[20 min with a pen]

Figurines on bookshelves. Collages. Punctuation marks on the stories that sit behind them. 3D manifestations. Spines like highrises. Tiny city.

A typewriter. A postcard on top of the typewriter that I liked too much to send. Little elephants from India – brought back for me by my ex’s mother. A Sherlock Holmes illustration I brought back from London. A Spock figurine. Collage made by a friend that reminds me of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. A story.


A fly with human consciousness. At times I thrash mad to the wall, the dog snaps his teeth. I can’t help but be tempted by the spiderweb. It’s just one strand, maybe I could survive it. It stretches down from the awning to the retaining wall. It drifts up and down, a most beautiful and delicate arch like the curve of the earth when you go to the beach.

I’ve got no hope of anything, not a word out to those higher beings, not a chance they’ll see me for who I am. I’ll be dead within days. I should be thrilled. My only moral imperative is to live until something kills me. I should be relieved.

But I can’t, I can’t. I can’t unlatch my hopes from the impossible. I’m like a tree cut down, lying in a lumberyard and still trying to reach for the sky.

20 minutes with a pen is a new thing I’m doing to keep activating the part of my brain that actually does the inventing, as opposed to the editing or the grunt work.

I set a timer for twenty minutes, sit down with my journal, and try to think of a new idea, or a new fold in an existing idea. Sometimes I just need to write what I see to get it going. I’m not using prompts. The point is to pull something out of the ether. Mixed results will ensue, I’m sure!


Time passes quickly
I pass slowly.
Hours disappear, gnats whirl in the sun.

I pour coffee
I drink the whole cup.
I haven't looked at anything but a gnarl in the wood.

small boxes, no ticks
lines unreplied to
but the worst of these is
    soup spatter, fur collecting
    in loose fists, an
    overheaped trash can
grease film in the sink
dog unwalked, grass too grown
clothes-full hamper

     old devils,
     slinking back, surging forward
     despite all attempts

cut them at the head, they grow ten more

they say you aren't human,
it's even worse than that

and some husbands, when they cook
they think it's a gift