I don’t peddle sunshine.
That’s the first thing you need to know about me.
If you’re here looking for a dose of dopamine,

please exit stage left.

take a seat.

Maybe a dopamine rush is not really what you’re looking for anyway.

Maybe you want to be entertained in some other way. 

Some dark horse,
some black night,
some stale bread,
some congealed soup left on the kitchen table for one too many days in a row now.

Maybe that’s the kind of rush you’re after

Maybe that’s the thrill you’re seeking.

Check underneath that coffee pot over on the counter. 
I bet you’ll find last weeks coffee grounds still under there. 
Don’t open the pantry door unless you want to see yesterdays trash still on the floor. 
It fell out when the trash can overflowed and we didn’t bother picking it up. 
That makes too much sense, you see. 
And we don’t make sense around here. 

We’re feral.

We’re all the way up in the mess and we don’t bother dusting that dirt of our shoulders like Jay-Z told us to do.


We wear that shit like a mother fucking badge.

We take it with us out into the world when we open the front door and let the sunshine all the way in to every corner of our unmade house.

Our unmade house.
Our unmade beds.
Our unmade lives.


I used a platter from the china cabinet just last night and written in the dust behind it was:


I don’t remember writing it.

How long do you suppose it’s been there?

That’s how long it’s been since I moved dishes around to dust.  We only touch up the places people can see.

You See?

I see.

You used to say that a lot.

I see.

Did you ever see?
Did you ever see me?



I saw you.
I saw all kinds of you. 
I saw you in every way I could see you.  

Unmade.  Made.                   
Kind.  Cruel.
Hilarious.  Stoic.
Brave.  Weak.     
Beautiful.  Ugly.


Did I enter your atmosphere or did you enter mine? 
Did I orbit around you or did you orbit around me?  

These are questions I ask myself late at night when I crawl into my unmade bed after I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth or apply moisturizer to my tired skin.  

These unanswered questions are the chasm between us.   

And I see you over there on the other side but I can’t get to you.  

The chasm is filling up with water.  

And it’s hot.  It’s dangerous.  

It swirls and swirls
and there are drowning promises in there
and gelatinous blobs of words
we lobbed
back and forth to each other  

and they’re so pretty

oh my!

they’re so dangerous.  

We don’t dare take a stick and poke at the beautiful blobs of words because then the blob would just burst and fill this hot swirling water with all the goo that’s holding them so perfectly together.

(All the goo
Is that all the pretty words ever were?)

The water would become so thick then,
like the mucous in my throat and nose
when I cried on that horribly uncomfortable bed

the one our love never got made in

except for that half-hearted attempt
on a Wednesday night
after it all came unraveled.

Forever and ever.  


You didn’t know then that unraveled is where I live. 
It’s where I exist.

You thought it was in a two story house on Main Street in some small town in Alabama.


That’s just the place I keep my chipped dinner plates and mismatched cutlery.  That’s just the building that holds my stained wash rags and plastic food containers who’s lids have all traveled on to places unknown.

That house on Main Street in Alabama is just a shell.


Continue reading

The First Taste

How do I tell you I love you?  What language do you understand?

I’d speak it to you if only I knew.

I know it’s absurd,

unheard of.

I know it’s pathetic,

this silly rhetoric

How do I tell you I love you when you’re so far away from me now?

You’re gone, baby.  

I don’t know if you’ll ever be back.  

And these declarations of love I want to give to you seem like pathetic attempts at holding you.

I don’t want to hold you.

I can’t hold you.

You wouldn’t let me if I tried.

I wouldn’t want you if I did.

Love is never holding. 

Love is a release.

It’s a letting go, 

a protrusion,

never an intrusion

but often a recess.

I’d be your recess.  

I’d be your place to lay down when the road got too weary.  

I’d be your pot of soup on a cold, dark winters night.  


I did not struggle in your web.

It was always my aim to get caught. 


The Last Chapter

 It’s 7:19 a.m.


I’ve been awake since 2:22 a.m.  

I’ve read and re-read the messages we sent yesterday seventy two million times already and will likely read them seventy two million more before I can accept this dark, new reality I have to prepare myself to live in after an entire year of living in your light.  

That’s the pits.  

