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other writing

J self portrait with bird.jpg

On this page, you'll find Post-it Note doodles, poems, flash fiction,

and links to slide shows and videos.

A self portrait. I realize it's not exactly what I look like, but you gotta admit, I got the hair right.

Danielle Just Had To Yell!

A very loud story you can watch and listen to as a slide show on my

You Tube channel: "Zoola Playground."

toe kiss.jpg



I can tell,

she's ready to give up the natural beauty

that she grew up with back in Montana—for this.


I don't want her to stay—here,

but I can't say I'd blame her if she did.


The force at her feet is hard to resist.


You look out on that shell of salt water

and suddenly a wave pops up,

the wave spots you sitting there on the beach

and begins waving at you like only a wave can.


It's happy to see you.

And the closer it gets the more ecstatic it becomes.


It's so delirious with joy it forgets about what it's doing

and can only think about rushing to see you,

to embrace you and splash you with love like a watery dog.


And then it trips, falls, and breaks its backbone.

But that doesn't stop it.


That wave stretches out and keeps on sliding up the beach

with sheer determination

until there's nothing left of the wave but its lips,

which with one final pucker reach out and kiss your toes

before collapsing back into that overcrowded, impersonal sea.


And it's worth it—worth a wave's lifetime—for a toe kiss.

Do you believe in leprechauns?

You might after seeing this video

about Tommy the Leprechaun

on my You Tube channel

"Zoola Playground."

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NOLA16 Doreen clarinet.jpg


I was coming out of Pirate’s Alley and turning onto Royal Street when I heard the note that lasts forever.


Without hesitation I walked hypnotically toward the note and joined a gathering crowd moving in and out of sync with the rhythms of the note-maker.


A universe of brain cells began wondering simultaneously how this beautiful thing came to be happening here—as if the walls of Carnegie Hall had suddenly collapsed, leaving the performer exposed to all the elements of the street—traffic, jackhammers, sirens, and of course, crying babies.


But her music made all other sound irrelevant—I could no longer even hear the voices in my head. And the woman blowing eternally on her black and gold clarinet would not be known to me as Doreen Ketchens until after the experience.


And the experience started at my feet—started with that note—that green note, at least it was green to me, that's the color I assigned to it (and I think it's okay to assign a color to a note). New Orleans green. And that green note bounced off the windows of Rouses Market, ricocheted off the Saint Peter street sign and then dove into the Royal Street pavement below my feet.


That green note was not done. It oozed out through a crack in the asphalt and wrapped itself around my ankles—a vine note. And that vine note used its melodic tendrils to continue up my thighs, waist, torso, and then began tightening around my neck, but not too tight, then swirled up and around my eyes and ears to my sweating brow and sprouted white flowers on my bald head.


Suddenly I was well-rooted in a place I thought I was just visiting.


The vine note kept growing—a green elevator—lifting me up beyond the bead-strewn balconies, higher and higher through clouds and space and time until I could see Madame Laveau dancing with her snake, Zombi, down in Congo Square. I saw a slave ship nearly collide with the Canal Street Ferry pushing through the Mississippi toward Algiers. I saw the pirate Lafitte counting his silver and gold in the Bywater and the yellow and orange flames from his flintlock musket.


And then all I could see was a moving and magical black cloud.


The undulating cloud turned out to be a murmuration of starlings and they surrounded and cloaked me and shook me from my beanstalk crow's nest. I tumbled and somersaulted inside the feathery womb as they dipped and swerved and twirled over this storied city and I was massaged into dust. And now, as a body of dust, I floated back down onto Royal Street where Doreen Ketchens inhaled me into her lungs.

Inside the lungs of Doreen Ketchens I felt safe and nourished in song. How incredible, how amazing, to be the dust inside these musical lungs I thought (well my dust thought), but before I could get too philosophical or metaphysical, she blew me into the barrel of her black and gold clarinet and back out onto the street.


My dust regrouped into my body and I realized my DNA had been altered—and all I could do about it, as I walked up Saint Peter Street toward Bourbon—was to smile.

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