The Mixture is Out of Balance

The Mixture is Out of Balance

This poem was written by combining 5 random verbs (balance, fate, moan, peck, peep) with baking nouns (cupcake, flour, mixture, pan, sugar)


The mixture is all out of balance.

Don’t moan, don’t make a peep.

Because putting this all together isn’t an exact science;

you won’t end up with a pan of cupcakes.


Pecking at me won’t help either.

You get more flies with sugar, but ask yourself,

Who really wants flies?


You can screw up your face,

but it won’t turn flour into toast–

That sort of alchemy doesn’t work

and it won’t convince me, either.


It’s all nonsense, it’s all just chance;

throw it in the pan like a stir-fry

and see what we can get.


That mixture, even if it is out of balance,

could feed us for tonight, maybe

sate some of our hunger.

We’re left with the thirst, but we can sleep

tonight with full bellies

and aching limbs and longing hearts.


Out of balance doesn’t mean ruined.

A fallen souffle

a crumbling cake with runny frosting

bacon with just the edges burnt

Eat it. Don’t let it go to waste.

On Fear and Dreams

On Fear and Dreams

The fear provides a way out, right? A way to avoid everything. “I can’t.” What a fucking crock of shit. Of course you can. Tell it like it is: you’re afraid. You’re afraid to move forward, afraid to open yourself up. Match your fear with stubbornness, if not courage. You don’t have to be courageous. The brave are just as fearful as the rest of us, but they know how to handle it: they ignore it. At least for the time being.

You think all of those knights and dragons tales are interesting because the characters aren’t afraid? No, the knight that has to face down the dragon is shitting his pants right along with us, but he’s too stubborn to let it stop him. The real hero milks that fear–turns that overwhelming need to fucking curl up and cry into a sack of balls. Then he whips that goddamn dragon in the face with his balls

The asshole is the one who isn’t afraid. If you’re not afraid of change, you’re stupid, or you’re just not looking. Fear provides clarity. It’s good for you. It tells you–hey, maybe you step back a little bit from the ledge, huh? It keeps most people from jumping off buildings, which is good, right?

But when that same feeling presents itself when you’re at home, sitting in front of the TV? The only falling you’re doing tonight is maybe falling asleep. Why do you need all that fear? The one that sneaks up and sees you thinking about finishing that novel, or writing that song, or knitting that blanket, and says “nah. Don’t jump. Don’t do it.”

What the hell do you think is going to happen if you turn off the TV and just fucking tap on your computer keys for a few minutes? Is anyone going to die? No. No one is going to get hurt. But why are you afraid? Are you afraid of succeeding? So you sit there, on your stupid couch, your ass growing wider and the upholstery groaning under your weight (it wasn’t supposed to stand up to 8 hours straight of your fat ass sitting on it, you know that, right?), and all your dreams fucking prodding at you like demons. No fucking way. Get your ass in gear and start making something, or fucking give up the dream.

That’s the thing. Langston Hughes asked what would happen to the dream deferred, but it won’t dry up like a raisin. It grows thorns, and then falls into the toe of your shoe where you can’t get it out, it sits just beyond the reach of your fingers. You can touch the bristles, feel their sharp tips, but you can’t grasp it.

So every time you put on your shoes to go out and do something, to make something, to be something, it prods at you. That dream turns into a fear thorn that you can feel every time you move. The only way to get it out is to fucking realize your dream by absorbing it into yourself or cut it out. There is no in-between. There’s no halfway dreaming. It’ll make you crazy. No halfway courage. You can’t simultaneously hold your fears close to your heart and use them to slay the dragon. You’ve gotta let go of something. You choose.

Make that dream explode.


Shallow Thoughts: Routine

Shallow Thoughts: Routine

I don’t think that I am alone when I say that I struggle to gain consistency. I’ll pick up a new habit for a bit, and then fall into old ways. I can exercise for months and then suddenly become a lump. I can follow schedules for years, but then a single vacation will throw me off.

I am of two minds about schedules. On the one hand I know that I need routine, and I even get a little cranky when my routine is disturbed. Mondays and Fridays are particularly difficult for me, because they signal a change in schedule. I have just gotten used to sleeping whenever when I have to get up (relatively) early again. Or by Friday, I have kept the week’s schedule but the promise of “staying up late” is just as exciting as it was when I was a kid.
The cure for this, surely, is to give over to the chaos or use this wisdom to inform my decisions. But surely variety is the spice of life, right?

Shallow Thoughts: Compromise

Shallow Thoughts: Compromise

It takes a lot of work to be in a successful marriage. You should respect boundaries and sacrifice for one another. One of the most difficult parts of my marriage is knowing when a joke is over. Sure, it’s fun for me to distract and play, but knowing when to stop, when not to poke at my partner’s frustrations, that’s tough.