And it will be the pits for an unknown amount of time until my heart and my brain align and resurrect themselves into an even more beautiful version of me.

That’s what will happen.

And I will shine just a little bit brighter and my glow will radiate just a little more warmth. 

I will love harder and faster and truer.

Love makes us better.  Never worse.

You made me better.

I didn’t want to tell you goodbye.  I tried very hard not to have to.  I wanted to keep you around, floating in my atmosphere forever.  I could have done that.  I wanted to do that.  

But it was so hard.  

It hurt so much.  

The non existent conversations with you, that before had been so filled with life and humor and love, became unbearable.  I knew you were over it before the week even began but I tried to hold on for dear life. I clung to every sign of hope I thought I saw in your words until I realized those weren’t signs of hope at all.  They were just the dying embers of our burning ship, the one we accidentally set fire to the week we met.

You on a life boat over there and me on a life boat over here, each of us drifting to a separate island, our eyes strained against the dying of the light and the distance between us until we each disappeared from view.

 An image of you just now:

There’s a room covered in white canvas drop cloths.  There are several buckets of paint lined up in the middle of the floor.  I’m standing just out of frame.  You walk in, kneel down in front of one of the cans of paint and before you open it, you look up at me with a grin and a slight nod of your head and say “You ready?”  You open all the cans and stand up.  “We don’t need a paint brush.” We each grab a can of paint and splash all the colors all over those white canvas drop cloths until they are radiant and beautiful.  And we laugh.  And we are covered in paint.  And you look over at me and raise your eyebrows and say the only word there is to say.  


Yeah, Noah. 

Those white canvas drop cloths are me.  

I was tired and empty.

Stripped bare.

You knew what to do.


You said it wasn’t a conscious decision to drift away from me.

I believe you.

Love leads and you follow.  You held on to me as long as you could and gave me a safe space to explore a side of myself that I never knew existed. 

“I wish every woman could be lucky enough to experience you.”  I remember telling you that on more than one occasion.

I hope she treasures you for the gift you are. 

Thank you, Noah.

From the bottom of my aching but grateful heart.

I will always love you.

Blood Bool

I miss you.

I sat down to write something to you but something else came out instead.  So, this is my second attempt at getting all this stuff out of me that I can’t keep inside.  It takes up all the spaces that are vacant inside me, like hot lava flowing from a volcano and pooling in all the cracks on the ground.  That’s what the stuff inside me feels like and then I have to get it out.  Sometimes I cry to release it.  Sometimes I’m angry and I yell.  Sometimes I write to you here.  I have pages and pages of unpublished words that I just float out into the nether.  They hang around out there or around here but at least they’re not in me any longer.  I never know how much time I’ll have before the hot lava stuff starts pooling up again.

It always starts pooling up again.

It’s the bad-gunky.  And this is my blood-bool.


Maybe I should rename my blog “STEPHANIE’S BLOOD-BOOL.”  

It has a nice ring to it. 

Did You Die?

I really can’t believe I spent several months writing things to you here in the hopes you would read them and come back.  


That’s not true.  

I really CAN believe I spent several months writing things to you here in the hopes you would read them and come back.

That’s who I am.

Did you ever read any of it?

Are you dead?

Do you know I still check my email every single day, multiple times a day, to see if your name will appear in my inbox?


And the fake last name you gave me because the president of France died on that same day you sent me the first email so you took his last name as your own.

I didn’t know that then.

It was only after you left that I figured it out.

Remember that one time you were sick with the flu (I wonder if it was actually Covid) and in the hospital and I didn’t hear from you for several days?

Yeah.  I thought you were dead.

I called every hospital google told me was around you and gave them your name and your fake last name.  Only I didn’t know at the time that your last name was fake so every time the person on the other end of the line said “No, we do not have a patient here by that name” I breathed a huge sigh of relief. 

And here is where the old me would say something like “God, I was such a dumbass.”

But I’m not going to say that this time because I’m not such a dumbass.


I don’t hate you or anything and I’d forgive you in a millisecond if you came back around.  Actually, I don’t have to forgive you because I already have.  I don’t not forgive people for anything ever.  Unless you hurt Max, then I might have to kill you.  But you never hurt Max so your slate is clean with me.

