Posted in Almost Dorothy, Characters, The Mother

The Seelie Court

Easter is ma’s favorite holiday, but it reminds me of the time we spent huddled together with our Seelie Court in a Port-A-Potty while hiding from the cops after throwing rolls of toilet paper at churchgoers. Easter is also ma’s favorite holiday because it’s the only holiday in recorded human history that celebrates someone who (supposedly) has (or is) risen from the dead. The kitchen table is set. The bacon is burnt. The eggs are too wet, but I don’t care because ma is risen from the bed. Bobo the Mutt howls aimlessly in the backyard because he is a fact of canine history. He is also risen from the dead.

“It’s incredible,” ma says. “Truly remarkable. A man rises from the dead when most men can’t even rise out of bed. Truly, remarkable.” (I never know where to place the comma. Commas are the common enemy.)

“Ma, you rose from the dead,”  I say.

“For that mimosa,” she says. “Let’s drink to that!”

We drink to that. We drink to this. Ma giggles. I laugh. I’m not of age, but it doesn’t matter because I’m not real and the cops can’t arrest magic. I’m not part of the official record of human history, anyway. I’m just a fiction unburdened by my own holiday.

“Pour me another one,” she says.

Ma is an insatiable bèbè.

It’s been 7 days since ma lost her job, or was fired, or laid off, or furloughed until better days. It hasn’t been a holiday and we’re still waiting for our Pandemic Impact Payment from the IRS. Ma has been a real hot & cold mess and her hair is falling out or off. I can’t tell if it’s the weave coming undone or her real hair or both. Ma got the chills and the shakes last night. She rattled her teeth and mumbled in Roman Numerals, which sound a lot like regular numbers, but more sophisticated. She kept repeating 21418, 21418, 21418. It was, by far, her best Glenn Close moment ever. I was terrified.

The first thing I do every morning is log onto ma’s busted up laptop from 2006 and visit the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard to see the total confirmed infections and total confirmed deaths in the United States and around the world. Every morning I visit the dashboard and hover the mouse over the county in which we live. Every morning I click on that bright red dot that reveals the total number of confirmed infections and deaths in my county.  Our country is all lit. I travel from state to state, city to city, to visit the dead. It’s a morbid Easter Egg Hunt. These red dots are all I have to make some sense out of this catastrophe. Ma doesn’t make much sense. She never did.

This morning I logged on again. Total confirmed deaths in the United States: 21,418. I closed the laptop and took a bit of burnt bacon. Ma looked at me all serious and crusty-eyed because she knows I only like medium rare bacon. “21,418,” she said. I nodded my head. She didn’t waste the last sip of her mimosa before she spoke again. “Real people don’t rise from the dead,” she said. “Not even fairies like you and me.”

Ma broke her smile. Bobo the Mutt went silent. I crossed my legs. The eggs.


**The Seelie Court were described as those fairies who would seek help from humans, warn those who have accidentally offended them, and return human kindness with favors of their own. Still, a fairy belonging to this court would avenge insults and could be prone to mischief.


Posted in Almost Dorothy, Characters, Culture Clash, Politics

Donald Trump Isn’t Real REAL


“The brightest memory fades faster than the dullest ink.” ― Claudia Rankine

Ma says I should be more active. Blog more. Write more. Say things that mean something, especially since it’s 2016. She’s afraid that if I don’t write, things will change for the worse. In other words, she’s afraid she’ll be erased from existence. Get lost to the cosmic dust of Internet obscurity.

[For those of you just tuning in: ma and I aren’t real. We are make believe. Learn more about us here.]

That’s the thing with ma. She’s hard to understand and doesn’t understand this: she’s an invention. A figment of my fictitious imagination powered by a mind that’s flawed and unreliable, yet ma’s as real as the scar on my chin, a chin that doesn’t really exist nonetheless. Ma is the boot in the face of a face that doesn’t exist. And the boot, well, it doesn’t exist either. 

“And that’s the thing,” ma says. “You’re too psychological. Things like that shouldn’t concern you. Even the ‘real’ are delusional. Whether you’re real or not, doesn’t really matter any more. What matters is what you got to say even if what you say isn’t tangible or touching.”

I tell ma we’re not real just like our words are not real–and no matter how hard we try to mean something and to make that something become meaningful–our lives don’t matter.

“That’s fucking bullshit,” ma says in her piercingly unreal voice. “Our lives don’t matter. That’s why it’s so goddamn important that you make sure they do matter.”