It’s knowing when the joke is over for them. Giving up the gag because the other person is no longer into it. Because making myself laugh while he cries isn’t funny. Laughter is for sharing, not just for me alone.

Shallow Thoughts: The World Keeps Turning

Shallow Thoughts: The World Keeps Turning

It occurred to me, in the middle of one of my more high-anxiety moments this week, that the days are going to keep coming. The future is always right there, waiting to be had. While this can seem a bright and beautiful thing for some, to me it can be terrifying. How will I deal with all of those pressures? How will I handle everything that everyone expects of me? How can I be better?  Read more

Why Pretend?

Why Pretend?

I don’t wear pants because my legs get hot during the day, and I don’t need to shave my legs anymore because I’m an old woman. So I wear short sweatshirt-material house dresses. They always have them in stock at Penney’s, or at least, they have for the last 20 years. This is a style that never goes out of style, probably because me and your grandmother and your spinster aunt all wear them around the house and out to the mailbox and to take the trash to the curb.

Why pretend that I have dark hair anymore? My salt-and-pepper has taken over. When I was younger I used to get it dyed “to tame the grey” that was so wiry when it first came in, now I just let it go. I let the hairdresser lob it off. It’s about the only time I feel pretty, is when I come home from the salon. Sure, I’ll try on some nail polish at the druggists, and I’ll purchase a new lipstick about once a month, but it’s always in the same shade of nearly-nude pink because I’m too shy to really go for the red I want, and it would wipe all over my face anyway.

Why pretend that I care about anything other than looking out the window and watching the world slowly bloom, flower, open, breathe, and then fade again? Sure, the sun rises and sets, and the days get longer and shorter according to the seasons, but I don’t really care about all that. I want to watch the leaves grow and change, watch the bushes push their little buds out into the open air, brave against the late spring snow, and force their spring green way into the world. Anyone who crosses my view while watching this happens is just a distraction that I’d rather be rid of. The only creatures I’m acknowledging today are the robins hopping around the backyard, trying to pull those gigantic earthworms from the soil, and the red-capped woodpeckers.

Why pretend that people interest me anymore? They don’t. Their emotions don’t make sense. There are so many emotions, so many feelings. I don’t want to deal with all the feelings they push upon me, or all the plans they want to talk to me about. Don’t tell me to smile, don’t ask me how my day is going. You don’t really care. Don’t pretend anymore. I’m not pretending. This scowl isn’t my mask, it is my face. I brought my face to the world, just like the poppies opening in my garden, and I’ll let you see it, but you may not want to.
Every garden has its grubs and slugs. The lightning bugs wouldn’t survive without the slugs, and the slugs are eating your pretty red strawberries. They’re just slugging all over them, slimy green trails behind them. Don’t you know that the garden is full of those nasty things? You can’t stay away from them. Just like you can’t hide from the nastiest parts of yourself. Look in the mirror, just like that slug will look into the bowl of beer right before it dives in. It feels so good, it smells so good, and mmm, it’s going to be great to go for a swim in that nasty beery ick.

A short but humorous random-word prompt

A short but humorous random-word prompt


Since hearing the news this morning that Stan would be in Glasgow, she felt breakable, fragile like those glass ornaments they used to hang on the trees, the ones that would explode at the slightest touch.

Stan used to be her boyfriend. Not just boyfriend, he had nearly been her fiancé. That felt like a long time ago, because it was, because they were back in high school then, but he had given her his varsity pin, which was an old tradition in their school from the 50s, it was like giving a girl your ring, and she thought they were going to get married.

Leah didn’t want to feel like this, though. She had a whole vacation ahead of her, it was all planned, and she wasn’t going to go back to those memories like a beggar and try to take some feelings from what wasn’t there. She knew it would only leave her feeling downcast, and she had too much to do to be depressed.

A neighboring patron’s cellphone rang and broke Leah from her reverie like a pistol shot. She yelped and covered her mouth at the sound, looking over at the offender. The boy silenced his phone quickly and arched a curious full eyebrow at her over dark blue eyes. Leah couldn’t help but notice how good his biceps looked in that t-shirt. “Yessir,” she thought, “You have the right to bare arms.”

“Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to scare you.” He said.

“No worries. I’m just a little jumpy is all.” She replied.

“I’ve turned it on silent. Those auto-callers just won’t stop today.”

“Thanks. I suggest the Do Not Call list.”

“Tried it. It doesn’t work. They still get my number anyway. I gotta say, I’m pretty popular with the telemarketing community.”

“Must be your James Earl Jones-quality voice. Have you ever thought about voice acting?” Leah asked with an exaggerated tilt of her head.

“Oh, they’re after me all the time. Morgan Freeman is actually my stand-in, but I’m just so busy pursuing my career as a barista that I can’t make time to be the voice of God in every movie.”