PB&J by Taunia Thomas

It’s not very often I have the opportunity to highlight someone else’s work.

Taunia Thomas is a banker and mother of six who lives in Sand Springs, OK. Just like everyone else, she’s had to come to terms with the realities of work-from-home. Here, she highlights the difficulties in making a simple decision – what to have for lunch!

PB&J

A rumble in my tummy
A glance at the clock
Lunch time!

Fifteen steps from
Desk to kitchen
Appetite and anticipation high
Check the pantry
Next, the fridge
Last resort – the freezer

(Just one forgotten leftover container of
something delicious, please!)

Nope.
Rinse and repeat
Pantry-to-fridge circuit
A few more times
Why?
Who knows

Well, hello there!
One of my oldest and
Most consistent lunch collations

Beautiful PB&J

Taunia Cromer Thomas

prisoner.

I remain a prisoner
     my own jailer
trapped in a tapestry of
     my own tastes and
          my own desires and
               my own self
a self that doesn't exist

I have freedom, to be sure
     free to act how I wish
     free from constraints
     free to think 
          to act
               to believe
but I am still a prisoner

and left to my own devices
     my own preconceived
view of right and wrong
     of good and bad
     of black and white
     of shades of gray
I remain imprisoned

victim of my own thoughts
     my own fears
          my own dreams
prisoner to my own view
     absent of clarity
     absent of context
chained to my day

while freedom is just a
     breath away
I reject the notion that
     I can just let go
as hard as I try, my
     attempts end in vain
and move forward

for even in the letting go
     there is expectation
     that does not dissipate
it eats at the fringes of
     my restful mind
     questioning all
doubting everything

never reaching that
     blissful, settled state
that promises relief from
     doubt
          fear
               anger
                    angst
busy, monkey-mind
won't release its grip
on the banana

whirling around in circles
on to the next stop
     when this one is
          incomplete
always starting
never finishing.

bed.

awaken to the sound
     the gentle swell and release
of the ocean just outside
     my window
of the ocean just inside
     my phone

smell the coffee brewing
     thank god for timers
the scent of vanilla
     wafting up the stairs
the scent of cinnamon
     filling the house

log in and grimace
     so much to do
take a deep breath
     but the stress remains
shut the laptop
     drink the coffee

randomly chosen mug
     I watch the words
resolve to a sentence
     and I think
me too, mug, me too -
     I'm definitely 
           going back 
               to bed
                    after this.

20820

as I begin the long, slow
     slog towards fifty-eight
          (and beyond, hopefully)
     with a mind that is clear
and a heart that is full

(or at least more clear
          than a year ago
 and at least more full
          than yesterday)

I have learned to not
     look back in anger or
          resentment or fear or
     melancholia or 
          wistfulness

     what happened yesterday
or last week or month or year
          is set in stone
     unchanging
and I can gain nothing from it
          but to learn from it

I have learned to not
     worry about the future
          adopting a fluid view
     of what can be and
         what cannot

     and so as I start
day two thousand eight hundred
          and twenty
     I breathe in and note it
and focus on the now that is
          foremost in my mind

(at least more so
     than a year ago
 at least more so
     than yesterday)

and let go of the anger and
          worry that they lied
               to us, for
     they promised us jetpacks
and yet I remain grounded
     here on earth.

fifty-seven.

one more book
one more drink
one more song
not so much to ask

one more guitar
one more practice
one more gig
not too much to ask

one less argument
one less headache
one less heartache
not so much to ask

one more day
one more walk
one more kiss
not too much to ask

one more trip
     around the
          sun
with you.

party.

hey, good evening
glad you could make it
can I get you a drink?
let me take your coat and
introduce you around

this is my best friend
Anxiety
she's a bit of a mess
but she means well
usually

this couple over here
Intention and Distraction
are constantly fighting
endless arguments
always at odds
I don't even know why I 
invite them to these things

this is my co-worker
Motivation
he's a bit of a talker
so steer clear
unless you have an hour
or a day to waste

