"Summer can be a slothful and sinful season....."

Thus begins THE PECULIAR INCIDENCE OF THE INTERSEX CHINCHILLA, the tale of a Victorian family and their unwitting participation in the creation of a mutant race.

Hear Ms. Duva read it on Mystery radio! Check back soon for broadcast.
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A woman would come. Our boy was in no hurry. He hadn’t lived that story yet. He was living on the land, providing for his family. He was a boy and a man.

There were women who would have him. His boss invited him to fix a leak, and answered her door in a nightie, illustrating time and gravity underneath. That leak was sealed with religious attention, and our boy begged no hunger, no thirst: I’m in a hurry! There was the nurse who kneaded his thigh, making way for the bullet that would be his for life. But she was in a hurry, and the whites of the freedom fighter’s eyes still burned into our man’s mind, and rage is no aphrodisiac for a nice guy.

He was a nice guy. He clapped, even hooted a bit when the ice-cream girl called him into her truck and danced down to her bra, but he didn’t touch. He returned to work and pumped the swimming pool clean. He mowed fields around the bombed-out stadium so guys could forget all playing ball. He oversprayed hate graffiti with black blobs...



They were not considered stupid women by the public (see: chess; sestinas; sacred geometry; research on primate behavior; and dazzling double-spaced analyses pulled out of their respective asses whilst pinned under purring cats, verbally abusing each other, and listening to a mix of Kraftwerk and Afrobeat). But they were prone to tantrums and hysterics, and flamboyant blood stains, and hallucinatory confessions to Worldly men who began love writing puppy dog poems and ended love throwing the telephone into the ceiling fan.
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STAR PUPIL ............ The Lobotomization of American Education

When you keep a six-year-old in chairs for six hours straight,
with no recess,
with no exercise,

You are psychologically straitjacketing that kid.

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Forbidding 15 minutes a day
of fresh air and a little space
is a crime akin to forbidding a child to go to the bathroom.

They complain about children going ballistic
As if it is the children's fault!

I know guests, I'm losing my cool, I tend to pretend to have been dead for 500 years, but this is the year 2007, and I am pissed!

We wonder why our kids don't become scientists and engineers, when everything we learn needs to fit on a piece of paper,
and our tests are on paper,
and we've got to follow the Book.

The military gets all that fat
federal wealth
straight from the source

But for YOUR education you'll have to depend on how much homes "go
for" ($$$)
in your area

Leaving the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free

in the piddly educations

of their tax caste.


take back the SWASTIKA

Swastika is a Sanskrit word which means "well-being."

An ancient symbol used by Buddhists, Hindus, Native Americans, Celts, and many other cultures across the globe.

Energy specialists suggest it represents the flow of life force.

Carl Sagan suggested it represents a comet that veered close to the earth many millenia ago.

Take back the swastika!



He makes mother’s milk:
the black-eyed dove has flown.

He mashes nut, apple and soy
strains it through my paisley scarf
pours the spew in a syringe
shakes it to make it warm
pecks my cheek
puts the wilted babies in my palm.

Jelly heads, tiny tapered rumps, and spindly proto-wings want to bloom.
They suck and strive. A black eye bud opens one crack, drunk on a sliver of light.
Their crops balloon, they turn purple and plop, yawning out needle tongues.

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Female Suicide Bomber

Naomi Des Moines

as the Female Suicide Bomber:
"Do I HAVE to
take the twelve virgins?"

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George Washington Prays in the Ladies' Room of Lincoln Lanes Bowling

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Dad got a vein tied off so they could conceive me. The white population grew by one.

In the privacy of his home Dad liked to talk like he was black. “Look at dem bruthas and sistahs!” he said to my pregnant mother as a group of children swarmed to our window.

“D’jou find your names?” he’d ask the kids, opening the door. “Oh, good!.... no? What’s your name? Precious?! I like that! Okay, honey, I’ll make sure you’re on the list next year.”

