by: Tom W. Lewis
Tom Lewis’ three poems are wide-ranging in content and style. What unites them is their ability to unsettle. Something’s wrong, but you can’t quite put it into words. Tom Lewis can, though.
I write to stay.
I saw her listening. She told him nothing.
They broke some lumber. I was bored again.
(The mist fills me in more than science can.)
1. Write story 2. Rip out pages 3. Burn pages
4. Respect the process 5. Repeat the process
The past punches your shoulder, taps you
In the solar plexus, again another shot
To the sternum, appendectomy
With a mattock—rough paroxysms fold
The body in half, time bursts assignments,
Which open again, the schedule rises to the source,
On a liquid stream, a ladder, Heaven’s voice.
Then it’s Flight of the Animal Crackers, through
Teflon testimony of the soul at rest. Someone there
With a creative writing degree and a fudgsicle
Melting, she laughs at my transgendered
Inner grammarian. “Blot out these transitions.”
(But then her song shook the painted ladies down,
Fumigated by the Seven Last Words.)
I write ghost stories to stay warm.
Summer’s kissed white, with sacrilege a-go-go
All-loving ancients come out for a breather
Come to dance in pockets of sun,
Roofbeams of bridge from morning to night
Chickens in the yard, thoughts
Enough to radiate the stockyards of the Sun
Enough gold lying around in the fields
For cattle to pull up fortunes with their hooves
That consciousness seems eloquent is a trick
Go down and look on the villagers
Here in the shadow of the mountain,
Always eclipsed by the dark above
Sighting the blinds carefully, not intruding
Watch the mountain gods and their dynamism
Working on the people, trick
As traps all gape open for mortal remorse
In another life certainty sticks like sand or gold
Night at the Window
The stars are heat, the moon cool.
When the radio plays a theme
it always rhymes with “her.”
Across the way someone turns on
a reading lamp, spotlight
on a photo: Lars von Trier sitting
at home in Copenhagen, naked
on a summer day, a boiled wool blanket
spread over a leather couch (dyed bloody
bloody red). He’s thinking at least ten
thousand things: The mother of paradise
is homeward bound.
The sun setting. The Pernod running out.
The lampreys in his aquarium getting rest
less. Air thick. Signs on the wall.
Then my tongue slips on your name
because of (I say) Romanticism and
the neighbors turn off the lamp.
We move away from the window
into another black awake, clothes hung
behind the clock counting out time
with too many syllables, too few
Tom W. Lewis lives in Saint Paul, MN. Born in California, he relocated to Minnesota after a stint in northern Europe. He holds a BA in Ancient History, an MA in Classics, and is working on an MBA in Marketing. His work has been published in Midway Journal, f-hole, Taking the Brim (took the broom), etc.
Tom, I love these poems. Individual lines enter my bloodstream with a pinprick and a flush of crimson. I identify. I think I understand. I believe that poetry, poems, are almost useless. Poets, however, are essential to the survival of the world. Poets add a mysterious gas to the air we breathe, like Nitrogen. Poeticene, or Bardigen, something like that. We can’t endure as a culture without our poets. And..your poems are exceptional. They’re not useless. I’ll give you that much. They’re gorgeous.
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