I received an email from my employer today.

Despite the ominous darkness that crawled in as the mouse hovered over the OPEN button, despite the introspective question, “Have you neurons to waste?” I opened the darn thing.

Unsurprisingly, it was the usual regrettably composed, long-winded missive, the type of panic-correspondence sent prior to visits from a hospital accreditation body that shall remain nameless, for obvious reasons.

If those reasons aren’t obvious to you, google “Joint Commission” (hereforewithin referred to as JC).

*JC is not an abbreviation for Jesus Christ (although Joint Commission would love to have the reader believe that they are a holy, celestial body). Rather, this shrunken form of the term is an example of millennial reduction, a purposeful shortening of any expression that bears too many syllables.

Anyway, top hits in your Google search may include

  1. A yawnfestic exploration of JC’s seventy-year (too) long existence
  2. Phonetic spellings of every single one of their name changes, a cover-up for Joint Commission’s dissociative identity disorder
  3. The apocalyptic question: CAN JOINT COMMISSION SHUT DOWN A HOSPITAL

I am sure my employer frantically types this very question into the search engine, every three years, clogs up the networks, stops internet traffic, so they can get an answer, the same bloody answer.


Your hospital will not shut down. Instead, JC will subject the hospital to the sort of extreme torture meted out only by the likes of Unit 731.

JC. Will. Not. Shut. The. Hospital. Down.


PANIC EMAILS can shut a hospital down. Yes, panic emails can incite such angst that Self-Induced Worker Paralysis Syndrome sets in.

*During the prodromal stage of SIWPS a lone index finger remains barely mobile, allowing the worker to call in to The Sickline (think Sex Chat Line for perpetually ill people). Millennials call this process FMLA.

*Quiet Quitting is similar to SIWP, except that the worker actually shows up to work as a zombie. Quiet Quitting is a new concept and millennials are currently refining it.

My employer, blinded by JC’s Nth Coming, knowingly ignored all the above and clicked SEND.


The hallways have been cleared of all your shit, if you haven’t noticed. Actually, we have noticed. It’s literally the only thing we have noticed. We haven’t noticed you vomiting emails at us, alternating between condescending and patronizing tones; inspecting our uniforms, removing all evidence of humanity; handing us robotic scripts to recite; killing innocent cockroaches … BUT we have definitely noticed the hallways, so pristine that, for the first time, windows!, our solitary source of Vitamin D, are finally visible.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, the email continued.

This is a gentle reminder to …

Perhaps it was the the Arial Font, how the letters crawled across the page like insects (Wingdings is more fitting for rubbish communication), maybe I was reminded of the earlier cockroach interaction. I don’t know, but something, something caused my eyes to erupt all over the sterile computer.

I might not have been so upset ordinarily, but mind you, on my way to work, I had narrowly missed being smithereened by an aggressive schoolbus driver, I heard the sound of screaming toddlers from the bus, and rationalized that the poor fellow might have been trying to escape Guantanamo; I then got into a mild spat with a parking attendant because I couldn’t decide what time I’d be able to pick up my car; he cursed at me in spanish, and I got even angrier at myself for not having completed Spanish I.

And then there was the cockroach.

To be fair to the clog industry, their shoes are usually comfortable … except in the event that one needs to display any degree of athletic prowess.

Like in the instance of dodging a dead cockroach in a hospital stairwell.

This poor creature was likely a victim of panic fumigation (JC is known to perform Kremlin-style sweeps of hallways and crevices in search of vermin) , but I hated its lifelessness nonetheless, for in death, it had found an escape from the torture chamber.

I jumped over the half-rotten body, successfully avoiding the splatter of exoskeleton, but sacrificed my previously-sprained ankle in the process. The result of impact was an “Owwww!

Limping and yowling stoically, I made my way back to the email machine, and then there was the gentle reminder to:

Be nice


Waste shit

The gentle broke me.

A Pandora’s Box of superlatives and questions opened up. What was the next stage after gentle? Harsh? Draconian? Or shall we explore the other rungs of gentle: gentler, gentlest? Had employer meant genteel, instead?

Of course the relativity of the word also deserved consideration. Suppose my employer’s version of gentle was Armageddon? Where does one go from there?

I imagined that yelling at adults may not be an option (this practice is abhorred by the JC, who has aptly termed it lateral violence), I wondered if employer would have me taken out by a hitman, or incinerated by a dragon instead, Dracarys!

I felt a millennial emotion for the first time ever. Triggered.

Gentle reminder had likely been typed one-handed, AR-47 clutched in other hand; my employer was at war with the people.

