thomas zimmerman

Basho Says

after Lucien Stryk

We’re charcoal fumes, we’re shadow guests, we laugh
like waterfalls. We’re cherries budding, sick
ducks reeling in the night. We leave the moon
to grind the rice. We’re snoring prostitutes,
we’re imitators, melons whacked in half.
We’re white-hairs bowing over canes, we’re thick
as bedroom moons, we’re drunken bees that swoon
inside a peony. We’re hugging roots,
we’re draining sake, poems scribbled on
a fan. We’re sworded women, squatting crows.
We’re boars wind-tossed with leaves, we’re plums behind
the virgins’ quarters. Clap your hands, it’s dawn.
We’re thin on love and barley. No one knows
the chasm’s bridge our ivy-braids still bind.

Within the Circle’s Center

Within the circle’s center, which is black
hole, cosmos, your vagina, all these wheels
and cycles, circulation of my blood,
the weekly ads and coupons, rigid lip
of coffee cup, the choral mouths that crack
the dome of heaven, waxen wafer seals
on backs of envelopes reopened, thud
of bass drum in the club quartet, the slip
and tumble of the bedsheets’ tide inside
the dryer, moons that rise pale pink above
the cuticles of fingers that have slid
along your silkiness, the rings sleep’s pried
from sleepers’ eyes, the birth/growth/sex/death/love
that mills existence, secret that God hid.

Where No Why Exists

It’s always now. The mind its own dead air
or radiating life along the wave-
lengths. Crackle of a condom wrapper. Hum
of drunken love-words. Glasses sliding down
my nose. I won’t continue. All is there.
Perhaps it never stops. Perhaps I have.
Hands clasped in front of me. Each word, or some
of them, a prayer to hear some self I’ve grown
to lust for: reimagined other. I
and thou. Eternity and now. Or beer
and brats. Buck up. The dogs want out, and they’re
in tune with universes where no Why
exists. Despite the leashes, nothing freer
than senses piqued—if someone’s there to care.

Thomas Zimmerman teaches English, directs the writing center, and edits two literary magazines at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His chapbook In Stereo: Thirteen Sonnets and Some Fire Music appeared from The Camel Saloon Books on Blog in 2012. Visit Tom’s website here.

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