Friday 3 March 2023

Five Poems by Tim Suermondt




          The moon has an erotic scar,

          a gash made by politics.



At least it’s not alone—

this world has so many scars


wrought by politics

that the moon might yet be thankful.


And sometimes the erotic scar

the world carries is not even a scar—


in its beauty there’s only room

for wonder and the death of politics,


a bed in a room overlooking

a sea beyond its walls, naughty glances


while the “eyelashes of angels”

whirl around the lone light like moths—


like light itself, more at home

than on the moon, in any heaven.





Always on the lookout

for a village to defend

against assorted bandits, the city

a far more complicated proposition.

Swords hacking through the air,

skirmish after skirmish, moves

precise amidst the chaos, a ballet

of death deep in a thick forest,

the carnage of blood seeping

into the huts, the river, the earth

and yet everything redeemed

by the assurance that the samurai,

despite a loss of one or two,

will win and reestablish justice.


Every time I meet samurai

we greet each other as if we were

the best of friends, share plum wine

as I listen to their exploits.

Every time I tell them I’m a lover

not a fighter, how I love how

in the movies all those killed spring

back to life when the director

says Cut, and the samurai laugh loud

and give me their swords to hold,

swords that carved up many men,

swords I pull from the sheaths,

dazzled by the craftmanship, the beautiful

instrument samurai use only if necessary.





The mops in the alleyway


     today hang differently


than they did yesterday—no two


     ways the same, unpredictable


as life itself. Workers get some


     satisfaction in the lounging


on orphaned chairs of white, yellow


     blue and pink, paradises


but for the briefest of moments.


     On the congested main road


The fish balls are dancing, a model


     from the Mainland makes certain


everyone notices her long legs, her


     mouth hushed about the politics—


a teenager lights a cigarette, a kitchen


     cook joins in and someone’s cheap


but revered pair of pants parachutes


     from the clothesline forty stories


high, landing on a grime covered mini


     statue of the Buddha smiling, smiling


through his stoicism he cannot change.


     What must the mops be thinking?





Amidst the busyness of the city

I buy a hot dog from a street vendor

and eat it slowly on my way home.


My wife having arrived ahead of me

will be simmering a healthier fare.


I pick up my steps when I see myself

falling into her arms and the last

bite of the hot dog feels exquisite.


If I were any happier they’d have

to arrest me—they know where I live.





Just right

with a spread of sun.


Neighbours picnic

under the apple trees.


A husband and wife walk

along the canal of swans.


A man conflicted, trying to decide

says to the birds he will.


A dog bites the do-nothing local pol

scrouging for votes—just right.

Tim Suermondt’s sixth full-length book of poems A Doughnut And The Great Beauty Of The World will be coming out early in 2023 from MadHat Press. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine, Smartish Pace, The Fortnightly Review, Poet Lore and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.


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