May 18, 2013

I want to watch you shave your face
Become a new man
Wet your skin
Lather in your hands
Spread it on your skin

Your eyes wide
in the mirror – looking at me.
Change the blade

Long strokes
Move your mouth
Stretch your skin
Get close

Head up
Neck long
Downward strokes
Be careful not to nick your beautiful skin.

Rinse with both hands
Water all over
Become my new man.



Roasted Winter Root Soup with Garlic and Herbs

February 13, 2012

My grocery store had all these light colored roots for cheap, so this is an alternative to Potato-Leek soup. The beans add protein. You can put the herbs in AFTER you blend the soup to keep it light colored. The herbs make it a little green, but I don’t mind a little green soup.


Roasted Winter Root Soup with Garlic and Herbs

2 medium Turnips – peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
2 small-medium Parsnips – peeled and cut into pieces
1 medium leek – washed and cut into pieces (some green, mostly white parts)
8 cloves of garlic – peeled

1/2 cup fresh herbs (I used sage and cilantro to be wild) – washed

1 16oz can of white/light beans (garbanzo or any other) – rinsed

4-5 cups of broth (veggie or chicken best. I lazily dissolved a big boullion

1-2 cup of water

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Red pepper flakes – optional


1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

2. Put turnips, parsnips, leek, and garlic into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

3. On a large baking sheet (covered with foil if you like), spread the mixture
evenly. Bake/Roast for 20-25 minutes on 400F. (It’s ok if things get a little brown – just don’t let anything burn to a crisp.)

4. Put everything from the oven, the beans, the herbs*, and the broth into a big soup pot. Add water to make sure liquid is 2 inches above the “stuff.” Bring to a boil.

5. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Turn off heat and let cool a few minutes. Hand blend or put in a traditional blender in batches. Salt and pepper if needed.

*If you didn’t add the herbs, chop and add some on top before serving. I find it easier to throw it all in.

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January 28, 2012

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Change(s) and Prosperity

January 2, 2011

Lotta changes around here in the Fishes’ world. After 11 years in Queens, Fishes now lives in Brooklyn. Barely – just over the border, but she’s there and she loves it. One month in – exactly – on 1/1/11. And Miss Heather keeps Fishes on her toes about her new neighborhood.

Fishes used to live alone and now she has a roommate. She still has two tiny rooms of her own though and shares an incredible kitchen. The tiny painter is incredibly talented. You should buy some of her work.

Christmas came and went. A little family drama here and there, but nothing that can’t be handled. Right before the holidaze though, Fishes might have fallen in love. She’s not sure, but it sure hurt when he left. A family tragedy and then some furtive attempts at contact, and then…well, he cut bait. Cut & Run.

Song: Gimme. (Incredible band: She Keeps Bees. And the lyrics are divine.)

The holiday CD came along splendidly. If you know Fishes, she hopes you got a copy. If not and you want one, let her know. She’d be happy to send you one. Pretty proud of this one. Theme: Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth. Makes a lot of sense given what has happened to Fishes this last month.

Eh, it happens and tonight, Fishes is drinking her way into 2011 with some tall bottles of Zywiec and a nice Polish twist on the annual Prosperity soup. Enjoy:

Prosperity Soup

2 TB Olive Oil
1 Onion chopped
6-8 Garlic cloves chopped
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 Kielbasa (or any kind including vegan sausage) sliced nice
2 Sweet Potatoes (white or orange) peeled and chunked
2-15 oz. cans Black Eyed Peas – drained and rinsed
10 oz. Collard Greens (or other greens) frozen or fresh
6 cups broth (any)
1 TB Thyme dried

Salt/Pepper to taste

1-In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sautee onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes until fragrant.
2-Add kielbasa and brown a bit.
3-Add sweet potatoes, sautee for a few minutes.
4-Add beans and cover with broth. Bring to a boil.
5-Add greens and thyme, stir well and bring back to a boil.
6-Lower heat to LOW, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
7-Add Salt/Pepper

(Myths courtesy of my mom and The South.)

