WE DO AND WE DID
We grew up in the village of peas,
exchanging vows in the smallest
city hall ever built by man.
On a train we ran away to the city,
forever. Skyscrapers guarded over us
and our bookshelf always had room
for more books—the erotic, intelligent
moon determined to read every one.
We watched an entire decade wish us
well, dancing like quicksilver along
the daunting edge of the suspension
bridge, holding the future as close as
we held ourselves—tilting the streets
and our queen bed slowly skyward.
ALONG THE YELLOW RIVER
THE POETS DROP IN
A writer is like a worker with a toolbox.
The fish, large and small, leap up
and land on the plates of the people.
The army marches, carrying flowers
and speaking kindly to the subversives.
The blue birds nearly blanket the sky
and couples commandeer catamarans
to the ends of the earth. Behind curtains
rustling in the cooling breeze the poets
just write, unaware of what it is they’ve
just done, turning the screws on their
stanzas to make them sturdy and if lucky
beautiful enough to be of use, anywhere.
PROMPTED BY BEAUTY
I’m beginning to believe we and the world
have a chance after all, everyone and everything
feeling a wholeness at the same instant.
I watch my wife enter and leave the room,
unaware of her beauty, just like beauty itself.
I think of Paris and I don’t think of Paris—
I’m at home anywhere now, giving my wife
a bouquet of assorted flowers again, and forever.
INCHING TOWARD LOVELINESS
Keats wanted to write great poetry
and I am in the orchard all day.
I’d like hanging out in an orchard,
though all day might be excessive.
Truth be told, I’m much more at home
on a city’s street, even a mean street,
the kind I never shied from. As for Keats,
he did write some great poems and all
I’ll say about mine is that I did the best
I could, believing each one was bringing
me closer to a sense of the sublime, almost,
if not yet akin to the loveliness of a peach
orchard, a pizza pie at any establishment
named Luigi’s, a squadron of birds flying
smartly in the sun between the skyscrapers.
Tim Suermondt is the author of five full-length collections of poems, the latest JOSEPHINE BAKER SWIMMING POOL from MadHat Press, 2019. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine, december magazine, On the Seawall and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.