1. Her right forefinger stretched to extend up across of the back of the cell phone pressed into her ear. It made an L-shape with her right thumb as it hooked around the silver edge of the iphone. Her forefinger pressed into the plastic, but it was not yet cramped and aching.

    Her whole hand would be screaming before the conversation was over. The phone hot, the finger, the thumb, all the knuckles cramped all the way back up to her shoulder, through her wrist and elbow and reaching even into her neck. 

    But for now she pressed the phone to her ear and spoke. For now, she was relaxed. 

    Do you remember when the subject of your “perfect teeth” came up last? She asked.

    Yeah. I was trying to say, that you couldn’t see it, though. That was just it. That is just it. They aren’t. My teeth aren’t perfect.

    He was slightly adamant at his end of the line. His voice, not plaintive, but definitley a note or two past laid back.  

    I know. She said. I know that was what you were trying to say, then. And I know that is what you are saying now. And I understand.

    You look at your teeth. You see they are not perfect. You hear me say they are, and you feel uncomfortable, fearful, afraid.

    You think to yourself, God, if i relax and let down my guard and just trust that she really likes me and my teeth the way we really are, that is sure to be exactly when she notices that my teeth really aren’t perfect. She’ll finally see and discover the truth and then, she’ll see she was wrong all along and she’ll stop loving me.

    You think: She’ll stop loving me and it will happen just when I’ve come to count on her loving me. That’s why you are fearful. That’s why you don’t want me to be so admiring. Not of your teeth. Not of you. At least not specifically. I’m not allowed to admire you in any exact way.

    I get it. You’re afraid to hear the specifics about why I love you because when someone loves your specifics that love seems so easy to refute. Nobody’s teeth really are perfect, after all. 

    Yeah. He said. Yeah. That is it. 

    His tone, at the other end of the line, now suggested that she was right and her comprehension of his state of mind was validating, yet his tone was not celebratory. It was another new odd mixture. His voice both defeated and awed at this sudden expression of her comprehension.

    Oh. I get it. She reassured hiim with some small exaggeration. 

    I feel the same way when you sayI am sexy. You’ve only said it a couple times but I kind of cringe. I think, like, now I’m fucked. Why’d he have to go and think that, he’ll be so bummed when he finds out what I’m really like. 

    It is completely relatable for me. I hate to be put on a pedestal. I hate people with their big expectations for me.

    But it’s also so so gross and stupid and insulting kind of really. Like you are really saying that my taste is so poor - that I’m stupid for finding your exact teeth meet my definition of perfect. It’s almost like you are criticizing my judgment. It is exactly like you are criticizing my judgment.

    It also means anyone who likes you is doomed to be an idiot. 

    But what you miss is that I was trying to say, that it is the exact, slightly crooked, way your teeth fit in your mouth, that seems like the shiniest most perfect thing I’ve ever seen. And I really mean it. And you could give me credit and the universe credit for matching up your slightly off choppers and my perfect definition of perfect. 

    At that point, the rain started. It came on fast and hard and in wave after wave of loud downpour on the bus stop shelter roof. It splashed up under the walls onto our boots. It whooshed and wailed and howled and carried on for more than twenty-five more minutes. 

    I couldn’t overhear any more of the conversation. Not her words and certainly not his replies through the cell phone. But she grimaced. All throughout the storm she kept talking and grimacing. And she grimaced at the end, when she hung up and shook out her aching hand and arm.

    After that, I gave up waiting for the bus and started walking by myself in the rain. 

  2. my mother is no longer a worthy opponent. we have almost entirely stopped doing battle. i’m not sure we agree with each other any more than we ever did, but we are both just too tired. and in the end, we both know how much we love each other. 

    so i found it very cute and endearing this week when she started sharing proud stories of the ways she was keeping herself and my stepfather independent in their “old age”. my step-dad had a knee-replacement this spring and his recovery was remarkable but… they have aged, they are aging. we cannot deny it anymore. none of us can. 

    the first story mom told me was about how she networked the laptop and the printer. she sent me a fairly detailed email describing what she did every step of the way to get it working. it was peppered with numerous extravagant exclamations of self pride. it made me smile and i was secretly glad i was not called upon for tech support.

