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.





Missing Lions

The field behind our house is just a backyard now. The majesty of an October pumpkin patch is gone, the honeysuckle doesn’t find its way into our mouths anymore, and the strawberry patch is a forgotten mound of dirt. If you squint real hard, you can see a faint imprint where the swing set once stood. If you search for a while, dig deep into the remains of your imagination, you might find a paw print of a mighty lion, a mermaid lurking in the deep end-but I doubt it. Too much has happened; we have grown too old.

You’re lucky if you haven’t lost the lions and the mermaids-for us they have retreated somewhere else. But, we will always argue that they are  there, concealed behind the trees that grew so tall we thought they would one day reach outer space. They just have to be there.

I forget where the switch is that Mom turned the fireflies on with at night, it must be rusted over-forgotten like the old tractor in the shed. The worst of all, the grass has changed. No longer cool or soft, it stings us now, it breaks our skin.