§2: Country Conditions

§2: Country Conditions

I walk to the Eloy Detention Facility’s visitation room where the guard, a tall angular man, sits yelling loudly in a thick German accent directing detainees in and out of the area.

“I’m here to see my client,” I say sliding him a copy of the “Visitation Request” I dutifully emailed to CoreCivic personnel twenty-four hours in advance as required.

The guard looks down at a clipboard in front of him and shakes his head, muttering that he can’t find my name on his list. I squeak mouse-like, “but I’m sure I sent it, I’m her attorney, I’d like to see her today, please.” The guard is distracted by a voice crackling over his walkie-talkie and motions for me to sit down and wait.

I walk over to the folding chairs, set up in rows, trying not to make eye contact with the heavily-tattooed male detainees who occupy at least a dozen of them. Each time the guard looks away, I catch catcalls and snickers whispered in my direction. This is how the guards keep an eye on the toughest detainees. I wonder if it’s also a calculated attempt at intimidating attorneys.

I Feel Like Vomiting the Mother

 I Feel Like Vomiting the Mother

Dear Jerusalem Arts Committee,


Re: Grant Proposal for Theater Performance entitled "Miflezet/Monster"




Jerusalem was still a small village when the dead bodies began turning up. One, two. Then seven and eight. It was late 1966 and all the bodies were male. The authorities did their best to contain the spread of panic and of rumors, gory and false, but they could not control the need of city residents to make sense of what was happening. Whispers, from East to West, from alley to synagogue, from market to mosque, centered around two main themes: that all the corpses were castrated. And that the culprit, hiding here, somewhere in the city, might not be human at all. They called her MIFLEZET. 

Daughters of Witches

 Daughters of Witches

Superstition is buried in the bones of us down here. The South buzzes electric with songs of the dead. No one has been convicted of witchcraft for many years in Mississippi, but places like Witchdance, a stretch of land off of the Natchez Trace, still echo the hundred-year pounding feet of women conjuring moonlight, slips and strands of bright in and out of shadows, hair down their bare backs, wearing circles in the grass. Ghost rivers sing with the everlasting wail of drowned Indian tribes along the Pascagoula River, and bridges cry for babies birthed and buried beneath them, long discarded in the dark, wrapped in water blankets by terrified mama-hands, trembling the ground awake with their runaway feet to receive them. Rolling fog unfurls carpets of kudzu and mist hovers low over the bayou, weeping willows line lake edges and eyes blink back from behind curtains of Alligatorweed. The land lives. The water is awake. If you wait, you will feel the aliveness of it all, it hums the stale air like a lone guitar chord from an in-between place. 

S1:E1 "Lock Her Up"

S1:E1  "Lock Her Up"

The first three notes tell you everything. Two hands, four grim octaves, played in fortissimo. Not so much a melody as a warning.


I’ve only just begun the seventh measure when the water starts. A fat drop bounces off the piano lid and I lean forward, feeling it’s a sign – at last, I have managed to play each note with such accuracy and purity that something has been moved. The next drop slips between F and G, followed by two more drops in quick succession.


I remove my glasses and look up.


An ancient crack runs at a diagonal across the ceiling, splintering on its way to the chandelier. Back along the crack, water pools from a quarter-sized patch of plaster above the piano.