Though I didn’t take a photo, this looks EXACTLY like what I made and shared with friends today. Never too late for Prosperity.

Thanks Lauren!

Southern Vegetable Soup

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August 21, 2010

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and I said so…

July 30, 2010

Listen: Coyote Eyes

My hair is getting so long.

I lost my digital calendar so I can’t tell how long it has actually been since I got my last haircut. Seeing that my hair flows further down my back than usual, I imagine it’s been about a year, which is customary. Not to bore you about my hair, but I let it grow until I cannot stand it. (See this entry: Banshee) I figure I should get something done before my brother gets married in September.

My fingernails are also getting long.

I’m not used to this clickety-clack on the keyboard. I find myself clickety-clacking against the refrigerator door while I look for something to eat or drink – a noise I’m not used to. Clickety-clacking when I’m waiting for something. Backspacing when I’m typing something because these pretty lady-nails are in the way.

I’m always painting my toenails but never paying any mind to my fingers. I notice if I keep lacquering them with some off-white/pink/neutral color, they just keep growing. Must be all that calcium. Make the teeth white and strong, too – they say. Oh, an my hair – keeps growing. Must be all that calcium.

Are you listening to Coyote Eyes? They played recently on WHFR (Washington Heights Free Radio) last month. Check it out (clicky on 6/30/10) on Broad Strokes.

You can read about it on Cocoyea‘s blog.

“oh and I said so, and I said so, right…” (Yellow Red)

Watch them play White Sails/Black Flags.

Wanna know when they play live? Follow them on Twitter, perhaps?

Holy Jeebus, this must be my most boring entry ever. You know, except that I’ve made you listen to Coyote Eyes.


June 13, 2010

I’m thinking about buying a Kindle.  The crap (I mean, news) I carry with me  (NYTimes, New Yorker) takes up so much space in ma’ bag! Does anyone out there have a Kindle and wanna share?  I’ve read the reviews over and over – and I’m  a $100 giftcard closer to getting one.

A (younger, read: more hip) friend at work bought her mother a Sony Reader because it allows her mom to borrow books from the library.   As much I’d want to – I don’t read many books these days because of all the news I have coming in.  But maybe I would read more books if it were so easy to borrow-by-download?

I’ve read about all the E-readers.  Help?

(This choice worries me because in addition to my mainstream reading habits, I also like Bitch and Bust and other more independent publications.   My choice in E-reader would be swayed by the availability of stuff like that, too.)

Thanks for your help.

The Child

April 23, 2010

(from 2006)

She says her heart belongs to the children
but much of that is really her need
to address the child she has never
resolved inside.

Delighting over each smile, each little
coo that the crack babies make
when they’re brought to court by
the caseworker who

She has a beautiful smile from rum and music
She dances.
The children are on hiatus for the weekend
She will not think of them in strange beds
in strange homes of strangers who do not love them.

She is only their voice on weekdays
in front of judges who do not know
the taste of poverty – being alone on the streets
streets filled with faceless addicts
that they call “momma.”

On the weekend, she will not tell her lover
how often she wakes with the image of a child
waking up in a locked facility
or in a foster home
without her sister
or her mother
or a bottle of milk.

Come Monday, she will delay her waking
because she not only wants to delay
the waking of the child
she will speak for in court,
but also the child
that she was.

The Howling

April 23, 2010

Looking back on some writing from almost 10 years ago.