A clean slate.

That’s what I would give you because that’s what I would give anyone.

Well, not Max’s dad.  I ran out of clean slates to give him.  I was giving him one about every other day towards the end and probably from the beginning too.  He’d scribble all over it immediately and hand it back to me like some 6 year olds artwork hanging in the hallway of the school.  Except the hallway was in my heart and I hung all his slates there for far too long.

But you?  You deserve another one.  

Most people do.

So here.  Take it, ok?

And then you can get back to telling me about Una and Robinson Jeffers and if you ever finished that book about the silent film actresses you were writing.  I’d really like to know. 


Maybe you’re dead? 


If you’re not dead, you should come back around so I can make you a hot plate of fries and feed them to you while I straddle your lap in the kitchen.


If you are dead, I hope there’s some sort of afterlife and you’re drinking Jameson while listening to punk music and reading poetry in bed with a sexy ghost.  Maybe you’ll think of me from time to time.

Either way, I mostly just came here to say

You’re rad.

Like super rad.

And I’m still out here.  

I really hope you’re still out there too.



Remember that one time I stumbled across that boy on Reddit and I sent him a message about filling up pages of notebooks with all the things that stir in my soul and then burning those pages in barrels on the beach because I was obsessed with that song ‘smoke signals’ by Phoebe Bridgers?  

And I thought there was no way he’d write back.

But he did.

He wrote back.

And then we wrote to each other again and again until he called me one Wednesday night at 8:30 and I stood in my kitchen, my heart thumping in my chest, his voice in my ear, thick – like the molasses in that jar on the shelf of my pantry.

And he kept calling.  

For some reason, he kept calling.

And then I got to meet him!

And I was so scared!  

My heart was thumping in my chest, his voice was in my ear – thick like the molasses in that jar – only this time not on the phone but in a bed 

in some remodeled fire station 

on a street named Mobile.



I read one time on Reddit that when you make a dating profile it is sometimes helpful, and also a little fun, to list three things about yourself; two that are true and one that is not.  The idea is that your potential suitor will have a blast guessing which thing about you is not true. 

And that is one reason out of 964 that I don’t have a dating profile.

I’m not doing that.

I’m never going to do that.

But if I were going to do that, here are the three things I’d list:

  • I enjoy human liver smothered in gravy over the regular beef liver smothered in gravy.
  • I asked the insanely ripped uncle of a friend to help me get in shape over the course of a summer before I went on a date with this man from the internet.  He  promised me he could get me ripped too.  And he didn’t lie.  I was super fly be the time the date happened.
  • While on that date, I reverted to a 16 year old girl and ugly cried during a game of disc golf so JuJu’s hard work of running football fields and turning over giant tires was a complete waste. I feel bad for him but he doesn’t know yet so I need you to keep that on the down low.

Can you guess which one is not true?  

If so, hit me up.  

We might be forever.  

I promise not to eat your liver until after you’ve fallen in love with me.


The Summer of You

I lost myself for you this summer.    

“Stephanie, I want to rip your clothes off.  I want to fuck you hard and make you cum on my cock over and over again. But the only reason I want to do that is because of you.  When I rip your clothes off, I’m not just exposing your breasts and thighs.  No, it’s everything.  The way you lay in bed with Max when he doesn’t feel good.  And the way you talk to him.  The way you show him how to love and be kind.  The way you admit when you’re wrong.  I’m ripping off your clothes to take everything you are in.”


I wanted your hands on my body.  

I wanted your hands on every part of my body.

I wanted your hands inside my body. 

I wanted your hands all over me. 

And when you put those hands on my body, I wanted to feel them. I did not want to  think about them.  I did not want to think about the way my flesh underneath them might feel just a little too soft.

I only wanted to feel everything you’d promised me I’d feel.


So yeah.

I got a little lost for you this summer.


But I don’t think anyone could blame me, really. 

Goddammit Diane. Signed, The Internet.

There are 36 trillion self help books and everyone on the internet has read them all.



Not only have they read them,

they have applied them and adopted them and molded them 

into the very fiber of their being 

so that when they go out into the wild and interact with other humans who have also read the 36 trillion self help books, they will know how to behave precisely so as not to show any, or maybe just not too much, emotion because






Flag or a GRF

and we don’t wave those fuckers around here, you guuuys.  