I started to type a reply, a protest, a rebellious “F@$k …”

“The next patient is here!” Draft saved. Eye splatter erased. Millennial emotions suppressed.

I wasted the next piece of plastic shit and gently recited the script:

“Hello Mr. Burke, I’ll be taking care of you today!”


I have left sunsets behind me. 

The kinds that can only be gazed at from precarious cliffs

Their clouds wailing deep orange-purple tears, until they melt into wisps 

And the sun bowing out in the defeat 

Of not being able to capture me. 

I have often left summer skies.

After having bathed in the light of their tie-dyed blue-white.

I have left butterflies, rainbows, mirages and fireflies, too

But somehow

I can never





Iceland was an ice-cream glacier with toady-eyed hobbits!

Turbulent ride back – plane being ping-ponged across the sky.

My hand got wedged in some guys crotch.

His GF is screaming at me, an overzealous Verdi soprano, with dragon-fire breath.

We are by the exit row, she has opened the door

The salt-water death is menacing from below.

My will is …



To: The People of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Members of the Commonwealth

For the past seventy years and twenty nine days, I have ruled this country with an iron fist. Yes, when my fist lands on this table, the metal ores and diamonds raped from your lands clang together. I have had to bear the burden of this crown, which is priceless, yes, but so are the memes which have likened me to the Statue of Liberty.  

Indeed, Britain has lost her spark, but that was before me; with the end of slavery, the slow and steady decline of the British Empire followed. We were to remain propped up by the stilts of European Union for decades, but Brexit has decimated any of our remaining pride. 

My father, and his father before him, thought it important to hold on to this title, but today, my spine is kyphotic and I have COVID. I no longer wish to keep up appearances. There is simply no point in being Queen.

Why have I held on so long, you may ask? I have never found a suitable successor … until now. 

You may be invested in learning of how I came to my decision and I have outlined details herein.

Harry: With his rebellious ginger hair, I thought Harry may be savior to the throne. His stunts such as dressing up as Hitler and rolling out of bars, drunk, made him the ideal King. But, in the end, it was rather a delight to see him leave. You see, after years spent on safaris in Tanzania and Kenya, and enjoying idyllic vacations in Botswana wherein Africans waited upon him hand and foot, Harry departed from the programmed racism. He discovered his mental health … with the help of a girl who scribbled motivational quotes, aimed at sexually abused women, on bananas.

You can rest assured it wasn’t I who questioned  the would-be appearance of  Harry’s child – it was Phillip. It’s not that Phil was racist, he just called things as they were.  I, for one, knew the child would arrive with red dreadlocks and a mouth full of grillz. 

The final straw was Harry absconding to America. Canada would’ve been a less hurtful choice. 

William: Insufferably sane, level-headed and boring. His woodpecker teeth and permanent guffaw are not worthy tabloid fodder. In addition, he married a woman who sued the French papers for publishing photos of her wearing a matronly one-piece bathing suit. Not suitable for Queen.

Charles:  His eco-friendliness and every single “sustainable” venture he has supported will ensure the rapid decline of our family’s wealth and nobility.  I read somewhere that one’s ears and nose continue to grow as they age. Charles’ nose will circle the equator, and his ears will tower above his inflated head before he becomes king. I must say, I quite preferred the first wife, annoying little prat, but at least she risked getting herself blown up by landmines.

The First Wife would not have attempted such ludicrous behavior

Andrew : It is my pleasure to formally announce that I have chosen Andrew to be King.  He quite likes children. And as you know, children are the future. The enormous debt he has incurred, due to Epstein-associated legal fees, will ensure the invasion of foreign lands and reignite the glory of the British empire. 

It has been a pleasure to serve you, comrades; by the the end of this writing, my last Corgi will have taken her final breath. I will have survived one hundred and seventy Prime Ministers, numerous wars, and a pretty sister. But what matters most is I have written to you from the loo, I shall not die with shit in my colon.

Happy International Women’s Day

I have largely ignored International Women’s Day.

It has gotten lost among the proliferation of meaningless, monikerous days, weeks and months that we have designated to bring “awareness” to various issues. There’s National Debt Awareness Week, a salute to capitalism, There’s a National Do Your Fucking Job Day and Week for every single profession (I’ve lost my mind and probably contracted diabetes after having to endure three contiguous weeks of celebratory sugar and lard at my health-based job). There’s an International Smile Day (why is this not a whole month or even a year?), a National STFU day … if you’re keen on such things, there’s an Awareness Day Calendar that can be synced with your phone; I shan’t bore you with details here.