In our storefront window – a window that once displayed boxes of rice and beans and detergent – stood a life-size Santa Claus, old white man with the bushy eyebrows. Santa wore spectacles and held a quill pen, and when he was plugged in his hand swept slowly up and down his list of neighborhood children, as if considering.

“You better be good. Santa’s still got time to change his mind.” Our mottled sidewalk was host to all kinds of motherly warnings.

Dad took the list downtown to a calligrapher every December to add the new kids’ names, and watched the list evolve from DeVontes, Jos├ęs and Preciouses to Kaitlins, Matthews and Scotts




1991 and my legs are fabulously scabbed

I'm wearing some tropical-colored garment that bowls over the bees.

Saddam, you butthole!

My school mates laugh. I run into a pole.

His bunkmates kick him in the teeth.

1991 and he’s never had a woman

But the hands of men have been


his thigh


Baby Grandma

Grandma married the postmaster of Dubuque, Iowa at the age of sixteen. They went their separate ways when she gave birth to another man's baby. There would be five more husbands to come.

Her kids would come home from school to ambulances - "My heart! My heart!"

Every time you upset Grandma she'd clutch her chest and say, "My heart!"

But when they sat by her hospital bed watching her organs fail one by one, it was her heart that wouldn't stop. Long after she'd passed out, her turtle heart kept beating.

She said she'd find us parking spaces from beyond the grave, and she really does.



It’s a hot, nasty Chicago afternoon. I watch Mom enter the yard through the alley. Crab apples are rotting. Worms are ecstatic. She’s dialoguing with a breeze and she’s clearly pissed at the sun. She’s drunk.

“Oh, honey.” She’s come from a smoky, black-windowed kafana where she learned the barmaid’s son was born with his bladder outside his body, and rushed to America on an emergency visa, where the doctors fixed his bladder but left him with a stub of a penis.

“The kid is fourteen, and he has a girlfriend. All he wants is a penis, God bless him! We’re gonna raise the money. Whaddayou say? We’ll put on a grand gala.”


Ku Klux Klan meets State Trooper

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Hot damn. In fifth grade and already channeling the spirit of Oscar Wilde. The boots were Payless. Jeans: from her mecca, GapKids. Cirque du Soleil was her obsession, and she danced daily to the soundtrack, a shamanic - and very 80s - electrodance odyssey.

Recently the artist did a frenzied West African - style tribute to one of the more percussive numbers of "Nouvelle Experience" in her kitchen, with a baby blanket on her head. The audience was stupefied.
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He proposed under the covers, with a euphoric grin on his face. The engagement lasted two weeks. We had no time to waste. I wore an electric blue minidress to the ceremony, and when we walked out of town hall, gypsies with babies on their hips flung their palms at us, whining, “please! a little something for luck on your big day!” Our honeymoon was spent driving up the coast, sleeping in a tent or borrowing the bedrooms of his teenage cousins, making love amidst plastic fashion dolls and plush monkeys.


from MOTHER TONGUE (3,004 words)

My latest fantasy is to take over the army. We’ll flood it with women and pacifists, bleedin’ heart fruits, singers and teachers and dancers. Why abolish that wretched institution when we can just take it over and make it cool? You always have to approach from the angle of doing, not undoing. Physical strength, camaraderie, hypnosis techniques, money and resources up the ass, dedication and discipline. Why shouldn’t we appropriate a few of their resources, and fight for our dreams?

Discipline is the foundation.

As I sat in bed sucking on my pen and contemplating my army, I heard several rifle shots and a machine gun megablast down the road.


from SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS: A Traveler's Tale

I drink in the hush of colors – not the colors themselves so much as how they blend, bleed, shade and grain together on a single fish.

“Why bother making all this erotic, ridiculous beauty?” I asked God.

A lionfish appeared, a tough-looking motherfucker with a poisonous spine and brown stripes and 24 fins in all directions, each as flittery and light as skin on cooked milk.

I discovered an eel, your standard sick green moray. It slithered from behind a rock, beady eyed and needle teethed, opening and closing its jaws in slow, cruel rhythm, its neck wrinkling and puffing like a rotten apple.


