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Archive for the ‘Birth’ Category

Paul A. Toth

My Siamese Twin

November 6th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth


This has been what I call the Year of Ice. Colder than a shaved polar bear. Sayonara 2009. It’s been a year of pills, pills and more pills, until finally I seem to have reached some kind of treaty with bipolar disorder, which barely warrants discussion given that virtually everyone is now diagnosed as bipolar. Still, it’s important to note that when I write “ice,” I mean anxiety, yet when I write “anxiety,” I do not describe all attributes of “ice.” (more…)

Megan DiLullo, Erika Rae, and Lenore Zion

Girl, You’ll Be a Bond Woman Soon, or, Happy Birthday Rich Ferguson, TNB Style

November 3rd, 2009
by Megan DiLullo, Erika Rae, and Lenore Zion


Rich Ferguson, because it’s your birthday and because you just make being a Bond Girl so insanely cool, we’ve run a little contest in your honor: Who Makes the Best Bond Girl?

As you will see, several of the TNB guys have slipped into something a little more comfortable in your honor. So, quiet your inner Wai Lin, have a martini and leave your briefcase tear gas canister and testosterone at the door.


Rich Ferguson

Karma Driving School

October 15th, 2009
by Rich Ferguson


Author’s Note: I want to thank Jessica Larsen for the photo that she took during her recent travels in Varanasi, India.

Let’s go back to the very beginning / get in that car / get behind the wheel / rev the engine to pure devotion / our each and every dream – sparkling motion / relearn brake, gas, and clutch / not so much to speed us through these streets / but to clearly see that our each and every action ripens into results / bad equals bad / good equals good / it’s not some tricky math / nothing like finding the perimeter of all human suffering / what it is is the world coming from us / not at us / karma driving school


Zsofia McMullin

Mind the Gap

October 13th, 2009
by Zsofia McMullin


Today was an exciting day for me. It will not sound exciting to anyone else, but here it is: I received a large package from The Gap.

The package was for me. It wasn’t a gift for someone else, or a mistake, nor did the package contain shoes or a bag or other accessories. No: it contained actual clothes. Maternity clothes. For me.

Now, the reason why this is so exciting is because the last time a piece of clothing – namely a pair of jeans and men’s shirt – from The Gap fit me was in 1996, if I remember correctly. I was a sophomore in college. It was a long, long time ago.


Matt Baldwin


October 6th, 2009
by Matt Baldwin


I’ve been thinking about blood a lot lately.

Blood I’ve spilt, and blood I’ve seen spilt. The red fluid gushing out of a beheaded rattlesnake’s body, sizzling as it splattered onto the hot Mexican soil. The crimson seeping out of the crushed chest of a fourteen year-old boy, opened up like a book as the doctors tried to massage his heart back into life. We cut the snake into strips and fried the meat over an open fire. And as for the boy, there was simply too much of him smeared across the front grill of a wrecked car, and his poor heart had nothing left to pump. (more…)

Robin Antalek


September 17th, 2009
by Robin Antalek


Eighteen years ago on the way to the delivery room the feeling of not being able to stop what was about to happen suddenly overwhelmed me. This baby that had been making me miserable for twenty-four hours had to come out and the passage of egress was not going to be a gentle one. When my first daughter eventually emerged from her day long battle waged in the birth canal, cone shaped head and bruises on her face the size and shape of peach pits from the last ditch effort emergency forceps, a smudge of pink between the delicate fuzz of her brow that one of the nurses deemed an “angel’s kiss”, I was assured in a week, maybe less, her face would be healed and the trauma of her birth would leave no visible scars, only memories, where I would be able to chart the ghost marks on her face, badges of what she and I had endured in the moments before her birth.  


Bryan Richards

A Thousand Words: One Fat Baby

August 31st, 2009
by Bryan Richards


I was a fat baby.

My mom loves to remind me of this fact. I was so large that strangers used to ask why this toddler of hers was having such a hard time sitting up on his own. It pained my mother to have to tell them that this toddler was actually a six-month-old baby, barely old enough to digest solid food.

