welcome to the wonderful world of misfits

Dear Lidia Yuknavitch,

Thank you. Thank you for unraveling your articulated vocabulary for all the weirdos and queers and freaks and marvelous misfits, reminding us how we are the superheroes. We are the ones who have books and beauties inside us. We are ones who remain, amidst all that scar tissue and cracked bodies. Amidst the punches (from others and ourselves).

We go to a store to purchase an article of clothing. We gather up hangers full of cotton/poly blend threads with buttons and zippers and pockets and itchy tags. We try them on, bullying our reflections in the mirrors, which seem to show angles that (maybe) aren’t supposed to be seen. But we see them. Then, we choose whatever “fits”. Whatever feels less itchy, whatever has enough room for extra meals, doesn’t wrinkle or stain too easily, whatever will last long.

When I read your books, when I hear you speak, I am reminded that we are these articles we wear. Yet, we arrive not always fitting into ourselves. So, we sew some patches on or rip ourselves up in order to find a better shape. Some spend their entire lives trying themselves on. I think I still am. I think. I still search for the parts of me that do not itch. Ripping labels off, smoothing myself out amidst the crumpled bits.

Lidia, you tell us of the “Misfits myth…even at the moment of your failure…you are beautiful…you don’t know this yet…you have the ability to reinvent yourself. That’s your beauty.” And I want to ask you to call me up, so I can hear your voice tickle my hearing as you say this.

As you tell of  “..weird-ass portals to something beautiful. All I had to do was give voice to the story.”  And yes, of course. These stories grow as we do. It’s just that it takes time to gather up enough ink and paper and time and words.

So, thank you, Lidia, Misfit Teacher Mother Writer Badass.

I’m working on my story too.

Oh, and if you are reading this, then click below and listen to Lidia blow your mind too at a recent TED talk

dial tone

I play a furiously combative game of phone tag with my body.

When my body finally picks up, call waiting beeps me out of line.

My body informs me that I am too elusive and not committed enough to my internal infrastructure.


There is an uncomfortably long [estimated 437 minutes] bout of silence between my body and I on the telephone.

My body is clearly housing a collection of disgruntlement.


I call up 1-800 Flowers and order a bouquet of 

just because with peonies and alstroemeria.

My body sends it back without hesitation.


I try again, knowing I have over three decades to make up to my body.

I paste letters to its skin. Create melodies for poems celebrating its bones, even the broken ones.


I make my body a meal of coq au vin; it reminds me its a vegetarian.

I bake my body cookies; it tells me it no longer ingests sugar.


I pay $4,700 for an apology in the sky. But it was windy that day and by the time my body looked up,

my words had swiped themselves away.


an anthem for those magnificent bronx creative writers

(for my creative writing students)


we are the shapes which alphabet this earth,

our poems

like pits beneath soil


we are roots of bruised histories &

hungry to pronounce

a mutiny of narratives on fire


we are the unzippered

bath of salt from our spring, shed of

blur & bother

forests of electric citrus bloom


we are the music

found on the other side of windows

the flâneura who catalogue,

painting movies on pages


we are the whispered magic acts

emerging wanderers

like a sea glass disco washing ashore


we are the other’d, the look’d over

we wave our tongues like flags

we are the country of poets, painters, story-

tellers,              humans


decoding what it is

to be


City Porn (it’s not what you think)

first published by great weather for MEDIA


When Brooklyn felt too heavy to hold onto, I moved to Boulder, Colorado. There, I continued my undergraduate degree (which by that time spanned seven years) and gave myself permission to slow down.

The mountains became my new lover; I strutted my nude to them every morning against large window overlooking their height and contours.

Being away from New York allowed me time to see other ways of living. I breathed in the smell of earth, minus the impressively potent stench of urine. Buildings were uninterrupted by graffiti. Bricks were just bricks. Bars and businesses closed earlier than I was used to, but this just gifted me more hours of sleep.

As the weeks and months fell at my feet, I found myself longing for the smells and sirens of New York. During the day, I was present in Colorado. At night, I fantasized about Brooklyn and the boroughs that suddenly seemed too far away.

I began romantic entanglements with woman, and as we’d knock our lips together, I thought about 4th Avenue where I had a panic attack outside a gay bar and had to get nine stitches in my chin. I made love to a hippie, while imagining West 4th Street serenading me, signing its Stonewall history into my skin. I had a brief affair with a slam poet, but all I could think about was Prospect Park during Autumn with the leaves straddling several shades of red and orange and the music of their crunch against green and brown ground.

One year plus some weeks and months into my Rocky Mountain relocation, and I am sitting in a waiting room, about fifteen minutes early for my therapy appointment. I peruse the coffee table full of well-read magazines and almost gasp when I notice a surprising old friend: Time Out New York. At the time, I thought it odd to be sitting there, a periodical tease, flaunting its lit readings and gallery openings.

I looked around me as though I was picking up a dirty magazine, flipping to the centerfold. I felt so guilty, knowing once I opened it, I’d be reminded of all I was missing. So, I frantically flipped, before anyone came out.

Now, I am not exaggerating when I confess that I was sweating. Triathlon sweat. Walking across country wearing wool socks and an overcoat in August sweat.

It felt just like sex often does: every vein being tangled with, coupled with guilt and remorse. I scanned the museums, angry that I was missing an exhibition with Marina Abramovic. I noted my favorite novelist was doing a book signing. A new restaurant had opened in my old neighborhood. All the photos of all the people taunted me with their big city happiness. I was reaching my orgasm and it was actually real this time. I threw the magazine across the room, just before my therapist opened her door and gestured for me to come in.

