The steak hits the pan with a loud sizzle. It’s ongoing, the sound filling the kitchen. Cast iron skillet food network dream. Butter rapidly melts and is spooned over. Seasoned with herbs with expert hands. Mashed potatoes are generously dolloped on pristine white plates. As the diner takes his white cloth napkin and delicately unravels it, putting it on his lap. Placing it carefully. Cold fork and knife ready to dive into something delicious. Something that will feed the soul, as well as the stomach. The steak gets flipped. The smell is wonderfully aromatic. Rosemary sprigs garnish the plate. A light black char graces the steak. Cooked more rare than medium, a little more rare than medium rare. The chef wipes a bead of sweat that has slipped from under his tall white hat. He wipes it with back of hand, closer to his thumb. The kitchen is hot and buzzing assembly line. Tantalizing with all it’s potential tastes and smells. A pot of sauce, for a different dish, gets stirred.


Grey dust settles from spewed volcano all over town. Rumbling of angry gods penetrates walls and windows and dismembers shelves. It’s a fine grain. Powder, really. A strange dry, lifeblood. To dip your finger in it doesn’t seem real. Proof that our physical beings bear no weight, our bodies are temporary solutions to the concept of physical existence. Volcano, Pompeii, maddening. Hawaii, Montana, Mt. Etna, Sicily. Do we not come from all these places? Mother Nature gives birth and it is hot and ugly and fatal. Fawkes collapsing. Will he be the only one to be born again? Heat consuming just because it’s near. Not even by touch. Oppressive lust. It will burn us all from within. Crisis powder. A mask unintentionally worn when scary things happen. Out of our control, unexpected, beyond a 911 call. Keep walking toward the light. It will all be over soon.


The Dixie Chicks holding a caduceus or trident or large staff sitting a top a golden throne, ornate and intricately crafted. Sipping tea while their crowns shift lopsidedly in synchronous movement. The clatter of the cup on the saucer. As Saturn moves in it’s usual orbit we see timelapse footage sped up and wonder what it truly means to be alive. I hear the projector whirring, tape spinning, black and white movie plays in absolute darkness. Who else cares to be here? We are points on maps while we are also our own maps trying to find the points. What are they? How can I find them? If time doesn’t exist, why does time seem to trickle by seemingly forever? Questions can be asked and debating until we pick every petal off every flower. I think as long as the centers are intact, the bees will be okay. A name connoting royalty, but it has no meaning to me; no bearance on my reality. I’m a pleb, a common woman trying to make her life work. What royal blood have I, and if so must be quite distance and mistaken.


Deep rumbles that shake the windows on a dark, dark night. When that lightning cracks it’s like God taking a photo of the entire world. One single snapshot. I feel the thunder in my throat when it sounds and start counting up, attempting to determine the distance of the storm. I feel giddy and childish. I feel like I’m getting away with something when I’m stuck inside during a bad, dangerous storm. The street will flood and spill over onto the lawn. Thunder. God’s clapping hands, roaring boomy voice. It rolls and will catch us off guard. Scare us. Make us clutch the covers a little tighter, make us jump and check the door. Unseen, the power of unseen sound. How it travels. The competition between itself and light. One of the many sounds of the human experience. A hand clutched in a cornfield I have never known. Looking into the eyes of someone I’ve never met, smiling as clouds roll in and over us at some nondescript Midwest location like Iowa. And we gaze at each other like that and hold our hands close to each other. Bringing on the darkness and waiting to be consumed by Nature, by lust, by rain, by humidity. And we stand there still, soaked as the Thunder.


Multiple masks in pentimento. One behind the other. Jungian personae. Peeling back the layers of a person with or without an identity crisis. Sometimes deliberate, sometimes factual. Ulterior motives usually will generate a facade. A front. Making something appear different than what it really is. A lie? Deception. Deceit. I before E except after C. A lifting of the curtain. Hamlet. Shakespeare. My brother’s test. Likely not scantron. Number 2 lead pencil. Graphite now. Some of us left school without being great test takers. I feel like I would have done better on a different rubric. But I kept up a facade. I think I scraped by too much. I should have paid attention more, I should have tried harder. I had so much anxiety then and didn’t know how to name it. I would practice guitar for hours in throes of apathy and heady emotion. If I only knew then what I knew now. Could it be too late to chance? Too late to change? Would it make the difference? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.