T for Tom

It’s 2017

Posted in poem, Prose, Uncategorized by johnsontoms on July 26, 2017

I was raised in a world that believed in better.

Fresh out of war,

hope and virtues lapping up like waves on the shore,

Bright-eyed, starry youthful dreams because we landed on the moon

Before I was even born.


Right back to war and now

It’s 2017 and people are starving.

It’s 2017 and men carry guns in the street.

It’s 2017 and black people die everyday.

It’s 2017 and seeing a doctor, wanting to live, costs money, at all.

It’s 2017 and people walk through the streets,

Into shopping malls,

Into church,

Listening to Hells Bells,

Talking of Reagan,

Afraid of changing,

But changing can’t come soon enough.

Get with it.

It’s fucking 2017 and y’all out there shooting, hating, killing,

Watching people die.

How far we’ve come to have gotten nowhere at all.

It’s 2017 and the shores are rising from the ice that’s melting


One day if we’re lucky

The waves will wash over the shore and cleanse the earth of all and sundry.

There Is So Much Static

Posted in poem by johnsontoms on June 6, 2016

There is so much static that can fill you in

If you let it.


Let it flow and flow and


Quietly as a ringing in your ear.

‘Fore you know it, ten years by,

and still with the static.


Like waking up to a floor

Of beer bottles and empty beds

In half-lit motels

On nowhere highways.


But if the sky gets wide enough

On drives long enough

To the hills where no one lives

There the static lowers to a dull

Replaced by fresh air.


Breathe deep the pines

Sit high on vistas

Stare at the valley below

And swat away the noise like flies


The flies they are


Brought in with the rain

But this season too will pass

And give way to summer.

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The Dust In A Line

Posted in poem by johnsontoms on May 4, 2015

There, to the east from the mountain

The dust in a line rises

From ants marching

Rolling in all terrain vehicles

Rolling in armored tanks

Rolling out to the field

Marching to victory.

All in a row

And without question

The call is “follow me!”

Where the desert winds pick the sand

Off the floor and through the air

It soars, clouding vision.

A fitting description.

But there also to the east is earth untouched,

Holes in the ground dug once but abandoned,

No more money, you see?

Now just empty mines

Though empty depends on your frame of mind.

To the ants

The money is the making

The money is in the march

The money is in the order

To follow someone to victory.

But in such desert, lonely places

Where high noon is all day

No shade from no tree

There in the mines away from the ants

I hide.

A cool wind drifts off the rocks.

That is not my army any longer.

That is not my war anymore.

Lines of dust blowing up from the convoys.

Lines of dust blowing up from the convoys.

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Posted in poem by johnsontoms on May 21, 2014


Cleaning out is fine

Gone are the smokes

Gone with meat,


Free sex.

It is cleaning, I am clean

But what next?

It feels, feels like a step out and on and upward

But who am I to leave humanity behind?


I am the dirty streets

I am the filthy sheets

I am the wild, naked and raging

am the towers overhead

am the dying and the dead

I am the whores

the corrupt

the smoke filling up

I am oh I am the graves

the trash blowing away

the sirens

Food stamps

Empty news stands

Yes I am.


Tell me I am, I don’t

Want to get so far away that I lose touch and become some saint,

Discarded for grace

Better to make change

By sleeping with the (blank).


Even 2000-years ago Jesus hung from the plank.


Posted in poem by johnsontoms on May 21, 2014


All I can think of is coffee

Kaffee, café, kohv, кофе

With milk, sometimes sugar

Sometimes cold (rarely),

Like mine black,

Nothing added.


Maybe a cigarette.

Always a cigarette.

And away goes the static.


/Crackling plastic, sifting grain, running water,

*click* and then sizzling, drop drop drop/


In the cup, steam rising

So damn warm,

Smooth roasted, no filter

And then!


Espresso, cappuccino, latte

Yes please

Just give me the caffeine

And a little time to think.

Where Do The Words Go?

Posted in poem by johnsontoms on May 21, 2014

Where do the words go?


Softly to the wind

Blown through the trees

And never heard again.

But such a sweet end-

Alone, quiet,

Surrounded by friends.

Other souls long too unused

There also by way

Of neglect:

Laughter, poetry, strong cups of coffee

Between conversations about

Where does it all go?

And when you run your hands softly

Over the tops of the grass,

Cool, light, inviting, a shade of pleasant

But something true and cordial with Father Time,

Looking down then you will see where it all goes

And I wonder, oh, I wonder

When we will pick it back up.

There It Is

Posted in Europe, poem by johnsontoms on May 30, 2013

There it is




Crashing with the sound of thunderclaps to say

Here I am




Some small, some large

But all grand.

The waves topped with white on the brown, sanded cliffs

Worn down from years of clapping

It’s like shaking hands to announce to each other they’ve arrived.

The cliffs to be introduced

To the water not new

To the world

That should consider itself lucky.

Here we are, here we are.

Winding stairs for the man who sees

Not what goes on below

But what goes on in front when so much is


There it goes, there it goes

Back into the sea, back into the blue tides

The rising highs of water miles that keep us

Like a divider apart from our Mother Earth.

We should see her.

There she is, there she is.

She speaks most when no one is listening.

There I was.

It Takes The Sun Twelve Hours

Posted in poem, Prose by johnsontoms on March 14, 2013

It takes the sun twelve hours to traverse the sky and somehow when there’s no more light our bodies grow tired enough to sleep until it rises the next day.  This miracle is not by design – it is by chance.  We did not get here on purpose. But we have a choice to do something about it.  Everything has been a series of accidents up until humans started walking, talking, and killing things, and even then history is full of mistakes.  Thousands of years of humanity and we largely keep making the same wrong choices.  Pretty amazing, really, that after all this time, all these sunrises and sunsets, the majority of man believes in God, the almighty in the sky.  These things are too perfect for that – the cycles, the union of the sun and our souls, all things too genuine to be anything but a one-in-a-trillion chance gone right.  So if God does exist, he’s seen to it that everything since has gone wrong.

The Truth Is In The Prose

Posted in poem by johnsontoms on March 14, 2013

A poem about work never has anything good to say.

It’s always with the “wasted time” and “longest days.”

And nothing ever gets done or no one’s ever happy.

Seems it must not be natural to work so hard for nothing.

I have to find something to work for then

Before I have nothing to live for.

It has to be out there because what else is a “labor of love”?

It can’t just be myth.

Even the best stories have something true in them.

If that one doesn’t, I guess it’s up to me to write the words.

Just more work I suppose.

The truth is in the prose.

I Never Do What I Say

Posted in Europe, poem by johnsontoms on February 19, 2013

I never do what I say.

I come up with these wonderful ideas.

Things that sound wonderful –

Hiking the Slovenian mountains,

Writing in the bars of Prague, just like Kafka,

Walking the Villa Seurat and seeing the homes of Miller,




Instead I get drunk.

I get drunk and I chase women, not always to success.

And when I do, I don’t know what it means.

Does it mean anything?

I never did what I wanted.

Or did I, and I just don’t know what I want?