Punish the Poor. Punish the Poor. Punish the Poor.

When our child was born, I called my health insurer Pacific Source. How much would it cost to add her to my policy? (My spouse, a non-traditional college student and Navy veteran, has a separate student health policy.) Pacific Source told me it would cost an additional $251 per month to add my healthy baby to my policy, and she would have her own deductible. Continue reading


A Letter to My Foetus

Dear baby,

We expect you to emerge from my uterus in about 2 months. You simultaneously terrify and delight us. I’m trying not to get my hopes up about the kind of person you’ll be. Despite our best efforts – and we’re gonna give you our best efforts, that’s for damn sure – you could end up being a selfish turd*. I sure hope not, but anything is possible in this nutty world.

When I first found out that my egg and your dad’s sperm had successfully united in holy matrimony to form a blastocyst, I felt incredulity and joy and also apprehension. Who am I to impose life on anything? I asked. Out loud. To my therapist. Continue reading

Horror Story of Love

Guest post today from my fella. While you’re waiting for the Warriors to finish off the Cavs (sorry, LeBron. I love you, though), consider for a moment the Mervyn Peake-esque talent with which I live. (He wrote it for me.)

Warning: this is disgusting.


A rug it is and a slug it is
And like a moldy plug it is:
              this ugly bug-love I have for you.
Breath deep of its salty musk
And choke with profound disgust
At the lush rottenness of the cusk
that fills my reeking husk:
              I’m brimming with putrid fish-rot love for you.
Can you hear, my earless dear?!?
It’s me! Your beast filled with yeast,
sweating his pungent grease,
sliming you up a bubbling feast.
              It’s a redolant and sloppy love for you.
Don’t you get it?!?
I’m sick for you!
I’m gross for you!
I’d lick some shit’s whitlows for you!
You’re mine,
              my decrepit and wizened ghoul of love.
As to me? I’m a hippo! I’m a pig!
I’m only happiest when I dig
in your twilligs and your brigs!
              Of course, I’m drowning in this cream-thick wabe of love.
I mean, how could I win?
How does one even begin
when he’s tied and trapped
In a windowless den?
              Oh, what a dreadful horror story of love. 

-kegen dean benson

Narrowly & Painfully

This past week, the House GOP narrowly and painfully passed bloody stools a monstrous and pathetic “health care” bill.

(To be clear, it is a “health care” bill the same way people who force pregnancies on women are “pro-life.” That is to say, ironically. That is also to say, they’re both misnomers and intentionally misleading terms.) Continue reading

Holy Wall Street

My fella grew up with very, very little in the way of material resources or goods. I grew up with 3 siblings and a blue collar, self-employed dad and a stay-at-home mom; six mouths to feed and very little extra to go around. Luckier than many, yes, but not remotely wealthy.

My fella put himself through college and worked full-time. Then he went into the Navy for the steady paycheck and the insurance. I earned a master’s degree in Spanish and moved with him when he got re-assigned to new stations. He’s out of the Navy now and using the GI Bill to return to school for additional practical skills. I’m working for a non-profit, using my Spanish language skills on occasion and my English language skills every waking moment.

We didn’t come from money. And it’s clear we’re not going toward money, either. Continue reading

Crisis, a short story

“For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” – Carl Sagan

Even then, perhaps not.


“There is a weight I don’t know how to get out from under,” she wrote. “It hangs on me. It sits with me when I sit. It walks with me, reluctantly, when I walk. It doesn’t want to walk or to get up, but sometimes I make it. Continue reading

I Walked from Work to the Market This Evening

I walked from work to the market this evening, needing to pick up some beef broth to stretch the soup I’m taking to a potluck later tonight. On the sidewalk outside the market stood a man, gray and probably cold in the zero degree dusk. He wore a coat; I could not tell how thick or protective. He held a sign saying something like “In need” or “Please help”; I can’t remember the exact wording, but the message was familiar.

What I can remember is the hashtag on his cardboard sign: #MAGA, written vertically down the right-hand side.

I walk toward him. “Does a sandwich sound good?” I ask him, thinking of the pre-made sandwiches inside the market. Quick, easy, nutritious, no utensils required; I don’t know what supplies he carries with him.

“No, what would be better is a baguette and some cheese; I can make my own sandwich,” he tells me. “Cheddar. And those little mayonnaise packets, I don’t know if you know where they are. And a bag for everything.”

I smile. I’m taken back by the specificity of his requests. Beggars, if he is indeed that, can be choosers. Continue reading