I stooped down and I imitated the eel, who looked like he was putting on a performance, his ugliness so frivolous and radiant and bombastic I couldn’t stand it.



Rosy Cowboy descended into the decaying autumn earth in his mahogany box, but I didn't see it. I was home, sitcoms blaring laugh tracks, waiting with Bobo for the vet to come. I held my cat while she died, a rubber band tied around her leg, belly patched with pee. I watched her corneas crinkle and felt her turn to matter.




These humans are my parents.
This is a Christmas photo from 1985.
"I'd sooner fly to the moon than live with your father again!" my mother has told me.
"I don't know what has compelled me to mate with these strange men, except to bring you girls into existence."


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Proposhko Yezero

Tambura took off for the high hills with a plastic bag stuffed in his pocket, promising to return with blueberries. I walked lazily home, staring at the dirt road. I found a little black sheep leg lying in the lane, with its hard hoof, bloody at the top. In another lane, I discovered something that resembled a trachea. I watched a woman with a ruddy face, a face that may never have known makeup, wind a ball of fresh yarn.

These people spend most of their day providing directly for their personal survival. They walk with their sheep, shear them, milk them, kill them, make cheese and make bread by the light of oil lamps. They build their own houses and grow their own vegetables. They make medicine from plants. They boil their bathwater. They blow my mind.

Back in the cabin, I murdered a monstrous bumblebee with a splint of firewood. This made me feel somewhat rugged. But I felt empty too. I wanted to leave. “I like toilet paper,” I murmured to myself. “I like toilets.”

I thought of the world order, of the people from Mexico who pick my fruit, the workers in China who make the cheap clothes I depend on, and the maids who clean the public buildings I use. I thought of all those people who shrink-wrap food and deliver it to the store, who hammer and wire and weld and dig up oil from deep under the sea, who climb up poles to fix my telephone, who whisk away my garbage. My standard of living depends on how many people are working for me. Whose work makes your life easier? Whose life is easier because of your work? Could you be rich if no one were poor

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The Computer is Your Friend

Waller High School, the dog days of September.

Late twentieth century.

A load of freshmen enter the library for their library resources orientation.

I am no musicologist but I can place their musical tastes roughly in the vein of:
Puff Daddy / Snoop Doggy Dogg / Bone Thugs and Harmony with a sprinkling of Nirvana and Sevendust lovers.

The librarian, an obese diabetic with a peg leg and the bewildered face of an elderly kitten, says, "Do you know the James Taylor song 'You've Got a Friend'?"

The youngsters stare blankly.

"Well, the computer is your friend."




On the day when strange, unforeseen forces of global warming pop the crust of the earth free, we will have to retaliate by stomping the earth. That's right! All 8 billion of us are gonna dance - some in sun, some in shadow - to save the world.

"The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing" -James Brown
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This photo was taken in Albuquerque, a.k.a. “the end of the line.” This slow, dusty, spirit-town is where you go when you yearn to get into trouble, bang yourself up a bit, and become better acquainted with your shadow. I journeyed to the end of the line, and I have the scratch marks on my chest to prove it, but I was a resilient young maiden and I bounced back out.

The Albuquerque buses were good places to hear jagged, lonely ballads. My lady left me… I served my time… Heck a lotta dunbops and then you gon’ get whooped!... Don’t bend over in the showers at County… and of course, A young lady like you shouldn’t ride the bus all by yourself!

Buses were the province of men, bangin’ it to Metallica or strumming tuneless, abused guitars. But I remember one woman-rider who was as brash and scratchy as the men. She had the word BITCH tattooed on her moonhead.

The photograph in this collage is from one morning when I saw Bitch all alone. It was early and she was walking up a desolate main street. Her legs were bare. Just some patterned drawers. And she wore this sandwich board, ETERNITY WHERE?
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My life-mate is watching a riveting drama, slick and high budgeted, about a great money heist.

Famous anuses thespitize. They are men driven for cash in copious amounts, tumbling and roping and machinegunning their way to a Better Life.

