Wednesday, February 4, 2009



Bob Withabee fished Rock Creek in Twin Falls, Idaho for trout. The creek, it is said, is somewhat polluted, but Bob didn't care. He liked the look on the trout's faces. They always seemed to be smiling and happy, even as they expired in his kreel.

Bob thought he had a way of leaching out the pollutants. He did this by making soup out of the fish. He left the heads on, and whenever he checked the pot, trout faces smiled up at him from simmering broth and quartered onions.

Bob snagged a crawdad in Rock Creek once, and chose to add it to his trout face soup.

The crawdad never smiled when alive, nor did it crack even the slightest grin as it cooked. Bob came to the conclusion that crawdads, at least the one he caught, have no sense of humor.

He didn't want his trout face soup tainted with the spice of sadness or curmudgeonery, so he pulled the now red crustacean from the pot and placed it in a small sauce pan and covered it with a lid so he wouldn't have to look at it. The trout face soup was all smiles again.

After dinner, Bob removed the crawdad from the sauce pan and took it outside, set it on a fence post in his back yard, then went indoors and sat in his rocking chair where he could watch through a window. Bob was confident a cranky crow would come along sooner or later to investigate, and sure enough, just a few moments later, one arrived.

The crow, feathered black as its disposition, cocked its head to the right, studied the creature a bit, then grabbed it in its beak and flew off with it.

"My home is happy again," Bob stated to himself, then took his shovel and an empty can to the compost area of his yard to dig for worms, and if he should happen to unearth a grub he would toss it away.

"Grubs," believed Bob Withabee, "are grumpy."

© Dan Tompsett

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Poetry Links

Dylan Thomas Reading A Refusal to Mourn the Death, By Fire, of a Child in London:

Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Poems


~Eden Mucked~

So the apples fell,
and Adam bruised easily
as the leaves first cracked.

Eve gathered there'd be grumbling.
The damn kids heave stones
towards the river,
the birds, each other,
and she knew there'd be days like this:

"But at least there's seasons!"
she's obliged to counter,

as a once monotonous,
green idea of paradise
rots around her feet.

~When Joe's Memory Failed Him~

Joe sat down to breakfast with last night's dream
of flying clearly recollected and then the dream
of climbing a rock of knowledge reoccurred
and the dream of walking naked
down a city street came along then the short dreams
started rolling by. The fraction-of-a-second dreams flickered
across his eyes mind between the completely out of character
and morally outrageous dreams that caused him to wonder
and worry. The fear dreams of heights and crimes came through
and then he placed the barrel in his mouth,
and when the earth turned a little bit more
the sun shined through the kitchen window
onto Joe's blood and brains sprayed all over
the walls and his bowl of Shredded Wheat.


he stares at the sun
through fog
oh youth
your moon is easy



If you were a tree
I would want to be the house
held in your arms,

and, as lovers climbed you
to enter me,
they'd hear the birds
sing in your hair,

and kiss
as their legs dangled
from my scrap-wood mouth.


~Avian Flu~

The crows
have cawed-in sick today,
as crap blows around
the Studio 7 dumpster
to ruin the Bandido's view.

Their motorcycles,
parked along the sunline,
lean slightly
like the crows
who cawed-in sick today.

"We're sorry,"
says the SODO Association.

They should have known
the crows were due
to caw-in sick today.

It's been in all the papers,
and now the Bandidos
have been caught
selling hotdogs
without a permit.

It has begun to rain,
but down comes the tarp,
their bun's only protection,
with no one to eat them,

because the crows
have cawed-in sick today.


If you were the prairie
and I was grass,
married to your skin,

mustang and antelope
may pound me into you
as they run wild over your body,

and the occasional fire,
born of lightning-gay
nights of merriment,
would turn me to ash,

and though you'd feign sleep
as your body cooled,
your smile,

mottled with my black remains,
would unearth your passion
for the wind-blown seed.

~A Chicago Picnic (1925)~

Seven mobsters
and one pigeon
spread a blanket on the grass.

Their basket contains cheese, wine,
and sourdough French bread
all the way from San Francisco.

"It's the 'Frisco fog,"
Mr. Capone explains to the pigeon,
"that makes the bread right."

Then Bruno breaks
one of the pigeon's wings,
then breaks
the other one.

Louie the Face
takes the pigeon to the river.

Mr. Capone
walks alone down a narrow trail
into the trees.

"My father never hugged me."
He muses,
then picks up a stick,
to use as a cane,
although he doesn't really
need it.

~A Glaring Presence~

The moon got huge
and erased all the stars
so you decided
we should leave the pool
and go indoors
to have sex.

And, as we did,
light and water
played like little children
in our back yard.