    then, yesterday, she sent me pictures of the new flowerbed they created so that they could mow the whole yard from the riding lawn mower without having to use the trimmer/weed eater. (i have to admit with a little pride that they got this idea from me - i hate weedeaters - they vibrate up my wrists and arms and make me feel crazy so i never trim, my yard is set up for it).  

    anyway, this morning, they woke up when the neighbor called to tell them that someone stole their mums - stole their freaking flowers - overnight.

    it’s a very… first world, privileged problem. my parents are very privileged. i get this. i understand fully that having the benefit of their privilege has allowed me to question and attack the larger system of privilege. 

    my mom is having a sense of humor about it and they are not going to buy new flowers this year. she said they might just plant ivy there - “let them go on and steal that” she said, chuckling. “we have plenty.”

    this morning as i sit on my porch reading about feminism and racism, i have so many mixed feelings about all of this. but i also, in my gut, feel really protective of my parents. in a way i’ve never felt before. almost like i feel for my kid. 

    these protective feelings give me a bit more insight into why social change is so hard. i might have questioned my parents need for such a big yard, the need to display their privilege in that way, to even plant those flowers. that is consistent with my belief system. and i have questioned them like this in the past. 

    i guess… more and more i am coming to believe that by definition mindfulness is not something you can induce or even really encourage in anyone. it is a personal endeavor. the most personal. impossible to mandate. impossible to enforce. 

    in the end the only thing we can do is practice it. we cannot save the world or change the world. we can only keep practicing, practicing the parts we hope will make up the changed world. the changed world. 

    the changed world we know is coming. no doubt. there’s no way to hurry it and no way to be ready. 


  3. {in which i try *again* to say something and mostly fail}

    The big brain, then. It insists. It bestows upon us the almighty conscious awareness.

    And then we are forced to use said big brain to try, lamely, to cope with this awareness. 

    At some point, rather than turning the big brain’s consciousness upon the self in a constructively critical and self-soothing way, we, as a species, decide to use the big brain to help us deny the fearsome lack of control that is now so obvious and front and center in our mind’s eye. 

    In effect, we close our third eye and decide, in the name of compensating, we’ll just over emphasize some or all of our other senses and ignore that hocus-pocus larger vision thing.

    With big brains comes choice, after all. What were we to do but exercise it. 

    Big brains, it turns out, are actually quite adept at quite a few really good tricks that serve pretty effectively to more or less blot out the most difficult truths of being a human creature.

    For example, this lack of control business, this existential crisis mess, this notion so distasteful, however true, that we are always in the process of dying. The idea that death is inevitable and so far beyond our control it might as well be the unexpected tire blowout waiting for us like a nail lying innocently on some distant road. This nasty little fact can be ignored much more easily with the aid of technologies that provide the illusion of greater life control. It’s only logical, right, that greater life control means less death.

    So the big brains give us consciousness, and we in turn use our big brains to try really hard to ignore it. We make tangible symbols to represent all the things we can do inside our big brains, we design and create them into technologies. Conveniently, all of this, the process of building and operating and using these technologies, is very distracting. 

    Somewhere along the way, in the process, it wasn’t enough to control the external symbols of our feelings and ideas, somewhere along the way, our brain and consciousness started colluding and came up with the notion that some senses are better than others for creating an illusion of control. Likewise, some senses are just way too in touch with death.

    So, we freed our brains to set about selectively attending to the world, letting more of some sensations in and blocking more of others out. Big brains are smart so these sensory adjustments were coordinated with the technological efforts, organized to work together to maximize the “benefits” of both and to minimize our awareness of realistic and harsh limits to our control over the world. 

    Because vision has the greatest physical reach of all the human senses, we built a world and technologies, complete with entertainment media, communication, and distribution systems that emphasize sight. Of all our senses, sight is the most immediate with the least effort. Sight is the most direct and easily interpreted input we can get from the world. We can tell much about what is happening from sight without even needing to get our hands dirty. Sight reaches farthest into the distance and enhances our sense that we can control and manage that which is not immediately close to us. Sight makes it really easy to tell the boundaries between one person and another. Sight separates the world into self and other. 

    None of our other senses do this. If we are close enough to smell it, b.o. for example, it might be someone else’s or it might be our own. The distinctions between self and other are blurred by smell. We have no way of telling that boundary, it’s hard to discern exactly who is the source of the stinky - we sure can’t do it stealthily. Plus, smells don’t translate so well and not directly at all into language. We have no conscious “dictionary” of socially agreed upon and accepted meanings for smells. They are personal, they are… not amenable to collective control. 

