ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Four Poems by Thomas Fink.




My first injury was that bastard that was going to hit me again. Bouncing from one egg cream to another, he sold solid companies at aggregate loss. His wife seemed all right, but they fined her. She stood there watching. When will we be done with drastic men who milk one concern for all it isn’t worth? I have to put my feet somewhere, too.

idiots build
houses on dunes?





What happens when somebody like me—an orphan—is living on charity? Abjection sustained. They didn’t want to keep me overnight like a rotten onion. Disappeared. Out of nowhere. It’s amazing that you found me here of all unknown places. Sometimes, love does its homework diligently. Can you fill that void with bonds? Heat of the random crystallized. I need what I gave you.  Back, please. Necklace?

for the
neckless? We never
when our
lack’s gonna change.





There is a boy here who is similar to you, and he has the same opposite that you have. Brazenly anonymous to the pinpoint-oriented administrators. He sent his mother home. The friends were all found void. There’s really no excuse, though there may be, and I’ve used it somewhere. No, it’s not about replacement therapy, as you will return full-time when I send for you.

you’ll hatch
a party. Mylar.





Big hill. No human

help with the ball
in front of me.

Want withers into subsistence.
Why can’t you abstain?
Punishment to repeat. At

the high point, I
feel no high. No
soul to help. Echoes
repeat want of inner

imperative. I abstain from
seeking why: impure unknown.
Why are you high
on superiority? Abstain from
pity. Help yourself, as

I do, to another
way of filling want,
of feeling. . . full. We
are built to repeat.
You repeat the sorriest
rhymes, but why do

you want to open
a box that stores
only chaos, a high
immune to later help?
To abstain from a
yes or no vote,
to abstain from a

program that diminishes us
as we repeat. How
could echoes help respond
to the self’s why?
High on fatigue, I
don’t want to play
anyone’s redemption experiment. Perhaps
you want to abstain
from the curious box, the ball

growing uphill, the echo, the high
arbiter who dictates in absentia. I
repeat most satisfying errors, indifferent to
why it must end ridiculously. Help
is on the way, and that
way is lost, as I want
to repeat what would be awful
to abstain from. The echo, “Why?”
can dissolve again. This hill is
too high for an endless push.
Help if you must, but later.

Thomas Fink is the author of seven books of poetry, including Peace Conference ( Marsh Hawk Press, 2011) and Autopsy Turvy, a collaboration with Maya Diablo Mason (Meritage, 2010). A Different Sense of Power (Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2001) is his most recent book of criticism, and in 2007, he and Joseph Lease co-edited Burning Interiors: David Shapiro’s Poetry and Poetics. His work is included in The Best American Poetry 2007 (Scribner’s). Fink’s paintings hang in various collections. His poems in collaboration with Maya Diablo Fink appeared in Offcourse #37.

Return to Offcourse Index.