tips. 

20 Tips for Your First Abortion

1. It does not matter if you were on birth control, if you forgot just this once, or if you didn’t think at all. It does not matter if it was your husband, your boyfriend, or someone who was really working those olive corduroy pants. You are pregnant. And you are the one that is freaking the fuck out. 

Drawing Class

I sniffed the right armpit crease of the polyester “Japanese” robe I was given, wondering how many had felt its itchy gold stitching on their bare skin before I had. From the conflicting musks, I guessed at least one woman and two men. I sniffed again. Three men. Four, even. Taking turns glancing at the clock and scanning the empty room, I was overwhelmed by the sensation of air sweeping my knees, cradling them cynically. I felt dry cracker dust fall in my cleavage from the stale matzoh I was eating and dusted it off with my pinky before Agatha sidled in, holding two long PVC pipes.

Newfound Grace

Raj stood in the entryway of his cubicle, staring out of the office window, watching one of his coworkers try to back his car into a too-tight parking spot. The mid-sized SUV lurched forward and backward until its broad ass fell center within the two white lines and two much larger SUVs next to it. The rain had started with a sort of clatter—a large rumble, really—that had brought everyone out of his or her cubicle for a moment.


“We’re much more than a storage company,” I said.

This is how they make us answer the phone. Not, “Hello, we’re much more than a storage company.” Just the last part. I’ve been here for three days now, and not once have I been greeted with anything but confusion. Usually, they just say, “Hello?” as if I haven’t spoken at all. Often, they hang up.

(Not a) Poem Addressing How Harmony Discovers Poetry

I am the fiction fellow at Emory University, where the other faculty are famous and older than me and do not typically want to hang out. I have found myself attending numerous poetry readings this semester, because some guy named Bruce Covey puts on a “What’s New in Poetry?” reading series in the campus bookstore, which is a fucking Barnes & Noble.


I moved back to the Iron Range from Philadelphia after my mother died. Things with Marie had gone to hell and I couldn’t live in a city haunted with loss anymore. Back home, my father was forced to retire and my sister, the Miami lawyer, was afraid he wouldn’t know how to take care of himself with Mom gone. Not wanting to deal with him herself, she offered to pay me $500 a month to look after him. “Plus expenses,” I told her. Drinking money.

Somewhere Between There and Here

Hi, baby. I am calling you because I love you and I’m a little bit tipsy-topsy, and I don’t know where my bus went! We found out that another house down the block was having a Halloween party too, and so a bunch of us decided to go, but I wasn’t really able to walk super fast in my bus, so I took it off, and I was holding it as we walked—I was holding it for sure, and now we’re here and…and I just don’t have the slightest clue where it is! Did I drop it? I can’t believe I lost my bus!

Q: Are you an archaeologist? If the person asking does not look like they just came from an Iron Maiden concert, you may explain that an archaeologist digs up anything involving people, and that a paleontologist digs up plants and animals. If they keep pressing, you may simply answer “No.” The better question is, if you were a real paleontologist, wouldn’t you be working at a real dinosaur quarry?


He put himself through college ghostbusting. His uncle hooked him up. He still owned the predictable grayish-brown suit designed to deflect slime and grime and the oil and grease coming off the proton pack—everything but the smells. He had grooves thumb deep in his shoulders from carrying that pack up stairs and down into basements, into closets and attics lit by lightning strikes.