    To some degree the same with sounds. But we combined sounds with vision when we created written language. Language being the technology we built to make sound into something within our realm of conscious control. Think about the language of sounds outside of words. Sounds that communicate feeling directly, sounds that, like smells, have the capacity to bypass the interpretations of our big brains and speak directly to our…? souls? to our intuitions? Whatever you want to call it, we saw it as a crazy gut-based thing that was not under our conscious control and so we rejected it with the technology we call culture. Raw human sounds, without words, are pretty much taboo. Even music, in order to be considered “real music”, has to be controlled into notes and measures that can be written down. I mean, tell me, when was the last time you heard purely improvisational music?

    And certainly, the other most potentially powerful sense is absolutely taboo. When it comes to touch we have applied only the strictest rules for what is and isn’t acceptable. We control it collectively like we could die from the slightest wrong touch, meanwhile embracing wholeheartedly the control that comes from violence. Touch is not a tool for conversing. Touch is a violence you inflict to control someone. If violence is not called for, then in most cases, touch is not allowed or tolerated well as a way of conversing with the larger world. 

    It’s not surprising then that our technology has shown so much favor to sight. Not only is sight the primary target of our communications media but it is also the one we’ve spent the most technological effort to fix and repair. Think about it, imagine how much more diversity there would be in our individual perceptual eccentricities if eye glasses hadn’t been invented. Anyone who couldn’t see well would be forced to develop a different perceptual cocktail to get by in the world. The emphasis on different senses would, of course then, be much different. 

    Instead of so many fashion models and movies, we might have all variety of emporiums designed to stimulate, enhance and enrich experiences through a whole variety of sensory perceptions. We might have parlors where one could go and participate in a smell mosh pit. We might have “theaters” that told whole stories with just touch. We might communicate and share the content of our dreams in a series of guttural grunts and ecstatic sighs and giggles peppered with crying. 

    We would definitely feel less in control in such a world but OH! oh! oh! how much differently we might know it. 


  4. slobbery & wet

    I was trying to vent. I was trying to rant. I was trying to whine about how bratty my dog is.

    I was texting him to complain about my dog chewing on my shoe, the shoe the ornery little monster stole from me while I was in the shower. The shoe the shithead dog made me chase him around the house for eleven minutes in order to recover. The shoe my dog was now chewing even as I was wearing it on my very foot. 

    And, yeah. Okay. The dog is cute.

    Yeah, okay. I did send a picture of his furry little ass face.

    But I did not expect him to side with the beast! Part of me wanted to kill them both in that moment. Except…

    The text message he sent back? In reply to the stupid cute dog’s photo?

    It read:

    "After you, I think he’s the coolest."

    So, yeah. Shit. That was really romantic. More romantic than a one pound bag of only the yellow skittles, hand selected. So romantic, in fact, I was forced to swoon.

    What else could I do? They are both too cute to bear. The assholes. 

    Tagged #prose #jillc

  5. in favor of breaking the rules

    so all this (exhausting stupid not important) journaling sometimes turns into a short stupid poem (posted above) not unlike a bazillion other dumb poems i’ve already written before

    (some nights and early mornings are just like this, when it’s hellish, remember, keep going)

    i put the stupid rambles here to get them out of my draft box b/c i couldn’t yet bear to just delete - i’ll do that later

    Read More


  6. 2 women in a very short story {sorry, about the line breaks}

    standing at the sink
    doing dishes
    having been alone
    so long
    they no longer
    cared for
    each other’s approval

    yet hip to hip
    they stood there
    their own
    and each other’s
    teeth for the want
    of it



    when one
    started humming
    then mumbling

    the wrong lyrics

    the other


    you can’t do that

    i am writing a song

    that is already
    someone else’s

    that’s how you do it
    lots of famous song writers
    mumble hum other people’s songs
    with new lyrics and also
    the lyrics of other’s songs
    to new tunes

    until they just become something new

    oh right
    by magic

    no doofus
    by creativity

    that’s cheating
    that’s not how it works

    yes it is

    and! some people
    are more creative
    when thinking
    in a second language

    one they learned
    post adolescence

    as if 
    the accent
    gives them

    or something
    or juju


    don’t splash

    i will if i want to
    i’m finding it my
    quirky inspiration
    and i feel something
    creative coming on

    have you ever seen a dream
    well i have

    have you ever used sour cream
    in corn bread

    does it keep it moist

    we’ll see
    in seventeen minutes

    if you quit splashing
    we’ll be dry by then


  7. learning to afford it

    I said our parents always love us more than we love them. I meant it. But that’s not to say we don’t love them back. In our own way. 

