“Bastille Day, Philadelphia” published in Painted Bride Quarterly

“Lips and your beard and dark doorways
and the sense that I didn’t quite understand how the stars hung that way,
or the way we’d partied and drank Coronas
at a prison where men had languished and died in
feverish, dreamless solitude,
where they had locked up Al Capone until
time slipped on and on enough,
and suddenly we were drunk and shouting “Vive la France,”
eating cake a woman tossed to us from a mossy stone tower
in a pink Victorian dress.”

Read the full poem online in Painted Bride Quarterly.

 

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“Old Story” poem published in Eunoia Review

“…Just the feeling, in the suburbs, over coffee, over pavement,
that I didn’t know him at all,
and that I would cease to exist if I left him now.
Just the same old banal love story,
older than Europe and concrete and cuneiform,
that makes every country song a prophecy.”

Read the full poem at Eunoia Review.

Entropy Magazine: Variations on a Theme

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Entropy Magazine: Variations on a Theme

Sadness Or

by: Gina Tomaine

It was in the sixth hour of traffic on the turnpike from Pennsylvania to Boston that I began to gather my courage. I had been thinking about him, musing about the past, since the night before, and now, after these isolated hours of thought and noise and the road, I felt an overwhelming impulse to call. My cell phone rested slanted in my cupholder, tipping into the styrofoam side of the cold cup of coffee that had been sitting there, half-finished, since a bathroom stop in Connecticut somewhere around hour three. My console lit up with numbers and words that looked like bright red hieroglyphics—the display had been broken for years, and only showed random lines, which could be a five, or a four, or a seven, but never what song was playing, what track of a CD, what radio station. I still had to use CDs, since a plug-in for my iPhone had also become uselessness and disjointed – first only playing out of one side of the car speakers, then crackling on that side, then failing to emit any sound at all. Everything in my car was slightly askew, slightly dysfunctional, and yet it was the most comforting place I knew. It was a refuge…

Read the full piece here.

Philly’s Literary Vending Machines

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Maybe you thought the only thing you could get out of a vending machine was stale prewrapped cake, a bag of Frito-Lays and a feeling of regret. Try a book instead.

The New Yorker just featured a story on “the world’s first short-story vending machines” in France, but in Philly we’ve had them for years. Nic Esposito and Philadelphia nonprofit book publisher The Head & The Hand launched the literature vending machines in 2014 at Elixr Coffee in Rittenhouse Square with rotations around the city, and they’re back March 17.

Read full article here.

Be Well Philly: The 19-Year-Old CHOP Patient-Turned-Playwright Whose Poetry Will Make You Cry

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I enjoyed interviewing Elizabeth Kennedy on both her medical issues and her creative process. Check out my latest post for Be Well Philly here.

On Thich Nhat Hanh

Just read my first book by Vietnamese Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh (now in Plum Village in France). This little guy totally got to me.

“Do not fight against pain; do not fight against irritation or jealousy. Embrace them with great tenderness, as though you were embracing a little baby. Your anger is yourself, and you should not be violent toward it.”

“The real miracle is walking on the earth, not walking on water or fire. The real miracle is walking on this earth.”

“But if you are a slave, even if only the slave of an idea, happiness will be very difficult for you to achieve. That is why you should cultivate freedom, including freedom from your own concepts and ideas. Let go of your ideas, even if abandoning them is not easy.”

So thanks, you fabulous Vietnamese monk lingering beautifully on the South of France in some fantastic place actually called “Plum Village.” Thanks for the thoughts, and the book small enough to fit in my purse on public transportation, and the tiny  chance to grasp at undeserved transcendence.

(above are selected quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh’s You Are Here)