Apparently, not only was I something closely resembling a small hippo as a baby, I was also riddled with terrible skin; acne so bad that she had to keep a hanky on hand to collect the ooze and scabs that would erupt throughout the day. She frequently recalls the many times that she would carry me home after a day of shopping or a long walk, crying in shame and anger at the fact that so many folks felt compelled to remind her of my minor deformities.


Gina Frangello

A Thousand Words: A Decent Proposal

August 31st, 2009
by Gina Frangello


I’m in an elevator, with my 10 month old twin daughters in their obtrusively large twin stroller. We are headed to the pediatrician’s. Several other people are in the elevator with us, and most of them are staring at my daughters, which is a common response to babies in general, twin babies in particular, and Chinese twin babies with a Caucasian mother most of all. Though I have only had the girls for a few weeks at this point, I am already used to the stares. My husband says that going out with them is like going out with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman (who are still married; it is 2001) because of all the attention. We make jokes like this; we think we are unflappable. We think people who adopt children from other countries and then freak out because people stare or ask questions are freaky and uptight.

A woman in the elevator turns to me and says, “Oh, they’re darling!” and I smile. I am still smiling when she says loudly, “How much did they cost?”


J.E. Fishman

At Loggerheads

August 11th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman


We left home for Bald Head Island under an invasion of gnats.  They started turning up in the master bathroom, and it got to the point where I was killing a dozen or more a day.  The slaughter was not traumatic for me in any way.  The gnats were slow, unthreatening.  You could close your hand around them or — my preferred method — wait for one to land and crush it neatly under a fingertip.  If one alit in the sink, you might end its existence with a splash.

I didn’t think of the gnats again until we were well ensconced on Bald Head, until we saw the baby sea turtles.


Doug Mulliken

Not a Thousand Words: Marvin Gaye, Mexico, and Patriotism

August 1st, 2009
by Doug Mulliken

United States of America, North America, the World -

I am an American.  I am an American because I was born in the United States of America.  I was born in the United States of America because my parents, and their parents, and their parents’ parents, and their parents’ parents’ parents, were born in the United States.  My family can trace its genealogy in this country back to a man named Robert Mulliken who was born in Scotland and arrived in the Massachusetts Bay colony in the 1680s.  Think about that for a second.  My family has been in this country since the 17th century.  I am about as American as you can get.  My ancestors may have come from Scotland or Ireland or wherever, but for me to suggest that I am a “hyphenated American” would be a slap in the face to those Americans whose connection to the country of their ancestors is, say, three years instead of three centuries.  I’m not Scottish-American, or Irish-American; I’m just American.  And yet I feel no connection to my country.


Don Mitchell

Heavy Duty Natural People

July 22nd, 2009
by Don Mitchell


I kept thinking about having a vasectomy because I had lived in a place where there was a population problem, big-time, and I’d been taught by Paul Ehrlich as an undergraduate. I believed that population control should be everyone’s first priority, and that by foregoing reproduction, I was doing my part.

Zara Potts


July 12th, 2009
by Zara Potts


Barren is the ugliest word I know. It speaks of death. It reeks of utter loneliness.

It’s a word that the dictionary says applies to me.

It applies to fields where nothing grows. It applies to urban landscapes where homes are not built. It applies to my body.


Lenore Zion

A Thousand Words: Baby Birds

July 6th, 2009
by Lenore Zion


I’d say my life started at the approximate moment that my identical twin sister died next to me in my mother’s womb.

After that, it moves all over the place.  But that was the key moment, right then.  And it, being the key moment, has peppered every other moment in my life.

Before grade school – kindergarten, I believe:  I took piano lessons with a woman whose age I cannot remember.  She forbade her students to touch the keys of the piano.  We were “dirty little children,” and we could not be trusted to keep her piano, which was not actually her piano, but the school’s piano, clean.  Instead, we played “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” pounding out each note on the wooden plank that covered the keys when the piano was shut.  (more…)

Stefan Kiesbye

A Thousand Words: Ghost Story

July 5th, 2009
by Stefan Kiesbye


In her last years my grandmother Ida Mattern, when visiting my parents in the small town in Lower Saxony, could be seen sitting neatly dressed on the brown plush sofa, her back to the tall windows. A crocheted kerchief in her hand, she read the yellow presses and did crossword puzzles. She had taken to Boris Becker and tennis, and if he was playing, she watched the match on TV. (more…)

Erika Rae

On Fear

July 2nd, 2009
by Erika Rae


I must not fear. 
Fear is the mind-killer. 
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. 
I will face my fear. 
I will permit it to pass over me and through me. 
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. 
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. 
Only I will remain.

