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Tom Suermondt

It is a Struggle, but Lilacs Continue to Bloom

 

                            The trouble is writers are too literary.

                                                --Walt Whitman

 

Yes, but it’s also true that writers

often aren’t literary enough, and you can see

 

where this leaves me: no camp to call home.

But I press on, content like Walt to showcase

 

the ample contradictions of my contradictions:

loving the world, hating the world, the sun

 

and moon, justice and peace huddled together

on a park bench in the cold, yet beaming.

 

Look for me by the poetry books on your shelves

or stacked up in the corner: I’ll be there.

Bringing it All Along

 

Sometimes I think I know everything, a genius.

    

     Sometimes I think I don’t know anything, a dunce

 

and I’ve spent much of my life trying to reconcile the two.

    

     I fear the latter is truer than the former, but I go out into

 

the world prepared for whatever happens, often surviving

   

      in the space between both. Not too long ago my wife said

 

“Will the genius take out the garbage” with affection

    

     and forbearance in her voice and I did, sliding the two bags

 

down the chute—oh this life the way it vanishes yet persists.

The City Cheers on the Hard Hats

 

Convinced as they trickle in to the worksites

it means the metropolis will be all the way back soon.

 

Sparrows zip around the building cranes

and birdsong competes again with the noise of pumps.

 

A man steps out of a brownstone and believes

he’s in a new world, that is: the one he remembers

 

not so long ago. A woman on the opposite sidewalk

calls to him and waves. “You look beautiful,” he says,

 

waving with purpose, almost on his toes as if dancing.

When the City Returns

 

I’ll walk its length and breadth,

carrying flowers and a book,

wearing my heart on my sleeve

after months of neglect. Dispensations

blaze from memory, buildings

and streets glad to have me back,

some people too, I hope. I’ll linger

on the main boulevard, in awe,

as if being there for the first time.

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Tim Suermondt’s sixth full-length book of poems, A Doughnut And The Great Beauty Of The World will be forthcoming from MadHat Press in 2021. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine, December Magazine, On the Seawall, Poet Lore and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.