Posted in writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2013 by kimmy


What is it about the willowy blonde that makes all heads turn?  No matter how shopworn or decrepit, they seem to possess a certain magnetism which pre-empts common sense.

I was standing at my gate in Atlanta airport the other day, watching a particularly handsome older gentleman jabber into his cellphone.  He was well-dressed and waiting in the priority aisle, apparently conducting business while waiting to board.  Being the invisible observer all my life, I was able to watch him without detection.

He neither blinked nor paid the slightest attention to the growing crowd of restless travelers around him until a tall woman with long blonde hair crossed the room.  Suddenly his mouth stopped moving and his eyes tracked her movement.

I glanced away with a smile.  It was a classic reaction, given most men that I’ve known.  However, as she passed me, I could clearly see that she was on the far side of fifty and a little worse for the wear.  I couldn’t help but wonder if, having been the belle of the ball during her youth, she was willing to let go of that template and gracefully accept the inevitable changes of age.  Judging from her lank hair and teenybopper clothing, my guess was no.

I didn’t have long to wonder as I caught a later glimpse of her in the ladies room in Miami.  She must have been on my flight and the brief trip had taken a toll.  She was brushing her hair obsessively, watching long golden strands fall into the sink and arranging the few that remained attached over a bald spot.  She poked a lax cheek with a disapproving finger before applying a thick coat of makeup and striking a weary pose before the mirror.  It reminded me of those duck-lipped self portraits posted on Twitter.  No doubt she’d worked that look before.

I gave it no more thought during my stay in Florida.  There are countless faded blondes in South Beach, each one more tanned, more collagen-injected, more bikini-ready than the next.  After a few days they didn’t seem novel, attracting less attention than the pasty-white arrivals from the North.

My Cubana girlfriends in Hialeah laughed at me.  “We don’t care what Cosmospolitan says, mija.  Only dogs gnaw on hueso.”

A couple of days in the company of their good humor and lavish hips, I almost believed them if not for the scarcity of blonde hueso in Cuban society.  And when they did occasionally appear, they were uniformly hissed.

“Mamí, did you see that blonde puta shoving her tits in my man’s face?  La voy a kick her skinny culo!”

I didn’t stay to watch the outcome, but she probably made good on that promise as a warning to other flaxen-haired trespassers.

On the flight home, I reflected on my experience.  I was no closer to discovering the secret to blonde allure than when I started.  The only thing I knew with certainty is that they all become grey in the end.



Posted in writing with tags , , , , , on March 3, 2013 by kimmy


After I plied her with a few cocktails, she was less reticent.  “I remember when I first saw him,” said she, looking at the surf. “It was the autumn of my senior year in high school.  He and his bandmates were setting up equipment in the auditorium”

“It felt odd having strangers in our private stomping grounds.  The theater department was where I spent most of my days.  It helped defray the unbearable drama at home.   If I wasn’t rehearsing, I was hanging out in the fire escape, smoking and commiserating with fellow refugees.

“But that day was different, as many were that particular year.  The end of my high school tour of duty was coming and I really didn’t know what awaited me afterward.  Or what I wanted, for that matter.

“So it was fitting that he appear that afternoon, like a portend of things to come, smelling of strange foreign places and trailing an energy that made my scalp tingle.  I was, as usual, killing time and lung cells in the fire escape away from the prying eyes of the department head, when the door swung open and he walked in.  I jumped, thinking I’d been busted and jumped again when I realized it was him.

“I couldn’t speak to him.  I couldn’t be my normal glib self.  Nor could I look him in the eye.  It was too dangerous, more so for me, because I was afraid of my own reaction if I dared.  In a seconds-long exchange, I recognized him.  I was certain I knew him before, but couldn’t remember from where.

“Of course, I didn’t understand any of this until years later, but in that moment I only felt awkward and desperate to conceal the shouting in my head which I was sure he could hear.  He tried to catch my eye, which I refused to meet, and to engage me in small talk.  I pretended not to hear, but he wasn’t dissuaded.  After several rebuffs, he asked me point-blank why I answered every question with a question.

“What could I say?  It wasn’t as if I could tell him that I felt clawed from within, as if something beyond my control was struggling to be freed.  It was enticing and terrifying, like a really fine rollercoaster, one with a resonant voice that reminded me of the drone of a bagpipe echoing over the moor.

“Maybe it was the romantic in me.  Maybe I had reread Brontë novels one too many times.  But I was curiously torn between wanting to lock myself in a dimly lit room with him, and wanting to get as far away as possible from him.  But since I was only seventeen and the former wasn’t an option, I left before embarrassing myself any further.

“I tried not to think about him during the months that followed, but it was difficult.  A door had opened and I couldn’t close it again, no matter how I tried.  The pursuits which contented me before seemed tedious.  I lost patience with the status quo and began to think in real terms of what my future as an adult might look like.  I realized that prior to our chance meeting, I hadn’t really planned anything and the oversight disturbed me.  My friends and family acted as if nothing had changed.  As much as I wanted to find fault and project my woes onto them, I couldn’t.  The sudden wake-up call had been for me, not them.

