Harm reduction image; drug users deserve dignity and care.


Wayward Writers Write/Share Zoom Sessions

A group of us are meeting Thursday evenings and writing together. It’s a balm to the soul, a relief in a time of hopelessness. See more about these sessions here! Join us if you are, or ever have been, part of the Literary Kitchen. (Or if you are a friend and can respect the agreements.)

Prompt: Duty calls – eight minutes

Harm reduction image; drug users deserve dignity and care.I have a job that makes people literally want to kill me. They imagine me as a drug dealing enabler. I work in harm reduction. I’m the ED (executive director) of a harm reduction agency in a rural town in northern california. 

What I am coming to know is that every job feels somewhat like war. Is it just every job I’m drawn to? Because honestly, I would rather be in a job bound by duty than one motivated only by money. By survival. 

But the fucked up thing about capitalism is that each job literally is motivated by survival. 

I lived the first number of years outside the system, doing what I “wanted” to make money. Writing and teaching and coaching. But even that became a yoke, even my highest duty became an albatross. 

Capitalism is rotten to the core. 

I like to think that this field, harm reduction, is abolitionist; in even the most idealized world I can imagine, harm reduction still has its place. I am working in a field that is of benefit. And I love the battle parts of it. The activism parts. 

If only money were not the motivation, and time were not the grandmaster. 

I don’t think people were designed to specialize. To do one thing for hours at a time. I think we were designed to hunt and peck, to hunt and gather. 

In the most idealized world I can think of, no one has to work eight hours a day or more in order to survive. And for most, eight hours worth of pay is not ample. So we glamorize “busy.” We make friends with the side-hustle. 

I have been in school for five years, working toward my MSW. I am at the precipice. For the first time in my life, coaching and writing, of course, included, I am about to maybe not need a side-hustle. 

And I’m scared. Duty is my identity. Busy is my ballast. I joke that being an overachiever is my trauma response, only it’s not a joke. We are bound to this hustle, for survival. 


See more about Wayward Writer Write/Share Zoom session sessions here

christmas lights

Wayward Writers’ Zoom
December 17, 2020

christmas lightsUnconfirmed

Her death was unconfirmed, like the weather and sports winners – you never know what you’re going to get. Confirmation is the tragedy because before the confirmation you are allowed hope. 

After years of waiting hope is an albatross. A lodestone that is not good at finding true north. A swansong. Hope is a thing with wings, and blood beating in the ears. Blood pouring on the rocks. Into the water. Blood the color of rust and carnations and firetrucks and cheap fingernail polish – spilled on different mediums it takes on their appearance – here glossy, there speckled with dirt and tiny rocks. 

Confirmation gives a modicum of respite. Even bad news is better than no news at the end of the day. Confirmation leads to closure leads to what amounts to moving on. The days are long and the nights are longer and there is no lack of darkness. Hope is a thing with wings. Sooner or later, it flies away.


This season
is a fabrication
but light in the darkness
never was a bad idea
so we come together
a million little lights 
in darkest nights 

the street that links the apartments
I am splitting my time between
(yes, that’s a longer story)
is lined with christmas lights
and trees decked out with ribbons
and i am reminded of
the awe my little brother used to feel 
all the lights shining

we don’t talk anymore