Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year Eulogy

Have you ever considered writing your own eulogy? Not from a place of depression, more from frustration. Tired of the person you have been in the past, the bullshit you were willing to put up with. Wanting so much to change, that you realize the old person within you must die, to start again.

Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, my old self will be gone, and in my place will be Hope, Joy, Strength, Peace, Contentment, Determination, Self-Assuredness, Independence, Beauty, Value...and above all, the knowledge that I possess these things.

Throughout the Bible, it talks about dying to find new life. Perhaps I must do the same to find freedom. In order to break old patterns, I must completely let go of my old self, my former identity.

Does one simply change her name for this to occur? Or should you write a eulogy, saying farewell, for this to take place? Does one throw a mock funeral - where pictures of you chained to your former patterns or things you hated most about yourself burn in effigy?

Or do you simply try to start again, and hope for the best?

And all these questions are rhetorical.

I personally don't know that I have the strength to start again, to break free of my chains... without all the ceremonial symbolism.

I know there is life, and I intend to find it. The clock stikes midnight for a new year. And in order for me to take that new and sacred journey to the sun, I sit near my pyre of cinnamon and myrrh, readying myself to exhale.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Salvage (fictional piece)

I tried to sing for him but the melody stuck in my throat like an annoying popcorn kernel that knows to lodge itself in your esophagus at the precise climax of a movie. I slightly choked on the uncomfortableness of it all. Unafraid of singing before large crowds the adrenaline surging through my veins like a double espresso. I fed on their energy, on their life. But sitting here before an 80 year old man, my stomach churned with fear. He requested the old hymn a second time, and I simply coughed and fidgeted like a 4 year old trapped in a church pew.

“I don’t think I know that one pops,” I lied, swallowing back the swelling of tears starting to burn my throat. Hell, I didn’t owe him anything. Especially not this. He wasn’t a paying fan; in fact, I couldn’t recall him ever making it to one childhood voice recital or the high school musical where I probably set the record for chunkiest Sandra Dee in Grease - one of my proudest moments, actually. I was always the school nerd, you see, but at curtain call, every person in that auditorium rose to their feet, including the kids who taunted me. It was then, I knew this was my little piece of heaven and I was going to spend the rest of my life holding onto that. I looked for his face in the crowd that night. I waited until everyone passed by with their hugs and congratulations. I waited for two hours after the performance, sitting in the dark, spandex coated barrel legs dangling over the edge of the stage. I waited until the principal locked up, forcing me out. I waited. I waited, because he promised.

I heard a slight groan escape his lips. By impulse I moved closer to him reverting to that mothering role I had been forced to assume as a child. At this distance, I could see the pain in his face. I hadn’t noticed across the room how yellow his skin actually was. I just stood there for a couple of awkward minutes, not quite sure what to do. There was no vomit to clean, no rubbing alcohol or mouthwash to hide. What was my place here?
Another groan. “Hey, pops, there is a button for morphine here. Do you want me to hit it?” No response. But the pain etched into his face and running through his body was palpable, and I did what any humane person would do. I hit the button.

They say a person has to hit rock bottom before they realize they need to change. Well, if sitting in a puddle of your father’s piss and vomit isn’t rock bottom, I don’t know how much further I would have to go to hit it. New York was my ticket out. So, I lost the weight, asked for extra lessons from my voice teacher, and took two jobs so I could move as soon as graduation rolled around. I had been living my dream ever since. Until I got the phone call.

The truth is, I’ve been waiting 30 years for him to die. 30 years expecting it. Every time he passed out, as a child, I was there checking his pulse, putting my hand in front of his face to make sure he was still breathing. When everyone else had left, I chose to stay...until I couldn’t. I never expected him to live this long and honestly always thought he would suffocate in his own vomit before his liver would take him. But he proved me wrong.

He made a garbled sound. “What did you say, pops?”
“I said, ‘sing’. You always had such a pretty voice.”
How the hell would he know?
“Remember when you played Sandy in Grease Lighting?”
Fighting to keep my tone even tempered. “Yeah, but you weren’t there, pops.”
“Yeah, I was.”
“No you weren’t.” Contending with his feeble mind would likely be a never ending battle, but I wasn’t willing to back down. Not with this much at stake.