“It was during the weeks of these deep reflections that I met him again.  His band was playing at the senior prom and I had grudgingly agreed to go with my then-boyfriend who had, not surprisingly, become unbearably predictable in the interim.  I saw my mysterious friend from across the room and knew I was in serious trouble.  I tried to shrink from view and limit my dancing, but he knew I was there.  During a break, he approached me from behind and took my arm.  His fingers burned my skin.

“’Don’t I know you?’ he asked.

“I turned to him, but looked at the floor.  The heat was clawing at me again.  I nodded briefly and hurried away.  Some acknowledgments require more than assent.  They burn you alive.”


Posted in writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2013 by kimmy


He probably remembers the details, but many of them are lost to me, buried under heaps of crazy emotions.  Fear, anxiety, mortification, desire.  I was only nineteen, so maybe I can be forgiven the last one. Even so, it was a pivotal moment in time for me.  It spelled the end of something that never quite began.

He was the kind of boy that a girl fantasizes about.  Not the happily-ever-after kind of fantasy, but the sweaty kind usually found in romance novels.  That it was discovered outside of books and imaginings was a pleasant surprise considering the disappointment that most adolescent girls face.  Awkward teenage fumblings were dismal compared to the promises made in literature and the popular 70s sex how-to manuals read in secret.

I wanted nothing more than uninterrupted time to explore these new-found sensations, maybe a lost weekend or two, to hole up with my playmate and plumb the depths and scale the heights, but there were endless obstacles.  He lived far away and visited only rarely, and when he did, there were roommates, housemates, work and school associates, and a maze of personal entanglements that constantly challenged me.  The moments we had became a torture because I wanted more and couldn’t have it.  It seemed the stars were always stacked against us…

… until one bitterly cold night.  We were driving my father’s giant Chrysler back to town when the unthinkable happened.  The car died and left us stranded somewhere on a lonely stretch of Illinois interstate.   And that’s when things really got interesting.

Not in the way one might suppose, but in the unexpected way deeply buried emotion percolates to the surface in time of crisis.  At first, paralysis, like I used to experience as a child when our family car would occasionally break down and my mother would collapse in hysterics and I would face the emergency alone knowing there wasn’t a sane adult to rely upon.

Then anxiety, wondering how on earth I could resolve the problem.  It never occurred to me that mechanical failure occurs on occasion; only that there was a pressing need for me to find some way to immediately resolve it.  Followed by mortification knowing that I was helpless to correct the problem and despite being finally alone with my dreamboat, the circumstances hardly lent themselves to torrid romance.   We spent the night huddled together against the cold until a state trooper came along and called for a tow truck.

Ironically, it was only the heater hose that needed replacement.  Within hours we were on our way, but for me, something had changed.  Maybe I finally recognized the patterns that had sabotaged my plans.  Perhaps I needed the derailment to shake me out of my stupor.  Whatever it was, it worked and as I watched the frozen landscape roll by, I realized that no amount of effort on my part or his would stop that vehicle from delivering us to our individual destinies.

It was my first conscious encounter with the randomness of fate and I mourned it a long time.  Karma felt like a prison and I hadn’t yet learned to pick the lock.


Posted in writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2013 by kimmy


I want so much to hear your voice again.
To follow it down into the violet space that
Cushioned me from the reality of my world
And silenced the doubts that prey upon me.
Because I hear them daily now,
Urging me to give up and allow the blackness
To seep into my veins and corrode my soul
With its paralytic stupor.
And it’s tempting, somewhat, to think I could
Play with my own remote
And turn myself on and off at will,
Bypassing the pain and reveling in the joy
Even if it’s only remembered and not truly real.
At least in those imagined moments,
I feel alive and whole again,
And I hear your voice speaking words of love
That aren’t artful and contrived,
But ring true like a gong
With sound rippling and circling in every direction,
Flattening disbelief and hesitation like sheaves
Of wheat in the sun.
It shakes me free of the spell and I can walk away
From the lethargy that binds my feet to the earth
And my spirit to defeat and for that moment,
I soar. 
Higher and higher, past the stratosphere
Beyond the galaxies into that lavender haze
Where the infinite resides and all things are possible.

But, it’s only a daydream, and a bitter one, too
For it opened the door to eternity and slammed it shut
Before I could walk through,
Leaving me with only the memory of the words
And their unfinished creation.


Posted in writing with tags , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2013 by kimmy


The only task remaining is to retreat into a shell of my own making
Surrounded by walls that cannot be breached
And battlements that extend as far as the mind can fathom.
I will wear it like armor
Shining steel and black stone
Lining a bottomless pit that yawns into oblivion
And smothers the last of me in smoke and shadow.

I don’t want to inhabit this body anymore
For it betrayed me and left my heart open to
Hunters who care only for sport.
It was shot and left to hang upon a tripod
Turning the snow to red and my dreams to dust.
Follow the trail
A single set of bloody footprints disappearing into
The trees beyond is the only clue of the hunter
Who found and abandoned his mark.

The quarry can never be claimed and devoured now
For it slipped its moorings and fractured
into a thousand icy fragments which seeded the ground
And gave rise to this fortress.
All that remains is to enter and bar the door
Forever to future assault.
A task made easier since there is nothing left to defend.