I believe that Dennis Frantz just made a 15-second community service announcement in which he informed sensitive viewers that cash is cool, but not even a billion bucks could save you from being hit by an asteroid and “expiring.”

The predominant colors in this film are gray and black. The color of technoempires, hollow, hygienic authority, and ash.

Our era is a medieval time, a Dark Age of Individuality, Personal Gain, and Home Entertainment Systems.

My life-mate farts. I dive for cover in a stunt worthy of the telethespians. I smell mountains of expired eggs, burning in hell. I scamper to the can claiming an urgent need to clip my toenails, but the smell assaults me even from there. Your farts aspire to be world travellers! I scream.


"An inert object is more difficult to propel than an object heading in the wrong direction is to turn around" - from a poem by Nikki Giovanni
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When my dead friend and I were young and ripe, we double dated some twin blowholes, who we serendipitously dumped on the same night. I took her joyriding around the forest preserves, jiving from my pelvis up to Saturday night techno. She wore a faux silk kimono and no shoes, and she sprawled in the backseat of Mama Hondissima, feet black as coal, chugging a can of diet cola and giggling uncontrollably.

Mummified Infant

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Jimmy's an Unknown. He's a tiny man who scrunches his sweatpants up to his knees, revealing milky white bird legs above his blue cowboy boots. When I first tried to shake his hand, Jimmy’s mouth churned like he was savoring some cud, and a noxious, painful sound rose. He was grinding his teeth. I watched him place his hands on imaginary handlebars and rev up. Standing in place, he rode a motorcycle, bobbing up and down. I could almost see the wind in his hair. Suddenly, he cackled like a cartoon witch, slapped his own ass, and rocketed to his room as if the slap provided the impetus. He trotted right back out, licking his fingers to flip the pages of a ragged catalog. It was a classifieds for motorcycles, crammed with tiny black and white photos.

Ah-duh-duh-duh-dah! Ditta-dah-dah-dah-dah! Jimmy’s speech was indecipherable; he sounded like a stump-tongued, apocalyptic Elmer Fudd. He flopped to his belly on the carpet. While gazing at his catalog, he swiveled his hips slowly, side to side, in the same fashion I used to make love to my stuffed animals as a child.


Herbalists. Head shops. Gun shops. Taxidermists. This is the frontier. Home of the atomic bomb, top secret military operations, and an annual hot air balloon fiesta. I have neighbors who slap their girlfriends and call them Bitch; I have neighbors who worship feathers and bury crystals in the earth under each full moon. I meet mothers who fill their children with soy milk and tofu turkey, and mothers who send their tiny sons to the rodeo in helmets and sequined chaps, to be thrown off bucking sheep in the opening rounds.
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Inspired by the venerable ESQUIRE MAGAZINE

1. We’re just as nasty as you are. But we used to get burned at the stake for it, so we’ve been on our best behavior for the past four hundred years.

2. As a rule, we smile at each other in the ladies’ room. Usually we’re sneering inside. We’ve been conditioned to secretly scorn each other… and worship you.

3. As little girls we humped our stuffed animals, or we screwed down pillows and worried we’d give birth to goose babies.

4. What’s worse than the man who can’t find our clitoris? The man who’s so proud he can, he strums away like every stroke will bring him a million bucks.

5. We labored for Mohammed, nursed the baby Jesus, and taught Moses right from wrong. Abraham tugged at our skirts; And we whooped baby Adolf senseless.

6. Crying sheds multiple toxins and burns a lot of calories. It’s also fun! It is a major factor in our longer lifespans.

7. We wish you’d teach us more about tools. They’re awesome!

8. You may think our premenstrual chocolate cravings trivial, but the flavonoids in those bags of chocolate chips have been medically proven to help break the dam.

9. “Hee hee, shopping???”

“Huh huh, football! Fishing! War!”

It’s a tradeoff, boys.

We’re still gatherers and hunters deep in our blood.

*Kate Duva is not appearing in any upcoming miniseries.