    A child’s love for her parents is, I believe, a revolutionary act. A recursively revolutionary act. A revolution within a revolution in favor of a revolution against itself. A waltz and a polka and a do-si-do all in one, a victorian ballroom line dance spun like a ballet square dance in a barnyard  turned punk, turned freestyle. Or something. 

    The child revolting both against the household and against herself in the course of a lifetime of being an offspring. First we see through and forgive, then revolting we separate, rebel, declare independence against those very parents we are born hardwired to love and be loyal to.

    We blame them for creating us then resent their care for us. We know they are full of their own shit but still can’t help, as the youngest children, to overlook it in our worship of them. Before we get tall enough we ignore all our own best instincts, which are not in favor of trusting them in any way shape or form, and then later we forgive them so completely even after we’ve long admitted how horribly wrong we are 100% certain they were, from the very beginning. 

    It’s full on revolutionary war we’ve declared. Against our selves and against them from the moment we refuse to stop loving them, from the second we come out no matter how hard we try to do it well or just quit. We love them sickeningly.

    We can’t not forgive them, but we can’t forget how wrong they’ve done. We must acknowledge our anger and then keep on loving and then some. We owe them, after all. We owe them everything. Every good and every horrific thing is due to them but, seeing how it’s us who is stuck with it, we can’t exactly absolve ourselves from responsibility either. 

    No one group can impress a revolution upon another. Whenever we revolt we take ourselves along with the other, for the descent and the rebuilding-ation. For the fall and the rebirth we all go by grace of the force in togetherness.

    It’s the muck of it. Intergenerational humanism. It feels so weird, so inhuman, like, it’s really for the birds. Or something. 

    But we’re not eagles. Not rats, not pigeons. Not hawks even. {Magpies, maybe.} At any rate, we are stuck with ourselves, before, after and during the revolution. We cannot not find a way to stay human. 

    We can’t afford it. 


  8. So many ways to cut the ginger root in a shape that makes sense to you, looking like something else it isn’t. The short cut and the long way home. The carving, marinated, rope and cord web hung thick with sheets of words. 

    My dad won the lottery and didn’t share it with me, before and afterward he disowned me, repeatedly. Three times to be exact he said, I don’t ever want to see you again.

    But I forgive him and here’s why. Because I was his abyss. When I was born he saw the stark truth of being alone and also unbearably connected all at once to the whole world and it broke him. I was his abyss but he will not be mine. I will not be broken. 

    He soothes himself, I imagine. He tells himself: this way jill is better off without me. To me, this is the most hateful paradox he could conjure. And the biggest reason I feel I must forgive him. 

    So much energy. It would take so much energy to out-logic clock him in this self-defense. I mean, the best revenge is living well, I get that. But he’s fixed it so that he has predicted it {dick}. So that if I do well {i.e., better without him} then he gets to be right. 

    I hate dudes who think being right is a reasonable substitute for being human. This is why. 

    The game with your parents is always rigged. They will always love you more than you can possibly love them. But still you can’t ever quit. Hardly.

    Whatever you do, you kind of have to forgive them. Boiled all the way back what you forgive them for most is forcing you to exist. In the first place. 

    The only way to beat them is to forgive them. Because if you don’t forgive them…?

    You become them.

    And then you can never forgive yourself. Either. And that’s just a silly way to live. 

    I tell myself stories about the romance inside an onion. The way it makes you cry when you cut into it. How do I know. It’s the evidence. Every story, just folds over and into more and more stories. 

    The short cuts. The long ways home. It is all truth and it is most certainly fiction. There is no difference.


  9. you & me both {letters to & from camp bullshit}

    Like an interpreter, a translator, a grandmother, a kindergarten teacher or an A+ student who tests well, I’m full of understanding. I understand completely. My perspective affords me both objective and a participant’s credibility. The motivation, the intention, the reason behind what we are both doing makes perfect sense to me.