~Christina's Sow~

She skips the freaks,
all the rides,
the dime-toss
towards the carnival glass prize.
She never gives
the barkered games
of rings and darts a gamble.

Christina pines for the grower
of award-winning squash,
and would love to help
grow his crookneck
though she's never strolled
his stall of gourds
set beside the strawflowers.

She returns to straddle
an up-side-down tub
beside the sow
she hopes the judge dubs fit for blue.

Her thirty-year collection
of second-place cherryred ribbons
has faded to the pink tint
of her 4-H friend,
the rose cut and doomed
to a diary of squeals and wounds.


All my friends
are falling from the sky.

The cats don't like them,
and run inside.


I watch a fly bang,
bang its green ass
against the naked bulb.

"Goofy bastard."
I say out loud,

then return to my keyboard,
and bang,
bang, away.


A soggy crow
looks better
than the haircut I got
from a gay old man.

I think he was nervous.
The electric pruner
shook in his hand
as my hair
fell to the hardwood floor.

"I think you should go to a barber." He said.

"Yeah." I replied.

Two months have passed,
and I still haven't gone
to a barber.

No one seems to care.
I haven't heard anyone say:
"Your hair looks worse
than a soggy crow."

No one has asked:
"Who cut your hair?
A nervous, gay old man?"

No one has said they love me, either,
but nor has anyone said they hate me,
so I'm in no hurry
to get to a barber.

Someone did ask about the rent,
which got me to move right away.

I jammed my clothes
into a bag
and walked to the bus stop
across the street
from the apartment building.

The bus arrived
after about ten minutes.
After taking a seat
I noticed a fat chick
reading a copy of Brautigan's:
The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster.

We began to talk,
and soon it was decided
that I would join her
in the cheap hotel
where she was staying.

We got a bottle of Southern Comfort,
because that's what she liked.
When we got to her room
she started to take things
out of her large purse.

The bottle of baby oil
caught my eye.
I wondered
what the good people
were doing this afternoon.

Most were probably working
or getting an education of some kind.

Boy, I thought;
how easy it could have been
for me to have become
one of them.

~Help Wanted: Poet~

to show me
the dead tree,
the new grave,
the last gasp
of the whale,
the first sting
of the wasp,
thunder and wave,
flight, fire,
love's root
and ash,
the dash, crawl,
and crash
of the world.

~I Don't Want to Write a Bad Poem For You~

I don't want to write a bad poem for you.
One that is flush with forced rhyme
and passe ideas scraped
from the dirty fingernails
of an unknown whose future
shall remain anonymous.

I don't want to write a bad poem for you,
even though others have,
and others will hand you theirs
and you will love them
as I sit and revise these lines
over and over again
while the muses
hold their stomachs
in laughter.

~I'm Not Interested~

I'm not interested
in meeting women
or anyone else.

There is an entire city
inside my head
complete with dumpsters
and those who fill the dumpsters
and those who dump the dumpsters
into big white trucks.

The big white trucks
power down the streets
and alleys and past
the buildings where those
who fill the dumpsters

~Loners Don't Cause the Flower's Tremble~

Loners don't cause the flower's tremble;
it's the found who pick them
for the windowed home of temporary light.

Polished suitors hit the shops;
purchase them with plastic cash.
Sheathed or vased, the flowers die
where they're placed by lovers
in a rush to sheets and covers.
They die at the table's center,
the counter's rim,
the bedside stand.

Dimly lit tombs of finished symphonies
have claimed petal and stem,
color and scent, pollen and dew
to honor the composers who,
deaf when they died,
must still be able
to see and smell the rose
or wildflower on the grave.

Loners don't cause the flower's tremble,
nor unknown poets and unrealized compositions
found dead on less than grand pianos.

~Night Cloud Over Seattle~

I saw a clown,
and the moon was his belly.

He wore a wild smile,
but his stride was so long
his belly couldn't keep up,
so it was left behind.

His head wisped and spread
east east east
as his feet stepped west.

It's a regular circus
around here.

~Now the Flies~

Flies buzz the kelp wrenched from stones
and waved aground as brown eels monkey
pool to pool beneath the foam where
broken urchins churn to sand.

The cafe's dated tablecloth
is checkered blue and soiled from years
of deep-fried fare and the handfull of shells
you took to your dryland guy
with his basket of loot, sunny car, and common sense.

I size-up the prevalent wind,
and from where I sit the finished wine
tastes like more is due. My glass, your glass,
the spent bottle and sourdough crumbs,
still as life becomes without you.

The waitress steps forward with check in hand:

"Is everything alright?" She asks.

I stand, deal out the tip
and head for the register
assuming all is well
as the surf mumbles "go"
and thunder-gray gulls
lift away like smoke.

