Black and white, we are afraid of each other. Not afraid of death, not afraid of pain, although those come later, when all our fragile bridges have broken down. We are afraid of each other like two kids, just met, who might be friends if they could only find the way forward, if they could only get through this terrible agonising silence. I see an expression on the faces of the women on my block that I can feel on my own face. It curls me up helplessly. I look at them from under my lashes, out of the side of my face, with a worried shy smile saying, “oh please like me. Please like me. Please be nice to me, even if you don’t understand me.” It reminds me of the ninth grade, except my rate of success vis a vis people-not-hurting-me-because-I am-weird is much higher here in then Tremé than it was in middle school.

What is the forum in which we can mingle comfortably? The street? Our front porches? Then we have to go outside. It is so so scary to go outside. I think it’s especially hard for a Minnesotan, with high and private internal walls, to be in this place where anyone can collar you on the street and the social expectation is that you’ll hang out for twenty minutes. Those of you with anxiety (or from the Midwest, what’s the difference) know the thin fear of an unstructured, unanticipated and seemingly unlimited social encounter. Of course, there is structure, and there are limits, I just don’t know them instinctually, and my ignorance makes them feel chaotic and eternal.

So, I stay in my house. I’ve been doing better, recently. I dawdle from the porch to the car, leaving myself time to be approached by anyone who wants to talk to me. People want to talk to me. I have a gap-toothed grin and attentive listening style. Come on. That’s interpersonal gold, right there.

I go to new places that I don’t know, where I turn out to be the only white person, and it’s fine. I get some looks like a parakeet has just wandered into the cockatiel area, but it’s just surprise, there’s no upset, there’s no malice. It’s fine. There is discomfort, the same discomfort you would experience if you went to Japan. If you went from New York to L.A. If you moved from the big city to a small town. It is cultural.

I have a theory. A small one. Modest. No pretensions to facthood. It’s content to sit and twiddle its thumbs in the theory corner. My theory is that people get acclimated to the particular discomfort of their own culture as children, and their own specific cultural awkwardness becomes so known that they forget that it’s uncomfortable. It becomes another amorphous bit of the lens that colours their lives. So when they run into new and foreign discomfort, tiny red lights and submarine horns go off in their brains because they can’t pair it to anything in their own experience, BECAUSE, the category has been renamed. Their files are all askew. If you could look and go, “Oh, this is a cultural analogue of this thing that I experience, it’s still uncomfortable but I kind of know what it is so now I have something to steer off of,” you could manage it, but you start believing it’s some new and impossible thing because you’re so used to your own brand of terrible, poorly timed, marionette-avec-string-cut social interaction.

Think about your family, if you happen to have one. Do you have a cousin or aunt who it is a chore to converse with? There. You’ve just gotten used to it because you’ve seen them twice a year since you were the size of a loaf of sourdough. If you can talk to that aunt, you can talk to anyone. You have powers. Skin colour just makes you think that it’s something other than it is.

On the other hand, I was raised by a woman with a degree in Intercultural Communication and may have a bias to see everything in this light.

It is possible that I don’t know what I’m talking about at all. I am willing to entertain this idea. Please tell me what you think about all this.



Silken eyed gorgons writhe tempestuously on the couches of Anthradar. Dusky purple-throated women with the hearts of hummingbirds dance their one eternal day in our starry halls. Meluthisania, Princess of Peridot, enters gracefully, the graceful folds of her creamy dress twining in the long, tawny grace of her magnificent legs. She stalks through vaulted stony chambers, giving their gorgeous velvet occupants only sufficient attention to know that he is not among them.

She walks the halls like a panther hunting her prey. Like a tigress hunting her prey. Like an ocelot hunting her prey. He is somewhere here. She can smell him, the fullness of him, his sweet mate scent. The sun is setting on the palace and for a moment breathes pink life into grey stone. She is come to the end of her world, to the westward gate of the palace. There, at the ledge, a dark figure, hunched, tortured. Always so tortured. Even in the bath.

She comes to him, softly, on bare and powerful feet. She wraps her arms around his broad and tortured chest and chews thoughtfully on his left shoulder blade. He does not move, frozen as he is in memory. In the incandescent, unfading cascade of memories he cannot bury, nor burn, nor meet cleanly in the light of day.

He turns in her arms and his heavily muscled form convulses, just once. The closest he will ever come to weeping. She gazes at him, her great jewel-like eyes burning into his own dark orbs which begin slowly to fill. She strokes one ivory aristocratic finger down his burnished face. He blows his elegant nose in her night-dark hair.

“Chrystophoner,” she murmurs. He shivers, as in a wind, but the air is still on the waning day. Beltogroth, the Green Moon, is rising. Jandari and Melbourne, the Twin Godlings, set together. Across the sands that stretch heaving and golden to shoulder against the horizon, heat haze shimmers gently.

She seizes him by his wild mane of untamed curls, pulling his mouth to hers for a rough and aching kiss. He holds back, unwilling, tendons taut across his body, but she slides into him and twists his head so that there is nowhere to go but down, no refuge but her and her own harsh mouth.