It’s Sunday. Ma is drinking a warm can of Murphy’s Stout. Its caramel skin coats ma’s imaginary esophagus as I sit across from her studying the scars on her face. These postulates correspond to some truth hidden buried in her face. A kind of magical, twisted intellect informs her inappropriate worldview. Her wig is sad and ageless. Her only face since as far back as I can remember.

“Donald Trump isn’t real REAL,” ma says. “We make him real. We give him the time and space to exist in our culture, our politics, and we grant this to each and every one of us. We give him airtime and air hockey. We give him meaning out of all other possible meanings that could exist in his place. Use that space to create new possibilities.”

In many ways, ma is right even though she is flawed. She’s like the women left in these photographs. (Go ahead, click the link. It helps illustrate what I mean.) Without ma, or her words, even though those words or conjured up in the mind of a menace, at least she (sort of) exists. Occupies a finite space that could be occupied by someone else even more self-serving and maniacal.

“For now,” ma says. “Keep writing even though you feel like you’ve got nothing to say because nothing is something that silence can’t trump.”

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Bobo the Mutt, Characters, Family

Bobo the Mutt is Dead! Long Live Bobo the Mutt!

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams.

Ma and I are sad to announce that Bobo the Mutt is dead, but we are happy to announce that we are writing again even if it’s about dead mutts. Bobo lived a long life, a happy life, despite ma’s insistence that Bobo the Mutt was really a cat and not even a real dog with real dog hair and real dog eyes and all the other parts that make dogs dogs.

That damn thing freaked me out, she said. I always expected him to meow. 

Last night, ma gave Bobo the Mutt a eulogy or eulogized Bobo the Mutt. She said things to the guests who had gathered to hear ma make slurs and slur about Bobo the Mutt’s fascinating life as a civil rights activist, hippie and unlicensed therapist. When the eulogy ended, not one of his stuffed animal farm friends and family left the room without a tear or the appearance of a tear drawn on their cheeks. It was a cool evening.

Bobo the Mutt was a cool, cuddly dude and pain in the ass weighing in at 4.5 pounds, which includes the ounces. He was nosey and noisy and loved the hell out of mangoes and mongooses. He’d cut ya’ if you tried to get away with not sharing your watermelon. He was that kind of mutt–all selfish and giving–that was selfish and giving.

He loved his pink elephant and he loved his yellow bunny. He loved his green dinosaur and he loved his shredded sheep. He loved his lion king and he loved his fuzzy bear. He loved to lick. He barked a lot. He’d snort like a pig and we loved him so much. He loved everything, ma said. Especially the things he could eat.

That night when we went to bed, that night was last night, ma tucked me in and sang a lullaby to help me fall asleep. It was one of those lullabies that starts with a low hum coming from the shallow shores of the throat then builds up and gets deeper as the source of the lullaby moves deeper in.

Ma didn’t really sing me a lullaby because she can’t sing and even if she could sing she would never sing me a song or lullaby because she is ma and Bobo is Bobo.

I wish I had the teeth to drag him back from the dead, I said. I wish I had the power to reconstruct every one of his ashes into something solid and real again.

But you can’t, ma said. Because once you become real REAL, you can’t ever come back. 

Bobo the Mutt, June 2001 – January 12, 2016.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Poetry, Random Shit

The Theory of Color

emission spectrum of iron
emission spectrum of iron

Once upon a time, Yellow met Blue. Yellow was high and his face was blue, probably because of all the smoke in his chest. Blue thought, this is cool. Yellow can hold his breath for a long time while smiling and dancing with a broom. Clowns are never blue. The room was always smokey. Jumbo jets the size of parked cars flew overhead.

This one day, the day Yellow and Blue were in Blue’s red car, Blue asked Yellow what’s new. Nothing new, said Yellow, the look on his face was bearish. Blue hardly believed Yellow because Blue knew things about the world–like statistics and math. Science never lies like religion lies, he thought (or thinks). Yellow was full of God and shit.

Yellow: _____________________________.

Silence is like math. It’s invisible but reveals the universe. How things work and don’t work. How we travel from point A to point B in this or that amount of time. The calorie(s) of a black bean.

Blue: Are you sure?

Yellow: I’m sure.

Then one day in the month of Halloween, because this month is when those (or these) things happen, Blue took Yellow to the zoo in his red car. It was filled with caged pants and shirts, the zoo, not the car. Sofas and pillows.Things used like books that were never and will never be read. These animals were not like the animals in any zoo or the wild. They didn’t consume oxygen or protein. They were like stars: permanent, but not really.

Binary Stars: binary stars are locked in an eternal dance; or a dance that ends when one star crashes into another under the direct influence of gravity; sometimes gravity overwhelms and destroys the things we love the most, like strawberry ice cream and primary colors.