I spent just over three years in Colorado and in that time, I lived in five different apartments: a studio, two bedroom where I lived with a hoarder, another studio where the building became infiltrated with bed bugs, a one bedroom with my partner and dog, and then the bottom floor of a house with porch, backyard and nearby ice cream shop. New York never left me, even though I tried to lose its number. I distracted myself with quinoa and kale (two words I never uttered before moving to Colorado). I became a full-time hippie, with dreadlocks and body hair and bare feet and……I’m not sure how any of that correlates to being a bohemian, but I felt free. Free‘er. 

And when no one was looking, I got out my Time Out New York, hidden beneath mattress, old Metro card, tiny bits of paper with directions to various city haunts, took off all my clothes and masturbated to the memory of my favorite city.

It’s been over six years that I’ve been back in Brooklyn and suddenly, I find myself daydreaming again of the city I disregarded. At night, when New York City finally sleeps, I reach underneath mattress and find atlas with dog-eared page for Colorado, fingering East Colfax Avenue and route 287, dreaming of the Rockies….

Bed Bugs & Boneless


When I was a child, my father would read me books like “Green Eggs and Ham” or “The Giving Tree”, kiss me goodnight and then say, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” These bed mites were something I equated to Pandora’s box. Unseen and mythical, a lesson not to unlock what is clearly meant to remain closed, or to wash sheets and skin regularly or else invisible parasites will ravage the flesh.


Dear Bed Bugs,

It was around the time of January or Winter’s midsection, when I sat in my girlfriend’s apartment in Boulder, Colorado and saw you for the first time. Her and I sat beside each other, reading from Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, when you jumped out like a singular surprise party, but it was neither of our birthdays and there was absolutely no cake nor presents.

Her fast fingers caught you and shuddered at the thought of what you were. You had a red tinge, as though we were engaged in some form of flirtatious banter and your entire body was blushing. She grabbed a clear ziplock bag and placed you in it. Then, we went online, hoping we were wrong about your category.

We had a hunch. About a week earlier, her neighbor called Ron or Greg asked if she had noticed any bugs in her place. As she shook her head, I took in the sight of his arms, like the beginning stages of connect the dots: tiny red spots on white, white arms.

It seems there was an infiltration of bed bugs in her building, causing her to take an immediate detour from solo studio living to cohabitation with me in my tiny 500 square foot apartment.

We threw away her mattress, checked all her books, gathered sheets and clothes into a sealed plastic bag, left outside until we could wash everything under hot, hot water.

At that time, there were few products on the market to free us, so we researched all the ways to escape their infiltration. They were like my third girlfriend: unbearably resilient and could go without eating for days (though bed bugs could starve for up to 300).



Bed Bug, a derivative of Cimex lectularius, playing hide-n-go seek with humans’ blood, living inside mattresses or nooks of beds. Unwanted intruders insistent on being bedmates with their food. Often nocturnal, extremely sly.



Let’s take a detour from the trauma of their existence and talk about their sex lives, which is far more interesting, and a distraction from the fact that they use their mouths to saw through skin, in addition to their historical lineage dating back to ancient Greece as early as 400 BC!

How they mate is through traumatic insemination, which, oddly, is what I referenced my brief experimentation with sexuality, upon becoming a heterosexual.

The male punctures the female’s abdomen with his syringe-like penis and ejaculates inside her. After doing insignificant research, I saw no courting rituals, hand-holding, Netflix-watching while eating a home-cooked dinner, noteworthy listening skills insisting that kissing and above-the-shirt touching is enough. It seems male bed bugs just barge right in and their marathon sperm inseminates upon reaching their ovaries.

Good news is, the women get a break every so often because there are gay bed bugs too, as the males will impale other males’ abdomens as well.

But during the time of their invasion, it was difficult to see them as sexual beings. Every part of me itched at all times, mostly phantom itches, derived from the fear of my blood being stolen.

We later moved into a larger apartment, but I never forgot about them: silent predators of skin.


Bed bugs, noun, a bloodsucking bug which is a parasite of birds and mammals. But let’s take a detour from that restriction of speech and use them as an adjective.

  • My twenties were bed-bugged, a series of days where I felt myself getting sucked dry of life, energy, imagination, and desire.

Or how about as a verb?

  • X bed-bugged my heart, deflating it of pumped blood, leaving me lifeless and forever weary of ever being loved again.

Future band names:

  • Bed Bugs & Boneless LIVE at the Mercury Lounge
  • Bed Bug Boner   LIVE and acoustic showing at The Bottom Line

And my as-yet-unpublished memoir:

  • New Jersey & Bed Bugs, or Lifetime of Trauma off Exit 128


When I think about all the detours in my life, it is difficult not to think about bed bugs. Sometimes I wonder if maybe we should be using them as an alternative to the reality television show “Hoarders”, where strangers infiltrate/shame humans who have a difficult time letting things go. Maybe we just need to set off a smattering of these persistent parasitic insects through the vents. Then, people will be forced to let go of things in order to cleanse their home.

A detour from avoidance.

A detour from the cost of an over-priced house cleaning.

A reason to replace bed mattress, with stains of thirteen ex-lovers, and your brief stint as a bed-wetter and all those embarrassing yet ironically artful menstruation stains.

I want to believe that the pests which exist, flapping their wings or mouths beside us can have purpose beyond skin rashes, psychological stress and the inevitable fear of the world ending.

Of course, there are always those exceptions, the nuisances that just have no redeeming quality, which have no detour to bypass: mosquitoes, gentrification and of course, Donald J. Trump.

Tonight: I’m featuring for Big Words, Etc!!

I’m excited (and quite honored) to be writer in residence at Big Words, Etc. reading series and tonight, I perform my new piece inspired by the theme: detour.

Come and listen to some other great writers as well at 61 Local (61 Bergen St, Brooklyn) at 6:30pm