- The Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear / Frank Herbert’s Dune

It is a couple of days ago. I am driving in my Jeep down the mountain road from my house. The sun is shining. The aspens are twinkling. On the side of the road, little sprigs of wildflowers are glowing yellow and purple in the sun. With the exception of the unfortunate necessity for the use of fossil fuels, it is all very Zen.

I must not fear.


Maureen Quinlan Jouhet

A Tiny Little Nose, Curly Hair and the Longest Umbilical Cord I’d Ever Seen

June 22nd, 2009
by Maureen Quinlan Jouhet


We waited.

And then we waited some more.

He just didn’t want to come.

Unfortunately for me, they count 41 weeks as the ideal gestation period for a baby here in France while in the United States we count 40. We’re just impatient, I guess.

And so by my U.S.-friendly calculations we were already waiting an extra week to see our little guy, which was hard enough. He was being fashionably late.

My due date came and went. No baby.

My mother’s visit to see her first grandchild came and went. Still no baby.


Zara Potts

Billy Idol and Me

June 10th, 2009
by Zara Potts


Generation X.

I like it. I like us.  I think we have the coolest generational brand.


It marks the spot. It’s mysterious. It’s also a kiss.

But I think we’ve also been ripped off. BIG TIME.

The Baby Boomers before us are such attention seekers. Gen Y behind us don’t even need to seek it, the self-confident little shits.

But Generation X. Well, I think we’ve been quite hard done by actually.


Erika Rae

The Sex

June 8th, 2009
by Erika Rae


A few weeks ago, a Hindu priestess I happen to know walked up to me and said with full conviction, “Oh! You’re having a boy!”

Startled, I raised my eyebrows at her as she proceeded to wave her hands in the vicinity of (but without actually touching) my protruding belly. Just as the news sank in and I began to think it might actually be true—that I was, indeed, going to have a child with a penis (because, really, how many times does person have the opportunity to have a real, live Hindu priestess divine the sex of one’s unborn child – surely, it must carry some weight…), she took a step back, a confused look on her face.

“Or, is it a girl?” she said, somewhat more quietly this time.


Greg Boose

With One Day Before the Due Date, I Go Over My “To Due” Checklist

June 5th, 2009
by Greg Boose


My first child is due tomorrow, but who knows if it’ll make an appearance though.

Could see its shadow, could not.

Could be too pleased in its warm liquidy blanket to even make it to the mouth of the cave, to be coerced from its cage, to be held up by the mayor, or to be anything else that’s a terrible metaphor for the baby birthing through Claire’s vagina.


Doug Mulliken

Reconciling the Man I Want to be With the Guy I am

May 25th, 2009
by Doug Mulliken


A while back Old Spice ran a print ad that showed Faye Dunaway lounging in front of a roaring fire, and at the bottom right of the spread there was the best tag line I’d ever read - “If your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist.”  I loved everything about the ad - Faye Dunaway!  Classic Old Spice! Roaring Fire!  None of this metrosexual shit - be a fucking man like your grandfather was!

It made me think of my own grandfather - he was one of the more interesting people I had ever met.  Like pretty much all the men in my family, he was big and barrel-chested and he had that old-man strength that always surprises you.  When he was younger he had dark hair, and there is a portrait of him my unlce has where he has a cigarette casually dangling from the side of his mouth and he looks like Ernest Hemingway.

He lived at the beach and he drank gin, all day every day.  Beefeater on the rocks.  And he loved classical music.  He should have worked at a classical music radio station - he could hear the opening stanza to any piece and know the composer.  It was kind of amazing.  After my grandmother died, he would sit late at night, listening to the classical music station, and rub his finger along the rim of his glass, staring blankly into the ice.

He was the first person to offer me a beer - I was 14 and spending the night at his house and he said “you want an Oranjeboom?”  Every time I see Oranjeboom now I think of that night, the sounds of the ocean and the classical music and the white carpet and the wood panels and the pale yellow Oranjeboom tall boy. (more…)