Images by Roe Ethridge
 From the series “Bad Flowers”, taken in Brooklyn during the spring of 2020.

According to the Rorschach seeing botanical landscapes in an ink-blot is a sign of depression, misanthropy, passive childish sexuality, and a hysterical inability to control excitement. It could also be a sign of mystical experience. Freud, weirdly, said it was both.


In some two-storey mall off of US 1, the kind with open-air hallways, I was given a battery of psychological tests by my therapist’s wife. It was the early 1990s; I was fourteen at the time, didn’t much like school, and started wearing black lipstick and loitering around Miami’s Coconut Grove. The mall therapists ran their business like a Ponzi scheme. He saw my aunt, and then her and her husband in couples therapy, which he then told me about. He also saw my father occasionally, or the two of us. He suggested we all get tested. We were like a South Florida therapy pod.

I vividly remember him telling me that my father married my mother for flimsy reasons – he had said, apparently, that she was pretty, smart, and passionate, but really he had no idea who she was. They gave you this kind of insider access to sordid family details like you were special – numero uno, the one who could be saved by this morsel of information. Then everything you said went viral. I learned the hard way that nothing in Florida is ever confidential, really. ...


– The full text appears in Spike #65. You can buy it in our online shop –