We bury them six feet underground and plant rows of daisies and begonias and tulips on top of the fresh dirt so that when a motherfucker comes along and stumbles upon us, they will only smell the roses, as it were, and not the dank shit that is the very reason for the vibrancy of their leaves.

 Everyone is doing this now so you need to do it too because it’s just unheard of to be 41 years old and still have unresolved issues from your past because 

THERAPY, Diane! 


and work all those kinks right the fuck out because after talking to our therapist for 26 years, we are finally ready to give ourselves to someone but we can’t give ourselves to you until you go to THERAPY because you are just a little too emotional and we are 41 years old for gods sake!  

God, Diane.  You’re so fucking yesterday.


you’re also super hot

and hilarious 

and you give the best head 

and you’re fun in the bedroom 

and we laugh constantly 

and something about you just feels so goddamn familiar. 

And your tits!  They’re just the right amount of perky and sag for a 41 year old mom.  They’re kinda perfect, Diane.  

In fact, you’re kinda perfect,Diane.

 But only just kinda.

 That shit you pulled at that park in Mobile CANCELS OUT your generosity and kindness and overall hotness. 


You are embarrassing yourself

And everyone else on the internet who does yoga at 6 a.m. and drinks hot lemon water for breakfast and laughs at appropriate jokes only and has a rich and full life and who does not actually need us at all (being needed is so 1950 now, Diane) because their life is so full of wonder and joy and enriching things like museums and enlightenment

 What   do   you   even   mean   that

the light shining off this crevice in his forehead 

reminds you of that canyon 

you went down in 

when you were 14 

and  it was so dark, so dark, so dark

except for that tiny shaft of light 

peeking through at the top.  


That’s so fucking weird! 



You’re kind of a psycho, Diane.

Kind of like for real, Diane.

 But god you’re so pretty! 

And you’re so funny.  

And you’re so sweet.  

And you liked that Indian food you had never tried 

and you climb fire towers in the middle of the forest when it’s raining

and you rub our arms when we’re not expecting you to 

and you play with our beard 

and scratch our head 

and you put your arms around us just because 

and we’ve never had a woman feel so soft and so warm.

Fuck, Diane.

Can’t you just get it together for now?  

He came all the way down here 

from all the way up there.


Why’d you have to go and drive across four states for him?

Didn’t your brothers ever tell you not to do a thing like that?

Didn’t your daddy ever tell you a man who wants you will come and get you?

Didn’t your mama ever tell you to hide your crazy?


He almost 

Sort of

Could have

Wanted to

Love you.


He maybe

Sort of


But won’t


Love you again.


Everyone on the internet has read all 36 trillion self help books and have applied them and adopted them and molded them into the very fiber of their being.

And we don’t live here in this space where lines get blurred

and greens give way to browns in the same square of grass 

and ketchup clumps at the top of the bottle and we  don’t wipe it off 

and t-shirts get torn from that splinter of wood on the picnic table 

and everyone is a walking disaster all done up in their Sunday best and when they take those dresses off there are tears in the stockings underneath and sweat stains on the armpits of their slips.  

 No, Diane.

 We live on the internet where we behave precisely 

and choose our words carefully 

and time our responses perfectly.  

We live on the internet where we’ve all been in therapy for the past 26 years and are finally ready to give ourselves to someone who has also tied up all their loose ends and cut off all the frayed edges.  

We are just sitting here waiting for our perfect match.

 We thought it was going to be you, Diane.

 But that shit you pulled at that park in Mobile…….