“I was too!” he insisted.
“No, you weren’t. I think I would know dad, I waited all night for you to show up. But you couldn’t give up the fucking booze for one night, could you?” Even temper, fail.

It seemed like forever, standing in that malodorous hybrid of feces and aerosol disinfectant. The silence was too much for me bare and I started out the door. That’s when I heard his voice clearer than I ever had before.

“No, I couldn’t give it up. That’s why I sat in the back of the theatre the entire time. Where you wouldn’t have to worry about me. You sang like an angel.” He chuckled slightly as he sang the words “ ‘Look at me I’m Sandy’. As soon as you bowed, I was the first one on my feet, clapping and whistling. But, I figured I was probably getting too loud. So I left.”

My stomach hit the floor, as I tried to make sense of a man who, most days, couldn't make it out of the house because he was so roaring drunk, somehow traveling two miles to my high school to see a musical.

I began to ask why he had never said anything, but I knew better than to spoil this sacred moment. All the anger and bitterness, I had worn like a glove began to quiet for a moment, as I made my way toward my father’s hospital bed.

Not knowing what else to say in that moment, I simply sat beside him and whispered, “ If you left early that means you missed the encore. I think I owe you a song”.
My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth's lamentation,
I hear the sweet, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation;
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul--
How can I keep from singing?
I always thought Sandra Dee would live on to be my most prized performance, the performance that inspired an award winning Broadway career. But it was sitting in that hospital bed singing to my father that the role of Sandra Dee seemed laughable. As sobs of forgiveness garbled my voice, I sang a stuffed up, tear-stained solo just for my dad that was not anywhere close to perfection. But it was easily the most prized performance I would ever give and the best audience I could ever hope for. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Voice

In memory of Anne Sexton and her poem "The Touch", which was used to help create this piece.

The Voice

For years my voice was sealed off in a wooden box

Nothing was there but the painted smile of pretty lips

Perhaps it is dying, I thought, and that is why they have buried it.

You could tell time by this, I thought, like the rings of a tree.

Individual moments, individual branches flanking the sides of this instrument.

Coiling, choking that which was not welcome.

It lay there like Sleeping Beauty awaiting a kiss, for permission to gasp, to sigh, to breathe.

Prince Charming never came and the voice remained motionless.

Pulling back the shrub and ivy that enshrouded it, I rested it in my hands,

hoping there was something I could do to revive it.

It was bruised and scarred in places. Stitched. Hoarse and barely breathing.

Nothing but vulnerable.

And all this is metaphor. An ordinary voice that had been silenced...

only longing to speak.

Was it lost as a child amidst the rubble of loud noises,

Longing to keep the peace?

Was it the words that filled her head,

considered sin if they were released?

“Perfect, perfect, perfect. God will only love you if you’re perfect!”

Was it the coworker who crossed a line, while she was dismissed because he misunderstood “US customs”?

Was it he 21 and she 14, teeth entangled in her hair, his slimy tongue and words in her ears?

Was it someone she trusted most...

skin on skin

Be quiet

on skin

It will be over soon

on skin

It's your fault, you know


That’s what I wanted to say.


There, my voice. A kiss Prince Charming could never give you.

You are now alive!

To speak, to roar, to whisper, to laugh, to sing.

To stand up, to sit down.

To fumble with this new gift you’ve found.

No longer do you have to live in a box buried just beneath life,

immobilized by fear.

No longer do you have to wear that pretty stitched-on smile and nod your head in agreement...

If you do not wish.

Within you is a power you have never used.

So take a deep breath and open your mouth.

Silence no longer owns you!

by Tracy Medberry © 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


She awoke, barely lifting her swollen eyelids, unaware of time in this place. The cold cement numbed the right side of her body, having played spin the bottle with random parts while she slept. At the moment her entire right side was declared the winner - a kiss of tingling pain her redeeming prize. It was no seven minutes in heaven. Rolling onto her back she smiled briefly at the thought of her youth; the only memories she could squeeze from her brain, were pleasant ones, at least. She went back to them often, relishing each one, over and over, sometimes for hours at a time.

