thin/thick thoughts on thursday

From the backseat

My mother tells me

when she picks me up from the train station

that I’m supposed to fall in love at 27

she tells me this because a psychic tells her this

when she’s trying to find someone who can hear

her brother from the other side


My father kicks me out of the passenger seat

because the backseat of the car makes him sick

He says we have to call the town to tell them

it floods in front of our house and the basin

is overflowing


My mother replies that he ought to tell them

the street lamps don’t work and haven’t for years

and he doesn’t believe her

I also know the street lamps don’t work

but sometimes they do when I stand under them


I don’t think I’m magic or special or anything

but it makes me think our bodies are really electric

and magnetic-we’re flat out crazy not to acknowledge

all the invisible forces that govern our bodies

I think it’s weird people don’t think or talk about it more

and most people think it’s weird that I do


My mother tells me Sal died-her best friend Nancy’s dad

I immediately remember when Tessie, his wife, died

at her wake Nancy’s son Anthony asked me out for sushi

I glanced behind him at the casket silently laughing to myself

I could only think “everyone grieves differently I guess”


My mother and father fight over which lane

she should have gotten in and how she always

misses the streets we’re supposed to turn down

she always replies everything happens for a reason

these thoughts always halt as we pull into the driveway



Don’t think too hard

I tell myself

as I leave my baggage

for somebody else to claim

I’ll buy what I need new

show myself on the outside too-

I’ve changed-now

painted by more color

between all the black and grey


Created for space

Panthalassa and Pangea were waging a war on themselves

and split their hopes and dreams into different parts of the hemispheres

at a time when hemispheres didn’t have a name at all

because they didn’t exist and they didn’t have people or language

to explain them or make a distinction between the two at all 


Out of lungs

Sometimes you have to say things out loud

so it’s known-yes, for certain

this feeling has found a place

to occupy in a vibrating soundscape 


Hear this

Do you ever think about sound

how it surrounds your body-

doesn’t just leak into your skull

but licks your limbs and skin

what if natural sound

like rain and thunder

sounded like piano scales

on other planets

not artificial but

just the way things are

the wind like soft trumpets

whirring at the lips

Penny Talk

You left over 900 pennies in a bag by the door when you left. That was a year ago. I housed them in a drawer with other stuffed away memories in the shape of a deck of cards and mismatched earrings and old sets of keys. But today I thought, I should clean out that drawer and cash in those coins. Maybe I would feel a little lighter if I did. Maybe I would have one less reminder. Clear up some space. But, of course, it didn’t work that way.

I get 9 bucks cash from the Coinstar and go buy a coffee. After I slid in my straw, I realize in a way you bought me this coffee. And suddenly I was savoring each tiny pool of liquid that met my mouth. It became the best-damn-coffee-I’ll-ever-have-in-this-lifetime and I can’t stop thinking about you you you. Can’t stop AT ALL. So I had to sit down and fucking write about it.

I guess what I’m saying is-I tried to get rid of you (figuratively through the pennies of course) but you came back to me anyway. I think I’ve finally learned my lesson now. I can’t get rid of you. Because even if we’re not together your soul is still nurturing mine. It still cares. It still always shows up right on time; 900 little time travelers who buy me coffee and remind me to bring my pen and paper together again.

Phina (“the burning ones”)

Ask all the big questions

Ask them to yourself

Ask me

Look up and ask the universe

why we’re starting to look like our souls

Look down at the spaceships we call feet

and think about the first time

you let them take you someplace new

because it was time to move forward

and then ended up on a porch where you found

the words you always hoped to find

for the things you knew were there

but couldn’t see

until you turned on all the lights

in the bedroom of your mind

to find your way here





When You Let Your Bodies Talk

One balmy Sunday morning sometime in September, I opened my eyes to him. It was then I came to understand the wordless conversation. We talked so many, many times before-but none of that seemed to compute anymore-it was just filler anyway. Our conversations really live in the soft rustle of the sheets while our limbs slide against one another. This is where they were always meant to be.

”                        ” he said.

”                        ” I said back.

I stretch out on the flannel plaid sheets and I laugh. A small release of sound, more like a hiccup than anything else. Everything is clear in the absence of words. We focus on the yawn of the box spring instead. I listen for the crescendo of his breaths. He turned to me and pulled me in so my nose lightly grazed his neck. I now know this is our morning greeting. The shells for our bodies press together and we know this translates to, “I’m awake.”

His fingers trace the freckles on the edge of my cheeks while I capture his other hand in one of mine. We are bound together by the conversation of our bodies-these are the words we couldn’t risk to say aloud.

This doesn’t last all morning though. Eventually we share a sad look that means, “we have other responsibilities today.” So, we fall from the cloud and onto the stale carpet. I laugh as I watch him struggle to find his glasses so he can find his shirt.

And then the illusion is broken. We leave each other and walk off into a day of meaningless words; we stumble off to answer questions like, “Did you read that e-mail?” and “How is your love life?”

”                     ,” I say.





Lemons and Milk

One Sunday morning, dressed in the clothes my mother picked out for me, I squirmed my way into a booth at Friendly’s for family breakfast. The waiter asked what we would like to drink and my parents responded in unison, “coffee.” Now, I knew I couldn’t order coffee, but I could order something similar-something like coffee. “Tea, please.”

A few minutes later our waiter returned. My parents arms shifted around the table moving the creamer, milk, half and half, sugar, and sweetener according to who wanted what. I looked at my tea cup placed on its little plate and saw a lemon wedge. I also noticed the milk had made its way in front of me. I can’t remember which one I put in first, but I realized later it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter which one went in first because lemons and milk were never destined for each other.

The juice from the lemon curdled the milk, but at the time I didn’t understand this. Chunks in my mug danced around like leaves in the wind and I thought it was okay that this happened, even fun to watch. Until my mother ushered the waiter over and ordered me a new tea.

As I got older, whenever I made tea for myself, I faced the decision: lemon or milk? And it kind of became this larger motif for me, it went past just what I chose to mix in with my daily dose of caffeine. Because, sometimes you have to pick-stay at home for college or go away? Save your money for a house or go on your dream vacation? You just have to figure out what is more appealing to you, the surprising electric shock or the creamy, safe softness?

Besides decisions, it’s good to recognize when you are curdling into oblivion. For example, I would be in this really toxic relationship and I’d have the “ah-ha” moment that it was a lemon and milk situation. It didn’t matter who was the lemon or who was the milk, we just didn’t go together and that was okay. It was okay to realize that. It was okay to make a change in my life.

Look deep into your mug of tea today and do a little self-evaluation. Are you happy with your choices? Are you making the best ones for yourself?

Don’t let yourself curdle, and if you find one day that you did-order a cup of something new.