Category Archives: Creative Non-fiction

Overcrowding in Ventress Prison During Pandemic, March-July 2020

(Author’s Note: Incarcerated sources are kept confidential to protect their safety and privacy. Each prisoner is identified by a randomly chosen letter.) “When Obama was President, there was still some people put in place to deal with” research and preparedness … Continue reading

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A Continuum of Loss

I lost something once, and in that loss, was everything. I was twelve that year, she was forty-six, her mother was eighty-five and her younger sister had died ten years ago. I am, because she was. She was my one … Continue reading

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Incarcerating Family

(Author’s Note: The identities of prisoners and their family members are confidential in order to protect their safety and privacy. Each source is identified by a randomly chosen letter.) (Part 1) Introduction Over the past eight months, prisoners and their … Continue reading

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Amid Nonsense

I found my name in a book, amid nonsense: …cool rewrite power rewrite rewrite      rewrite feb rewrite continuous            rewrite to rewrite martha      rewrite      engber rewrite rewrite rewrite      (            ) rewrite… (Alan Sondheim, “@touch,” VEL, 73) I found the passage when searching my name on Amazon to … Continue reading

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An Irish Stew

I took my first bite of food from my mother, a school teacher, who had eight children in eleven years, a peptic ulcer, and a disdain for women who shared recipes. With so many mouths to feed, my mother found … Continue reading

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Perspective

Just beyond our kitchen garden’s box frame, last year’s oak leaf & butter lettuces have seeded themselves inside the cowlick of grasses, growing in patches of ruffled leaves that haven’t yet been found by nightly foragers that emerge from the … Continue reading

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Alabama Prisoners Consider Country’s Next Steps as President Trump Hides in Bunker, June 2020

Author’s note: Prisoners in this series are confidential sources, each identified by a randomly chosen letter, to protect their safety and privacy. (Part 1) “G” – How America “forgot about” itself. An American President, “Man, he can only do so … Continue reading

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To be sorry

Today’s Saturday, my second favorite day of the week. Friday is the best, because after Friday comes Saturday, which is still fun, but after Saturday comes Sunday, and Sundays make me sad. But this Saturday is special. Dad’s home, mom’s … Continue reading

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When I Realized I Was a Ghost

Growing up I had conflicting feelings about ghosts. I was a child concerned over whether they actually were real. I feared what mischief unseen spirits may cause but only because that’s what I had been taught to do. It was … Continue reading

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You Can’t Go Home Again, Again

“A man’s maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child at play” – Friedrich Nietzsche In late spring 2018, I traveled to Ecuador, where I first visited the cities of Quito and Cuenca before exploring … Continue reading

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The Last Cruise of the Plague Year

Four Days Aboard the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise, 2020 I stepped off the elevator and onto the pool deck, with the sense that I had crossed a sort of threshold. Here the scene was quaint, almost pastoral – a … Continue reading

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The clothes I wear

The garter, the underwear I knew straight away; I knew love was spectacular. It knocked me out, hung me upside down and checked for change. Every cell in my body felt electric, needing to plug into him to come to … Continue reading

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Tracking Franz at Planá

Franz Kafka arrived in Planá—a small resort town on the Lužnice River in south Bohemia on Friday, June 23, 1922—a week before his official retirement from the Worker’s Accident Insurance Institute in Prague. He’d been promoted to senior legal secretary … Continue reading

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Finding the Lens in a Visual Memoir

Part of the peril that comes with being someone who loves literature and teaches reading for a living is that sometimes analysis and interpretation leads to a locked-down view of what a text means. We know the stories of poets … Continue reading

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No Plans Come to Mind

We ate an enormous meal together. All of us, in the old farmhouse near Ontario’s shores, eating and talking and not talking, and laughing really loud. We are loud. Half of us have a hard time hearing, which makes it … Continue reading

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Invisibilia

I. Changeling You sign only your first name in my yearbook, with a tiny drawing of the sun. You pass the book back to me and heat curls off the page, dewy, sweet. You grab my wrist and I inhale … Continue reading

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No One Knows I’m Here

Sligo, Ireland, May 2019 I keep busy, even in a stranger’s home, I press my life (however, briefly) onto theirs. I open drawers to find a spoon; instead of one, I find a girl’s journal, with a near-perfect illustration of … Continue reading

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Romancing New York

Prologue It was nearly freezing that October night, but I didn’t feel the chill at all as I emerged from the subterranean cabaret club known as Danny’s on W. 46th Street in midtown Manhattan. It was close to midnight and … Continue reading

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Unseasonable

Her death didn’t match the season. It was July. Bright and warm. The air, nourishing and jittery with little wings and sounds. Things were blooming and green and lush and lively. Fireworks every Friday night and grill cooking granted no … Continue reading

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Lost Balloon

Six inflated blue exam gloves bound together— utterly prophylactic, strangely sputnik— hands floating on a string, hanging in the cubicle’s sunny window at my last infusion. I’m sitting in the chair where I began six months ago, full of held … Continue reading

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Learning to Fly

A couple of years after I joined an inner-city hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), my charge nurse, Carmen Sanchez, assigned me to sit with a fifty-nine-year-old male patient who was on a … Continue reading

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The Reptilian Years

“….childhood…demanded a constant wariness, the habit of observation, the attendance on moods and tempers, the noting of discrepancies between speech and action, a certain reserve of demeanor, an automatic suspicion of sudden favors.“             Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself   Of … Continue reading

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Handkerchief Language

I was around twelve years old when I first started Noticing girls. There was a gorgeous young woman named Clara in my class. I told a boy in my neighborhood about her, how I loved her deep brown, flowing, perfect … Continue reading

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Alex

I work as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for an inner-city hospital on the Pacific coast. Two years ago, charge nurse Carmen Sanchez assigned me to sit with a twenty-two-year-old Chinese patient named Alex, who’d had a rough life. He’d … Continue reading

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Broken Communication

Irritating. The pain is really irritating. It’s radiating up and down your spinal column. It’s draining you of all your energy. The homework you still have to do may not get finished. The last seven hours of your shift seem … Continue reading

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