I'm not sure where she is,
Peace
I know I invited her
at least I think I did
ah, it doesn't matter
she rarely shows anyway

oh! you'll like these guys
Clarity and Concentration
they spend most of their
time in the kitchen
they like to keep to themselves
but when they pop in
to say 'hi'
you'll remember it

man, this guy, though
Sarcasm
(he thinks he's much cooler
     than he actually is)
watch your step around him
he'll piss you off then
wonder why you can't
take a joke

and finally, my new friend
Mindfulness
we're just getting acquainted
and we may hate
each other
or we may be in love
really, it is
too early to tell

anyway, welcome to the party,
the party of my direct experience.

practice.

a blank page
is not the goal
it never was and
it never should have been
what good would
that do? why was that
even a thing?

concentrating on the
rise and the fall, hoping
for the clarity that will
sweep me away in
its beauty and surprise
but its really not like
that, is it?

do I count?
do I note?
equanimity escapes me
as it always does, so
with a tone of
self-compassion 
I begin again

striving to do what
I love, but why is it
simultaneously
so easy and so hard?
so difficult such a 
simple task,
it can never end

but there is joy in
the enjoyment, in
the attempt, in
the breathing, in
the practice

the recognition is
     the attention,
the failure is 
     the success.


punk.

oh! my literary
     existentialism
bordering on despair
     my whiny and
strangulated vocals
          these towering
     synthesizers and
          guitars are
my cure

this experimental
     new wave of
reggae and ska
     is evidence of
my bad religion as
          I rise against
     the sublime, and
          no doubt birth
this clash

my adherence to
     the traditional
to the culture that
     is my heritage and
is sorely vexed
          I will use more words
     and say more things
          evidence of
my kinks

do I embrace
     this division of joy?
can I stomach the
     social distortion
of all the talking
          heads on my
     television?
          this is my nirvana,
my jam.

couch.

I left my home
     the comfort and serenity
to find the happiness
          that had eluded me
     for so long

I looked high and low
          behind every nook
     and every cranny
to find the happiness
     that I craved

I traveled from town to town
          city to city
     country to country
to find the happiness
          that had evaded me
     for so long

and after I had exhausted
     every means at my
           disposal
     every opportunity
          that I thought
               might lead to 
          the answer
     I returned
home

only to find it there
          as I slumped into
     the couch
there between the cushions
          where it had fallen
     out of my pocket
the night before.

tmt.

touching
 always tempting
  uplifting my soul
   never far from my
    inebriated heart
     appetite with no end

    magical moments
   ardently alluring
  ravishing and risque
 impish and irrepressive
ecstasy in the extreme

tender and thoughtful
 hauntingly heartfelt
  overflowing joie de vivre
   mischievously playful
    adorable and ageless
     seductively her

sometimes/always.

sometimes
when you're not here
I can still hear your voice
I can still see your face
I can't wait for your return

sometimes
when you're not here
I wonder when you'll return
I wonder why you had to go
I wander the halls alone

sometimes
when you're not here
I'm counting the minutes
     until your next text
I'm counting the hours
     which seem like days
I'm counting the days
     which seem like months
time crawls sometimes

I wander the halls of my mind
I wonder how you do it
I wonder when you'll do it again
when you're not here
always

I am anxious for your return
I miss your face
I long to hear your voice
when you're not here
always

and when you walk through
     my door
and wrap your arms around
     me
and your lips touch mine
I feel alive
again
always

progression.

thoughts
     ever present
     ever elusive
     never ending
     turn into

words
     often spoken
     often misunderstood
     never softened
     turn into

actions
     mindless, mindful
     without thought
     purposeless motion
     lead to

habits
     unconscious, blind
     too weak to notice
     too strong to break
     become your

character
     who you are
     who you are not
     who you aspire to be
     becomes your

destiny.