Response: Addicted

Editor Kirsten Larson, Editor's Choice, April 25th, 2015

"I ate him up, three small bites."

girl addicted response nailed magazine

In our monthly Response Column, NAILED asks readers to respond to a particular word or topic. We are seeking raw, honest personal responses that aim less to answer questions and more to raise them. Responses in the form of art, photography, essay, story, poem, and rant will all be considered for publication. May’s topic is SKIN, please email your responses to by May 18th, for publication at the end of the month. (Word count limit: 1,000 words.)

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Response: Addicted


Three Small Bites, by Asha Doré



Before I met your father, I worked at a bakery up north. Every morning, I woke up before dawn to ice the anatomically correct gingerbread men. One morning, a Navy man with dark hair came into the bakery. I married him. I followed him to a summer island. I followed him into a house made of cement blocks. We ate noodles and slept on the floor, sweating every day, even in the cold. We tried to make a baby, but we couldn’t make a baby, and all I wanted was this beautiful man’s beautiful babies. So I left. I flew home, to the bakery, but the bakery had new equipment. The owners didn’t want to train me or hire me or let me touch the bald cookies, little men lined up on a pan. They told me to go home. I bought a gingerbread man with a red penis and yellow pubic hair, a yellow mustache, licorice buttons. I wondered if he would come alive at night like the rhyme. I would never sleep with a real man who looked like that, just think of the children we’d make. I ate him up, three small bites.


Ross introduced me to the coke dealer sitting on a barstool. I was a waitress or I was a patron. I don’t remember what I drank but I drank and the coke dealer drank and of course, I got pregnant. I tried to move in with Mom. She wasn’t surprised but she wasn’t ready to tell me, Make an appointment. Before I could unwind those words from her mouth, the coke dealer found me. He told me he was saving me, saving himself, the baby. He told me to have the baby and we’d be husband and wife, father and mother, married twenty-five days before you were born. We had our honeymoon at the Days Inn on the beach. A year later, someone tore down that hotel, built a Holiday Inn. A year later, my husband’s father died. Ross came to the wedding and the funeral. I asked Ross to be your Godfather. Of course, Ross said, even though he and his wife had been trying to make babies for years and years, but she kept finding stray Rottweilers on the side of the sandy highways, instead.


After you were born, my father-in-law made pork rinds from scratch. He brought them to our trailer and tried to get me to eat them. He said he could tell I was hungry, so skinny, only mother, only bones. He tried to get you to eat them too, but you were a baby, and all you wanted was breast milk and oranges and fried chicken with the meat peeled off. You sucked the joints. Your father ate the rinds. He dangled them in front of you until you caught one and gummed it and spit it out and cried. Your father carried you while he pulled dried clothes from the line, dropping them into a wicker basket. Your father laid you on top of the laundry and carried you inside like baby Moses alone on the river. Your father cooked chili at his parents’ house and carried it into our trailer, meat spilling from a scratched up aluminum pot, but I didn’t eat that either. Your father sang. He drew masks on pieces of newspaper, cut out the eyeholes, held them up to his face, and even though I asked him, even though I broke a plate in the sink and ran out of the house, let him chase me, told him I’d take the baby and leave, hide, go somewhere where he’d never ever find us, I swear you’ll never find us, he didn’t stop selling coke until after his father died.


Asha Doré’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Lumina, Hobart, The Rumpus, Sweet, and other venues. She is an MFA student at Eastern Oregon University where she’s working on a collection of lyric essays and a novel about fame.

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 Response: Addicted Photograph by Vanelle Moselle

moselle response addicted nailed magazine


Vanessa Moselle works professionally documenting large-scale events, works with fashion publications such as Manor, with French television journalist weddings, and consistently works on her personal projects. She regularly exhibits her work in galleries throughout France, where she lives and works. To view her photo essay “These Human Shells,” go here.


