I reach for relevance


my mother

made dinner

then yelled at the sky,

we watched it turn

red as her gravy.


is it impossible to think

of all the breaths lost

in every one of your smiles?


I am a single note

in your undulating laughter,

throw me on repeat

to keep me around.


my mother

told the sun when to shine,

when death came

she scoffed at it.


I struggle

in between sleep

to give you each a reason

to plaster my voice

to your skin.


I am attempting

the delicate art

of making words dance.

I fashion origami emotions

and throw them into fires.


she was the master

of her makeshift world,

tossing out blows of

aging wisdom

in a pencil skirt,

a dishtowel draped

on one shoulder

like fine silk.


I think of her

but I reach for relevance,

I watch her spark

as it dances like fine jewels

on the skyline.



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Grumpy Old Men

Nicole Marie:

Join me over at TipsyLit for another exciting adventure in bartending! Sigh.

Originally posted on TIPSY LIT:


Happy Friday, everyone! 

This week I received an interesting – and flattering – card from a customer, was asked by a very professional looking woman if the chicken cheese steak is made with chicken or beef, and had to explain to numerous Americans the difference between a pint of beer and a twenty-two ounce! Oh, and then there was that day we called the cops on someone.

About an hour in to the night shift there were maybe three customers at my bar, quietly enjoying some lunch before their respective flights. Suddenly, a nice looking older gentleman appeared and lingered around the first stool. I promptly approached him (with a smile – I promise).

Me: Hi, how are you?

Older Gentleman: Pinot Grigio.

Me: Hi, how are you?

Older Gentleman: Good, Pinot Grigio.

Ahem. Realizing I wasn’t going to win this one. I poured the wine, he mumbled something…

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My House

my house is young

the wallpaper is paisley

it warms every room

it’s only an old soul,

my house


there is a snaking scar

in the foundation

of the eggshell ceiling

it looms just over the

bouquet of roses


only a shifting

a timely settling


there is an aching draft

that invades my house

sometimes I wedge

blankets at the bottom

of every door


there is a certain window

in my house

where I watch the sun

rise and fall

I dream through the glass


when night comes

I weave through my house

jiggling locks and chains

I straighten photographs

until morning


I hang words and shapes

over the puncture wounds

of my house

it breathes regardless

it’s reliable, after all













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Unremembered (Part 6)


(If you haven’t started reading this series yet, please click here for Part One.)


I sat on the front porch while five officers in blue latex gloves picked apart our home like they were combing over a murder scene; slow, meticulously, opening every cabinet and lifting every bed sheet like delicate tissue paper. I avoided conversation and every room someone was occupying. I’d seen enough crime shows to know the hovering spouse was more suspicious than helpful, although I knew my distance was likely being just as carefully documented.

When they were done they filed out silently, no goodbyes. The last one nodded in my direction and closed the door behind him. Once the cars were gone and the gawking neighbors had gone back inside, I got up and stepped into the living room.

Things looked the same, but my world felt tilted; pictures, chairs, books, all off-kilter. Our memories had been groped by foreign hands. Suddenly I felt emptier than I ever had. I navigated the stairs on heavy legs, went to the bathroom, turned the shower on hot, stood under the water until my skin turned pink and I was forced out. I didn’t bother with a towel. I curled up in the middle of the cold tile floor and slept.

When I woke it was dark, and as I peeled myself from the floor I opened my mouth to form Lily’s name, to call to her, to whatever nook of our home she was in, likely reading a book, drinking a glass of wine. Only my eyes quickly adjusted to form the shapes in the room, and I remembered. Every waking was destined to be like that one; raw, aching hurt, sudden and new.


I went to a local bar on my lunch break, one of the countless afternoons Lily was gone. I’d spotted her bag by the door before she told me she was leaving; I’d only just gotten out of bed, my eyes still heavy and blurred.

“Be back in a day or so,” she said, and kissed my forehead. She was out the door before I had a chance to part my lips.

Within months, day drinking had become a routine while Lily disappeared, as normal as the spouse that orders takeout while the wife is away on business. The bartender came to recognize me – whether it was the suit or the lost expression that helped him remember, I’m not sure – but even if a month had gone by (a rare occurrence) he’d have the same beer at the same barstool, waiting patiently on a cardboard coaster. He never asked any questions but his smile was always an open invitation to spew my problems out into the darkness of the pub.

I never talked, only drank, but this time she’d been gone for four days, the longest yet, and I was worried something had happened.

It never occurred to me that she had simply decided not to come back.

“My girlfriend,” I said, taking in a sip of my beer. He looked up from the glasses he’d been washing, surprised. He was young, maybe twenty-eight, small and soft in his features.

I stared at a nearby salt shaker, contemplating my next sentence like a game of chess. I took a few deep breaths.

“I think she’s seeing someone else.”

The words slopped off of my tongue like soot. They hadn’t sounded as permanent in the confines of my head. Yet out here, where even a whisper can hold the ugliest weight, they made my chest hollow.


Stay tuned for more installments!

