party

i bought boxes of sequins and glitter
because you fill me near to bursting
and if i explode
when i explode
it might as well be a party

it is spring
i am driving just at dawn
a full moon ahead
the sun rising gigantic and orange behind
the asphalt black beneath me

covering my mouth
i cough
and then wipe glitter from my palm
across the thigh of my pants
as i hum “happy birthday”

—P.L. Thomas

you were there when they were wounds

I cannot explain it
Any other, any other way
“The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,” The National

it was not the birds (but of course it was)
birds chiming to prime the night for dawn

it was not the sunrise (but of course it was)
sunrise nudging through the darkness to reveal the sky

it was not the coffee (but of course it was)
coffee cut with honey and swirled with cream

i could tell you i lost everything in the fire
but you smelled no smoke and saw no soot marking my face

i could tell you everyone i loved disappeared in a black hole
but you witnessed their faces and heard their voices

i could tell you i want to dance dance dance with you
because i listened to this song on repeat 5 times 12 times

i could tell you i am 12 again and again and again and again
holding onto anything that could anchor me approaching that abyss

i let go i have let go i will let go i cannot hold on tight enough
to come again to another day with this body covered in hieroglyphs

but you know the scars and have traced them with your fingertip
because you were there when they were wounds

—P.L. Thomas

the politics of lumber

Danny Noonan: I haven’t even told my father about the scholarship I didn’t get. I’m gonna end up working in a lumberyard the rest of my life.
Ty Webb: What’s wrong with lumber? I own two lumberyards.
Danny: I notice you don’t spend too much time there.
Ty: I’m not quite sure where they are. …

Danny: Where’d it go?
Ty: Right into the lumberyard.

Caddyshack

i.

sun after moon after sun after moon after sun
each watched over trees rising and covering acre after acre

sun and moon have no words of course for “forest”

purchased and surveyed trees rising and covering acre after acre
transformed into a tree farm for lumber and profit

sun after moon after sun after moon after sun
continued as if nothing at all had occurred since time flies

sun and moon have no words of course for “commerce”

ii.

Earth Day 2017

“Deforestation! You are raping the earth!”

“These are our jobs! Lumber is feeding our families!”

iii.

she had a perfectly symmetrical face
& whitened teeth righted by braces

her hair blonde & styled as if a helmet
as she explained the Top Story Tonight:

“A man wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ red ball cap
struck and killed a Mexican-American at Home Depot
earlier this afternoon with a 2×4 in the lumber section.”

Behind her a large orange image of the Home Depot logo appeared
while scrolling beneath her in redband: “Witnesses said the man in the hat
yelled ‘Speak English!’ leading to a fight and Mr. Garcia’s death.”

“Our own Beth Yu spoke with an officer at the scene. Beth.”
“Police Officer Ben White said there is no reason at this time
to suspect this was anything other than an argument, nothing racial.”

“Thank you, Beth. Witnesses also said the deceased was accompanied
by his three children but his remaining immediate family has not yet been notified.
Now, Steve, seems like spring is in the air. How does it look outside?”

—P.L. Thomas