This year, in the final hours of International Women’s Day, Harvey Marcelin caught my attention. His ghastly image flashed across the TV screen. Harvey had separated a woman’s body. Harvey had left her scattered over different parts of a Brooklyn neighborhood. A hand here, foot there, head in his kitchen, eh … all in a day’s work.

You see, this wasn’t the first woman Harvey had killed. His first sentence had been drastically reduced; while out on parole, he killed again. He was then granted lifetime parole for the second murder. At eighty-three years old, what’s a man got to lose?

I should be embarrassed to admit this: it wasn’t the grizzly murder that grabbed my attention – such has become the callousness of our world – but rather the news-reporter’s hasty self-correction:

“So Harvey Marcelin has been arraigned and tonight he … sorry … ermm … SHE will spend the night in jail.” He cleared his throat with the anxiety of a fellow awaiting a public backlash, termination of employment, banishment.

She? In an interview decades earlier, Harvey Marcelin had admitted to “having a problem with women”. On at least two occasions, he had been released back into the world to female neighbors, unaware of his history, who had probably welcomed him with open arms. Susan Leyden, the woman he butchered on International Women’s Day, now had no arms.

Harvey’s cheap-ass, mugshot wig seemed like a moppy afterthought, rather than an intention; the kind of wig one steals from Party City for Halloween and hastily throws on to cover up one’s contempt for women. Sorry Harvey, you don’t get to be She.

Picture from the NY Post

The fact that we debate womanhood is painful.

We downgrade the word woman to “People Who Have Periods”, ignoring the global demise of women who undergo isolation and financial hardship due to actual periods; women subjected to clitoral mutilation, low education rates, poverty, a lifetime of subservience, and, yes, the threat of bodily dismemberment.

J.K. Rowling is laying in exile, deep in the Scottish Highlands, because she dared to question What In The Actual Fuck is Happening? The only reason her name remains mentionable is because she brought an unforgettable Boy Wizard into the world, and Disney just can’t lose all his fortune to cancel culture. That irony is painful and inescapable.

We can debate womanhood all we want, but the magic of the uterus remains undebatable; excitable ovaries, raging hormones, periodic exsanguination and babies attest to that – so does the joy of fruitfulness, the propagation of the human race and the continuing human story. Sadly, that very magic continues to render women as vulnerable prey for beasts like Marcelin.

Sadly, we live in a society where She can be ascribed to men who admittedly despise women.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Fuck you Harvey.

N. I. P. P. L. E.

It’s hard being a popstar, man. All that gyrating gets wearisome and sometimes I wanna jazz things up a little, but the record label usually says Hell no.

One time, though, me and Janet took the reins. It was Super Bowl XXXVIII and halftime was ours. Me and Janet masterminded the plan that ultimately cemented ours as the greatest Super Bowl performance ever.

We did the usual acrobatics and lip synching. Then at the end of the set, Janet gave the twinkle signal, and I moonwalked from some random point on stage to grab her behind.

“I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song”, that was me wailing my intentions.

I reached over and ripped away the cloth from her left breast. The highlight of my life! I was kinda like a good politician. I had literally done what I sung I was gonna do!


These nipples are areola-free and thus not offensive
Photo by Laker on

American mothers rushed to blindfold their husbands and children. Too late.

NIPPPPLE, said the husbands, drooling. One guy even tried to auction his exploded cathode-ray tube on eBay.

“Can I use NIPPLE as a mnemonic?” asked teenage boys, and teenage girls pulled their Britney Spears Catholic school-girl uniforms from their attics, reviving them with NIPPLES.

It was an honest mistake. It really should have been both nipples! All that torrid hip-thrusting deserved a climax, right? Maybe not. Janet was banned from MTV, VH1, CBS, the Grammys, anti-Janet Congressional Bills were introduced; Janet had defiled me. The American family had been destroyed by millimeters of her flesh.

But America hadn’t seen anything yet. The 2020 Super Bowl show had two sex-crazed nymphs, Shakira and J.Lo, prancing around the stage, spraying a man-entrancing elixir; an abomination that likely beckoned Corona from the East to American shores (This theory is easily disproved, but if you disagree with me, you’re Hitler).

One guy from The Disgruntled Coalition squealed to the FCC, “I have never seen so many sex poses in one sitting!”. Technically, he was right, sex is usually slowly unveiled in Victoria’s Secret ads, on Times Square billboards, via naked models on magazine covers, or in every Hollywood shower scene.