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five


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Feature Friday: Words and Other Things

Nicole Marie:

My dear friend TD has featured me on his blog today. Please take a look at the extremely kind things he had to say. Don’t forget to stay and poke around his place a bit! Happy Fourth, everyone!

Originally posted on Stuphblog:

Has it truly been 7 days? It has! It’s yet another Friday! This isn’t just any Friday, either. It’s the 4th of July, and that’s a big deal here in the states. It’s the day, oh so long ago, that we declared independence from the evil monarchy across the pond, and in unity declared, “Hey! We can fuck up our country better than you can, so bugger off!”

Americans the globe over will celebrate today by having a barbecue, getting drunk, and blowing shit up because…

I salute whoever gave Lady Liberty a lightsaber. That is fucking aussome.

Seriously, the background noise on Independence Day sounds like an epic World War 2 battle. But prettyyyyy…

Independence Day is not the reason we are all gathered here, however. We are here because it’s Feature Friday, where we spread the bloggy love like freedom in the Middle East. Oh, wait…


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My Grandfather and I


my grandfather runs Mayfair

he drag races his Lincoln

with the light-up interior

like a faded disco ball


when I was eight

we’d live on weekends

in the same diner

with the same wrinkled waitress

in a matching apron

straw soldiers in a deep pocket

brushed our table as she

poured more coffee


the smell always

wrapped me like home

in home fries and

Church incense


I’d beg for the same

silver dollar hot cakes

small stack

too much for a tiny girl


I was still tiny then


whole milk with chocolate syrup

plastered to the sides

my stomach ached with

the most glorious clockwork


my grandfather tucked

twenty dollar bills

into my small hands

he took his teeth out

held them like pearls

I screamed and turned away

I laughed and threw my arms

around his neck


his house is a museum of

taxidermy things

I ran my fingers through

the dust of a bear’s tongue


kiwis grew in the garden out back

he handed me one

I rolled it in my hands

tried to see the future


I cook for him sometimes

he reminds me how

I never stopped

dreaming out loud


we sit under stars

my grandfather and I

we drink chianti

and talk about the past



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Whiskey Nights

Nicole Marie:

Check out my guest post over at Mama Mick Terry’s place, as part of her Life is a Highway series!

Originally posted on MamaMick:


fresh and fragile
I snuck into my mother’s
makeup drawer
threw on some
name brand mask
and clunked across
the living room floor

in the in-between
life was lived in
the car seat with the
cigarette burns
sidewalks under
yellow street lamps
in the shakes and pours
of whiskey nights

I met him among the
clinking and the
water rings
dimly lit perfection
we held hands
like a repeat romance novel
all-in on
worn bar stools

in the beginning I
swam so hard from
late night television
to warm skin then
four years crept like
vine work up our chests
until I’d built a
rooftop on his heart

I wander now
from the couch
to the convenience store
above to heavy darkness
in a home with
four wheels four limbs
living breathing
he is common ground


Thank you to the beautiful and big-hearted Michelle for allowing me to…

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The Whisper Game

Nicole Marie:

Another day in the bartendin’ life!

Originally posted on TIPSY LIT:

I have a confession to make.


I’ve never been very good at charades.

And so I bring you another friendly PSA from your neighborhood bartender:

Since you have chosen to glue your phone to your ear while you’re sitting at my bar, please do not expect me to communicate via strange hand signals to see if you’d like another drink (or your first, when you’re already on your phone upon entering the bar) while you’re making a conference call or gossiping with your boyfriend. Not only is it rude for you to do this, but is it not rude for me to interrupt your phone call? If you need something, put the cell down for two seconds and ask. Please.

However, if you’re nice enough I will gladly initiate a nice, easy round of The Pointing Game while you talk.

Me: ::points at empty wine glass::

Customer: ::smiles and nods::

Done and done.

Sometimes though, The…

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I Came Back Broken


One morning I left, kissed you goodbye

in the sun to the humming of a lawn mower,

your coffee mug carried some motivating script.


I returned, same sunset, different Thursday

so often snagged on repeat in our heads

I took my boots off in the foyer,

I left them in the middle of the floor

you tripped dramatically as you

looked at them, looked at me,

I’d came back broken and you knew it.


But you didn’t

fold your hands in your lap

didn’t call your mother for advice,

leave the room when I entered,

whispered pleas,

what do I do

will she come back.


Instead you lifted me

beneath the arms,

placed my feet on top of yours,

I placed my cheek on your armor-chest

and we marveled and swayed

falling together in and out

of sun and moonlight.


I fell asleep, eventually

and you held your breath

you let me rest,

when I opened my eyes again

I tried to stand but

my heart was woven too deeply into yours.


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if there was a payphone

for the other side

it’d sit unassumingly

on a broken city sidewalk

taking numbers,

taking calls,

no takers


but I’d shimmy up

grab the receiver like

I’d been expecting


balance it like

precious crystal

between one ear

and one shoulder,

gifted as a

trapeze artist


two deep breaths

a signaled hello

tell me,

I’m cringing

shaping limbs into the

mildest of philosophers


is it as


as in

my dreams?


the dial tone

answers back

straight shooter


this elegant thing

it’s sunrise

it’s terminal

start breathing

stop dreaming




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