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Thomas Zimmerman
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Zimmerman, Thomas

 
 

Kerouac

Thomas Zimmerman

finger-snappin’

          hipster daddy-o!

                             yow!

i find myself

          in a wake-dream

                    fake-fate

          soul-scraped

                    state

browbeaten, beetle-browed

          a blueblood bootblack

                             an agnostic agonistes

          i’m a sobbing

                    hobnobbing

          psychological bobbing-

                    head doll

i endure nirvana

          nervosa

employ a perverse

                             persona

i block existential

exits

i palm a sunflower’s fiefdom

                    of seeds

i stir my psyche’s lees

i slurp a pure cosmos

          in the aurora aura

                    in the brown study

          in the quark-mad muddiness

of a brimmed coffee cup

wheeeeeeeee!

we’re all mere       

tenants here

          one sublet from transcendence

let’s call it optional

          profundity

amen

ahem

omen?

                    oh, man!

 

 

Dump Your Boyfriend and Come with Me

Thomas Zimmerman

Maybe every single thing we do

is a coping mechanism.

We try to reduce suffering.

It’s all we can do.

Often, it’s enough.

Lawn thawing out.

Grass like matted pubic hair.

It’s all right.

Look at the flowers.

Slice a strawberry.

Crack that window open. Wide.

_____

Expose any flesh to me,

you know I’ll want to kiss it.

Hecate, whom some think a witch, awaits

at every crossroads,

a three-headed dog baying and sniffing

around her skirts.

We have been both Hecate and the dog.

The road we stand on

is packed hard by searchers’ feet.

On our left, a vulture tree.

On our right, a crab apple in magenta bloom.

_____

A tit in my mouth.

Mother’s. Girlfriend’s. Wife’s.

My end is my beginning after all.

Blue jeans.  Mutated gene pool.

Sex without appetite. 

Up close, gals have moustaches!

How did our parents ever make us?

You tell me that I’m hallucinating.

Then you tell me that I’m hallucinating

that you tell me I’m hallucinating.

This relationship could last a lifetime.

10 lines for would-be writers

 

Thomas Zimmerman

 

if

you slip

your dick

 

into

the fat

ass

of the muse

 

you might

come out

 

infected

 

 

 

 

Red Felt

 

Thomas Zimmerman

 

cowboy hat

                    and hair dishwater blonde,

a “hippie marauder,”

                                   she called herself.

My second girlfriend, second grade.

Wanda. Brought her home to Mom.

1967. My year as Batman.

Cracked my skull

                             in a playground fracas,

stitches, concussion, all of that.

 

These are details, but I don’t remember

how I felt.

                 Gertrude Stein said,

“We are always the same age inside.”

So did I feel then

                             as I feel now?

Old head and young heart

are what I’ve tried

                               to nurture now

in late youth, early middle age.

 

I think sometimes about the roles

I’ve played and play,

                                   wonder if

there is a me, or just a series

of these

              regional-theater skits

in which I know

                            my lines by heart

by simply looking

                              at the set.

 

 

 

Compensatory Consumerism in Cleveland

 

Thomas Zimmerman

 

Hilton Garden Inn, 2:15 A.M.

 

 

Buying stuff

                       to justify our drudgery.

At The Greenhouse Tavern,

tuna medium-rare

                              with three black IPAs,

then new black coat 

                                 rained-on hard,

front-seat small-talk

                                  with African cabbie

who rescued us

                          so we overtipped.

More beer later at Harvey’s Bar—

talked Hamlet, baseball, and

                                               authenticity

with an anthropologist and

                                            two philosophers.

When one went to bed,

the rest of us divvied up

                                        the beer he left.

Blew all my cash:

instincts right, can’t do math.

 

Note to self:

          Next time you want to go, stay home.

 

Note I predict I’ll write tomorrow:

Never believe a drunk.

 

 

The Meat Wheel

 

Thomas Zimmerman

 

                                       I wish I was free

                             of the slaving meat wheel

                             and safe in heaven dead

                                       —Jack Kerouac

 

Greasy mandala

augers a pit,

a pen, a hell. 

 

Dog smells me, eats

the meat in her dish.

 

Wife and I bang

our hairy bags

together—

slap-slap, slap-slap—

panting, careening

on the slaving

meat wheel.

 

Earth eats everything—

e, a, and t bitten off

and masticated, lodged

between the molars

r and h.

 

The grave’s the school door

opening,

the knell the tardy bell,

and we the just-fed children,

ignorant

of our lessons.

 

 

Meat Motel

by Thomas Zimmerman

I lay there like a side of beef

while Randy, a masseur-in-training, scrunched

and chopped my flesh. “Relax,” he said. “Are you

allergic? No? I want to rub

some oil on you.” In Jamestown, North

Dakota, 1980-something. Right:

I’m so much wiser now. My body in

the mirror, how it’s fallen. Look at you:

no one’s immune. We keep

on changing, even after death.

Let’s steal that towel you’re in, a talisman

for other trips, for travelers we’ve been.

Our greatest guilt is that we feed

on other life to stay alive. No sweets

for me; I’ll take some meat. Just something off

the grill, or from the skillet, maybe in

your oven. Guilt be damned. I need to eat.

In fact, I’ve never felt so much alive.

 

 

 

Written on Water

by Thomas Zimmerman

I’m filling Percy’s, Scarlet’s water bowls.

I hear them lap.

I’m counting blessings, blessed:

the most of me that’s water-based,

the rain right now that greens our backyard trees,

the filtered river water in the beer in front of me.

And broader, deeper:

the seas that ancestors, primordial and nascent-lunged,

flopped out of, slimed and gasping bile.

The ocean of my mother’s womb:

I was Leviathan, I swallowed all.

I down my beer and crack another.

Death and birth:

My mother loved to swim but never saw

the San Francisco Bay, a dream of hers.

Yes, that’s St. Francis, patron of the animals, environment.

His illnesses he called his sisters.

                                                          

Then my dad, a farmboy turned

to military man of twenty years,

saw every sea and ocean, countless rivers, lakes, and ponds.

His sperm—Olympic, English Channel swimmers—

found my mother’s cove.

A Texas honeymoon. I’ve done the math.

The River Walk in San Antonio.

That’s Saint Anthony, the patron of all children, relics, visions lost,

so lost—and then, in my case,

found.

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. Tom's website: http://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com/














 

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