One Hundred Forty Hours

We were two for one hundred forty hours

give or take

subtract the hours you slept

you’re down to one hundred four hours now

give or take 

subtract the hours i slept

i’m somewhere around one hundred twenty

give or take

you picked my towel up from off the floor

not once 

but twice

the slight nod of your head

when you told that man ‘thank you’

i wanted to take my towel off for you then

let it fall back to the floor

of course, i wasn’t in a towel 

we were in my car

and you didn’t notice

the desire that dripped 

like the ice cream down the sides of those cones

we licked and licked

on that red bench 

the same color as my nose

from crying all that morning

and most of that day

“well where can this go”


“someone will get hurt”

this street we took from ‘hello’ to ‘goodbye’ 

long and winding

partly uphill

the road signs all overgrown


you the navigator


i the helmsman

going up and up

to that fire tower we weren’t supposed to climb

but did 

and that other one back there in the forest somewhere

a notebook with our names written together

blue ink

the only evidence

that we ever existed anywhere


for one hundred forty hours

give or take

Past the Guard Rails

It’s Saturday morning and I woke up thinking about the times you used to call me sometimes in the morning and want to start my day with a release and how I could never get off that way on the phone with you even though you were really good at talking to me like that.  I always loved hearing you tell me all the things you were going to do to me and all the ways I was going to open up to you.

But I didn’t need the release you promised.

You were always the release.

And so I wanted you to know this because I want you to understand that I don’t regret driving to see you last Saturday.  I know I’m supposed to and I tried to carry that regret with me all week because I thought it was a thing I was supposed to wear.

It wasn’t.

I carry a lot of things with me to all the places I go and some of them weigh me down in ways you could not ever imagine.

But not love.

Love has never weighed me down.

I know it’s supposed to.  I’m supposed to stop giving my heart to people and strangers so freely and openly and close up these avenues.  Or at least turn off the neon vacancy sign that flashes all morning and all night.

But I’m never going to.

It’s not who I am.

Who I am is past the guardrails now.


I can’t not be her.

I don’t even know how to try.

And so.  I’m foolish and ridiculous and impulsive and passionate.

But I’m not angry or bitter or broken or desperate.

And I’m not ever going to guard my heart or play by a set of rules that the world says are appropriate or acceptable.

Maybe that means I will end up alone and destroyed but I will also be beautiful and defined and whole and I would not choose to live this life any other way.


I’m taking this cloak of shame from around my shoulders and I’m not ever putting it back on.

I’m standing naked and unabashed with my heart beating and bleeding on the outside of my chest.

And I’m giving myself freely and without debt to anyone who chooses to have me for however long they need me.

And this is where I’ll live.

Forever until I’m dust.

What else is there really?

Noah.  Thank you.  You were radiant.  You were divine.  

You are brilliant, bold, beautiful.

I love you.

The Real Bitch

Bad Bitch. 

The Real Bitch.

Those are compliments of the highest order and I was given them just this afternoon.

Well, maybe not Bad Bitch.  That’s future me.  That’s for sometime in the next thirty minutes or three days or 3 months when I realize my worth and start wielding the powers that have lain dormant inside me for 29 plus years.  Once that happens, I’m going to be a BAD BITCH.  

And I’m going to know it.  

And then I’m going to own it.

At least that’s what a chorus of beautiful women told me when I recounted to them the story of Noah and Stephanie.  

First, they laughed uncontrollably..  I have a way with words, you see.  Especially around people I’m comfortable with.  I know how to tell a good story and embellish it with facial expressions.  You may not know that about me.  I don’t expect you to.  I stand in the shadows and let other people’s lights shine most of the time. 

I had a roommate in college who used to tell me I was the ‘real deal’ all the time.  She came to visit me when I first moved to Atlanta.  She met my then boyfriend and before we parted ways in the hallway of the hotel she was staying in, she yelled to him “That’s the real deal bitch right there.  Don’t ever forget that.”  

I had not heard that phrase spoken to me again until this afternoon.

 It came after the laughter and the incredulity had subsided a bit.  

“You’re the real bitch.  Not just a real bitch but the real bitch.”

And then, “When you own yourself, you’re going to be a bad bitch, Ms. Stephanie.”

What do they know that I don’t?  What did my roommate know a lifetime ago that I never understood?

There’s a story in here about Noah but I don’t know if I have the words to write it.  I can only come at this from my own point of view and I’m not sure that’s good enough.  I think it deserves more.

He deserves more than the scratched and dented, blurry and faded, point of view that these glasses I’ve been wearing for way to long will offer.

But I will try.

