6. Good structure is made of desire.


You probably learned in high school how to structure an essay: “Say what you’re going to say, say it, then say you’ve said it.”

For high school students, this is a reasonable instruction. It helps them learn to organize their thoughts instead of just pouring their stream of consciousness onto the paper. It also makes essays easier to grade.

Just in case you missed day one of these gifts for writers: You’re not in high school anymore. You can outgrow the high school rule. Your readers aren’t there to grade you. They’re there because of desire.

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Let’s Live Now: Reflections on 2018

Transformative Spaces

A puppet peers over the fence of the Tornillo detention facility at the U.S.-Mexico Border, where activists say 3,000 migrant children are being held. (Photo: Lisa Fithian)

This piece was originally featured on the author’s Patreon page

At this time last year, many of us were clamoring for the end of a terrible year. As 2018 comes to a close, we are no less discontent, but I have seen far less enthusiasm about the new year as a means of leaving the old. Instead, there is a subdued grumbling afoot — a sense that we are all simply going through the motions, as we stumble through a world beyond our control. After all, what does it mean to celebrate the arrival of a new year, amid so much darkness? Celebrating the passage of time, when we have only 11 years left to stop the clock on climate change, feels…

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Shut It Down

57 Years

I was eleven when a 16-year-old man molested me. I told my mother and we took it through the court system. I wish we hadn’t. I felt so small in a large courtroom with my braids tightly wound. I entered the unreality that was adult trauma. That was 57 years ago.

When I was 16, the hormonal curiosities fell upon me, weighted like my molester’s sweaty frame entrapping me. Sex, a dirty, unwanted, urgent aversion consigned me to frivolous behavior of fever-pressed imperatives to shake free sexual negativity. I tried to erase foul, obscene, indecent thoughts from my soul. That was 51 years ago.­­

In my twenties, countless men delighted in my frenzy with orgies, binges, and debauchery. Quite suddenly, my mania ceased to drive me to the edge. I felt despondent and depressed, to the point of suicide attempts and isolation. That was 46 years ago.

Six years later, I enjoyed the company of my son’s father to be, who respected me as I respected him, and I became pregnant. That was 40 years ago.

Motherhood taught me self-importance, appreciation, and strength to persevere in my trials as a single mother. Sexuality no longer seizes my attention. That is now.

For the past 57 years, I relive the moment of my violation when I was eleven. Every time the news focuses on a new sexual abuse, I relive the moment. Every time the abusers get away, I relive the stark helplessness I felt when I was eleven. EVERY TIME!

I will not say that I relived this foulness 57 times; it is more like a multiple of 57, probably more than one per year. The judicial system does not appreciate this. It perceives that th­­­­e crime is over. The crime is NEVER OVER!

What did my violator get for a sentence? Probation. 57 years ago.

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Merry Xmas

Plastic wreathes
In windows hung
Comically urging
Yuletide dung.

Tinfoil garlands
In garish array
Brassily shouting
“Have a nice day”.

Winking dwarf light bulbs
Vulgarly strung,
Convulsing in spectra
Carelessly slung.

Modest mute manger
Enduring the blaze,
Buried in corner’s
Obscured hushed haze.


“We’re all going to say ‘Merry Christmas’ again!”

          -Donald Trump 2016

How Peace Works

All hail to the peacemakers:

Their presence so strong.

Their outreach encourages

Wise sense in our throng.


The schools for the peacemakers:

Utterly serene

Universal, inclusive,

Structurally clean.


We get from the peacemakers:

Goodwill, synchronized,

Harmony, tranquility

Composed, equitized.


We give to the peacemakers:

Agreed assurance

Unity, purposeful oaths

Pledge reassurance.


We all become peacemakers:

Enduringly kind.

Evolved, inevitable.

A product of mind.

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