In the parking lot, which was really metered street parking, these two colors, Yellow & Blue, began to phase, or fizz, beneath the bearded sky. This was before the invention of moustaches. Blue looked around Yellow’s eyes and began to notice green and orange, brown and magenta, aquamarine and a billion shades of unidentifiable colors, busting out like broken, abstract lines. Blue recognized the color of radiation on Yellow’s face–a sort of unsubstantiated substance born out of bad weather.


Yellow: Now, I have a reason to live.

Blue: You do. You did.

The car ride home was not a ride. It no longer mattered that the sky was blue because it was just what they could see when they were looking for blue–perceptual shifts are the province of aliens. The car was not blue. Yellow was not Blue. They were not blue. The car was not a car. It was a bike made out of recycled car parts.

Blue: Just breathe.

Yellow: I always do.

Blue: Ok.

Yellow staring out the window.

Color theory states that all colors posses a particular meaning that are somehow fixed and immutable like iron or the Word, but those meanings can be repossessed and renamed by psychology, or men who wear pants to the beach. Math can’t govern the universe like emotions can.

The guy on the beach was reading a book. He looked like Yellow. The tarpon hunted a school of fish, their silvery backs breaching the surface marked a kill–the exact moment of death. The guy on the beach was reading a book that looked blue. The boys in the water photographed the tarpon breaching the surface. The moon was always the moon even though it looked like a sugar cookie. The guy on the beach was reading a book that looked blue, but it wasn’t a book. It was not Blue.

The flip flops were waiting for something else to wear.

Yellow: Do you remember the moon?

Blue: I hate fire to the core.

Finally, before the beach, before the red car parked in a metered world, before the night with the dancing broom, Yellow and Blue met a man wearing blue jeans and a white coat. He stood next to a window. He said things in two languages–each word a vibration, each language a new color spectrum. It sounded like God, Blue said. It did, Yellow said.

There was a pie chart and everything was color-coded.

**Note on the Emission Spectrum: “The emission spectrum of a chemical element or chemical compound is the spectrum of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation emitted due to an atom or molecule making a transition from a high energy state to a lower energy state. The energy of the emitted photon is equal to the energy difference between the two states. There are many possible electron transitions for each atom, and each transition has a specific energy difference. This collection of different transitions, leading to different radiated wavelengths, make up an emission spectrum. Each element’s emission spectrum is unique. Therefore, spectroscopy can be used to identify the elements in matter of unknown composition. Similarly, the emission spectra of molecules can be used in chemical analysis of substances.”

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Food In The City

Almost Dorothy Interviews Almost Dorothy About Fried Chicken and Other Things

Flavor Flav's Fried Chicken.
Flavor Flav’s Fried Chicken.

Almost Dorothy: What makes you most vulnerable? List at least 5 things that make you feel vulnerable in English and one in Spanish (or any other language other than English or Inglish). If you are one of those ‘guys’ who says, ‘I’m not vulnerable’, you’re a lying sack of shit. It is true, dumb ass. Answer the fucking question.

Love. Falling in love. Falling out of love. Falling on a loved one. Falling. Cucarachas. Ma.

Almost Dorothy: Why do these things make you vulnerable? Be real, bitch.

Because it makes me hungry. Because it makes me feel like fried chicken. Because it’s like going to church with the devil. Because it’s like having crabs the size of Missouri. Because falling hurts. Because falling is hard. Because love is falling hard. Because love is hard like falling is hard like walls are hard like wood floors are hard like concrete is hard but it wasn’t hard to begin with. It all starts out soft, pliable, almost magical. Like fried chicken. It’s like ma. Like the woman who watches my back with a knife. Like the woman who cooks like a goddamn blind woman in a junk yard. It’s like losing your skin, love. Like peeling onions, but nothing like pickles.

Almost  Dorothy: Are you weak or strong when you are vulnerable?

I’m always a weakling and that’s what makes me powerful. Like a bullet without a gun or a gun without a bullet, it’s what it is that makes it powerful. Not what it does.

Almost Dorothy: If you could one thing about yourself (or your elf), what would you change and why?

I would change my underwear more often. I would change the need to change. I would change less often. I would change nothing. I would change the things I’ve changed. I would never ask for change. I hate change. I would change hate. I would wear a hat more often to hid the changes. I would change the hat I wore to the funeral that I never went to. I would have gone to the funeral with or without a hat. I would love you more or less with or without a hat. I would go hatless though a thunderstorm if I knew how to change the past. The past, I hate. I hate the past and the changes that led to wind.

Almost Dorothy: Biggest failure in life?

Not building an animal farm out of real animals.