Robert Ortiz. Her mind lingered there for a moment. Her mother’s basement closet. His soft cupid’s bow lips pressed against hers, and with it, the promise to teach her to kiss. She, a fifteen-year old novice, knew one seven minute lesson from this Latino master and she would acquire a skill-set that would last a lifetime. Taking a hard gulp, she followed his lead. At first a bit out of sync, with a little correction, she finally started to get the rhythm. Lips now dancing, unexpectedly she felt his tongue begin to move inside her mouth, making her stomach ache with pleasure. He took his time, licking each lip seperat..


Her eyes forced opened wide by searing pain in her left ribs, leaving Robert Ortiz and her mother’s basement miles away. She lifted the tatters of her shirt to find magnificent shades of purple, yellow, and green bleeding together to form an artistic creation on the canvas of her skin. She knew she must find beauty in the small and even brutal things, now. If she wanted to survive. Her breath was shallow from either pain or the lack of oxygen in this place.

She tried to retrace the steps of what happened the night before, how she got to this moment. Her earliest memory was when she was four years old and had snuck out in the middle of the night, plopping all of her stuffed animals on the tailgate of her parent’s station wagon. And with popcorn and soda in hand and her whole entourage of soft playmates, she pretended to watch a drive-in movie. She remembered little league games and dance recitals. The time she broke her wrist doing a back flip off the trampoline in sixth grade. She could picture the exact red dress she wore for senior prom and the speech she made at graduation. She knew every family member’s name and birthdate. But thinking of them now only brought tears to her eyes.

She looked to her left desperately seeking a source of light, her only connection to the outside world. There, far above her head, was a tiny crack that proved she was not in one constant state of being, that there was still such a thing as time, such a concept as night and day. She bathed in that pinhole of sunlight for as long as she could.

Then she heard it. A tiny scritch-scratch, as if two pieces of fabric were being brushed across one another. Aware that this was most likely a figment of her imagination, she held completely still, praying for another sound to fill that void of indeterminable silence she had been enduring.

Scritch-scratch. There it was again. She intrinsically turned her swollen eyes toward the noise, finally able to make out a form. Why hadn’t she seen it before? be continued


In a woman's life there ultimately comes the awe-struck day in which she realizes she has turned into her mother. This day is far removed from the ones where she believed her mother was akin to some sort of superhero who knew the answer to all of life’s mysteries and could fix every problem with magic spit and a bandaid.

Neither does this day usually occur in the self absorbed pre-teen, teenage, or even college years, where the daughter finally becomes cognizant of the fact that she actually knows much more than the woman she idealized all this time; and if there is a superhero to be found, she, the much younger and indefensible daughter, would fit the criteria. And if there happens to be any likeness at all, it is simply the same surname that magically appears on the checks that pay for her car insurance each month.

At this point in her life, the daughter is often ferociously fighting the affinity to be like her mother, perhaps in an attempt to carve out her own identity, perhaps out of fear of becoming like mom. She promises herself she will never do what her mother did, say what her mother said, or become anything like her mother.

But, sooner or later, the fateful moment will occur...

It may be while at the beauty salon when getting that cute pixie cut that was all the rage in this week's issue of Glamour, that the resemblance finally hits her, and with tears welling in her eyes, she immediately inquires about extensions. Or it may be in the heat of passion, while wrestling a 2 year old on a NY subway train during a nap time temper tantrum; some words she promised she would never say to her own child, finally fall like acid from her lips, immediately burning a groove into her synapses, faintly reminiscent of her mother’s voice, taunting her like a broken record. Or it may come after she has married and put her career on hold to pursue the man of her dreams wherever his next job lands them, as she looks back on her mother’s life and succumbs to the fact that she is knee-deep in those footsteps she swore she would never follow...

Or in the worst of circumstances, it may be while packing her mother’s old belongings- a woman taken by cancer. A daughter, lost in a sea of her mother's clothes and old photographs, searching wildly for a scent or a small freckle that matches her own; she studies her face for any resemblance that will keep her mom, here with her.

