Thursday, May 26, 2016

Demon: My Ex-Wife

I just found this comic I made, maybe five years ago, for a project at my job. Our students were writing comics based on Lynda Barry's incredible book One Hundred Demons.  The teachers made demon comics, too. I made mine on paper towels (Barry drew hers on yellow legal pads). I never shared it anywhere beyond my school, because I didn't want to hurt the feelings of the person that it's about. Now that person seems to have disappeared from Facebook, the internet and my neighborhood, as far as I can tell. And I really love this comic, so I wanted to share it before the real, ephemeral version falls apart. If you know this person, you don't need to go telling her all about this, though of course I can't stop you. And if you are this person, know that I love you and wish you all the best. I don't really think you're a demon--just someone who haunts me from the past. 

This is a story about my ex-wife. 

I met her in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We worked together in the grocery store. 

We became best friends right away. We spent all our time together. 

All my friends called her my wife. They called me her wife, too. 

We weren't dating but everyone thought we were. 

My wife was lots of fun when she was in a good mood. She liked to hang out and cook or go out dancing. 

But my wife had an evil side. 

She always told me what to do and got mad at me for no good reason. 

My wife sometimes had another best friend besides me. I enjoyed the break. 

But all the other friends always stopped talking to her. So then she was back to being my wife again. 

One day I snapped, just like all the others. 

After that, we stopped talking. 

I still see my ex-wife sometimes in the coffee shop. We do not speak to each other. 

She is married for real now and has a very cute little daughter. 

I have a recurring dream where she approaches me and wants to be friends again. 

I'm always relieved when I wake up. 

The End. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Statement of Purpose

I will pay attention. I will appreciate beauty and ugliness. I will feel and listen. I will chew food slowly. I will express myself. I will exercise. I will eat dark juicy green vegetables. I will learn something. I will cry as long and loud as I need. I will question my beliefs. I will I will not think sleep is wasting my time. I will think things that other people have already thought. I will try to help. I will contribute.  I will pet any animal that wants petting, even if it’s dirty or smelly. I will sit still sometimes. I will consider other viewpoints. I will enjoy everybody. I will be responsible for something. I will not avoid difficulty or boredom. I will give things away. I will try to make something better. I will notice the new moon, small flying insects, and the beauty of old people.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


There came a time when she could no longer, as they said, “keep the place up.” When there was more clothing on the floor than in the closet, and yet the closet was stuffed full. When the newspapers stacked up faster than she could read them. When the rolls of bought-on-sale toilet paper stashed in the pantry outnumbered the days she was expected to live.

She knew that’s what they were saying. That it was “getting to be time,” that she needed to “move on,” “move somewhere they could take care of her.” She didn’t hear them say it, but she knew they were saying it. People all think the same things, and when you’ve lived a long time, you’ve had most of the thoughts that are possible for a person to have.

She didn’t care. She was staying, and it wasn’t a discussion or a debate or a compromise. She was staying until the newspapers reached the kitchen ceiling. She was staying until all the toilet paper was used up. She would stay green carpet until the clothing piled up dirty walls that chair belonged to her mother. That’s not a cockroach it was her apartment and people want her out the chess set, you can’t throw out a chess set. Her apartment too much rice does the neighbor like rice and she could fill every damn inch how she pleased, even if he was probably anti-Semitic, no, best to keep the rice this was grandmother’s ring, or was it that one, an adult can fill up space how she wants fill it up toilet paper rice the napkins were on sale you can always use napkins good pantsuit for a job interview rice rice can of beans can of corn toilet paper toilet paper toilet paper.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Exhaustive Study Tracing the Consumer Habits of Myself

I buy:

Almonds, apples, albums,
Bananas, beans, backpacks, boots, boxing gloves, books, bowls,
Combat boots, cookies, chocolate, cat food, cat litter, concealer, chicken,
Deodorant, drawer organizers,
Essential oils, eggs,
Fish flowers, flaxseed,
Gum, granola, grapes, gasoline,
Hair conditioner,
Jojoba oil, jam,
Kombucha, kale,
Leggings, laundry detergent, lipstick, lox,
Olive oil,
Protein bars, pens, pencils, paper, post-it notes, peanut butter, plants, plates,
Raisins, raspberries, rice,
Sneakers, shin pads, shampoo, soap, socks, sportsbras, sardines, skirts, sweaters, soy-sauce, seaweed, spinach, scarves, shoes,
Tea, toilet paper, tights, t-shirts, tea-tree oil, tortillas,
Vitamins, vinegar,
Yogurt, yin chao, yoga pants,

Conclusion: While I tend to buy products beginning with B, C, P and T, and while my strongest preference is for products beginning with S, products beginning with I, Q, X and Z fail to capture my interest. Further study is required to determine the cause of the perceived undesirability of these products to the target demographic, me.