My second Christmas visit home after living in New York for Law School:

2000-12-23 | 12:53:09 am

i arrived safely today. safely in calvert county. funny how i don’t feel very safe in these parts though. not safe at all.
just 15 minutes ago, i was standing in the garage, having a cigarette. because that is where i have to go. everyone is sleeping and the whole place is so quiet. the only sounds i could hear were the wind and the trees rubbing against the sides of the house.

i stood over my stepfather’s worktable. i was squeezed between that and the gutted 1972 monte carlo, ready for a new paintjob because that’s where he keeps the ashtray. i had my armycoat on and my grandmother’s slippers (they were in my bedroom) and i was trying not to listen to the wind or look out the window. just trying to think about how cold it was. bitterly cold and i needed a cigarette at that time of night in the bitter cold.

but you see, there was absolutely no light coming through that window. no sounds from the street. just the reflection of me and the gutted monte carlo and the howling of countryside wind and the tree branches scraping the house.

it disturbs me. in a way that i can hardly explain. almost like how i felt when i first moved to new york.  there, i feared my environment was too big. i was scared to go outside. here, i think it is too small and i am absolutely terrified of the outside.

i’ve lost touch in a way. and it made me put my cigarette out half-way through and run up the stairs into the house. like i was a little girl afraid of the monster in the basement. you know, after the light is turned out.

i had gone out into the garage. for a cigarette. to think about this conversation i just had with my mother. before her eyes got all droopy and her body got up involuntarily to start turning out lights and locking doors and latching the dogflap and picking up my empty gin&tonic glass. i was sitting on the floor and we had been talking about our worlds and our history and she was telling me things i’m not sure i want to know.

about her father, her mother, her brothers, her ex-husband (the dead one), her other ex-husband (my father), my brother, her pain, her heart and her soul.

i think she understood me when i told her i felt torn between worlds.

i think she knows what i mean when i tell her i feel like i went to college and learned some big words and then proceeded to analyze her life and my life and THElife, like i really knew what was going on.

she doesn’t understand my urge to just quit everything in my life and go get a job where i punch in and out and get paid on friday afternoon and i have my evenings and weekends to live my life like a “normal person.”

she tells me she wants more than that and this means that couldn’t possibly be good enough for me.
and then she told me things that i’m not sure i want to know. things that explain why the two most important women in my family, the two that i’ve always depended on, have been knocked down, silenced and stifled.

and though she told me this doesn’t have to happen to me, i think that’s the thing i fear the most. the thing that terrifies me more than the howling of the countryside wind and the tree branches scraping the sides of this house and the noises coming from underneath the gutted monte carlo, and the darkness through the garage window.

i guess the “outside” that i fear has nothing to do with my physical surroundings at all.  not at all.

he don’t live here no more

March 28, 2010

Today at about 2pm, I got home from a lovely adventure.  I set my iPod to play Dessa and I turned the speakers up loud.  I had energy and it was positive, and of course, I set out to do some housecleaning.

Shortly thereafter, before I even grabbed the broom, there was a knock at my door. I wasn’t expecting guests and nobody stops by unannounced in my ‘hood.

“Is D* home?” she said after looking me up and down.  It wasn’t really a negative look-up-and-down, but more of a curiosity.

She was blonde and probably in her 50s.  A gentleman hovered near her side with a quizzical look.

Nervously, I hugged my body to the door and said to her slowly, “I’m the new tenant – moved here last December…I understand that D* passed away.”

The woman extended her hand towards the man, who was already moving closer to her.  “Did you know…”

“No ma’am, I didn’t know him, but the super told me he killed himself.”

She began to tear up and said that she was a friend of D*’s ex-girlfriend who had also just died.  The ex- had also taken her own life.

This is actually the second time strangers have appeared at my apartment door since I moved from the sixth floor to the second in this building.   When I had been looking to move, it was due to a painful break-up. I was aware that at least one of the three available apartments had been inhabited by a man who had committed suicide.  I was content to never find out which one because I really needed to move and moving intra-building was the most cost-efficient way.

The first time folks stopped by to check on D* was in December, shortly after I moved in.  I was hungover and still in my bathrobe at 1pm on a Sunday.  I assumed that couple knocking on my door were religious-folk.  We get a lot of that here in Queens, so I silently peered through the peephole.  They continued to knock, the woman bringing her face close to the glass.   “No thank you, ” I said.

“D*?  Is D* there?”