He gentles, and even as he melts into her she relents. Those talons become as soft as dove’s wings on his tender neck. She has always thought of him as a sort of domesticated sex-chinchilla. Obedient but defiant, sexy, and very silky. Weirdly silky.

-“Dammit Doris, he’s not a sex chinchilla.”

“Why not? You’re comparing them to every other animal that exists, why not a chinchilla? Have you ever held a chinchilla? Do you even know how awesome it is? Each of their follicles produces fifty hairs! Fifty!”


“There’s a hyphen but fine. Whatever.”-

Those talons become as soft as dove’s wings on his tender neck. She has always, in spite of his impressive physique and devastating intellect, thought of him rather as a child. Someone in need of her protection. Perhaps it is the boyish curve of his mouth, the sweet hollow of his cheek, that undam some deep mothering stream in the ravines of her soul.

She takes him by his massive, manly, yet caressing hand and leads him back down the towering central hall, whose mighty vaulted ceilings are lost in gloom even in brightest day and now acquire a more sinister depth with the coming night. Her heart beats seem to echo through her chest and down her limbs. Had she less self control she would gag on the thick and frantic pulse that chokes her ivory throat. Tonight, she goes into battle. And he must remain behind.



For those of you not familiar with her, this is a send up of Tanith Lee combined with Generalized Romance Novel. There are always emerald eyed monsters drawing maiden knights into their dreamy clutches in her stuff. This is the nerds inside my head writing ay humorous fan fiction.




Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans? I do. But not anymore because I live here now and if I chose to wear a wig and cat suit every day of the year, it’s possible that no one would notice.

My hives are gone. Finally. I am left with slightly sandy breasts, belly and thighs. They are submitting under regular full body applications of salve.

What else. I’m talking to my boy about when, where and in what fashion to get married. Talking about all the adventures we might have in the future, while we spend our days pouring ourselves into fruitless and foolish endeavours that bring us no happiness. We have smothered somewhat, in quotidian bullshit, the wonder in each others gifts and the marvelling in our own ability to create.We should write together. I can’t plot worth a penny candy (so, um, a penny. I guess.) and Aaron’s ear for conversation and rhythm is not as good as mine, so we ought to be working together! To write an alien futuristic Southern Gothic novel! With a hamster as the proud, haughty and ringleted ingenue!

The street musicians here are more like line cooks than anything else. Highly skilled artisans capable of producing a competent product over and over and over again for not enough money. There was a glamour to it until I got up close and now, I do not think it is a good use of my energy. It has no feeling of birth-giving. But, to create something of my own and play it all naked and exposed for the brutish public? That would be a challenge. That would be an interesting experiment.

It occurs to me that choosing over and over to stay inside, to go back to sleep, to watch a movie instead of taking a walk, is as bad a capitulation to the devil as active malice. What’s that darn famous thing that everybody quotes that someone or other said? When good men do nothing, that’s when the faeces hit the fan. Paraphrased.

I don’t want to plumb the depths of my character. What if I get stuck? I need a plumber to plumb those depths. I need a teacher. I need help.

*waits at the Soda Fountain of Eternity, sucking on a Philosophical Phosphate while I look hopefully around for someone glowy and Buddhist, or fiery and Sufi, or mildly iridescent and Christian to sidle up to my stool and give me some direction*


No. Nuthin. I might have to leave my house to find a spiritual master. What a rip.



For those of you who worry about me, you can relieve your tired minds and rest your weary heads, because I am Oh Kay. It took a week and a half but I am slowly healing from my skin complaint. I have dragon hands now, scale-y plates splitting apart to show the red heart of me. But I don’t itch, so I don’t care! Ahahahaha! I can even revel in how cool it is to be a dragon lady. I keep wanting to flag down strangers on the street and demand that they admire my war wounds (i.e. the spots on my legs that I scratched too much). I did tell the check out lady at the grocery store that I was recovering from poison ivy (a mild obfuscation, endarkening, is that what that word means? It ought to.) just so that she would ooh and aah over my bravery. She did. Very satisfactorily.

You know what is weird? I think there was a mental component to my allergic reaction. I mean, not that it drove me crazy, because obviously that, but I feel like it affected my brain. Maybe it was just because so much of my system was taken up with trying to deal with my epidermal melt down, it diverted resources? Or something? I don’t know enough science for this. But I was dumber. Truly. My access to words was limited, I was thinking more slowly, fewer thoughts per minute. I thought different things were funny. Things that I normally find baffling and/or moronic. My dreams were different, brightly coloured, hallucinatory and sexual, all things that almost never show up in my standard, Beaurocracy-in-Space type dreams. My words started coming back three days ago and I babbled. I said words just to say them. Muttering “Idiosyncratic. An idiosyncratic immune response. Idiosyncratic,” over and over, just to roll around in the pleasure of vocabulary.

Now Mardi Gras is upon us and my brain has come back and I don’t itch so damn much so I will be able both to dress up in slinky, sequined, scratchy things, and to shout apropos bon mots (say that six times fast with your head in a bucket) at innocent passers by.

I have more thoughts to think on this whole matter, but I also have cookies to make and sirens to woo, so it will have to be another time.

Be easy now and don’t fuss yourself.



During and After The Great Allergic Reaction of ’16