Title Our Authors


By Lee Nelson

Nothing scandalous

but you've been warned.


If you've never loved a dog, leave now.


If you have food issues, beware.


If you've lost your mother, tag along.


If your swan's song is a seldom conceded

and unusual truth, here you may find brethren.


If you've ever saved a life to come home to find

your basement under water,


If you've ever in your life

had your life saved so you could climb your ruin

thirstier than ever,


If you've ever had to drink coffee with your enemy,


If you've ever known a tree would fall in high wind

with the grace of the sun that will shine the next day,


If you never ever saw coming the partner that last left you

angry toward you as one would be angry toward an indifferent god

later returning in a better mood, loving you once again

for being simple and predictable,


If you've ever puked through a night of sleaze and debauchery

and amnesia to produce a child that may one day wipe your ass,


If you've ever felt the top-most sodomizing you while the bottom-most

held your ankles in righteous desperation

(as they did yesterday, today, and will again tomorrow),


If you've ever had a grandmother who donated her house to a televangelist,


If you've ever seen era photos of your grandmother,

spry and striking, a telling and beautiful mystery…


all you ever knew

all you'll never know,


If you've ever watched the marathon runners race by

and thought to yourself that they're

almost as crazy as your grandmother,


If you've ever seen a body builder stare into a mirror

for so long that you thought to yourself

if only he could fuck his own image,

perhaps he would feel complete,


If you've lived long enough to truly understand

"to each his own,"


If you've ever drilled holes into your siding and asked yourself,

hours later, if your siding is made of asbestos,


If your children seldom finished their meals

while Sally Struthers begged from the television,


If you've ever looked at photos of your children's innocence

and were reminded of the impossible

task of their best rearing,


If you survived your parent's best rearing of you,


If you've ever looked at the trees in the forest and saw life and death,

and the only thing you could think to do was drink a beer and assume

you'll rise again the next day,


If you've ever had your father tell you he was sorry,

but had no idea why exactly, yet you could think of a lot of reasons,


If you've ever apologized to your own children and left them asking themselves

the same question,


If you've ever served your country and never saw combat,

actually scratched your balls for most of the years you served,

and never find yourself without a fellow countryman

thanking you for your service,


If you've ever been divorced and years later truly appreciated

the legitimacy of your ex's position,


If you've come to realize that social media is another place we go

so that we can behave toward each other as we do on the interstate,


If you've lived long enough to realize that

individuals are intelligent, yet the masses  

are gravely stupid,


If you've ever questioned the legitimacy of karma,



If you've lived long enough to know that justice

has nothing to do with anything

at all



If you've lived long enough to decide yourself unshackled

from fashion choices,


If you've ever quit smoking and found it isn't worth it,


If you've ever listened to a stranger's

lament in a dark hallway,


If you've ever left a lasting impression on an arresting officer,


If you've ever listened to a lawyer decimate your character,

made you out to be unholy toward all that sustains

the very crux of your will to live,

or all that you'd submit to the guillotine

in the name of,


If you are comfortable enough with the idea that

"holy" and "unholy" are words that can transcend

the atheist the same as the reverent,


If you've ever dismissed your gut and suffered the consequences

for years and years,


If you've ever gone with your gut and watched your kingdom burn,


If you've ever walked a catwalk before mocking and derision,


If you've ever had good advice fall on deaf ears,


If you've ever been indifferent to good advice,


If you believe The Grim Reaper is real

yet a different entity for all of us

(my Grim Reaper has jazz hands,

for example),


If you've ever spread a loved one's ashes,


If you've ever had suicidal thoughts just before instinct

saved you from the eighteen wheeler,


If you've ever learned an eternal lesson from someone

you truly loathed,


And if you know enough to know

that you can never afford to be naive


then you have your own story

and it isn't mine

or anyone else's.


It is yours and only your choice and original story

to pain away in hospice,

delude away in a nursing home,

concede to a Darwin moment,

drop to an unyielding ache,

burp to a flash,

flop to a grenade,

palm press

in the name of the father,

or otherwise incinerate

to disgrace or dignity.


Now that we understand each other,

here's my confession:


My dog and I share all the cooking utensils when I grill.


From the hot dogs

to the ribeyes

to the lamb chops


Italian sausages

and pork steaks,

with every flip

or roll of the meat,

via the spatula,


or barbeque fork,

the fatty grease on all of them

is subjected to my forearm,

checked for temperature,

and dropped to the concrete floor

of my garage

and slathered in my dog's tongue.

She doesn't miss a square centimeter.


So, I say again,

if you have food issues

or never loved a dog,

leave now.


different as we may be,

I consider you relatable,

and you're welcome to any ribeye

I flip on my grill

because we both know this:


there's a lot of fleeting joys out there,

but there are also the joys we harness.


We ritual our joys.

We ritual our joys


because we know at the very least

we'll always have those joys.


And the truth is,

those joys

are the best joys.


The love of a dog

is the closest

we'll ever get

to a perfect love.


How's that

for knowing a joy

when you feel one?


How do you take your ribeye?


This is the best I've got for you

kindred fellow

for disgrace

or dignity.






Writing Prompts
Our Authors
Writers Links

  Menu Book