Archive for March, 2013

Sweat trickles right past his finger and I wonder if he can feel it. I doubt it, because he pushes harder, burying his nail into the soft of my spine.

It hurts. I don’t move.

“Whaddya think yer doin’?” His whisper is cruel, seething.

I sit silently, facing front. Inching so slightly. Hoping he won’t realize I’ve lessened the pressure of his poke.

“Think yer so smart, huh?” Push, push, push.

“Ya big suck…all goody two shoes.” Pffft…


His spit spray wets the back of my neck and I regret my ponytail instantly.

The kids are playing kickball on the gravel field. I sit on the grass, bagged lunch at my side. Left of the field, near the fence, there’s a dip. I position myself just right. I am almost invisible. I pick at my peanut butter covered crusts. Daydream about being anywhere else.

My eyes are closed.

When I open them, the red kickball is bouncing away, slowing to a roll at the edge of the grass. Stops at his feet.

For once, I have to take my glasses off so I can see. Takes me a few minutes to realize they’re cracked. My only pair.

The skin on my forehead is split open from hairline to nose bridge. We’ll mend it best we can, the Doctor tells me, but this is going to leave a scar.


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As I lift it out of the box, the soft material all but slips through my fingers. It’s creamy consistency is rich.


My happy place.

“I’ll treasure it always!” I squeal as I hold it up to my face, inhaling the fresh ‘out of the shop’ smell.

And I wore it with everything. Magically, it seemed to suit any ensemble I put together. It was always just the right fit and went with me everywhere, a loyal accompaniment.

But as time went on, I took advantage of it. Used it as a cushion on hard seats. Let the cat curl up on it during lazy afternoon naps. Slept in it on cold nights and wrapped it ‘round me while sitting on salty sand. Lazing in front of fiery flames.

And the smells and smudges of a life well-worn began to take their toll. It now mimicked a rag doll, crumpled in the corner. Its depressed drapery defeated. Neck soiled, cuffs frayed.

Now, when I lift it to my face, as I had so long ago, I inhale abuse, neglect. The fresh smell of new, now replaced with the sad, sour scent of a sorrowful soul.

My mind races; I could wash it. Fix it. I could stitch the cuffs and scrub the neck.

But the truth is, I know it’s no use.

When something is so precious, so delicate, it warrants continuous, consistent respect. A little attention, now and then, when you can find the time, won’t keep it undamaged or unscathed.

It’s too late. It’s fallen away. Irreparable. And I am left exposed.

Broken Heart

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I sit outside a coffee shop on callous concrete, hoping someone will give me something, anything, money, food, a coffee, kindness, but it’s bitter out and they are all understandably numb.

Men in unyielding suits talk on their phones and hold doors for capable people. I watch women with big hair chatter and chide, wrinkle their noses and throw half full cups into the trash as they skip away.

Not one looks at me and too, feel less.

I cup my hands ‘round my mouth and savor the small touch of hospitality my warm breath provides. The air gets colder, my muscles stiffer, as time ticks on. I sit motionless, unable to think of much else other than where I’ll be in a few hours.

“Hey, can you hang on to my dog?” My body tenses at the unexpected voice so close to me.

I look at the little curly haired dog, and up at the little curly haired boy.

“I need to grab something real quick and he can’t run super fast, so if you’d just hold him for me…”

“No problem,” I agree, not sure what choice I have as the half-pint runs off without waiting for an answer.

The dog climbs up onto my lap. His belly is like a hot water bottle, his sandy fur a cozy coat. He stretches upwards and licks my face, his tongue soft and velvety. I feel myself loosen a little, a strained elastic slipping back to its natural state.

The very next person to come out hands me a five-dollar bill.

“Say no to drugs.” he laughs half serious, the next, a cup of steaming coffee and a few crumpled bills. “Cute pup,’” she smiles. “Buy him a treat!”

By the time the boy returns, I’ve had a sandwich, a conversation and the shake of a hand. A shop employee even leaves a bowl full of fresh water for the dog and a handful of broken cookie bits.

“Thanks for watching Jack,” the boy’s tone is raspy, breathless. “It would’ve taken me way longer if I’d had to drag him along.”

He hands me a somewhat grizzly sleeping bag and a greyish pillow. “Here, they’re yours.” he tells me.

“What? No,” I say, shocked. “Where did you get these?”

“I gotta go,” he says, grabbing the dog. “I can come back tomorrow though. People are way more generous when Jack’s around.”

