Writing

Editing

A Timeline of Short Haircuts

Published in Salt Hill Journal

1981

I was a shorthaired baby, a shorthaired toddler. It was years before my fine, blonde, straight hair reached my shoulders. When it did, after so much waiting, my mother wasn't going to let it go. She cut the bangs and left the rest long. It took me a long time to realize that this hairstyle didn't have to be my default.

1992

My first short haircut was when I was 10 years old.

Desolation is Key

Published in Vela
Desolation is what now brings carloads of amateur photographers and artists to the valley to tour the destruction and ruination. Desolation makes a space for people who have no other place to be; it accommodates those who feel cast aside by society. Desolation is the key to all of the reasons that the desert remains unconquerable, and therefore attractive, to the right kind of person.

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Song of the Little Hobo Bird

Published in The Riveter
It’s hard to reconcile the size and complexity of the st
ructures here with the small frail man standing before me. I head back up the mountain, lingering one last time in front of the white cross, looking across the valley as the sun finally dipps behind the mountains, coloring the sky in streaks of salmon and purple. This view is Leonard’s own, and I wonder how often he has stood right here, after finishing a long day of painting, and lost himself in that sky.

Nothing to be Afraid Of

Published in Green Briar Review

So much importance placed on being brave. I say “scary,” you say “fast.” And fun is implied, too. Scary isn't good enough. Fear isn't a good enough reason to stop.

   I remember your anger after I woke up screaming from a nightmare. I was seven, had just experienced my first California earthquake, and had been having nightmares about it for days. You got me paper and crayons.

   “Draw a picture of what you think is going to happen,” you command.

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Memento Mori

Published in Under the Gum Tree
When I got home, I saw the grate of my car was embedded with dozens of corpses, vibrant butterfly wings that fluttered in the wind for months afterwards. I let them fall off on their own, not daring to touch the frozen bodies of creatures who had seemed as insubstantial as spirit before they died. They gradually dissolved into the air, color fading into a thin translucent veil, an initiation into a mystery I never fully understood.

Slab City

Published in Cutbank

Desolation is what now brings carloads of amateur photographers and artists to the valley to tour the destruction and ruination. Desolation makes a space for people who have no other place to be; it accommodates those who feel cast aside by society. Desolation is the key to all of the reasons that the desert remains unconquerable, and therefore attractive, to the right kind of person.

Prayers to Lucia

Published in Longreads
Santa Lucia holds her left arm outstretched, a silver platter balanced on the palm of her hand. On the platter rests a disembodied pair of eyes. They are looking, lidded, expressive. What they seem to express, in their straight-ahead gaze, is serenity and knowing, a kind of Mona Lisa without a face. In some images Santa Lucia holds the eyes in her hand directly, without a platter to rest on, with a sort of branch that connects them both like fruit on a tiny tree. 

Calipatria

Published in The Rumpus
There used to be a hotel here, restaurants, people. Now, nothing moves in the middle of a hot day and you hear the low rumble of air conditioning humming inside prefabricated houses. Life here is lived in an uneasy stasis, drawn inward behind locked doors, turned away from the desert heat. I walked around the back streets of this silent town wondering what secrets were being kept behind those doors.

Across the Border

Published in SDTopic
On a clear night in San Diego, you can see an entirely different country start just where ours leaves off. It's a curious thing. There would be no differentiating between bright lights of the sister cities if it weren't for a thin strip of darkness representing the space between two parallel fences. The border is visible not directly, but instead by the shadow it leaves, much like how astronomers spot planets by the way they blot out the light of their suns.

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