Kara Phillips


It happens when my coworker tells me,

after we had some blow and some Hennessey,
we go back to their place and
they just started having sex next to me and I
just watched.

And I can feel his eyes after the drought
of the work day become a reservoir,
he can’t see
             that my mind

becomes a blazing car in the middle of the Mojave
you can’t tell where it is coming from
only that it is burning and
I am not here anymore.
Where am I going? What is happening?

It happens when Tommy talks about his weekend,
                                                                                                  God, you know that guy
I forget his name, something like Matt
                                                                                                  he kept snorting lines and next thing
you know he was on the ground
and next thing I know
                                                                  is I’m on the ground
                                                                  onto the claws
                                                                  of dead leaves
                                                                  and I hear a ringing
                                                                  and the lake next to us seems not next to us
                                                                  and now I am being carried
                                                                  to the back of a car where
                                                                  the heat and black leather cling
                                                                  to the back of my thighs.
                                                                  My eyes are still open.
                               Just sit up why can’t I sit up?
It happens when Lana Del Rey activates my car ride imagination
                                                                                                  A baby when I hold you
                                                                                                  Like a drug
                                                                                                  Like I told you
              Marc puts his nose to the table in Taipei and his brown eyes widen
                                                                                                  Yayo, yes you
And we get to my house
                                                    and my head goes between
                                                    my knees. White dead saliva crusts around
                                                    my outer lips
                                                    and stomach acid crawls onto my tongue,
                                                    I swallow it down
                                                                                                  What’s wrong? Are you okay?
And my friends keep talking                                                                                     
And I can’t talk.
It’s all just ringing. 
                   When it’s ringing how do I answer? Who is calling me?
It happens in my book
when cocaine coats her mouth
and she can only sit down on the shag
carpet stairs. I put the book down
                                                                                              and the train
                                                                                              seems faster and

my legs start to drip sweat and

                                                                  I am rising

beyond motion sickness

                                                                 beyond my loves coos and cold sweat

hails from my forehead.

                                     My face turns from morning sun into a February sky.

My body is the wind howling outside of the cable car

                                                                                          and no one can stop looking at me and I
                                                                              can’t stop looking at
myself from above the metal ceiling.

                                                                  Where am I?

This trauma has arms and a body

                                                                  and calls me like a fever dream
But what is it

            and how does it know my name when we have never met?



back to contents