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To say that today and the following days/weeks will be momentous is an under statement. They will be stressful, for some victorious, for others disappointing and even devastating. I went to bed last night feeling very different than I did four years ago. In 2016 I was excited, last night I was solemn and uncertain. This morning I slept in, had breakfast, and went back to sleep again — which was how I reacted to the first three months of sheltering in during the pandemic. Around 1:30 pm I finally pulled myself out of bed, armed with a plan for…

Book Review: The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

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What an incredible journey! I began reading this book in a similar fashion I enter the ocean, beginning with dipping my toe in the water to gauge the temperature. I slowly but surely enter the water with both feet, steadying myself, and begin to wade out as my body adjusts to the power of the waves. When I am confident I can handle the current, I dive in head first and begin swimming out as far as my energy will take me.

As with the ocean, I took my time…

Book Review: NAAMAH by Sarah Blake

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This was not the story I was expecting! Take a little Old Testament mythology, add in the Divine Feminine, some good old Mother Earth paganism, a few scenes of lesbian erotica and then read it after washing down a couple of peyote buttons with a bottle of red wine. Yep, that is what my experience reading this story felt like. The character of Naamah is someone I aspire to be before I leave this life — unpretentious, completely honest with herself, and as authentic of a person I have ever come across — in…

The Joys of Grandparenting

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One of the greatest joys of my life is spending time with my three youngest grandchildren. The boys are ages ten and seven, the only granddaughter is eight.

Living in Los Angeles affords my husband and I a variety of activities to enjoy with these rambunctious yet well-mannered and inquisitive little ones. Besides the occasional treat to a local theme park, our time together outside of the house is spent camping, bowling, going to movies, participating in cultural festivals, and visits to the beach and mountains. Watching the children play in the ocean waves of the…

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As the eldest of four siblings and seven grandchildren, it was and is expected that I model responsibility, for myself as well as others. My behavior, my performance at school, my personal choices, my ability to keep secrets. I should clarify that I only grew up with one sibling, meeting my youngest two siblings many years later, but my younger cousins grew up in the same small community as my sister and I and we were, for the most part, raised together collectively by our parents and grandparents.

The responsibility I felt regarding my behavior and performance at school: My…

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As we get older, the dynamics of our friendships can change, some of them drastically. I have been thinking about and processing this for the past few years, and as time progresses, the changes become even more apparent.

One friend of mine described relationships as particles in space, orbiting around us in rings. We determine how close or far away these relationships are to us emotionally. Someone may have existed in our most inner ring for years, but now may be farther out in our ‘relationship universe’ due to not maintaining the close level of the relationship, or out of…

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Imagine taking a handful of seemingly ordinary people living seemingly ordinary lives. Not perfectly charmed lives, but not desperate barely-surviving lives either. Now throw in what should be a typical trip to London for two teen girls, the kind of girls who are responsible, and, for the most part make good decisions, until they don’t. Add a good woman who genuinely cares about others but decides not to act on a hunch because her morals are offended. Mix all of this up and you will be rewarded with a compelling story of what could have/should have/would have happened but didn’t…

May Gray

While the U.S. average for sunny days is an impressive 205, I and my fellow Angelenos enjoy a whopping 284. During the month of May, Los Angeles shines bright an average of 11 days, with an additional 12 days of partly sunny skies. The remaining 8 days of May are like today, overcast and gray. This is the third straight day of “May Gray” in Los Angeles. I’m not complaining, I actually enjoy a short reprieve from the sunshine and blue skies. I agree that variety is the spice of life.

Like my local weather, the news has…

“I look old,” said the woman, as she glanced in the mirror, trying to cover the wrinkles with make-up.

“You’re not old, Mama,” said the younger woman, “those lines represent all the times you have laughed and smiled.”

“I feel old,” said the woman, as she struggled to lift herself out of the chair.

“You’re not old, Grandma,” said the child, “you’re just tired after playing tag with me today — and you won!”

“I sound old,” said the woman, as her voice shook when she spoke.

“You’re not old, GG,” said the young teenager, “none of my friends’ great-grandparents know the lyrics to all the latest songs like you do!”

“I AM old!” exclaimed the woman, as she gazed at the candles blazing atop the cake in front of her.

“Yes! You are 100 years old! Happy Birthday to you…” sang four generations of the woman’s family.

My farm is now dust

So travel I must

Everything went bust

My new life as a hobo

Riding the rails

Walking dirt trails

Washing up in pails

My new life as a hobo

Working for dinner

I’m getting thinner

Not much of a winner

My new life as a hobo

An Okie by birth

I still have self-worth

Sleeping on the bare earth

My new life as a hobo

Noelle Kukenas

Poet and writer of short stories, flash fiction, and essays. Beginning blogger at

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