I had seen D*’s name on bills and advertisements that were still being delivered to my mailbox, but I had never heard anyone say it out loud.  It was a bit horrifying in a superstitious way…a way that I never thought I had ever felt.  In my state, I stupidly said through the door, “He died.”  Closing my eyes and putting my head to the door for a minute, I regretted it.

Even though I was dried out and messy in my robe, I opened the door to apologize. The couple had already fled.

After that, I continued to receive his mail.  He got mail from the government, utility companies, Indian reservations selling cigarettes, and western clothing outfitters.  That month, he also received quite a few Christmas cards.  There was also some mail addressed to a woman, who I began to call, “the dead guy’s girl.”

D*, who’s name really does start with D became “the dead guy.”  It became a way to refer to him internally.  That’s who he was.  The Wrangler jean wearing, cigarette smoking guy who had offed himself in my foyer closet.  A coping mechanism, I suppose.  I tend to employ them.

My Super passed all of this on during a toilet repair.  He said the woman was the dead guy’s girlfriend and she found D* hanging there – right where my coats and jackets hang now.

There was a month or two where I would stare into that closet and think about it a bit.  I don’t know what D* looked like, but I had an image.   Eventually I marveled at how a cylindrical piece of wood could hold up a man until he took his last breath.  Friends were understandably horrified when I told them a man had killed himself in my apartment.  They almost always ask how, which I guess I understand.  Curiosity is a strong urge.

One really never knows what has happened in an old apartment, especially in New York City.  I mean, at least the former tenant hadn’t been murdered or been a murderer himself, right?  How this comforts me, I don’t know.  Another coping mechanism, I suppose.


Since D* still receives a lot of mail from Social Security and other government agencies, I presumed he had been depressed severely enough and long enough to get a check.  I was sure some of the mail that I marked “Not at this address – Deceased” contained  government support for someone who must have been that debilitated by a disease.

I held on to the Christmas cards for over a month. I considered responding to the well-meaning folks updating D* on their lives and wishing him holiday cheer.   I continued to receive a large (standard for a living human?) volume of mail in the dead guy’s name.  By February, it was clear that his loved ones had not notified any of his creditors or friends that he had died.  I never could muster the courage to write to them.   It seemed like an insurmountable task.

Sometime in mid-February, I threw the cards out.  Who was I to tell them?


Just last Friday, I got a frantic call from my Super, “M*!  They are here shutting off your gas.  They said that Mr. D* didn’t pay and I try to tell them he not alive…”

Shit.  The last time I paid my gas bill was in early February.

When I moved in December, I called the gas company to close my old account and to open the new one. After a heated 20 minute conversation, it was established that the gas company had somehow managed to close my old account, but not start my new one.  All the cooking (necessary and therapeutic) I had been doing for the last 4 months had apparently been on the dead guy’s overdue account.

The gas company representative failed to understand that I would not have gotten a turn-off notice addressed to D* – that envelope, like all the others had been marked with “Not at this address – Deceased.”

“Didn’t you notice you hadn’t paid this month?”

I thought about it. Well sir, I don’t sit around by the mailbox waiting for a gas bill.   I just don’t.  Wearing him down, and then finally conceding that the goal was to get my gas turned back on, I agreed to fax my documents and arrange for them to come out next week.  Why fight?

After the couple came by looking for D* earlier, I pushed STOP on my iPod.  I had a succession of  very difficult phone calls with family members to attend to.  Illness, job loss, home foreclosure, bankrupcty, anger, and despair.  Everything happening in a state far away.

In my state, I really want to chop things up, roast something, make a big pot of soup and hand-blend it smooth with music blaring.  It would take hours and fill my home with the smell of beautiful things.

Without gas, I can’t use the stove or the oven to calm my nerves.  I think about D* and the mail I continue to receive in his name.  (Apparently, he is due a new shipment of smokes and his Visa bill is going to collections – according to the red stamp on the envelope.)

I push PLAY on my iPod and raise the volume.  I pour myself a gin & tonic and raise it, too.