Summer’s Passed

A summer had gone by since she’d written in the book, since she’d felt even the smallest glimmer of desire to look at it. From spring to autumn, it sat on the shelf hosting dust mite symposia and nothing else. More than a few of the mites had, in the process, acquired a deeper sense of meaning in their tiny lives just by perching on the cover, gnawing through the title page, while others still found simple contentment floating mindlessly in the sun beams that poured through Anna’s bedroom window.

It was November when circumstance finally pushed her back into the writing chair, when the silent approach of winter hung still in the doorway. Fall had come in a flash, almost without salutation. All at once the leaves yellowed and the skies grew awfully grey.

The day she returned to the book the weather proved rather mild. The wind moved like laughter through the air. And the moon had come out well before curtain call.

By this time, the Quartet had left House du Petit, no doubt in search of warmer climes–more specifically the climes of an invisible Hawaiian island, where, according to Anna, a stale apple pie spoke at length of humanity’s worst mistakes, and the honeybees were as big as your fist.

Meanwhile Anna had returned to the Midwest, hoping to lead some semblance of a normal life. The Shaman saw to it that she wouldn’t–and it was precisely his interference, an ongoing and increasingly vivid campaign of dream transmissions, that prompted her to sit down and finally write once more.

After all, the Book of Pie would not finish itself.


The Shaman

Want to know something about the Shaman? 

He’s not Jesus. He’s just a guy who stumbled by accident upon the waters of eternal life. 

Making pie is not about immortality. 

It is about leaving his burdens behind. 

Getting out of his mind. 

Away from himself. 

From his sins.

His memories. 

His past. 

But his past isn’t going anywhere. 

It’s as present as the noon day sun hanging over the Pacific. 

He wakes up and faces it every morning. 

It’s his cross to bear. 

And Anna has not come to set him free, 

Nor has he come to enlighten her. 

Of this we can be certain: 

The two have things to learn from each other. 

For they are more alike than either know. 

Couplets for my good pal Jesus

Jesus is not my copilot 

But he did give me an Uber ride tonight.
Jesus would take the wheel 

If he weren’t already driving. 
Jesus was born more than two thousand years ago 

And he can drive stick. 
Jesus can turn water into wine 

But he can’t turn left on a busy street. 
Jesus was a nice guy 

He offered to smoke pot with me in my hotel room. 

I politely declined. 
Jesus suffers from long refractory periods

Guess there won’t be a second coming. 

I Am. 

I am not limited 

By skin. 

I am one with the air 

Which fills my lungs.

The sun 

Which lights my way. 

The soil 

Which cradles me, 

And from which sprouts 

The trees 

The flowers 

The grass.

I am one with the forces 

Of Nature,

A living breathing manifestation 

Of the strange, miraculous culminations

Of matter.

I am by no means 
Separate or distinct

No matter what I’ve come 

To mistake as true. 

I am not limited 

By skin, 

And if I am to be called Zoey 

Let it be because I am life.

I am life.

I Am,

Simple as that. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, 

I’ve got to brush my teeth. 

Haikus of Remembrance

I went to bed last night

Remembering who I am.

A living writer.

A child dressed like

Your average human girl.

Except with space pants.

A big old goof ball

Who likes to walk in the woods

And converse with trees.

A silly person

Sent off from the Pleiades

Just to help Earth laugh.

My spaceship was my

Mother’s uterus, Dad’s balls

And an overcoat.

I just wanted to

Live where the wild things were,

To tell you stories

About those places

You dare not venture inside

Your scary old self.


A Date with Floyd (excerpt)

She took the train today. She stood quietly on the platform while the rain fell. She listened intently to the storm’s frenetic cement drum beat. She tapped her fingers to a slower rhythm. The rhythm of anticipation. The rhythm of anxiety. She had a date with a journalist named Floyd. They were to meet outside the Milk Bar where, sadly, no milk was ever served. A White Russian was as close as you could get. But it was too balmy for a White Russian, too gray. Something sad hung over the city; a torn dust-caked tapestry; a tattered childhood blanket; an executioner’s mask. 

Outside the train window, the land unraveled like an old rug; moss, streams, and trees gave way to cement, gutters, and buildings of all shapes and sizes; the sky stayed the same, with the exception of the pillowy fog descending over Golden Gate Park. 

Anna sat in her seat, reading a book of poetry (your leaving uprooted me, mother… I yearned to sing the true song of the earth… The town was forlorn, dust, and depression…); her thoughts kept drifting; her fingers twisting and fidgeting some piece of lint in her pocket; her hands were always busy; they had minds of their own; it was her way of keeping tethered to the real world; a totem; a spinning top; a little gray ball of lint that once belonged to a pair of dirty jeans and now resided in Anna’s coat pocket. She thought of the Shaman; wondered how he was. She found herself thinking of him a lot lately, dreaming of him even. And she didn’t doubt he was dreaming of her. It’s not good, she’d think, for a shaman to be alone like he is. In fact she’d venture to say it wasn’t good for anyone at all to be alone like that; alone with no one but that dirty little hamster, and too many pies for one person to eat. 

She thought of Kansas City; it was afternoon there; her mom would be at work right now; her sister asleep as she often was. She loved her sister. But didn’t get the chance to say it very much. She was always moving; always caught in some perpetual wheel of motion. And her sister always missed her when she was gone, but neither could spend more than an hour in the same room as the other without getting at least mildly irritated by some minor idiosyncrasy. So Anna expressed her love from afar, from trains, and planes, in the middle of forests, standing on dirty street corners, whispering to her beloved sister, I miss you and hope you’re well. I’m sorry I can’t be there. And yet she lamented the Shaman’s isolation, classified it differently. At least I would go back. There is no ‘back’ for him. Only ash and soot in his wake, the death cries of a burned up village, the memories of slaughter and capture, the worst horrors humans could and did commit against one another. It was a sad world he left behind, she’d give him that; it was understandable what he did; maybe even necessary. How were whips and chains any different than a crucifix? How many passions was he supposed to endure before he’d simply had enough? And then the train stopped near Ashbury. Mind the gap, said a British woman. Her thoughts turned to Floyd, his green eyes, his innumerable curiosities. If ever there was a person so perfect for their profession it was Floyd, a journalist through and through. Little did she know that for Floyd Hamlin, this was not an average date; in fact he harboured no romantic or otherwise lustful desires for Anna. There was no time for that; a veil would be lifting soon, he was sure of it, and Anna whether she knew it or not was going to help him score courtside seats to the whole show.