Three Poems by Tomo Williams

by: Tomo Williams

Tomo Williams’ exploration of the musical potential of language in these poems lights a fuse that sends them exploding off the page with disjunctive syntax and an overwhelming onrush of thought. 

chasing euphoria

synchronicity in sudden drops

++++++hesitant scribble
++++++aligns to cursive loops

spool for thread
+++++[whirled around]
cylindrical reel
+++++reeling from offset reality

nod to node where leaves synthesize autotuned rustling
caricaturization of corrugated
++++++++++carton tonguing
++++++++++bass clarinet
devil’s tritone demonizes augmented fourths

you for, i?
ahh. uh, i have to go. | to go
+++++to do figure draw
++++++++++ing of
++++++++++++++++ing scapegoat
[to get life]

stay still, will you?

will i? will well to fetch swig of water,
discount amphibiancroaking its final
bump of coke

chase ‘em and hem in desperately hovering hummingbird


catch water
++++++++++falling to
++++++++++++++++++++++++of steps
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++to land



/– black box: hirshhorn –\

you’re telling me in ample detail about your hiking boots

phrase fills the room, does a lap, vanishes through absorption by the vestibulocochlear
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++(eighth cranial,)
nerve \ ears hear. sheer auditory action / when does sound approach the conscience?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++taking in noise to (nerv,)ously
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++chuckle in response.

haunted to today, nearly yesterday | separated by a numerical tick, tick, tick,
sun’s been down, bent down to pick up the petals of a rhododendron…
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++road of dead run
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++sprint to spin a runt

path weighs on the thrust. trust no one.
[halting impetus].

where the terrain clips (a cliff!), a sudden drop. a tear escapes before the throbbing temple
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++feels grief or fear.

scoop up self to savor self-preservation. rest in pieces until fragments shed sharp shards and
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++mend mindfully.

emptily take in an intake pitifully.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++how are you today?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++well, I’m here.

here you are!
+++++hear you.
++++++++hear, yet
+++++++++++++++++++…not here yet.


slowing down

catapulting into slow motion:
viscous droplets of time cling on
and melt away, at your touch.

racing minds remind the brakes to
break enough so the whirring won’t
be brought down to burning smoke.

the fog lessens your pace, as
limited range of sight threatens
safety in every sense.

the clock stops tocking to take a
breather; seize her (the moment); it
sees her.


back in the day a rotation took more
than a second; it took more than
a person.

automated machines have seen to the
end of old-fashioned steps.

the melody winds down to ballet
to a bridge.

wait on it; wait for it; wait to wonder
what notes will be wandering next.


Tomo Williams is from the suburbs of Seattle, Washington, and they were brought up with both a Japanese and an American education. They are half-Japanese and Queer, and through reconciliation with their own identities, they have learned to appreciate displacement. Currently, they are completing their final year of university in Washington DC. They are developing their poetry through experimenting with incorporation of other languages, epiphanies, and stories from their own life. This is their first publication.

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