This manuscript is copyrighted (© Tom
the crowd roars and I bound across the platform,
waving my arms, smiling, pointing to familiar faces.
blue cotton shirt open at the neck,
sleeves rolled up, ready to do the job
that needs doing! I grab the microphone
and wave and smile some more.
Oh, how I love these moments!
The pomp and the pagentry!
I am floating on air,
I am transformed.
Studied her flora
She never had any fauna
Then my loss is the greater
Since there was only the one
That I really knew, and
In youthful naivete, or
In a peculiarly perverse way,
Loved. So if that analogy
To a female is correct,
Then the salt water sailors
Are right, and
Like the country boy
Back on the farm for years now,
I nourish the old memories.
Elusive, the burning orb would hide
Behind the towering cumulous
Only to burst forth again,
a burning beacon,
Edging the horizon's clouds
with fiery lace.
And, for a while, a short while,
We seemed to be winning
the race, so it appeared,
Or, at least, forcing a draw,
Making of that sun
A burning bubble on an earthly level.
But suddenly it is gone,
There was only the remembered glow,
And I knew we had lost
This one game.
The power pods changed their tune
Down in the night,
But the tears won't come,
I would gladly die,
If you could be reborn.
If all were black and white,
Dear Son, how stupid
Life would be.
From down the dark dome,
A bird cries for Camus.
Clouds weep, winds sigh,
Sun stands at half-mast.
Old tarnished moon wanes,
Hides its face.
A leaf drops.
A peaceful sleep,
An earthly organism's
Living is nervous cells,
Eyes, bellies, and
Millions of organs
Working in conjunction
with all nature.
I have seen that it is
Heaven and Hell,
It's everything and
It's pain greater than Job's,
Hate stronger than Melville's
Ahab, and love
As serene as Poe's
Brought to life the roses there
And made of them a midnight garden
With leaves of ivy going up the stair.
But when I snuffed that tiny flame,
It was as if winter had laid its claim
And tthat tiny sun had gone to rest
Beyond a miniscule horizon in the west.
And of my garden, not a bit was left,
Just the memory, which, perhaps is best.
black, white; red-crested
cock of the woods,
yelping and bounding
through tree patterns
of sun-shafted air
he pursues the female
at dead beech station
surveys he domain
again he yacks
that he is the carpenter
he savagely shatters
chipping and dusting
the forest floor where
waterhtrush creeps cautiously
while from the shelter of the sky
the red-shouldered hawk
pretends not to notice this imposter
I lay aside in resignation,
Surrendering to sleep
What I sought in assignation.
But kisses are nicer.
But kisses are nicer.
Bring July divorces.
Fragile blossom of the dark woods.
Never destroy it.
and you were a fish
under a summer's moon
you'd be my dish
crooks are jetsam
what do I do?
what do I do?
I write satire.
to Columbus Mayor Jack Sensenbrenner. To read the poem, click here
I ever heard the one I least
Was the one
I came to realize
Of my crime
I stood alone
My back to the
What to do
What to do.
Shy of forty by 365 days or so;
But, still frightening, when doubled, you state:
Twice thirty-nine is seventy-eight.
Ten, twenty, thirty, forty;
Minus one, of course, a year of grace,
One remaining, one for the race.
in a salad put a caper
Pasted in a tropical sky;
The fisherman's buoy bobs
In a serene sea of hope.
The moon is the face of a child;
No, it's a tear slowly rolling
Down the face of Vietnam.
Steaming aromatic elixir,
Awakener of souls,
Turn me on."
Replied the pot,
"You'll have to
turn me on first."
With Emerson Burkhart at his house.
Go to the Burkhart Gallery
Until it took on the effusive appearance
of a bursting milkweed pod,
And he stalked about the old house
Talking out the early morning hours
Over cups of Herculean black coffee,
Amid canvasses still fresh with paint.
At times like these
Nothing in the world escaped the golden cage
Of his intellect. Rather, the rare, wild
Bird of wisdom fluttered about his head
(Until he mischivously replaced it
To talk of things more mundane),
But we secretly blessed him his prize so rare
And felt, briefly, his brush had touched us.
I experience many feelings;
I'll be perfectly frank,
I've walked on their ceilings.
Cloud Nine I've danced upon
In my beloved treasure palace,
When the capital I've drawn on
Left even a pittance for a balance.
When I feared I was overdrawn,
With the bookkeeper forcing my hand
Making me feel pale and wan.
And when I crossed that cold marble floor
With worry etched upon my face,
I've wondered what the game was for
And damned the entire financial place.
When the pockets of my jeans
Were full of dollars and dimes
And I was a man of means;
Then, how I'd whistle like a bird
Just thinking of my wealth,
And my every passing word
Reflected my joy and and my health.
And I lay my head down to rest,
The only regret I might have
Is that I failed to pass the test.
You might think of offhand,
But, rather, what I left undone,
And the failure to understand.