~Once a Fool, Always One~

I left my foam Buddha
in the rain,
and when the sun
came out he was

~Outsource Ours~

Please send this mundane job to India.
I don't want to do it anymore.
There's a tree limb that extends
out over a nearby lake
large enough for me to sit
and daydream from. Please

send my lover's work to China
so she may join me on the branch.
With her voice, my words,
we'll try to sing
the philosophy of the birds. Please

send all the gold offshore.
There's nothing I want to buy.
Automobiles and malls
frighten me and the deer,
and I think it would be grand
if the gross domestic product
of the United States of America
were to be happy people and beasts.

~Perhaps the Odd Angel~

All I own would not fill a crate,
and my gut holds neither god nor demon
since the boarding-up of my faith's poor shack.

The demagnetization of the compass
my father left behind
as he sailed away on his warship
has nixed my direction. All roads are forked;
lead to air, water, and dirt dead ends.

I cannot worship the trees or rocks or hills
since I've witnessed them being wrecked and thieved
by master hoarders and poets who speak
of silent seas. The sea is never silent
except to those who dwell inland
from its smash and hiss.
I'm weary of liars and the love piled
on their images by household sages.

If I could find a timer I would set it.
Let its tick torment those who never want
to leave this year or the next to someone else.
The ding would smack of finality
and smooth-faced tombstones
stacked for the engraver's eye and hand.

The spark behind his spectacles,
kept bright by his muse,
would blind the naive angel
who would try to intervene.

~Sky Aquarium~

On my back in the grass,
I look up and watch you sway.

There is a song in your head,
and you let a word or two
bubble from your lips
between smiles.

The blue/white white/blue backdrop
of your face gives the impression
I am looking at a sky aquarium.

I want to tap on the glass,
but then you might swim to hide
beneath a porcelain bridge
set in gravel
by someone else.

~Tatted Stems~

Emerald island visions drift
behind your eyes as you needle lace
into snowflakes that will never fall
nor melt like the last summer days of us.

We once held moments;
fingers entwined to form the vase.
Flowers atremble in our hands,
their petals just a phase.

Perhaps they knew the color
of our fate and theirs,
and how the winter wind
may tat the stems,
take them starward
for us to find
strewn about our paradise.

~The Morning After With Pancakes~

"I love pancakes." I said.

"I love pancakes, too." She said.

"Please pass the syrup." I said.

"Here ya go." She said as she handed me the bottle.

"I need butter first." I said.

"Yes, melt the butter on the pancakes first." She said.

"I need a fork." I said.

"Oh, yeah, you do." She said.

She got up out of her seat,
went to the kitchen,
and returned with a fork.

I began eating the pancakes.
The butter had melted superbly,
and she poured the syrup carefully,
and my gut got full,
and the sun was out and shining
through the window onto our breakfasts
as though the 4th of July, Christmas, Thanks Giving,
and all the birthdays on Earth
were on our plates at the same time
and we were eating them as one
and they were perfect.

~The Sun~

Crows are panting
like small feathered dogs
as Pedro's sweat falls on the handle
of his lawnmower. A local wino
shuffles along; his eyes meet the sidewalk's
rude but tidy glare.

The plague of dandelions
in the neighbor's yard
grabs rays while the grabbing is good
and creeps to his open door
as a witness to the mental beating
he gives his wife. He's

too starved for air to swing his hands
towards her face
while Venus and Mars
scream "fire!"
as they circle the sun.

~The Futility of Solitude~

A black piano,
alone in the rain,
its keys exposed to downpours
makes poetry
that a bird,
dry in the leaves
of a nearby tree
finds questionable,

but the bird's ears are tweeked,
its eyes, open,
while a new spark
in its tiny mind
gives rise to a rare tweet
heard by no one,
because there's nothing
but a piano
and its bad poem
within earshot
as the rain plinks on.

~View From a Starbucks~

Rain won't slow the cell-phoned suits
or pop-and-beer-can scroungers
while cardboard pleas for handouts compete
with potholes sunk by the jerk and shimmy
of the city's non-negotiable fault.

The boom-bred girl of the corner knows
of no kind monkeys. The one she sticks
into her tattooed ankle bites and twists.
She tilts back her head, open-mouthed,
tries to tongue drops of junk-ill sky
as the sidewalk tune of the unknown minstrel
is blown or strummed towards Puget Sound
to be caught in the pigeon's filthy craw,
sucked into a cup of la-dee-da latte,
or falls to the crumbs
of another nice try.

~Babes and the Badman~

Babes who hold hands with the badman
may become getaway drivers
or lookouts or prostitutes
for the badman's interests.

And when the badman is hanged
or burned
or riddled with bullets
the babe bleeds, too.

But sometimes,
when they are fortunate,
the babes are merely reduced
to portraits
or songs
or statues
or a poem,
like this one.