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The Secret of My Traveling Crystal Necklace

Back in 2012, when I had my first book release in Los Angeles, I had a crystal beaded necklace that pulled apart in my suitcase. It seemed wrong to rid myself of the estranged gems, and I harboured unlikely notions of restringing the beloved baubleĀ one day. As I was packing to leave, some of the beads accidentally rolled under my voluptuous bed in The Biltmore Hotel. I suspect they may still be there, as things seem not to change much there, except the sheets, and I liked the notion of leaving a part of myself behind in the City of Angels.

The beads remained in my suitcase as I drove and flew to poetry gigs all over the country for the next few years. In keeping with the precedent set in Los Angeles, I started purposefully dropping them in places I stayed. I would toss the pea-sized stones into locations they were unlikely to be found: down antique brassĀ filigree air vents in byzantine hotels, behind cabinetry permanently affixed, through imperfectly sawed holes cut for plumbing to climb and dive through plaster, beneath the loose floorboards of my friend’s apartment, into the chasms of airport elevator shafts. You get the idea.

There are pieces of my secret crystal beaded necklace hidden in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Redondo Beach, Berkeley, Venice Beach, San Francisco, Oakland, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Cleveland, New York City, Elyria, Canton, Nashville, Lexington, Dallas, Cincinnati, and even pitiful Little Rock, Arkansas, a place I didn’t care for at all. I consider them amulets to protect people and cities with whom I fell in love, and talismans to keep away those whom I didn’t. The faceted baubles keep me tethered, connected through minutiae, in the smallest of ways.

More beads remain in my suitcase to this day, an impossible amount hidden within the satin folds, certainly a greater number than my finite crystal necklace was ever originally composed of. It is as if the universe is telling me that I have more journeys to take, love to make, and fine people to meet. So, if you’re staying in a heat wilted hotel by the Pacific Ocean, enduring a vaulted matchbox overlooking the Hudson River, standing by a tuneless luggage carousel, or renting a beautiful two bedroom flat nestled near Lake Erie, and a magical crystal bead finds you, that’s just me…and I’ll be seeing you.


Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

god is a nosy valet parking attendant

my oh my
we are assholes for love, nay?
try as we might
to maintain the illusion of control
we hold no sway

love is rarely convenient
it shows up in places you don’t expect
and it doesn’t want to hear
your lame excuses

the balls of this fucker love
leaning against a parking meter
in front of
the great granite
netherland hotel

smoking a cigar
all 1933
in a perfectly tailored suit
impervious to the rain

to see me there on race street

all of me
imperfections revealed
makeup running

drag my life and limbs upstairs
slamming wet shoulders into mahogany walls
tongue kissing our way
to me bent over
a 15th floor radiator
admitting that i want it

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

pink stucco hotel

a man and a woman lean transfixed
shoulders touching
over the rooftop wall
of a pink stucco hotel
in santa monica
bearing a neon flamingo sign

drunk and high on each other
and the lights rising off the boulevard
into the night

there is nowhere else either of them would rather be
they love each other perfectly in this moment
he is 37 at the telling

this is where i must keep the memory of you
framed in my mind

to be safe

leaving the rest of your hell and drumstick bag
in the trunk of a rental car
outside an LAX terminal

you’re probably
wanted in arizona
for imitating the messiah

it would be madness for me to do otherwise

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends

the pictures inside my locket weep

the first hard lesson
life had to teach me
was death

the way failure looked in a bronze casket

somewhere around sophomore year
my naivete decided the opposite of dying
was the crescendo of falling in love

and i’ve been doing it regularly ever since

but no matter how many elevators i ride up
to rose petal scattered penthouse suites

my father is still dead

and i will always have a reason to leave

a place to be early in the morning

until my grave decides it is tired of waiting

the pictures inside my locket weep