Extend to all of what we call life,
And if, perchance, I failed that test,
Then I failed all others in this strife.
Then the larger lesson I learned:
To know oneself is all well and good,
But to know one's brothers is hard earned.
That's what I do best,
Up and Down,
Then over my head,
From beginning to last,
Looking for you.
As I do my act,
Over my head
Onto my back.
That's my thing,
going through life
In no sane way,
Like a clown,
When I look for your hand
To help me up,
There I go again.
(In memory of James Thurber)
Frightened people, little lost guppies,
Paraded and parodied before our eyes,
Our crass and tarnished eyes.
You drew a very simple line, like this,
Turned a fable into a magic kiss,
Wherein you found the saddness of man,
The lonliness and maddness of man.
You told a tale about the human race,
Of old Columbustown with extragant lace
And, found forthwith, laughter and tears,
The bright, light side, yet with tears,
And always, a nostalgic regretful glance,
A hesitant, bittersweet sideways glance.
For the perils that are known
To animals and plants,
From the dizzying human dance
and the foppery of the drill.
My mind turns, rather, to man,
To man, you understand,
The thunder and plunder of man,
As he rapes and bulldozes the land,
Then, at last , stands alone
The hunter surveying his kill.
the whole house comes
and the moon,
the sun, and the stars.
in a senseless heap,
until nothing makes sense
when desire dies.
but, hey, that's just
a man's viewpoint.
when I was a journalism student
at the great Ohio State University,
on North High Street
in Columbus, Ohio,
the home of the Battling Buckeyes.
I heard all about how you were head
of the Department of Veterinarian Medicine
at the great University, and how
you were an Olympic Gold Medalist,
and married, with a family.
veteran newspapermen, your name
kept cropping up, like some kind of
attractive weed - like dandlions or chicory -
popping up all the time.
who saw you executed, Doctor Snook,
behind those grim gray walls
that used to grace West Spring Street.
electric chair, likes a throne,
because it was going to take you
to Kingdom Come, or maybe
a lower abode, where you might feel
more at home, and he watched in horror
as the electrodes and wires were attached
to your body, and then they fried you,
Doctro Snook, until you turned
Scarlet and Gray.
for killing young Theora Hix,
your student and your lover.
And after the jury found you guilty,
You were executed, and
They buried you in a secret grave
Forlorn. forsaken, and forgotten.
You hang out, and I made my way
across the monument-studded cemetery
Searching for you,
Looking for your eternal trysting place.
You, there, unknowing, beneath my feet,
And I shake my finger and tell you
What a bad person you were, and to
Behave yourself, wherever you are.
You, a professor, a department head,
How could you be so dumb?
How could you be so cruel?
How could you throw so much away?
Buried under the handsome monuments,
All around, close to this unknown intruder.
Keep your eyes on this guy, I advise them,
Watch your womenfolk, and
If he makes a move, tell them to
Run like holy smoke!
While yours, God, become more garnished.
Every day. And, of all the ill deeds
To us attributable, mine are so local,
While yours are so distibutable.
You go your way, I'll go mine.
But as long as this is my abode,
I strive to follow this code:
To fair ones and frivolous,
It pays to be chivalrous.
Our universal foe;
He flies from out the sun
And disappeasrs in the snow.
i held your hand,
as along these streets
we ate of sweets
and talked of love,
oh, foolish love/
As many a writer has jotted,
But sex? Oh, heavens no!
Nobody engages in sex, you know!
Wise like the centenarian turtle;
Death is sad, lifeless and sere,
But how account for the censor's stare?
My family, my job, my greed . . .
I don't like to ridicule,
But why are people so hypocritical?
Litter the ground
Around Thurber's grave,
And there;s not
A dog-gone thing
I can do about it.
It was a bad day in Baghdad,
what with five soldiers killed,
three wounded, and
only you know why we are doing this?
Is it to enhance
To prove our deity
is better than theirs?
Why don't you
show us the light, Big Guy?
Sits on a nearby bench
As I eat my lunch,
A chicken sandwich
And a paper cup of cola.
She asked me a question
That I tried to answer
With my mouth full.
The truth is
I never really heard
What she said,
So I answered,
"Is that so?"
By a wooded pond,
I write of life's frailties
As I listen to a choris
of American toads,
The sonorous honking
Of Canada Geese,
The silence of the dead.
A mallard duck
Sits and stares
At a turtle.
Stranded in time,
In their little kingdom
That only I can see.
Yellow and white,
Perfuming the air.
Or a curse?
spinner of yarns,
There are deadlines to meet!
Then, let's go have a drink.
and give me your opinion
of how the world's doing.
I badly need to know.
Under a catal pa tree
I thoughtt I saw a dog,
Under a dogwood tree
I thought I saw a cat.
and I sit under a pine tree,
unintentionally on those
who love us the most,
thereby creating anew
(In memory of my maternal grandmother,
Lulu Tuck Page)
at last severed the thread
of remembered times and
now has quietly fled
to greener Kentucky fields
and magnolias in bloom,
serenaded by the strains
of darkie banjo tunes.
the world of today
for the sweeter blessings
of a childhood at play.