He takes off so quickly I barely have time to notice his dirty fingernails, his hoodie full of holes or Jack effortlessly keeping up alongside him.

What I do notice as they trot off, is that I now feel more.

homeless boy and dog

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Airport Nails 2

And as if they knew it was time, the long, phony nails I’d glued on at the beginning of this trip began to pop off one by one, a rogue nail as I fumbled to silence the alarm at 4am, an escapee as I plodded sleepily through security and a rebel while I groped for change to pay for my yogurt and granola. And that’s okay, they were right. It was time.

Don’t get me wrong, make no mistake, let me be clear…insert more cliché segues here…the Sesame Street stoops, dismissed don’t walks, harried honkers and booming billboards…I’ll miss it all, fo sho. That’s for my kids. (note sarcasm) It was amazing to be a small part for a small while of a big city where dreamers do, believers become and impossible means possibility.

But as I sat on the plane looking down at my fingers and the few nails left, I thought of how they’d made me feel brave, self-assured. I’d worn them to take on New York and had begun picking them off to head home.

It made sense, really; New York had been bigger than me and I’d needed the nails. The thing about home, is I write better without them.

Wherever we are, anything is always possible. Location is irrelevant. And, so are the nails.


I sort of sent my last post out to fend for itself, forgetting to tag and categorize it. If you’d like to read it, it’s crying in the corner here.

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Despite the fact that it’s 2 degrees, cool is not the weather it’s the style here in NYC. That’s right folks, Hazy is in the Big Apple; a place where they have shops with names like Mint Julep, Belly Dance and Shoegasm. Ladies, be honest, you’re hot for all three. Men…well, maybe just the last two.

A city where nothing cramps creativity…unless you happen to be wearing super long, phony, glue on nails like me.  Please excuse any typos, but they do look super fab…the nails, not the typos.

I can’t put my finger on it, but this city is validating; makes you feel like you will attain whatever it is your little heart may be yearning for. Different is distinguished, quirky is quaint and weird is wild which subsequently makes for a vivacious vibe.

We should all experience that. We should all feel invincible. We all need a little New York…or maybe just some really good pasta every so often. That’s totally doable, isn’t it? Failing that, a Shoegasm would be a close second.

Alana at Bistecca Fiorentina


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I may embarrass myself here, but I’ll go out on a limb and assume I am not the only person in the world who didn’t know squat everything the moment I was set free to roam this earth.

I didn’t know there might not always be enough, that things aren’t always as they seem, that there isn’t a constant pillow, doors won’t always be open, love might mean pain and that you shouldn’t wear a white bra under a white shirt. C’mon, ‘fess up…there was a time when you didn’t know that either.

Christina Aguilera "Back to Basics" After Party at Marquee in New York City

But, as we grow older, we learn.

We discover what it is to be vulnerable, to fight and dig, to be damaged and repaired, to feel lost and found, to eat and be hungry. Things aren’t perfect and life isn’t a plate of endless French fries.

And, we’re learning that it’s okay.

Trials and tribulations are normal. Mistakes and misfits are par for the course. The Smarties aren’t all gonna be pink and we’re not always going to be in the front row .

Slip-ups, snafus and side streets are how we mature and thank goodness for that, or we might be in the picture alongside Christina. Tragic.

But man, that girl can blow.

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Self published? Check out this nightmare. Beautiful Disaster horror story…

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She rubbed the sticks together. Back and forth, back and forth, fast as she felt she could, keeping them pressed as tight as her muscles would allow. Her shoulders ached and her braids swung to and fro with momentum. Try as she might, nothing but a thin trail of smoke came of the friction she was struggling to create. She was weak, became dejected. Gave up.

She went about her day, gathering wood, beating mats, washing clothes, fetching water. Busy, she tucked the failure in the far corner of her mind, ignored, not quite forgotten.

But the next day, she tried again, hunting for dry, skinny twigs, propping them up with rocks and dirt. She scraped two of them together faster and harder than the day before until her fingers became red. Raw. Dust swirled all around her, suffocating, hindering. Still nothing. She ached and threw the kindling down in defeat.

That night she lay resting and thoughts melted into sleepy dreams. She endured fierce fervor, fuel and flashes. She toyed with passions, promises, pledges and purpose. She suffered dedication. She endured commitment. She breathed success.

Rising the next morning, she was wiser, shrewder. She’d try harder. She would not give up, for her dreams had reminded her, where there’s smoke there is fire.


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