Black Box



You come to me often, and I can’t take it—seeing your Cheshire smile, and glittering eyes. I’d thought dreams of you would bring me peace, but those visions of you animated, and the dulcet tones of your voice, well-remembered, bouncing against the walls of my skull only cause me agony. I hold a wake with a devastated ribcage, fractured from the distension of a lamenting heart—my heart, it heaves, weeping tears of its own, crimson.


The anguish of mourning is transcendental; and necessary in the process of healing. Booze is something else that’s necessary, though arguably. My mother was a legit alcoholic, perpetually grieving. And she smoked a lot—the cheap mentholated cigarettes with the most pungent odor. She always smelled like fresh cut flowers that had been dusted with baby powder, then bundled up and tied with twine to hang dry from the sticky ceiling of an off-road dive bar.

What do I know about bars—particularly the dive variety? More than I had ever wanted my mother to know that I know. She would have been sad to learn I’m a perpetual griever. I sincerely trust she lived her life believing I was bright yellow as a full sun.

Now, my mother is dead. She’s dead, and I have never before felt my soul twisting around itself so goddamned tightly. To mourn my mother is to feel actual, inexplicable pain. I can’t get drunk enough to go numb; only stupid enough to pass out at my computer desk after I’ve written some crazy enlightened bullshit that only a griever high as all fuck could begin to understand, and appreciate.

I’m so full of shit soaked vodka, I wish someone would haul off and punch me in the face. Preferably when I’m fucking blotto, so it won’t hurt too much—until I wake up the following afternoon.

To mourn my mother is to self-loathe. I could have loved her better. She’s dead, and I’m a knapsack full of dicks and hindsight.




Day 13

Mom, you’ve been dead thirteen days. You were found on the seventh day of November, five days after you’d gone away. A Michigan State Police Officer phoned me that afternoon, but I didn’t answer the call because I didn’t recognize the number; I didn’t even think to listen to the message he’d left. On the eighth day, Thursday, the police knocked on Tara’s door. Little Sister had to tell Big Sister.

I’d last seen you on October 25—the day Morgan was born. You’d gone to visit Tara and your new granddaughter on Sunday, October 29—that’s the last time Tara had seen you. It is now the sixteenth day of November, and I’m angry that time passes so quickly.

I woke up hungry this morning. I am rarely hungry anymore. Jim bought eggs recently, so I cooked two pancakes the size of my face, two scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar, and a half pound of bacon. I didn’t eat quickly, but purposefully. I felt as if finishing my absurdly large plate would clear me, somehow.

It didn’t.


JW’s and Meanderings

I lost my religion the day I was born to a beautiful young woman abused by her mother’s god. At the age of sixteen this innocent was raped by a Brother—a married man with children. The Elders voted to excommunicate the girl—my mom. So there should be no wonder why I abhor Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even though my mother had been disfellowshipped, this religious faction dictated my adolescent life. My mother, although she was unwelcome in the Kingdom Hall, and despised the religion, she still feared the wrath of Jehovah. So, she allowed her parents to take me to bible studies, and assemblies in Pontiac. My dad didn’t like it, but he followed my mother’s lead. Why? I don’t fucking know.

I remember feeling a great sigh of relief when I told my mom and dad that I no longer wanted to have anything to do with Jehovah. My parents promised me that I would never have to step foot inside a Kingdom Hall ever again. I’m nearly 39, and every time I drive past a Kingdom Hall, my heart sinks into my belly. I don’t like to generalize groups of people. Anyone who knows me knows that I am an open-minded person—I typically dislike labeling as a whole. But Jehovah’s Witnesses hold a special place in my heart.

Half of the JW kids my mother grew up with have committed suicide. I remember when my mother was living in Texas, she’d call me up and tell me about so and so hanging themselves, or swallowing the barrel of a gun. It freaked mom out, because these people were her age, and their actions gave her ideas of escape. My mother has slit her wrists and overdosed more times than I care to count. And I know the root of her problem is her own mother, and that fucking religion.

It’s that fucking religion that guided my grandmother in raising her children. My mother isn’t the only one permanently fucked up—my uncles are a mess. At least my Uncle Kenny is a functioning member of society. He’s more than that, really. My Uncle Kenny is my favorite man, besides my dad, and my husband. Uncle Kenny is soft spoken and kind—but he hurts, and he says, “Up yours!” to the Kingdom Hall. Aunt Denise always supported him. Now she’s gone…and I worry about him. My Uncle Kenny and Aunt Denise were always a united force—Denise being the foundation.