Now mirrored in this glass
beyond all revoke
are the figures and faces
of her gentle folk.
like in the old photographs,
with beards and waistcoats,
not daring to laugh;
And the women with bustles
and rare bird plumes;
she has left us to inhabit
those more familiar rooms.
and does the Virginia reel.
"Momma has made fudge" and
there are cookies to steal!
And, oh, on lazy days when
Southern sun spangles the earth,
her bare toes trace hearts
in the dust, with gentle mirth.
I see nothing wrong walking alone
This old Appalachian road - Tucked
In by hills - listening to birdsong.
Timpani by ruffed grouse and chat,
Thrushes' silver notes accompanying
The vireo string section in e-flat.
Yodels from a wooded rill,
Accenting tanager, oriole, bunting,
And a prairie warbler's rising trill.
Are a flying squirrel in his loge,
and a trio of deer gowned in beige,
Volunteer ushers, I suppose.
Hints in dark ways I am unaware,
Of ice ages, corridors of time flown,
Of secrets unsuspect in music so rare.
What will they write on the stone
That covers my grave?
What will they engrave?
Brings in the bread and all of that,
But the way it crumbles the mind,
Is it worth the price at that?"
I ask you again: "When I'm in heaven,
What will they write beside the dates,
What will they say of my loves and my hates?
But wouldn't it be truer to life
To have listed the corporate game,
The clock we punched through all the strife?
And when we finally throw in our hat,
Let them inscribe the stone "from eight to five,",
That's what he did when he was alive."
Become a glorious act
Crowned a martyr?
We look back
To ask ourselves
How such a thing
Could have happened,
Knowing full well
We keep up the tradition.
Sing a requiem over this earthly cenotaph?
Shall a radioactive cat repent
He swallowed the bird?
Unknown to me that
Stalks in the very core
Of the unexplored night,
Then claws at the door,
Begging to share my light,
And once in, complacent, fat,
He shoozes by the fire,
My slave? Or my sire?
This is Sam, my cat for many years (Not really mine because he was beholden to no one but himself). He was named after Samuel Clemons, because I found him the year Haley's Comet came around. Clemons was born on a year of the comet and he correctly predicted he would die when it came around again. Two freaks of nature we were, he observed. We came in together and it's only fitting that we go out together. Same died in 2001, not a comet in sight.
I WAS CUT OUT FOR THIS WORLD
At least, in the cloth that I pretend,
The quality, you know, and the show; oh, the show,
Oh, that I was a thousand things and all,
And that all talent were mine,
Wouldn't the world be fine!
to allay my discontent.
I'd be the gent!
But what's my bent?
I hate to be a gripper!
I want to be a football star
and pass that ball far, far
Down the field, and wield
a flying mallet on my polo pony,
And, yes, deadly in the ring - Tony
Galento wouldn't stand a chance.
As it is, people hardly glance
At me. I want to be a magician
To fix this fix I'm in.
I want to be, I want to be
A lover, a Casanova, a gypsy,
A vagabond, a lovable tramp
Telling the best stories
And, yet, with the stamp of genius
On my classical face -
With wide-spaced eyes, large, just a trace
Of tragedy, much of wisdom and,
They'd say, veriably, the Kingdom is hisdom.
The drummer, a blur of arms; or, in flight,
The easy-going, yet determined, jet pilot
Puncturing the sound barrior. What's my lot?
Fifty miles and hour in a ten-year-old sedan.
Doggone it, wouldn't a T-Bird be grand,
Carrousing along the French Riviera,
Arm around a naughty nymph
In a diamond tierra. Then
On to the film festival at Cannes,
The glorious sun tanning our tans.
People stopping, pointing, admiring.
But wouldn't it be fun? Better
Than so little; working, being a debtor?
No? You like me the way I fend?
Even though these things I pretend?
Even though I know
That sometimes I was not cut out for this world!
Life seemed crazy and cubis,
But now that I'm an adult
Everybody belongs to the cult.
I know not which, or where, or why.
Some tomorrow I shall bid adieu
And, my friend, so shall you.
Fills the air,
To some elusive power
Beyond my perception.
On a hard stone bench,
Thinking I might communicate
With any dead souls lurking about;
Or perchance, a god looking down,
I try to write a poem.
Taking a deep breath,
I write a line,
Then another, and another,
Until I am finished.
My intended audience is silent,
Except for an upside down nuthatch
Running up and down
A nearby tree trunk.
permeate our lives
the way it does,
it being so gossamer,
intangible and fleeting,
about it constantly.
either too much,
or not enough,
Or something else,
usually nit enough.
prudes or sluts,
so my friends go out
and have a few drinks
To forget about the whole thing.