Sunday Apr 14

Thomas Michael Paul Thomas received his MFA from Syracuse University in 1995, where he was the Founding Editor of Syracuse’s literary magazine, Salt Hill, and the recipient of the Raymond Carver Prize for Poetry.  His poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Kestrel, The Slant Review, Great River Review, and The Alembic, with forthcoming work in the Greensboro Review. He was Assistant Director of the Catskill Poetry Workshop at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY from 1996-2008.  In 2005, he received an individual artist’s grant in poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  Recently, his book manuscript, Jacket of a Ghost, was a finalist for the National Poetry Series.  Since 1997, he has taught literature and creative writing at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, where he is the Assistant Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Couplets Against Time


Lester's tenor spins and sears so the waves
dance out. A red poppy stem. High moon.

Still waiting at the altar, the man
has been altered by time, by light.

Ceremonial pages curl under my wet palms.
The book of laughter—nobody knows

the art of exultation anymore; release,
departure. Passing peas in Harlem's square,

Sonia sings the blues afternoons at the open
market. Give me more, she says, more Bird

At St. Nick's, splashing sixty-fourths.
A porch light coming on. Broken

poppy stem, red, in a bowl. The end
of the affair. The end of the affair.





I have taken her leaving as literal this time.
The earth, whitened, is settling yesterday's dissonance.
Odors of mud and too early flowering trees disappeared.

The shriek of gulls dulls the air along memorial benches.
One plaque asks, "Who's next?" The dead want to scorn
our sand and sea. Your white hat lost. Winter's failure.

Off one high curb, coats blended. He never wanted
to leave that heat inside, all that he found was stitched
in cheap letters. An elegy or the winter blur. Park
trees, one's paths dim lights, post ceremony.
Their vague trio ascends.