Whether we bemoan it or embrace it, the moment holds a special place. It's a space where we are simultaneously faced, in the same breath, with our mother’s frailty and our own. Long before, having been hit across the head with our mother’s imperfections, we are now struck by our own faults, our own humanity. It’s a moment where the smallness of our lives, how minute we are within the universe, seems overwhelming. The actuality that we will probably never accomplish everything we set out to do as children comes barreling toward us, and we long for nothing more than to crawl up into that warm lap where platitudes are free and magic spit is plenty.

It’s also a moment of immense freedom, if we’re lucky. We begin to see this woman who birthed us, raised us, and put up with all of our bullshit, with fresh eyes. She is a woman, just like we - human, imperfect, original. She has an identity that goes far beyond that of our mother. She is: Artist. Entrepreneur. Author. Courage. Vulnerability. Lover. Beloved. Imperfect. Whole. Striving. Dreamer. Seeker. Protector. Beauty. Child of God...Friend.

That last one hits me personally, pretty hard...Friend. It wasn’t until I stopped fighting to be anything like her, that I could start to see the true value in who she was/is as a human being. She is one of the few people with whom I’m unafraid to broach any subject (probably a little to her annoyance at times). But she’s there discussing... politics, religion, family, pop culture. Agreeing. Disagreeing. Both of us knowing at all times, that unconditional love is present, no matter what is said.

Don’t get me wrong. There are still some things about my mother that drive me up the wall. But there is a masterpiece standing before me. And like a connoisseur studying a fine work of art, I am beginning to pull out and reflect on traits from this invaluable mosaic.

I envy her piss and vinegar attitude concerning the opinions of others - she could care less what they think of her. I value her willingness to be open to new ideas. She is completely giving. I could not have made it through my pregnancy without her self-sacrifice. My mother is beautiful. When I growup, I want to be just like her, again...well, barring a few minor details.

In fact, just the other day, now past the shock and tears from the pixie cut fiasco, I asked my mom to send a picture of one of her haircuts in her younger years. “You know, the really hot one,” I added. Hell, if I can’t beat looking like her, no reason not to join her...the best version of her, that is.

Written by Tracy Medberry © 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Appendage

A cigarette end burning from her lips.

Ashes falling.

Bruises on her arms.

A cold instrument haphazardly bound to her head.

She gazed into the mirror, no longer able to fully recognize

this object, barely able to trace it’s slurred outline.

She quizzically looked at this cold piece of metal seemingly fused to her, wondering if anyone would ever free her from its bondage.

Or if the original owner, bored, would reenter and for his own sick, twisted amusement add more weight to the already useless appendage.

She couldn’t remember much of the original owner, or even if there had been one.

She couldn’t remember how long she had been sitting there, in front of that mirror

waiting for release...


She screamed, reaching out for the intruder in one final attempt to rid herself of it. Aware of its existence, but unable to focus - her world a blur - she flailed about miserably trying to catch hold of her oppressor. Nothing.

Dizzy from exhaustion, she fell to her knees, a puddle of tears forming beneath her.

In that tiny reflection, she finally caught a clear glimpse.

Bright. Beautiful. Gold.

Once muted to her eyes, jewels beset in this foreign object

began to shine brilliantly.

She jumped from her knees to get a better view.

The mirror that had betrayed her so many times in the past,

For the first time showed truth.

She placed her hands up to her head- to this gift, memories flashing back like lightning.

The man who gave it to her, said it would be light.

She lifted it from her head. It was as light as a coin.

He said it would be there in times when she needed it most

to remind her of her beauty. In this moment, she felt like royalty.

Standing there that day, bruised, battered, covered in years of ash, she released cold oppression and discovered, in it's stead...a crown.

