23 May, 2012

Now Hear This: My Podcast Interview About Writing, Wrongful Imprisonment, and Other Riveting Thoughtstuff

It’s been awhile since I did an interview. That changes at the end of this month, when I appear live on John Darlington’s typically music-centric podcast. The show should run for approximately an hour, which will give us plenty of time to chat about my essays, stories, poetry, and memoir manuscript before moving on to the heavy subject of my experiences on the wrong side of the legal system. Mr. Darlington encourages callers during the show, and a chatroom will be open as the broadcast streams, so listeners can actively participate. It’s sure to be an interesting evening. 

Mark your calendar, stick a Post-It to your monitor, or tell Siri to remind you: the show broadcasts here on Wednesday, 30 May 2012, at 6:00 PM Central Daylight Time.

16 May, 2012

An Unpleasant Showertime Discovery

I was recently troubled to step into the shower and see, on the damp concrete floor at my feet, a slender floret of broccoli. On the scale of disgusting things one might encounter in the shower, this ranked well above a stranger’s abandoned sliver of soap, and well below a stranger’s bodily fluid. Broccoli in the shower scores approximately five on my ten-point Gross-O-Meter.

The offending piece of flora laid a few feet from the shower head, halfway to the stall door, so I was not compelled to kick it away before I bathed. Doing so would have meant its coming into contact with my shower shoe, which seemed tantamount to directly touching it — too nasty a prospect to countenance. Instead, I kept an eye on it. You know, just to be sure it didn’t silently float my way on any pooling water.

As a recovering germaphobe, I’m acquainted well with the type of analytical brain-wracking in which things’ provenances are deduced. Nothing gets my gears turning at quite the same velocity as manic speculation about whence a suspicious object came and how many E. coli-smeared hands caressed it along the way. My list of theories about the nonfungal, nonbacterial plant matter (i.e., the broccoli) lying on the floor of a prison shower was short but nevertheless displeasing. Unless someone had been scarfing down vegetable medley while lathering up (not implausible, in light of the strange behaviors on display here), it was probably left by an uncouth, careless dishwasher. My chief suspects are the four individuals in this wing who occupy the communal laundry closets half the morning, washing their faces and brushing their teeth over the clothes wringer.

One of these days I may decide to ask the closet-bathers to let me scrub my underwear clean in their sinks, since they clearly aren’t using them. On that day, though, I merely stepped around the broccoli and toweled dry. Exiting the stall, I left it laying. Better, I figured, to keep my hands unsullied and run the minute risk of the next guy thinking I was in there enjoying some stir-fry. I’ve been blamed for worse.

13 May, 2012

A Mother's Day Poem, in Lieu of Flowers


Born babbling, your preverbal baby
was showered with such love he couldn't shut up
about it. In youth, he strived to give enough
back, heaped the scale and failed: the day, at
four, recall, when ten times ten (and then
some) times telling you was insufficient
to convey the contents of his overbrimming
heart, because he thought you might
wander off into some nebulous boyhood notion
of life and be lost to him, or grow distracted
and forget. As if
you'd place hands over his wide,
anxious eyes in a test of object permanence
then neglect to remove them. Your boy was
laughably credulous in ways. Then came
the day he didn't depart for college
— bright boy burned out kind of
quickly, but guttered and sputtered and
re-ignited late in the strangest place —
and you did not wander nor forget one bit.
And you're still there, close.
Not grown apart but grown, he knows
the comedic nature of the Day of I-love-yous,
yet can't help thinking some of it
was anything but silly.