Author Archives: Parker Thornton

About Parker Thornton

I am a former newspaper reporter who spent one year in grad school for writing before dropping out and beginning the ridiculously long trek of becoming a registered nurse. I like to write nonfiction, short fiction and sometimes poetry. I hope my blog will allow me to connect with other writers and readers out there with open minds and well-worded criticisms. Can't wait to meet you!

Pesto and nazis and nuclear war

I can feel my chapstick drying on my lips as I lay in bed trying not to worry about how my son will return to school with a broken arm and how will I be there for us enough working the night shift I can’t even go to Meet the Teacher evening but someone has to pay for the cast and his dad’s emergency appendectomy these are not sexy thoughts these are 42 yr old thoughts.

I breathe in and out and suddenly it’s tomorrow.

Nazis wave Confederate flags and some lunatic says his nuclear missiles can reach us making my face break out.

Those two white butterflies chase each other outside the kitchen window where the smell of pesto beckons us all to dinner.

The Hole Inside My Heart (a love letter to Chris Cornell)

When your voice leapt out of my car radio wailing Black Hole Sun and Outshined, I heard my heart outside my body, felt my young soul pushed tightly against a wall.

You were angry. I was angry.

Then I went on. And so did you.

Years later I went to a James Bond movie. I heard this warm cathedral of vocals that sounded thrilling, familiar. I turned to my boyfriend in the theater, “Who IS this?” 

“It’s Chris Cornell,” he said. And I was like, “The guy from Soundgarden??”

I never expected to see you again. To bump into you in this vast world of art and inspiration. But there you were, your insane voice leaping and caressing and exploding on the big screen along with those James Bond intro cartoon visuals. 

I could hear the age in your voice. I could hear the years I spent in Colorado and you with Audioslave. Your voice, while always gymnastic, had become expansive. I bathed in it like it was the one thing I’d been missing.

Then I went on. And so did you.

Years later at my son’s piano lesson, I picked up a guitar magazine in the waiting room. There you were on the cover in a jacket and boots with your curly hair. But softer, chiller. And in the article you spoke of your experience with loving music outside of the type that you became famous within. You spoke of admiring musicians like Cat Stevens and how sometimes your friends didn’t think that was cool. You made solo music anyway, you said. You toured with it. And, much to your surprise, people liked it.

How brave, I thought. How fucking courageous. I admired you more in that moment than any time you swirled your dark locks around like a rock n roll sex god.

So I bought some of your music. Finally. After 27 years. And I couldn’t stop listening to it. The soulful, delicate, approachable fairy tale of it.

I remember when River Phoenix died and people lit candles on the sidewalk. I remember the vigils for Kurt Cobain, Jerry Garcia, Prince. I’ve never wanted to attend one until now.

I fell in love with you once, a long time ago. And then I fell in love with you again, just last year. You spoke to me in two different voices but one and the same. At 15 you said it’s okay to be angry. At 41 you said it’s okay to get older. Actually, you said, it’s good and can be done gracefully. Watch.

You don’t owe me anything, but I wish you had not left.

I miss you like family. 

There will always be a hole shaped like you inside my heart.

All my love and respect,

PT

Soften

Can one day pass without vilifying each other?

I can’t breathe through the blame.

I don’t give a shit if you agree with each other. Just get on with your work and leave the other guy alone.

I can’t let my child watch regular channels. If not the guns it’s the hatred, snark and obnoxiousness.

I feel like him. Soft skin, wide eyes.

Why would anyone want to behave this way?

A Match

Everyone has pain.

But if my life is a little happier than yours, it is because I worked at it.

I changed my mind and learned what cannot be controlled and what can.

I control me.

Just my reaction to the tennis balls hurling over and over again.

I worked at how not to stand still gathering bruises.

I studied people whose tennis balls didn’t bruise them.

I practiced.

You can, too.

Or you can not.

 

 

 

The Good Samaritan 

Steel rods jut out from his legs.

We shove another pad underneath to soak up the blood.

The tube taped to his mouth makes his chest rise and fall.

A Good Samaritan from another state, helping a woman on the side of the road, now alone in a strange place, breathing through a machine.

Two rooms down is worse. The dr pulls the sensor slowly from a hole in a young man’s skull. No need to keep track of his pressure now, she says in not so many words. 

“But he ran the red light?” 

The nurses shake their heads up and down, silently rationalizing. This one didn’t follow the rules. 

No one speaks of the Good Samaritan.

Listen Up

It took me twenty-five years

to feel what you planted

and how I wish that I had those years back

to feel confident

smart

loved

worthy

all the things you told me I wasn’t.

 

I didn’t know I had believed you

until I stopped.

When you told me I was nothing

worth nothing

knew nothing

deserved nothing,

my brain railed against it.

It threw wood at you,

defended me.

It yelled back,

even laughed.

I thought I had escaped.

Scotch free.

 

But,

turns out,

my heart believed you.

Sitting quietly at a table,

hands clasped,

looking at you with wide eyes,

then looking down.

 

You spoke the truth,

it knew it.

And I may spend the rest of my life

convincing it otherwise.