Category Archives: Creative Non-fiction

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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Holidays

If the wax in my ears had been thick, I couldn’t have heard the word. I couldn’t have collected it innocently and reserved in the heart. I couldn’t have greeted the women. Today, I heard there are shadows of beauty … Continue reading

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The Great Above

I ‘Focus on the horizon,’ said L. ‘That way you’ll keep the nausea at bay.’ I had last been aboard a ferry en route to Skye, too long ago to remember, so as far as I was concerned, my nautical … Continue reading

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Remembering the Whitby Crow Dancers

Whenever I go back to Whitby, memories of my childhood return as if they had never been away. The air is still heavy with the mingled scents of salt, sun-warmed seaweed and newly landed lobster pots piled high on the … Continue reading

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Of Roots, Rites, Ribs

The Orange Spotted Sunfish is one of the most vibrant freshwater fishes. It is most closely related to a rockfish, and is not a sunfish at all.   The Sea Rose (Orphium frutescens) will only expel its pollen for carpenter … Continue reading

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Autopsy

The truth is, I don’t remember the first time I drove past and saw piles of dirt where my gymnastics academy once stood. It seems like an important thing to miss—that moment of visual confirmation. The solid truth that the … Continue reading

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Master Jo and the Tai Chi of Songxi

August 14th, 2018. I woke up earlier again today. Like the calligraphy day, we have a lesson peculiar to China – Tai Chi. I’ve enjoyed it in Jet Li movies before, and the funny stories it ignited. When I was … Continue reading

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Carp for Christmas

There was a time when Christmas Eve meant three things – carols, carp, and the Golden Pig. Presents would be opened after dinner, the main course of which was a carp that prior to being fried and battered had scales … Continue reading

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Long Night’s Journey into Day

2:49 AM. I get a request for pickup on my Uber app at the New Orleans Ritz-Carlton. It’s a little too early for an airport run. I pull up to the curb ahead of a taxi driver cleaning out his … Continue reading

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Calligraphy and the Robin Hoods of Songxi

12th August, 2018 It’s our third day in Songxi. Last night, I never woke up until it was five in the morning. But then, I slept again for another one hour. At exactly seven, we are in one of the … Continue reading

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Alarm

There are some things that I believe will always stay with you throughout your life, certain memories that will never fade. Sure, you may not think about them every day, but they are always there in the back of your … Continue reading

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In Transit

The ground is wet. There is nowhere to sit. An emaciated dog crosses the tracks. I lean my bags on top of one another and rest my hand on them, hoping they won’t topple. Everyone is quiet. A few draw … Continue reading

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Prayer Circle

Rosaries dangle from rock overhangs in shrines along the Santa Cruz River at the Santuario. Santuario faithful come bearing pain, craving miracles. Miracles to cure the addiction to deaden the pain of poverty. Poverty of the soul, of the land, … Continue reading

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C’s Story

The Spot And that’s led me here, to the spot where it happened. It’s 87 degrees and sunny. The sun beats me continuously. It’s eight a.m. and I’m never up this early, but I didn’t sleep. I walked all night … Continue reading

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Films About Ghosts

“If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts.”—Adam Duritz Skin flakes fell. Blood baked on the hot asphalt. The salty, metallic stench of sweat wafted in the summer air as the zombie shambled, chasing the frazzled sheriff … Continue reading

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The Drowned One

Wetness touches my fingertips. He calls to me, my drowned lover, and I to him. He came to me once, the mer-king, took me into his palace and we lived happily, but I was a woman with an immortal soul … Continue reading

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Family Knots

As in ties that bind, nests that cradle, nets that trap, connections we weave, places to untangle. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are approaching fast – those holidays made up to remind us of obligations and sell us things to … Continue reading

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