Even kindergartners. Those little critters watch naked Teletubbies, and I’m pretty sure they can see Spiderman’s ‘stuff’ in that catsuit. But no one would probably care about this because Teletubbies are androgynous (posh word) and Spiderman is … well a man. No one complains about seeing John Cena’s nipples in that totally non-violent sport that kids NEVER watch.

It’s the 21st Century and women’s bodies still threaten the sanctity of American life. A buddy o’ mine, his girl was arrested in Cleveland for showing too much cleavage. This is the same country that cries when women breastfeed in public, yet moans the demise of poor infant nutrition – they could solve that whole problem easily, man.

It’s like femininity is the most dangerous thing in America. God forbid we just accept we’re a sex-obsessed culture that uses guns and religion to set boundaries. Instead, we complain about areola, more than the fact that rapists in seven states have parental rights.

As for me, I finally told Janet sorry in 2021, after scrolling through a bunch of porn on Instagram. I used words like ‘fallen short’ and ‘misogyny’.

Our performance was legendary, though man. Nipple-Gate catapulted YouTube into the webosphere, cause so many people wanted to watch us over and over again; and Congresswomen, who still can’t wear sleeveless tops to work, are furiously passing anti-Janet bills. But Jesus loves America, nipple and all.

Los Mexicanos

 They alighted the train at 125th street. Not the type who enter at Grand Central. Not unusual. But today I noticed the family.

All tiny,

Three kids, woman,


Speaking Spanish

Probably Taino Indians

Probably not

It doesn’t matter.

The woman and three girls sat down, not together, scattered across the train

In the sparsely available rush hour seats.

The husband remained standing.

La familia primera. 

The woman commanded, “Sientate ahi!”, motioning to the empty seat beside me.

He approached me and stood. 

“Would you like to sit?” I asked.

“Si,” he muttered, tired.

He reached his strong hands across to brace his tired body into the seat, revealing charcoal black nails, a glistening “Estoy mi familia” manicure. 

“Cansado,” he melted down to rest,

As I got the first


of his cologne. 

The scent grew stronger I inhaled deeply.

He smelled of hard, hard work,

thick milky sweat,

cast-iron pain,

some soldering maybe,

mixed with hints of frustration and steely defiance.

He had climbed a skyscraper today, saved his amigo from getting impaled by a crane. He had been seeing too much these days, scrubbing affluent windows, more than most people ever see in a lifetime. But his abuelita en Huamantla was ill, muy enfermera, and there was a new baby on the way, who Esmerelda hadn’t told him about yet. It was a girl, una mas aprobacion de Dios.

He was probably too tired to notice me heaving and sighing, my lungs filling with his air, purposefully trapping each breath, fully engrossed in his story, continually misting the essence all over me.

As he floated off to sleep, I glanced quickly at his face, which had been etched with wrinkles, gridlines imprinted by the passage of time. He wasn’t as old as he seemed, but there had been la frontera, followed by loss and trauma, and more loss.


Eduardo, who had been born too soon, but who now lived a full life con las estrellas. He wrestled desperately daily with dark thoughts but his girls needed him.

I took one final breath, that I hoped would last, but the conductor interrupted my dream by announcing my stop via the loud-speaker. One train ride too short.

As I exited past his wife, I wanted to tell her in the weirdest, most complimentary way that her husband smelled so good; but she, too, was having dreams of her own.

But from the corner,

her youngest hija,

una estrella in her own right,

peeked up at me

and smiled a smile

so wide,

that I smiled back,

and we both knew everything

was going to be

just fine.

The Old Ranch Down the Road

There’s an old ranch down the road

A sometimes refuge from the snow

Feel its soft-hard shrubs

Scrape at your feet

Hear cracked windows whistling

There’s an old ranch just down the road

Where I grew up, or so I’m told

Landscaped with mountain silhouettes

Where forest-fire memories glow

With things I felt there long ago

There’s an old ranch just down the road

Mostly prairie dogs live there now

There’s one fertile mound

Of innocent, yearning sand

Buried by ephemeral-dusted badlands

There’s an old ranch down the road

Deceptive, seemingly hallowed ground

Be careful now, don’t stay too long

It may shelter you from cleansing rain

But it won’t shelter you from pain

It won’t shelter you from pain

No, it will never shelter you from pain


Our only prenup agreement was to never yell at each other. We’d both been products of broken homes and people so had decided to always use our inside voices.

But he’d been acting strangely for three weeks now, and I’d had it.

“Honey! It’s like I don’t know you anymore!”

He was staring at me, well, through me.