Uncle Kenny came over the other night. It was a great surprise to me, him knocking on our door at 8:30. Before he left at 2 a.m. he said, “You’re Aunt Denise was fierce. She was a warrior.”

And I thought about Blood into Ink. All of us at Blood into Ink are warriors. I wish my fellow writers could have known my aunt. She had to overcome much. And she was always proud of me in life; I know she is proud of me now—what I stand for.

Aunt Denise wasn’t the sort who shoved religion down throats. She believed what she believed, and respected whatever the fuck anyone else believed. Unless they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Because like me, she’d witnessed the destructive properties of that cult. After my mother had been raped, and disfellowshipped, Aunt Denise spoke to her parents, and they allowed my mother to move in with them. My grandparents are pieces of shit, as far as I am concerned—the rape was never reported to the police.

My mother and my Aunt Denise had been best friends since high school. When Aunt Denise passed, I thought my mother would totally break. But, she and her brother, Kenny, have one another, and they are both managing, together.

When Uncle Kenny was at my house the other night, I finally had the chance to tell him, one on one, that I missed Aunt Denise. I at last told him my final words to Aunt Denise before she was gone. And he cried. He’s never cried in front of me. He said, “Aunt Denise was with you when you were talking to her. She’s always been proud of you.”

Next month, just before Thanksgiving, and Uncle Kenny’s birthday, is Aunt Denise’s death day.

I don’t pray to a god for the well-being of her soul. She is a part of the Universe now, and she visits me in my dreams frequently. I know Aunt Denise is existing in a state of peace, and she reaches out to show me she’s okay.

Don’t tell that to a Jehovah’s Witness, because they’ll say I’m league with Satan. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, a person who dies does not release a soul; they are simply dead, buried in the fucking dirt, and if they are a Witness, they will be resurrected like Jesus was, to live on a paradise earth after Armageddon has passed. Think of it! If you’ve ever found a JW pamphlet at your door, you’ll know what I’m talking about—people living amongst tigers and elephants and shit. Fucking lambs sleeping with lions on your front lawn. Asians and Latinos smiling like morons alongside the whites and blacks, they may as well be unicorns. The Watchtower and Awake! always depict Asians and Latinos chilling with wild animals. For real, how many Chinese Jehovah’s Witnesses do you know?

Propaganda, folks! That’s what this fucking cult comes calling with when they knock on your door on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve/ Christmas isn’t even holy to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

You know why JWs don’t celebrate the birth of Christ? Because their bible doesn’t tell them to.

JWs don’t celebrate anything their bible doesn’t explicitly say to celebrate. So, they don’t celebrate Christmas. They don’t celebrate their own birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, ANY holiday. They do not observe Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, or even Labor Day. Any calendar holiday is off limits. JW children don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance because JWs believe that only Jehovah deserves allegiance; a JW does not willingly serve in the military.

My grandpa (my mother’s dad) was in the ARMY. He married my grandmother. I remember seeing his ARMY photo when I was young. I wonder, after he converted to Grandma’s religion (because she was a pushy bitch), if he was ashamed of his service. I’d like to think he wasn’t ashamed, though I do recall that he spoke against the military. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not permitted to enlist in any faction of the military, as pledging allegiance to anything other than Jehovah is blatant defiance.

It’s late, and I’m babbling. I’ve lost sight of what this entry is supposed to be. I’m listening to The Cranberries. Each song means something different to me—

I guess what I mean to say, in the long winded way, is that I don’t like Jehovah’s Witnesses. For personal reasons. And probably for fundamental reasons, too.

P.S. Yes, I’ve had a few drinks. It’s Sunday Funday.

Stupid Girl (the song I was listening to when I wrote this)

I win some, I lose some; I win more than I lose–I lose a follower, I gain three. Fuck you very much. I’m not a gambler, I’m just honest, and for me, honesty is never a wager I’m afraid to bet on. I know I often rub people the wrong way, and I’m totally good with that, because those who find themselves rubbed the wrong way will either respect our differences, or they will throw me to the vultures. Those who throw me to the vultures, bless their hearts, are people I don’t want to know. Not because they have different views than I do, but because I have different views than they do, and they are too small minded to accept variety. I like variety. Variety keeps me on my toes. Variety keeps me learning. And I never want to stop learning.

Not to say I am never offended. I am often offended. I’m offended by racism. I’m offended by people who contribute to rape culture. I’m offended by modern day feminism. I’m offended by anti-gay Christians. I’m offended by people who are offended by those who say ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas.’ I’m offended by people who wake up every motherfucking morning with the goal to find offense in dusty corners.