    And yes, I mean it, of course I’m doing the same thing, too. I won’t call either of us guilty of it, though. I mean, you think I would keep calling myself an anarchist if I thought I could honestly get myself out of it. I’m just as inclined to pretend the system is viable, too. I’m just as likely to act in ways my spirit truly finds unconscionable in the name of my dedication to the status quo. It’s kinda gross.

    That doesn’t mean I’m going to blame either of us, not myself or you. It’s only natural to keep trying even (especially) when you know the effort’s doomed. All the more so if the reach of the thing goes beyond you. If it has the power to impact people you love.

    So, no, it is not coincidence nor an honest reflection of my true feelings, this current distance. It is, rather, a responsive (?reactionary) effort to match the direction I’ve sought and gleaned from your behavior. However (secret) indirect both of our efforts, to comprehend and to express ourselves and our plans have been, we seem to be engaged in the same trip down the old river of avoidance.

    I’m cool with that. It never changes anything. It never has. I never will. I just wanted to make sure you know. I miss you. I think the system responsible for the covert ways the world operates is unnecessary and superfluous and ineffective and possibly (in some cases) dangerous.

    But I don’t think we (or the other people we love) will be hurt by our current practice, at least not in any acute or urgent way beyond the usual socially-accelerated erosion of spirit. And it seems to be the most comfortable thing for you, so I’m fairly willing to keep going along with it. 

    The only part that kind of sucks is… shit. How do I say it? What sucks is that I really like the way I am growing to feel more like a kid inside. And this decision, this act, puts me square in the bullshit camp with the grownups. 

    It sucks but, like all things, it will pass. 


  10. pray thanks

    While tramping through the maze in ones own mind, if and when you find you have entered the room where the echoing voice goes on in tones of thunder about how much better the world would be “if only everyone in it were more like me”, that is the moment when you must muster everything you remember about being a child who knew and loved and understood The Goonies.

    You must put into play your very best version of the slow-back-away-carefully-without-moving-too-quickly-or-turning-around-dance step. You must slilently slide the hell outta there, now.  

    Proceed cautiously but quickly. Return immediately to the safer chambers of your body, your heart, your senses, where there is more sense and less logic. Where there is divine uncertainty. Sit in the quiet and listen mindfully and to your breathing. 

    Then give thanks to everything you are not and to everything you are not good at and to everyone else who is so much better at being different than you than you are. Praise the shit outta diversity, and mean it. I mean it. Save yourself. Like this. When the time comes, just do it. Amen.


  11. idfk

    There is something really dystopian gross weird creepy about General Electric crossing over into fashion via futuristicish? space clothing retro modeled after moon walk astronaut gear — idk if it’s too many mixed metaphors…?

    Or maybe it’s just really scary to see these greedy capitalist dragons realizing the limits of their own species, seeing the end of their lifespan come into view under the weight of the need for infinite economic growth. It feels so desperate. And it’s not at all reassuring or comforting.

    Imagine Godzilla after he’s been gassed and sprayed with buckshot and chased through the streets with armored vehicles and mounted bows with poison arrows. Imagine Godzilla bleeding and screaming, with sweat in his eyes, drooling, slobbering clumsy and staggering and stumbling and inevitably falling. His giant ass inevitably falling. And inevitably squashing anything with the misfortune to find itself under him in that moment. Could be any of us. Imagine the fallout, the aftershock of his impact.

    Imagine he’s really just a beast named capitalism, desperately grasping for any handhold to grab onto on his way down.

    That’s what I see when I see those General Electric sponsored tumblr posts for their retrofuturisticish space fashion. In honor of fashion week. What does GE need to have to do with fashion week, anyway. They should stick to spot light and runaway bulbs at the very least. It’s just… fucking creepy. 

    I don’t want to be of the human generation who goes down in history for their lifetime spent watching monsters kill us all in the process of dying.

    GE needs to not even try to sell clothes. Capitalism needs euthanasia. A pill it could take, something to let it go quietly and save the rest of us.

    GE should deactivate their tumblr and join up with Bayer and go work on that. But not fashion. Please. 