Monday, December 1, 2014

All I Need

All I need is not you.
You are not all I need.
I mean, no offense.
You are nice and all.
But I wouldn’t go so far as to say you’re all I need.
Or even most.
Don’t you think it’s unhealthy to only need one thing?
What’s that expression--
You can’t judge a book by the tea in China?

Need is like water,
Need is like food,
Need is like shelter,
Need is like community,
And yeah, need is like love,
But you, while nice as I mentioned,
Are not everything I love.

“All I need is you,”
I heard it in a song,
I mean, in like fifteen songs.
Maybe twenty songs.

I thought,
Could that be right?
All I need is you?
Not friends?
Not a job?
Not artistic expression?
Not a purpose in life?
All I need is you?

Perhaps they are trying to convince themselves.
Perhaps they are trying to convince us,
Because if all I need is you,
I don’t need
Equality, justice, education.
I don’t need
An end to war and poverty and disease.
I don’t need peace.
I just need you.

I’ll look for you until I find you,
And when you are found
We will sit in our house,
Watch those people on the television
Doing things, singing, writing, protesting,
Avoiding taxes, beating up children, starting wars,
And we will say,
You, baby,
You are all I need.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


 One hopped up the stairs on crutches. Two felt the walls with flat palms, found the door. Three closed her eyes, felt vibrations in the wooden floor. Four wasn’t sure she could handle this in her current state of mind but she was hopeful. Five polished foggy eyeglasses. Six felt the coolness of air on her skin. Seven tried to focus her way into the present and out of a heartache. Eight smelled garlic and ginger. Nine felt queasy from the medicine, but she came anyway. Ten walked on legs that shook, that bowed, that buckled. Eleven ducked under the doorway so he wouldn’t hit his head. Twelve walked beside her dog, and this made her calm.  Thirteen wheeled himself into the kitchen, where the wood floor turned to linoleum. Everyone in the world was there, cooking, talking, singing songs, remarking how special it was when the whole family came together. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014


I’m sorry, she said to the corpse.

He didn’t say anything back at first. He just lay there in his coffin, smiling a little, his belly still full and lively, his beard pointy and dapper. Funeral wasn’t starting for half an hour, probably twenty minutes before anyone else showed up.

I guess I didn’t always appreciate you, she said. I mean, I was always so mad about how you treated Mom. And the divorce.

He had a scratch on his cheek. She wondered how long he’d had it, when he had gotten it, and how long it would have taken to heal.

I’m sorry I didn’t go to any parties at your house, she said. I’m sure they were really good parties. And that I never went to any of your concerts. Which I know were really important to you. I just felt weird going, with all your new artsy friends and your new life.

It was awkward just staring at him, so she looked down at the program. It had a picture of him standing atop his boat, in a life vest, doing something with the sail.

And I’m sorry I never went on your boat, she said.

He opened his eyes, smirked a little harder.

I never invited you on the boat, he said.

Which was just like him, opening his eyes and talking when he was supposed to be dead.

I thought that’s because I didn’t act interested, she said.

No, he said. It’s because I know you’re chicken. Boats are scary. You’re too scared to even go to a concert.

I wasn’t scared, she said. I was uncomfortable.

I don’t see the difference, he said. He opened his eyes a little wider. He wasn’t going to sit up, was he? Because that would cause a lot of problems. She could hear the funeral home director and the pastor talking in the hallway outside, and some other voices, maybe the first guests.

You see, he said? Scared. I was considering coming back to life, but I wouldn’t want to ruin your funeral. I know you don’t like last-minute changes to your plans.

No, stop it, she said. Of course you should come back to life, if that’s what you want.

No, no, you don’t really want it, he said. And I don’t want to inconvenience you.  Go on, go out, say hi to everybody. You wouldn’t want to be a bad hostess.

She hated when he got passive-aggressive, but she was also relieved. He had ruined so many events with his antics, his insistence on unconventionality.

Hey, she said, to change the subject. How did you get that scratch?

But his eyes were closed again, his face still. He looked peaceful, which was unlike him, but she thought it looked nice.