Written by Tracy Medberry 2011 (not that you want them, but all rights reserved)

Twice in a Lifetime

There is a set of lines, a bit sappy, found in the climax of many movies of the romantic genre. Said lines are usually uttered by a character, generally, a man who has lost his wife, accompanied by an orchestration of swelling violins and violas. As the the music reaches it's pique, the man sweeps a strand of the female's hair off of her forehead and gently caresses her cheek. Or if the director wants to go for added benefit, they will have him stand in the freezing rain, the female soaked in some floral patterned, cotton dress, the violins still at an all time screaming pitch. And at the moment of perfect catharsis, this amazing man will reveal the words that would make any breathing female's, heart skip a beat, "After my wife died, I honestly thought I would never find love again. I thought, if people were lucky enough to grab hold of it, true love only came along once in a lifetime. And I was content to go the rest of my life knowing I had shared something very special with one very special woman, something some people search their whole lives and never find. But now, you're standing before me, the second love of my life, and the only thing I can think, is don't let her go!" This of course is followed by an extremely romantic embrace and a kiss. (at this point I should add, I am not making light of those who have lost a spouse, just Hollywood)

The only reason for this very drawn out exposition is that, as corny as the latter lines may sound, I can't help but picture Fear that way sometimes. Not a simple, I'm a afraid of spiders Fear, although I'm sure that can leave some in a life altered state for a matter of...moments.

I'm talking about Fear that, almost as powerful as Love gripped you so strongly at one point in your life, you would be happily content if it never shared a cathartic moment with you in the freezing rain or placed it's sharp, boney fingers anywhere near your face.

But there's the rub. Although, Fear and Love can often be construed as opposites, Fear is the one thing that has touched me as deeply and intimately as a lover.

And although, I would be content if I went the rest of my life without this invader uninvitedly seducing it's way into the very marrow of my bones, naked and raw, making me wish to crawl out of my flesh, I must admit, we've shared something -- a kiss. He has seen me at my darkest moments. He has tucked me into bed, wishing to smother me in the blankets which nestle me in safety.

However the one truth I hold to is that Love is stronger, more alive and palpable than Fear.

This very week my unwelcome invader tried to sneak his way back into my heart, seducing me with his muffled logic -spewing that the depths of what we've shared only comes along once in a lifetime, that he had searched the whole world and couldn't find another with whom he had experienced the same level of intimacy. He grabbed the locks of my hair, twisting them, ensnaring them in the space where his joints barely met at the knuckle. And in a scotch and cigar infused wheeze, he whispered that he realized he was lucky enough to find me once, and now, that I was caught again in his embrace...he would never let me go.

My heart skipped a beat...

For a moment, I surrendered, briefly paralyzed by the vitriolic fumes of his breath. But, then I realized... I've been to the deepest, darkest pits with this monster's boney fingers wrapped around my neck, and I have SURVIVED! I have come face to face with my hellish predator, who longs for nothing but my destruction, and I have survived! And I will continue to survive! Each time I stand firmly and look him in the face, allowing Love to replace what he has to offer, that boney grasp loosens its grip. It's only a matter of time really, until his skeletal remains have not even the strength to lift a pinky finger. And on that day he will have no choice, but to let me go.

by Tracy Medberry 2011 (not that you want them but all rights reserved)

Wrestling With God

This is an extreme sport and one at which I am very adept. It requires sheer determination and and an ability not to back down. And like most sports this one will leave you tired and worn out in the end. Unlike most sports one wrestling match of these sorts can go on for months and months. And believe me when I say the match does not usually end with the sheer exhilaration one might have after climbing a 100 foot peak or scoring the winning run in your league's final softball game. After all the frustration and torment I, the wrestler, cling to during one of my marathon sessions with God, I usually begin to realize I have two options 1.) to let God win and find myself broken before him or 2.) or to try to assume I am somehow a match for God and stay on the mat. The first option is usually an easier route once I am willing to trust and to change. But the two words trust and change usually leave me in this match for much longer than I intended.

Because quite frankly I am have a hard time trusting God without images of Job coming into my mind. I mean, if I relent and let God win the match, I am often left with the feeling, "OK God what are you going to do to me next?" "Is my house going to burn down?" "Are you going to send pestilence (been there)?" "Is my skin going to erupt with rashes (done that)?"....

Am I going to face depression... Will I be able to see Your face when I go to that dark place and cry over and over and over, "Please take this away." I realize post partum depression isn't very likely as I don't plan to have any more children. But the thought of, "Why didn't God save me from that?" is still very present and very real in my mind. And that no doubt explains my issue with trust.

I am pretty sure it's about time for me to let God win this round. No doubt I will find myself broken before him. No doubt I will have to change. But it's probably time to trust again.