  12. jinx

    two women were walking
    one a tiny bit too slow
    the other slightly too fast
    "do you ever..?" one said
    "feel like all the people you already know
    are either too unavailable or undesirable
    when it comes to turning them into your
    new best friend?”
    "i do." said the other
    "i do think exactly that."

    then one slowed down
    just a little bit
    and the other sped up
    but i don’t know which was which
    or if they matched
    any better

    it was quiet
    while they walked
    a little bit longer
    then one said
    "we should do something about that"
    "there should be a law or something"
    the other said
    they both said together


  13. the truth in some theories


    The truth is you end up forcing yourself to face your own shit whenever you dare to question the world around you. 

    There can’t possibly be words to adequately describe how life leaves you exactly as forlorn as you have ever been. You find yourself within a personality as constant as the day and the night. At the same time you see and want to detail in extreme how much life is changing you. 

    Maybe this is what it feels like to be evolving. Evolving under the reign of super conscious advanced primate brain. I don’t know, it all adds up to nothing but glorious discomfort. 

    Take my band aid theory for instance. The one I first developed back in psych grad school. Somewhere in between learning every last and equally fatal flaw of the scientific method when applied in the social sciences, and discovering that it was still and would continue for my lifetime to be the predominant mode of inquiry and advancing knowledge in the field. That was the first time my passion for the discipline paled. 

    Up next was the “professional community”. Beyond steeped, it was downright gooey with hypocrisy. Never have I encountered a more defensive bunch of crazies, all pretending they have some kind of corner on the market of sanity. Of course, this very inconsistency was reflected, already, in me. I was little more than a depressed nut job claiming to assist folks who were doing better without my help, and with far less advantage in life than me. I felt pretty guilty. 

    Furthermore, if I fully commit, in this little script, to total unscrupulous honesty, I’ll also have to admit that the band aid theory was hatched as an excuse to get me out of all of it. It’s profundity and truth being little more than coincidentally happy accidents. Really, I was scrambling for any escape route quite selfishly.

    So the theory went like this: The world at large {along with everyone in it} is so damaged beyond repair, that our best hope lies in mass destruction. Humanity’s last chance to rise anew is from the ashes of apocalypse. In which case, it stands to reason, that spending my life doing psychotherapy -even successfully - was just a way of prolonging the ultimate agony necessary before rebirth.  And thus, it made no sense to do it. Why would I want to be a band aid in the face of the world’s exsanguination.

    Looking back now I recognize the underlying arrogance from whence my theory sprung. If psychology was not a medium through which I could change and fix the whole entire world and human race, I’d just ditch it. Move on to something even more powerful. Like motherhood. There’s no denying the ridiculous youthful ego in all of that. Egads. No-one is ever going to change the world. No-one is even going to make much impact beyond their own small tract of space and personal experience.

    My only remaining immodest hope is to live long enough to see what it’s like when we are finally forced to survive by nothing less than dropping our egos and coming together in collaboration. And then, there it is exactly again. Again, here I am, with my vanity and my presumption and my proud wishes. 


  14. sandwich food

    Every time he wrote a story about him. A new name was given. He just couldn’t ever remember the one he made up last time and, well, to be frank about it, he wrote the stories because he didn’t like the guy. It was a way to purge. To expel the negativity created, seemingly, by the dude’s very existence. So he wrote the stories as a way of psychologically vomiting up the the guy’s influence, rejecting the guy’s toxic psychic residue, so to speak. You get the idea.

    Read More


  15. smooth in one direction

    Velvet like thick, fresh cut, tall grass in August when it’s been raining all month. Velvet green and velvet like that. Velvet like bucks horns just before the end of the month comes, in earliest evening light. Velvet like the gold amber light that shines in the windows of other people’s houses where everyone, secretly, loves to look in, at least partly because they feel they shouldn’t really. Velvet like that, velvet like looking at the sun and the spots in your eyes afterward. 

    Her skirt was velvet like that. Velvet stretched across her ass. 

    Velvet the color of plums ripe and the newest ends of the tendrils of a young ivy plant just as it begins its upward climbing. Velvet the color of the underside of your tongue. Velvet moss and mud mixed. Green brown eggplant purplish red wine bliss. Like a stained and folded over fresh ravioli, hot from the boiling pot and beet dyed the color of the oldest lobster that ever lived. Velvet like that.

    Her skirt was velvet like that. Velvet stretched even at the hem, just above her knees. And her shoes were shiny black patent.