Dig if You Will the Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince

 princeBirthday Suit

Don’t believe I was ever happy fiddling with dolls. Or skipping around the yard, tra-la. Adults invented the myth of the carefree childhood. As an only kid, I remember realizing—I must have been five or six—that no one would ever see who I truly was inside. Heartbreaking. Also, I remember hungering. Being so small and powerless, not even knowing what it was I wanted, just wanting, wanting.

Then I heard him.

Mom cranked it up while she painted. Her studio occupied the brightest room in the house. There were gobs of oil paint hardening on the braided rug, rags reeking of turpentine. Music so loud the windows shook. Controversy, 1999, Purple Rain. He moaned and screeched from Mom’s boombox, falsetto riding high over that funk. His hunger bottomless like mine.

Does six years old sound too young to feel lust? I tell you it’s not.

Read the full piece in Barrelhouse Magazine.

Download the free e-book anthology, Dig If You Will The Picture: Remembering Prince.

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Turpentine

A Strange Object Press — Covered W / Fur — March 31, 2015

"Descarga" - Oils on canvas - Meridy Volz

“Descarga” – Oil on canvas – Meridy Volz

This cat Fritzel was odd. She wasn’t pretty like Angel or Bon Bon, and she wasn’t smart either. Just one of those weird, piebald cats with personality issues. Maybe I didn’t like this cat so much. But once you have a cat, you keep it until it dies. When Fritzel was a kitten, she charged face-first into my dad’s knobby middle knuckle and half-blinded herself, turning one eye opalescent. That didn’t help her looks.

Fritzel often napped in a spiral beneath my mom’s painting chair. Late one afternoon, turpentine sloshed out of its jar onto her back, and she licked herself dry. She did the strangest of death dances, cruised sideways and backwardsall around the house with her tail stick-straight, frothing at the mouth and gurgling and grunting. Which was the end of Fritzel. So I know what turpentine can do, though I’m still guessing about its flavor.

Turpentine smells like Coca-Cola stripped of sweetness, with a dash of fiery death, and it’s the pervasive scent of my youth.

Read the full microessay on Covered W / Fur.

Near Unison

Literary Orphans – “Ella” Issue – February 18, 2015

Untitled

“Interpreter,” I announce, entering the examination room. “Sorry to keep you waiting.”

“Oh good, you’re here,” says Dr. Lichter, without looking up from the file in her lap. “We got through most of it, but find out what Mrs. Magaña wants to ask.”

I hang my purse on a hook beside the sharps disposal box. Mother and patient sit on folding chairs against the window, striped in sunlight leaking through the blinds.

“Cuál es su pregunta?” I ask her. Mrs. Magaña answers in Spanish and I transform her words into English, almost without thinking, without analyzing. I assume her voice and mannerisms. We speak in near unison.

Read the complete story on Literary Orphans.