Her Beauty

I woke up missing her blonde hair and blue eyes this morning. Were they blue?

Those eyes that were almost too big for her face, and the soft ringlets that made her a cuter version of Meg Ryan.

The quirkiness in her voice.

The conversations where I longed to see the world through her eyes.

I still can't help but wonder if I had gone to the party that night, if I could have been there at the right moment. If I would have heard her screams while walking by her apartment door. If I somehow could have saved her.

I still have a hard time watching movies or listening to stories of the same violence she endured. Flashback-raw, aching. It's just as visceral as the moment I found out the details of her death.

I'm writing this, because I want to purge the crap inside my head. The things that built her up to sainthood. I'm writing this because I'm tired of holding everything so close and safe as not to be faced with the uncomfortableness of it all, or choosing to discuss it only with friends who were there and can empathize. The sanctuary of not being greeted by flashbacks, faces of pity, or forced into a space where I must evade feelings or be judged, is a place of silence.

No more silence.

It's time to move forward. And instead of hiding, it's time to be honest and upfront in my life about how I feel, now - in the present - instead of wishing I could go back and change the past.

She is gone.

But there are others in my life, often those whom I claim mean the most to me, who deserve better than complacency or the common indifference which I have been guilty of extending and calling it love. I could only hope if something happened to one of those people, they would know exactly how I felt and where I stood with them. That I could afford them honesty, love, and such treatment, every day of their lives, as if it might be their last day on Earth.

The Aspen

Breathe me in.
Take me to our secret place, where pain evades us. Where love is paramount.
The golden shimmer of the aspen call to my soul.
They comfort me at the height of this place and seem to sing a melody of triumph to one another.
I reach out and catch a fallen note, holding it close to my chest, pushing it deep inside -- a key, for a time when I will need it most.
For a day when I will no longer hear the music.

Murphy Strikes Again

Publish Post

Murphy's Law Strikes Again

OK, if Monday was one of the best days ever, why does Murphy's Law always seem to keep her watchful eye out for me. She is lurking around the corner, waiting for the clock to strike midnight, so all hell can break loose. Yes, Murphy and I go way back: there was the eco-friendly Christmas tree incident where I planned on being kind to mother nature by buying a Christmas tree which could be planted -- one to which I just happened to be allergic and was infested with insects; there was the time when I was reminded of the good Samaritan story and decide to pick up an elderly homeless woman laying on the side of the road...and couldn't get her or her dog out of my car for a week; And yes there was even the time, when bubbling from excitement after a great show, the other shoe dropped, or should I say c-clamp, because that's what hit me on the head from 20 feet.

Throughout, all my run-ins with Murphy, I have tried to maintain a positive attitude, by calmly reminding myself that these are just mere coincidences, and everyone must go through their fair share of crap. I mean there must be mounds of people with flying insects taking nest in their Christmas trees. And I am sure most people would stop for an elderly person laying in the lawn of their neighborhood Taco Bell (well maybe not people in New Jersey or New york, but the rest of the general population, definitely.) And how was I supposed to know? The homeless people in New Jersey don't label themselves by carrying signs. And well... having your ex drop something on your head from 20 feet...OK, I don't really have an explanation for that one.
But seriously after several concurrent "coincidences" in which your life starts to look more like an episode of "I Love Lucy" -- especially the one where chocolate candy comes speeding along the conveyor belt at the chocolate plant and Lucy is shoving gobs in her mouth and clothes trying to figure out where to put it all (actually that seems more like a fantasy than a nightmare to me...but, I digress)-- than the boring monotony you just assume everyone else goes through, you start to wonder if perhaps Murphy Law is indeed your arch nemesis.