Activism is good, unless your activism is built upon physical harm–yes, ANTIFA, that includes you. Listen, you can’t denounce groups known for violence, and come at them with violence, and claim you are better than they are, because violence begets violence. Fucking DUH! If you want to make a difference, don’t be a part of the circle. And if you are hell bent on injuring people, or even killing people, join the fucking ARMY.

Those who know me, know I am married to an ARMY veteran. Those who know me know I have the utmost respect for America’s Armed Forces. I only mean that if people have so much energy to waste on hating people, and if they want to play big shots, maybe they should be fighting the real enemies. Because Black people eating in the same restaurants as you, and transgenders using public restrooms in a motherfucking Wal-Mart are the least of America’s worries, you know what I’m saying?

For real, America, get your shit together. Why do I feel like I’m one of the few with a goddamned brain? Seriously. I’m poor as fuck, and I’m not stupid. The government could pay me minimum wage, and I’d be happy to take the fucking lead. Hey government! You know where to find me, I’m sure.



Some Words for My Girl


If you’d let me, I’d count your freckles—each kiss print from the sun—I’d connect the dots of constellations tattooed on your alabaster skin—a magic map to be deciphered by the moonlight. You are the cosmos in human form—all-encompassing and beautiful beyond description. When I’m with you, I am energized; positivity radiates from your being, and in your eyes, I see the universe and the purpose for life. You are the solar system I was meant to bring forth, my darling girl—a part of you is an angel singing on high in the dark of outer space. I am blessed to be your mother. I am in awe of you. So sometimes I stare, because to look upon you is to see that some sort of divinity does exist. You are perfection to me, and I love you. I love you endlessly, my daughter, and you will always be the pinnacle of my life.

The Sun Still Does Shine (excerpt from Magpie in August)

Here I am, pulling into the resort, and I can’t remember passing a single landmark these last two miles. Mom hasn’t spoken at all since leaving the city beach. At least I didn’t hear her say anything.

No, she’s just been smoking, riding along, and losing time of her own; wandering her corridors. She’s found another dark place to hang about. I know because she’s crying again, though dry and silent.

Coming here is a challenge for her, too. I don’t acknowledge that fact nearly enough.

“I’ll go get our key.” I’m not going to wait for her to answer. Let her be alone in the quiet car to sweat, if that’s what she wants to do.

The passing storm has taken most of the humidity, but not the heat. August has quickly recovered. The swimming pool is full of noisy bodies, and so is the lake, stretching impossibly wide before me.

If I close my eyes and pretend with all of my might that I am someone else, could I revel in the sounds of laughter, of water splashing, waves breaking, and gulls calling? Could my bare feet love the touch of sand? Could my heart sing if I swam out to dive into the deep of the lake, to feel my body cool and weightless?

At least you left me the sun, Renny; the sun still does shine, godlike in the firmament, and I can still love the warmth on my face.


Aliens Almost Abducted My Daughter

So we just saw a UFO




Are you fucking kidding me?!


Yeah we were on state road and Isaiah was like “woah

that’s a weird star” and I looked over and we were

both like wait that’s not a star. It was a really bright

green light just below the clouds. It stayed still for a

really long time then started ascending into the clouds

and dimmed out


That’s fucking creepy.


I know


What’s creepier, is that today is Friday,

you’ve been missing since yesterday.




That literally freaked me out

so much


Oh, I’m sorry! I thought you’d

just think I was being a dork.

I’m sorry babe.


Hahahaha I’m too paranoid


I love you so much ❤


I love you too lol ❤



Where the Earth Starts to Slope (excerpt from Magpie in August)


She has my head in her lap. Her fingers are raking through my sweat tangled hair; it kind of hurts, but I don’t want to pull away. All I need now is my little yellow plastic cup filled with apple or grape juice.

I’m crushing ants with my thumb as they speed along the cracks in the concrete. Some of them are carrying dead insects.

Hurry home, little ants. Run for your lives.

I hope I’m not doing anything important when I die. I can’t stand the thought that it might happen while I’m in the middle of something with Peter, or even doing something mundane, like driving home with a Saturday night pizza and movie rental. I guess I can’t stand the thought of dying, period. Not that I’m afraid of my own death. I just don’t want the people I love to be sad.

My thumb is so fast, the ants don’t have time to realize they’re about to die. What’s it like, Renny? Or maybe drowning doesn’t work that way. Your death happened so quickly, maybe you were just like these ants; unaware of God’s thumb poised overhead.