Yesterday, I was trying to figure out how to save a word document to my google drive folder.  It was a story I wrote in college and I wanted to send it to Noah.  I’m not sure why as I’ve never shared any of my writing with him.  I suspect it’s probably a feeble attempt at holding his interest in me for just a little bit longer.  There is space here for me to admit that.  I’m not ashamed of it.  I fully and completely own the blood that bleeds and seeps from the cavities of my heart and does not slow down for anyone or anything.

While I was in my google drive folder, I looked around to see if I could find any lost treasures I may have forgotten about.  You know, pictures or poetry or odd musings I had scribbled down.  At the very top of the list was a document titled “Stephanie’s Great Adventure.”  What is this?  I open it and it’s a packing list that Noah had started for us for our bikepacking trip.  Of course I had seen the list.  I remember when he sent it to me.  I thought it was so cute and thoughtful.  

But I had never seen the title of it.  

It punched me right in the gut.

“Stephanie’s Great Adventure”

The adventure that never was.  

The bike that I accidentally on purpose forgot to bring when I met him last weekend in Montgomery.  The look that flashed across his eyes when he asked me where my bike was and I told him I forgot it.  The tiny little cloud that took up space in his pupils but quickly vanished in the millisecond it took him to digest and accept this news.

He does that.  

Noah does that.  

It’s a thing of beauty to watch his brain rework and regroup and not miss a single step in the whole process of regeneration.  He makes a new plan.  The old plan is yesterday and we don’t dwell in yesterdays here.  We live right here in the now.  Today.  8:36:15 p.m. on a Friday night in the doorway of this bedroom in this old fire station they’ve turned into a retreat on a street named Mobile in Montgomery, Alabama.  All we are is right now.  This instant. His hands on my shoulders, the heat from them seeping through the jean jacket and t-shirt I’m wearing underneath.  The understanding and acceptance in his eyes when I say “I’m sorry” and he says “It’s ok.”

It’s ok.

It’s ok.

It’s ok.


It’s not ok

Because ok is not a state I’ve ever existed in for more than 23 seconds.   Only he doesn’t know this about me and he believes his ok is enough to make me understand that we don’t dwell in yesterdays here.  We live right here in the now. 8:37:42 p.m. on a Friday night in the doorway of this bedroom in this old fire station.

Soon, in only seconds, we’ll live on top of the bed in that bedroom.  That will be our moment then.  It will give way to another moment and then another until that revelation in the doorway won’t have big enough wings to fly or hurt us.  Except.  I will stumble over it on my way to the bathroom at 9:17:04 p.m. on that same Friday night and I will pick it up on my way back and tuck it away down at the bottom of my suitcase and spend the next 5 days sewing wings for it from scraps of conversation, looks I can’t decipher, touches I want but don’t ask for, words I hear through a filter so their meaning gets muffled.  The wings will grow big enough to give the revelation the flight it’s so desperately seeking and it will fly around me then; a part of my right here and right now forever.

 But I don’t know that at 9:17:03 p.m. and so I roll over and run my hand through his beard and wonder how I ended up here with this man next to me in this bed.  

I’m happy.

Really happy.

But I can’t live in the happiness forever and I know this.  So I take the winged revelation out of its suitcase on Wednesday morning and bring it with me to the park where we play disc golf.  It only needs a few more stitches now and it will fly.  I know I should take it to the edge of the lake and place it there on the water and watch it drift off towards the middle until an alligator comes along and snatches it for dinner.  Noah would like that.  He’s been wanting to see an alligator.  

But I don’t do any of that.  

I finish her wings before we’ve even had a slice of the pizza Noah has ordered for us.  She’s flying so high and so free now and I know it’s over for me. She’s a part of me now.  

You accidentally on purpose forgot the bike.  

He went to a lot of trouble.

He drove a really long way.

You sabotaged everything.

You have no respect for anyone.

That was so rude.

He made plans .

You devalued his time and energy.

Her voice in my head is all I can hear.  Noah is trying to get through but she flaps her wings in double time when he speaks.  

It will all fall apart soon.

I’m helpless to stop it.

I know what I have to do.  

I have to crash and burn to get rid of her. 

That’s the only way.

Her ashes smoldering there 

in the wreckage of the crash 

release the clarity she’s held captive. 




I can see clearly now.

But it’s too late.


It’s always too late.