I am not superstitious, but I am definitely not inept, and I really see no other alternative: Murphy Law is my arch nemesis. So this question is directly aimed at you, my arch nemesis. Why, oh why are you so damned intent on destroying the start of a perfectly good week? After such a wonderful Monday, I foolishly believed that maybe, just maybe the rest of the week would be as equally pleasing. But no, you had to go and ruin it with an inept doctor, who after I left his office and was told if my lab results were abnormal, I would be called, had me drive back 30 minutes, just to tell me my lab work was NORMAL! You had to run your grubby fingers all over my $300 blender, thus destroying the only piece of kitchen equipment I actually use and need to stay on my healthy diet! And then you top it off with HER...ha, ha, ha (nice touch, by the way) -- the crazy senior lady you so methodically planted at the YMCA to lecture me on how little boys were not supposed to go in the women's locker room. Oh, I bit my tongue, but I wanted to let the sarcasm ooze from my mouth: "I'm sorry, I didn't realize there would be some women with pedophiliac tendencies. I'll have to be more sensitive to those with sex addictions next time."

So, yes, you won this round Murphy Law, but

I will use everyone incident you bring my way for good, not evil. I will use it for the purpose of creating better characters and better plays. So, you my friend, better watch your back!

Murphy's Law -- The Christmas Tree Saga

So. . . after a bit of debate, I finally convinced my husband that we should be eco-friendly this Christmas. Although, there is nothing like the smell of a fresh pine tree in my living room on Christmas morning, this year, the idea of putting another dead tree out on the curb, tugged a little at my ever-expanding "green" heartstrings; not to mention the $70, I'd have to spend, for little return on my investment. No, this year, I wanted to go the distance, to help "save the environment", this year we were going to get a potted tree that could be planted after Christmas. I was excited, maybe even elated, at the part I would playing in off-setting global warming; I saw visions of my son playing in a yard, currently barren, now shaded by large trees. It was an investment that seemed not only conscientious but very practical. So, with Tevas on foot and a big smile on my face, I loaded the family into the car. We were headed to The Great Outdoors, our local nursery. There we would find the PERFECT Christmas tree; who knows, we may even start a new tradition.
After wading through the selection of trees that had lost their leaves, tiny shrubs, and precut evergreens. We saw IT. The PERFECT tree. It was green, with a small amount of red flowing through the stems, it was potted, it had even been shaped to look like a Christmas tree. A Cherry Laurel. It was ours. A quick look at the price tag. . .ouch. Well. . .we're saving the environment. . . and this is an investment. . .the price, double that of our Average Christmas tree, was worth it, when you looked at it that way!
We had it loaded into our car and were merrily on our way home with our little 4ft. beauty that was going to grow to provide us with a lifetime of shade. Everything was going great. . .Until. . .
Swat. . .
I looked over at my husband, who was swatting at bugs now making their way up his window. "What are those?" I asked. "Bugs, they must be coming off the tree" he answered. Now, I'm not a big fan of creepy-crawly-flying things, but I was willing to grin and bear it for the sake of the cause. This was still going to be my PERFECT Christmas tree. Then I hear my 3 year old: "What's that on your window, Mommy?" I turned to see a little, winged, green insect staring me in the face. No problem. . .it's a live tree. . .bound to have live things on it. I smiled and turned to my son, "it's just a little friend, honey." Then, out of no where there were more little friends, climbing and swarming around me. No worries. . .this was going to be the PERFECT TREE! Out of nowhere I felt my chest tightening and my breathing get sluggish, my skin started to itch. I ignored it, thinking it was the bugs, but the feeling kept growing and growing. We pulled into the driveway, just as I thought my air passages were going to completely close; I quickly jumped out and gulped in fresh air. After a couple of moments, I regained my composure, and talked myself into believing. . .this was all in my head. . .I'm simply having some sort of hypochondriac-driven panic attack. After all, this was MY PERFECT CHRISTMAS TREE! The tree was going to spend the night on the porch, giving me time to get over my hypochondria.
The next morning, I awoke feeling refreshed and renewed. Once I stepped out of my room, IT HIT ME; my chest tightened, my breathing became sluggish, and my skin was on fire. . .
I turned, to see my husband putting our TREE into its spot in the living room. Horror. . .I couldn't hold it in any longer. . " CAN YOU GET THAT DAMN THING OUT OF HERE. . .I'M ALLERGIC!!!" I blurted out.
Now, stands our Christmas Laurel. . .out on the front porch. If you turn the porch lights on, you can catch a slight glimmer in the decorations. Beautiful. We're thinking of taking the presents outside on Christmas Morning, but are a little worried about what the neighbors might think. So, for now we will enjoy our PERFECT tree with the blinds UP.