Posted in writing with tags , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by kimmy

leisure-suits (2)

It was after work on a Friday.  I had a ticket to a play and was savoring a martini before curtain when I heard an angry woman vent behind me.

“Wonder is right,” she sniffed.  “It’s a wonder he hasn’t been killed by a jealous husband.”

I turned in the direction of her voice.  Across the crowded room was a fifty-something man dressed in work clothes and boots.  He had a smile like a shark.

“If you only knew how many women he’s slept with, you’d be disgusted… or amazed.”

The only thing that amazed me at the moment was how any woman could have found him appealing.   He was engrossed in conversation with a petite middle-aged blonde with big tits and a beer gut.  The blonde giggled like a teen before taking a swig from a bottle of Bud.

“You only say that because he dumped you.”

“Whaddya mean?  I dumped him, remember?”

“Oh, so you admit to having a fling with him…”

“Well… uh..,”

I heard the slurp of cocktails behind me.  As nonchalantly as I could, I peeped over my own martini to witness the argument.  Two equally frumpy women stared each other down from both ends of the hors d’oeuvres table.  I looked away.  The cheese puffs could wait.

Another perfectly good evening ruined by Jimmy the Wonderstud.  It seemed he was making the rounds that autumn, sending the area housewives into frenzies with his prowess and their husbands into murderous rages.

“… I thought as much!  You don’t want to end up like Tammy, do you?  Her husband is still in Lake County lockup because he can’t make bail.”

“Mike doesn’t know anything about it.”

“He will, if Jimmy posts another sex tape on youtube.”

“I never let Jimmy video us!”

“Yeah, right… just like all the others.”

I tried not to picture the slob across the room in flagrante delicto, but morbid images of shark’s teeth and stretchmarks kept popping up.  I signaled the waitress for another drink.

James “Jimmy” Von Der Stude was a local celebrity, equal parts Lothario and slacker, with a reputation forged during the early days of disco when he cut quite the figure on the dance floor in his leisure suits and an even bigger one off the floor when he was out of them.  A product of strict Dutch upbringing, he rebelled against his parents and partook of all the excess that era offered, including time in federal prison on drug charges.  None of which seemed to dim his appeal with the opposite sex, who allegedly supported him and his nefarious activities for decades.

“You sound a little bitter.  Jealous?”

“Me?  Of course not!  I’m not the one giving him money.”

“Who said I gave him money?”

“All those ATM receipts, that’s who!”

In spite of his notoriety, I had never seen him firsthand until that night. My girlfriends who had had encounters with him would swoon with the memory, but I never believed their tales.  Disco boys seldom made good lovers. But even if their exaggerations were true, it was difficult to reconcile today’s disheveled man with the smooth operator of days past.  I watched him as he steadied the blonde’s drunken swaying and plucked a hotel keycard from her hand.  The shark would be feeding tonight.

“And so what?  After the pleasure he gave me last night, I’d be willing to give him my last nickel!”

“You better ante up more than that if you want to get the jump on Bernice!  She just left with him.”

With that, the ladies watched as Jimmy exited with his evening meal.  I heard the sharp clink of glass as their drinks hit the table and they squared off again.

“If you hadn’t distracted me, I’d be going home with him right now!”

“As if he’d have you…again!  That man never comes back for seconds.”

I paid my bill and left.  I saw a skinny college student waiting near the will-call window and handed him my ticket.   Watching a play now seemed redundant.  I had enough drama for the night.


Posted in musings with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by kimmy



I know your secret vice.  You scroll through old postings and try to relive the past.  But it is gone, my friend.  Gone like the years parading by in succession.  Gone like your chance for redemption in this life.

What do you hope to find during those solitary forages into the past?  Yourself?  That creature was never a reality, but only a dreamcatcher content to play with the thoughtforms of others.  And now you are caught in its web, something I predicted years ago.

Don’t bother to struggle.  It will only tighten around you.  Best allow it to hold you fast for you are not capable of unselfish action.  All the woes which have befallen you have come only by your summons and until you admit your part, they will follow you until the end of days.

Not a happy prospect, I will agree, but an unavoidable one.  Had you taken another path, it would be no different.  You can change the faces and vistas that surround you, but until you change your soul, the outcome will be the same. 

That’s why it’s pointless to revisit the past.   The person you pretended to be doesn’t exist and never existed.  You cannot live vicariously through him.  The being to whom the passionate prose was written was a fictional character, not you.  Reading it is an invasion of his privacy.

But ignoring boundaries is something you know well, and, given the current conditions, isn’t likely to change.  You may play the wronged party as long as you like, my friend, but only your sycophants will be fooled.  Let them cheer you.  Let them applaud you.  Gather as big a supporting crowd as you can; that way you’ll have plenty of company when your ship goes down.

For sink it will, and by your own hand, too.  You already have a sense of this, that’s why you reach for safety into the past when, if only very briefly, your fictional doppelganger acted with reason.

Holding onto an imagined life preserver will not save you.  You cannot rely on another to do your work, especially when amends must be made personally.  Otherwise you will continue to binge on the emotions of another and remain a slave to your addiction.