Almost Dorothy: Are you worthy of love & belonging?

Ma says I ain’t worthy of anything but she’s on crack and fried chicken. I don’t listen to ma cause I know how I feel and I feel I am worthy of love and belonging no matter what that bat says. She’s not a baseball bat, but she hits like one. The other day I went to the mall. It was full of things I couldn’t buy because I forgot my purse or wallet or whatever it is kids are supposed to carry these days. I knew I was worthy of things–of everything–but I just couldn’t buy them, so I stole them and now they belong to me. Don’t tell ma cause she’ll call the cops and cuss me out. That’s how things go between us. That’s what makes us family. That’s what makes us stick together. Makes us belong to one another. Which makes us belong to no one because if they’re gone there’s no one left to belong to. But, then again, I guess the desire to want to belong is belonging whether or not you’re longing to belong. It’s like a sing-a-long without a singing partner. You can still sing-a-long to a song without a partner and feel like you’re part of something. Part of a song. Yes, I’m worthy of love and belonging–and new shoes.

Posted in Almost Dorothy

A Story About A Sunset

“It takes courage to be afraid.” –Montaigne, Essays, III, 6 (1588)

St. Peteresburg Beach. Photo by Neil de la Flor.
St. Peteresburg Beach. Photo by Neil de la Flor.

Nothing scares the sun anymore. Not even sinking into the black sea. Not even the black sea and its power over sunsets. Not even the scars or parked cars on Sunday or the squirrels that dream of big things from the tops of enormous trees. Not even the sky and its embedded madness stands a chance against its nuclear dance.

St. Petersburg Beach. Photo by Neil de la Flor.
St. Petersburg Beach. Photo by Neil de la Flor.

Sometimes when the blue clutters the sky, the sun rawrs and tilts its ear toward the sea.

St. Petersburg Beach. Photo by Neil de la Flor.
St. Petersburg Beach. Photo by Neil de la Flor.

Sometimes the sky is a dark paradise. Sometimes the sun hears paradise calling from the abyss in a funny voice, can you hear the light?

St. Petersburg Beach. Photo by Neil de la Flor.
St. Petersburg Beach. Photo by Neil de la Flor.

Sometimes the sun is a delicious dream–

St. Petersburg Beach. Photo by Neil de la Flor.
St. Petersburg Beach. Photo by Neil de la Flor.

intersected by billions & billions.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

A Story About Biscayne Bay

The bridge & cranes dream of dogs and cats.

They squint and find wormholes into other worlds.

What they discover: there’s always one light that’s brighter than the other. And they are drawn to its luminescence with purpose.

But there’s always something else in the distance, they think. Their fiercely squinted eyes look funny to humans.

Something centered and floating appears in the distance–a home of sorts–


tethered to a reality made of foam.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Almost Dorothy (Almost) Celebrates National Eating Disorders Awareness Week


National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Ma says she has a problem celebrating a week that causes so much pain and suffering in the world. She says we should not celebrate National Eating Disorders Awareness Week because we should embrace it and those who are suffering through it. Ma says it shouldn’t be called a disorder because it makes those who suffer feel disordered. She says it’s a social disease that infects all of us, impacts all of us, even if we don’t think it does.

Ma also says unless we proudly include and embrace men who have eating disorders and all the men who do not have eating disorders in this campaign of awareness, we won’t resolve anything, especially not the perfect setting for toast. (Ma often loses focus.) Ma says it is our male-dominated culture that perpetuates the beauty myth, the myth of bubbles, because men are visual creatures and they measure their value  from the outside in. Beauty becomes a thing we can see and touch. A thing that is attached to a body. Becomes the body. And is expressed through the words I love you.

…what you look like…what you represent…what your body says about me when they look at us in public.

Provocative, ma says, yes! But it’s true.

FYI #1: Ma says she would have never gotten two boobs if it wasn’t for her first boyfriend. Wouldn’t have laser-removed her body hair if it wasn’t for her second boyfriend. And wouldn’t have removed her penis if it wasn’t for her third boyfriend. (Re-read, please.)

Ma says true awareness means closing your eyes. True awareness means swallowing the stars from the night sky and looking at true black hanging out behind the full full moonshine. Ma says illumination is the opposite of light. Ma says we have to undress the audience, bring them into the flashlight, and smack them on the ass with whips & chains, so that we (meaning they) can truly get to the bottom (no pun intended) of what disfigures our imagined  bodies. Ma says we are fictional bodies trying to live real fictional lives lived behind and in front of a proscenium of fear and shame.

I think ma is on acid or is experiencing an acid flashback. Just saying. But I’m a firm believer in her power to deliver.