The Photographer -- A Confession

I have been holding this secret in for quite some time, not sure when and where to let it loose. But, now I guess is as good as time as any...
During my freshman year of college, my roommate noticed that my dating life wasn't up to par and decided to set me up on a blind date. Being from out of state, and forced into the culture shock of late night pizza runs and beer pong tournaments, I decided one blind date would be harmless...something I could at least laugh about when I nostalgically looked back at my college years. What could it hurt?
Francisco...that was his name. I rolled the name around in my mouth like a watermelon jolly rancher. No other hints, no other clues, just a name to let my imagination run wild.
When he came to pick me up, I thought, "Wow! Maybe she was right. Maybe I was missing out by only hanging out with dorm room guys playing vampire roll playing games, while eating Ramen noodles from a slow cooker." He was definitely tall, he was definitely dark, and he looked like he had just stepped off the cover of G.Q. (which, in my experience, probably meant he was gay, but I was up for a challenge). He kissed me gently on the cheek as he handed me a single long stemmed rose. As our eyes met, I felt a spark of chemistry and twinge of nauseousness. When I finally opened my mouth, all I could manage to purge was the word, "bathroom". Upon my return, he waited with a roguish grin, and tenderly escorted me to a car I was sure no student could afford.
Francisco was quite the lady's man. Throughout our date, he opened all my doors, made the right compliments, was a great conversationalist. So, naturally after dinner, when he asked me back to his apartment, I said, "yes."
While he was driving, I couldn't help but notice, whenever he talked to me, he never looked at my face; he was always looking down -- at them! And when we got to his apartment, there were nothing but pictures...of bare -- pictures all over the wall. And when I summoned the courage to ask him about them, he casually replied, "Oh, I'm a photographer. I thought you knew that."
"Take your shoes off and stay awhile," he said, pouring me a glass of Pinot Noir. I couldn't resist the lure of his smile, and I acquiesced. But as he handed me my glass of wine, he never stopped staring at them. He got out a sponge and some lotions he had bought in Italy. He slid next to me on the couch and slowly began to pull off cloth. It was romantic at first. Gently washing and rubbing lotion on them -- kisses all over.
But when he got out his CAMERA and wanted to make me another victim on his wall, I screamed, " NO, these are my feet and nobody but nobody will touch them, kiss them, or take pictures of them, without my permission." But he wouldn't take "no" for an answer. He kept shooting pictures, forcing me to show him my ARCH!
I finally broke free, and ran to the nearest pay phone to call my roommate. She said I was a liar."Francisco wouldn't do anything like that. He's a gentleman." For days after that, I felt so alone. I had no one to turn to. My friends and family tried to understand, but they really never could relate. I couldn't help but think this was my fault in some way. If only my feet had been smellier. If only my socks had been longer or dirtier.
Then Tootsie came along. She was the first to really understand what I had been through. Two years earlier, her feet had been molested as well. She taught me that it wasn't my fault. That Francisco would have done the same thing no matter how smelly or dirty my feet had been.
A couple of days ago, a man came up to me, slyly mouthing foot obscenities. "Oh baby, let me see those metatarsals. I want to suck your big toe." At first I started to run away. But then, I regained my pride. I stood up straight, looked him right in the eye, and said, "That's foot harassment, and I don't have to take it."

The Muse

Pour like rain


Splashing words off my lips


To feel your breath on my mouth - expanding my lungs.

I lay in silence

Empty gasps, crushing my insides

Enveloped by your mystique

The fire in your eyes

Fighting a glance in your direction

Terrified of the burn. But needing the connection.

A single stroke of your skin - lightning, crisp air

Time seems to tiptoe in this space, holding every inch of me in stillness

Knowing in a moment, it will be over, my body screams for you to remain here with me.

Let’s play, let’s laugh, make me young again.



I see something in you

That calls me to you

And though I try to push it into the earth

My fingertips are bloody from war with you

A deep ache

My friend

Is that what we are? Friends?


Or are we one?

The nature of the elements stirring in us both,

Merging us through creation.