It had all started with the eggs. My parents had come over for Christmas and Tim tried to cook eggs on the floor. My tall, dashing, intelligent husband cracked open three jumbo eggs on the floor. This, of course, opened the door for my mother’s much unwanted but highly opinionated opinion of him to be heard.

“Honey”, she said, puffing away at her joint, “He’s on drugs”.

Yup. Just like any mental health therapist would say. You know, the type who’s been married and divorced three times, only to remarry their first husband (who’s now declared himself gay on Facebook) because he needs health insurance. My mom for obvious reasons loves to declare that she’s not on Facebook. I chose to ignore all this and all her personal disasters, however, and for the sake of not arguing, focused on Tim.

“Mom he’s not on drugs. He’s just under a lot of pressure at work.”

And he had been under a lot of pressure. A Russian firm had taken over his company and they were working on a new contract to build a state-of-the-art federal prison. Tim had been slaving over the plans day and night … and popping Xanax, so I guess technically he was on drugs. But, come on, not like … real drugs.

Today, though, I’d had enough.

And believe me I had tried. I still hadn’t said anything about him shaving the cat and giving her a bath last Tuesday. I cleaned up, never said a word. I consoled myself with the fact that work was brutal. I still hadn’t said anything about him putting the car into reverse while I unloaded the trunk. I also totally ignored the fact that he’d been muttering unintelligible phrases in his sleep. I mean, let’s face it; given the current state of affairs … between building a prison to house an oppressed faction of society, and being overseen by Russians, he might have been having a moral crisis.

But today had been my sister’s wedding. To be fair, I had told Vicky that ketchup was too cheap of a “sauce” for a wedding, and she gave me the lecture about how elitist I had become after college. I told her she was a fake artsy-fartsist. Ketchup’s not a sauce, people!

When the Master of Ceremonies asked Tim to say a few kind words about the groom, his brother (yes, yes, we keep it in the family), he walked up to Vicky and sprayed her with a bottle of ketchup, while calmly saying “DOSVEDANYA”.

So you’d understand that, given earlier events, it was perfectly fitting of me to yell at him.

“Dosvedanya, Tim, Dosvedanya? What even the fuck is that?”

MEANS GOODBYE, he said mechanically.

“Oh, Goodbye? Honey, are you fucking someone else? Please just tell me.”


“I saw your Amazon application, Honey. Is it work that’s stressing you out?”


“Well you’re a fucking architect, why would you apply to be an Amazon Prime Driver?”


“Honey, please you know you can tell me anything. Are you using again?


“What?” I burst into tears.

Maybe it had been a mistake when we had decided to leave out the “For better, for worse” part of the marriage vows. This was the fucking worst.


“Do you have to learn Russian for work now, Honey?”


He had an accent now, a Russian accent, his English was totally broken.

Now, if you’ve ever read Chicken Little or Revelations or any other Doomsday Story, this was my world ending.

“Tim, Honey, what’s going on?”

TIM NAME OF HUMAN SUBJECT, he said, his accent even more Russian, his voice robotic.

I lunged forward to shake some sense into him, but the impact of his cold, rigid chest sent me crashing into the pots behind me, the same pots he’d refused to make the Christmas eggs in. It was as if he’d become the Tinman.

“Now you’ve been working out,” I said, breathless, “But not that much!” I tried to reach myself up from the floor as Tim stared past me, motionless.

“Tim …”


“OK, OK, whoever the fuck you are …”


“Oh really?”

My sky was definitely falling, Chicken Little was right.

GLUPPY he said, again.

“OK, OK I’m learning the Russian now, yeah, I get it, I’m foolish”


“ Tim, where are you going, we need to talk. I love you, Honey. Don’t do this!”


So remember those alien movies where the aliens come in, and they like take over your loved ones’ bodies, but they don’t catch you, and then you have to find some supernatural kryptonite or whatever, and you zap the aliens and get all your family back? This was my alien movie.


“Yeah for the revolution, right?” I’d given up. He was playing games so I might as well just go along.


“Ok, Honey. I’m sure you’ll tell me what’s going on later; right now, we’re both tired.”


“ What the hell are you doing?”

In his hand, were a vial and a syringe. He was aspirating the liquid from the vial.


As he closed in on me, I looked at his eyes but he wasn’t there. I fought and kicked and screamed, tried to reason with him, but I kept meeting cold, hard thuds.

As he reached over me and plunged the syringe into my neck, I finally began to understand – DIVOC 91, the Russians, the prison, it all made sense now.

I was howling with laughter, now, as I realized they’d been right all along.

The COVID 19 vaccine I had coaxed my husband into getting had been a Russian Bot Converter after all.