In the documentary film, America the Beautiful, sponsored by the University of Miami Counseling Center’s outreach group BARE (Body Acceptance Resources and Education), it is described in such a way to perpetuate the myth that eating disorders are a.) disorders and b.) a woman’s disease: “we see how…unattainable images contribute greatly to the rise in low self-esteem, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders for young women and girls who also happen to be the beauty industry’s largest consumers.” Ma says its a social disease. The victims are victims like the victim of a gun shot or acid attack.  Count the number of Proactiv, Maybelline and Cover Girl commercials.

I tell ma she shouldn’t attack the documentary and she tells me I should shut up because I don’t know anything about body dysmorphia. I look at ma and she looks at me. I keep looking at her and she keeps looking at me and then I move in just a little closer so that we are face to face–a butter knife couldn’t pass between our noses.

Look ma, I say, what do you see? No face, she says.

Ma faces my no-face and then recalibrates her theory of self-esteem and massive body deconstructionism. I’ll get you a new face, she says, this week. That’s the problem, I say, you see?

Ma looks at my no-face as if she can decode the problems behind it, or inside of it, or on the surface of my blank slate written in Cover Girl hieroglyphics. Ma reaches into her pocketbook and paints lipstick on the spot of my imagined lips. She erases my lips and hands me the lipstick. She encourages me to draw my own lips and the world I live in. Where I want. When I want. I use her compact and mirror myself after her. I use her hand and guide her cosmetic universe across my face. She presses down and kisses the place where I imagine myself the most. In her arms. Somewhere between I love and you.


Posted in Almost Dorothy

Almost Dorothy Reveals Secrets: An Interlude

Almost Dorothy | Red Red Shoes

I have secrets, but I haven’t been able to finish them, because they’re unwritten and invisible just like the sideburns I can’t ever grow. My documentary essay is on hold, the one about my trip to AWP in Washington D.C. The whole wild world is on hold now because ma got arrested, again, for prostitution, so my secrets will remain secrets for now. Locked somewhere behind the R, V and A in the book of the book below.

I have no secrets. Just look at my red red shoes. They’re a metaphor for something simple.

I had to issue an Amber alert on ma’s behalf because she didn’t come home Sunday night after mass. Amanda Bernstein (the B. is silent) thought ma may have left us again, vanished with the cash, because ma is like that. By cash, Amanda B. meant the $47 she stole from Amanda B.’s wallet. Ma is a kleptomaniac.

Almost Dorothy | Diary

When I called the cops, they said I shouldn’t call the cops on ma. They said they couldn’t issue an Amber alert either because ma is an adult. I told them she’s not really an adult. I don’t care, the cop said. No one cares. Not even those who care. The cop just said there’s nothing we can do, not even look, because they had better things to do. Like eat donuts, I said. Then he hung up.

There’s nothing anyone can do. Even if she is my mother. I g-whizzed. A few minutes later the cop called me back and asked me what ma’s name is, or was, or would be if she were real, or human, like the humans reading this post. I told him Mama D. and then he told me she was in jail. Arrested for prostitution, he said. Again, Amanda B. said. We bailed ma out. She owes me big bucks, but I don’t mind, because this is what we do. We are family, just as broken and tattered as the next.

Almost Dorothy | An Open Book

I told you I have secrets. Some of them slip out between the lines while others stand up and shout on the back of the pink pink elephant in my invisible spaceship. The elephant is wearing Boy George’s hairdo in the video for “I’ll Tumble For Ya”. The long, curly one, that goes all down to there. When Amanda B. and I rescued ma from jail, she thanked us by asking us for a cigarette. I’ll tumble for you, anytime, I told her. The same way I would tumble for you, ma said, my dear–if we lived in an alternate universe.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Family

The Rhine(stoned) Cowboy

Ma’s having an affair with her pot dealer and I’m talking about the guy who sells ma pots. I tell ma to stop but she just gives me the finger and tells me she’s bitchin’. Ya, right, I say. By the way, the pots he sells are the kind ma uses to grow tomatoes in, so don’t get the wrong impressionism, okay. I’m serious. I just realized there are toes in toma(toes). Wow, tomatoes have feet just like fruits have bats. Anyway, I just want to point this out. By this I mean that ma’s having an affair with a Rhinestoned Cowboy who sells pots for potting tomato plants. Amanda B. doesn’t know a thing about this. She knows about the tomatoes just not about the guy ma’s sleep-walking with. I think I should tell her about ma’s tramping around, but I’m sure ma will dump him before it gets serious. Anyway, what should I do? Let me know. I’m chewing my toma(toes) with anticipation.