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Me, My Boy, and the Mobil Station, by Ellyn Touchette


I’d tell you about the boy       who loved me  in the Mobil station but I’ve never taken a boy
there    see          my boy he’d sleep              & sleep & sleep          always on the one
-man couch      it was like I was gone so I’d get gone, get him anything        cheap beer
pound it   in the armchair       across the room           while he sleeps himself into cushions
so I’d love my couch for everything   he isn’t               & isn’t & isn’t        & now the clerk knows
my name, knows all    about who I’m here for           & why I stare at myself
in the freezer glass         knows why I shop for two    knows about the thing in my living
room & how he won’t hold me           in a double bed            & the clerk doesn’t know why
either   but sells me my ulcer:      my boy won’t even come      upstairs       to look at me
so how could I     expect him to walk       three blocks           for me,         a pack of cigarettes,
& something to drink?


Ellyn Touchette is a biology student from Portland, Maine. Some of her work has appeared in Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Black Heart Magazine, and The Emerson Review.

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  Response: Addicted Photograph by Chona Kasinger

chona kasinger response addicted nailed magazine


Chona Kasinger is a Seattle-based photographer and writer. Her past clients include Rolling Stone, MTV, Nylon and more. To view her photo essay “Cheers!” go here.

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Addicted, by Carol Weis


For years, I lived inside the fist of co-dependency. So obsessed with the notion of romantic love, I let myself get sucked into another 12-year run with my primary addiction, that ever acceptable, insidious drug of alcohol, when deep inside I knew I should quit.

As I sank deeper into my dependence in my later 20’s, I was living in an old Victorian building in West Philadelphia with a pack of Penn students and various others who shared an eight bedroom, Addams-family-style house. They studied hard and partied the same, as I honed cooking skills in the bustling kitchen of a popular restaurant in center city. During a weekend away at a family reunion, I reconnected with a man who would later become my husband, the man who convinced me I was nothing like his alcoholic parents, who I sensed teetered on the darker side of the disease.

He came down for a weekend, to visit me in my new apartment from his western Mass home. I had moved out of the big house and was living on my own for the first time. We’d hauled a small table through a hallway window, out onto a black-tar horizontal roof, decorated it with candles and wine glasses, where we dined on a fancy meal I’d prepared for his visit. We were on our second bottle of Chardonnay, after downing a few gin and tonics, when I paused, swirling the buttery liquid in its goblet, inhaling its intoxicating essence, and told him I thought I was an alcoholic. He stared at me with his Irish blue eyes and said, no way you’re an alcoholic, as he stormed through details of his childhood, with a mother who’d pass out mid-afternoon in her car after carousing with a booze-laden friend, and a dad who barely made it home at night. I know what alcoholics look like and you’re not one of them.

I bought what he said, hook, line and six-pack, as that’s what we alcoholics do, and moved up to Massachusetts to be with him four months later. I was in love, or what I thought was love, and in desperate need of escaping a risky lifestyle, which put me in the throws of diminishing who I really was. We eventually got married and continued drinking, both of us addicted to the same substance, unable to break free.

When I got pregnant and couldn’t make it through nine months without some sort of alcohol to assuage the fear my impending motherhood produced, the knowledge I had about myself bore down on me, chipped away at my denial–that protective armor that keeps us entrenched in our addictions.

It would be another five years before I got sober. And four months after that, my husband, who I was deeply enmeshed with for 12 years, left my daughter and me to take the journey of recovery on my own, his devotion to alcohol stronger than his commitment to me or us. The pain of losing two things I depended on most was all-encompassing and life-changing, the grief suppressed by years of alcohol abuse ready for release when I finally became sober.


Carol Weis is a freelance writer and editor, whose work has appeared online at xoJaneLiterary Mama, and Salon, and read as commentary on public radio. Her chapbook, Divorce Papers, led her to develop a kid’s workshop called, Poems Have Feelings Too, and a Simon & Schuster children’s book, When the Cows Got Loose, earned her the nickname Cow-Lady. She’s been working on two memoirs, one with her daughter, Maggie, about their struggles as teen and mom, and one on her own about her drinking years and recovery, where bits of this essay were taken. You can follow Carol on Facebook, or on Twitter, where she chronicles life in six-words.


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Header image courtesy of JG. To view his photo essay “Tiger Patterns,” go here.


Kirsten Larson

Kirsten Larson is a Contributing Editor at NAILED. She lives near Portland, Oregon. She loves words and is very curious. She received her MFA in writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles. She writes for The Huffington Post, and is an Adjunct Instructor at Portland State University. Her work can be found in NAILED, Huffington Post, Pathos, M Review, and several other places. She is currently working on two books.