ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998.


Poems by Tim Suermondt.



The boy clutches his book
as if he could die
if he didn’t hold
it tight enough—
and he’s right,
let the fools laugh.

A woman hangs her husband’s
favorite red work shirt
on a rugged line,
dancing to invisible music
like both a pole dancer
and a ballerina.

An old man
tells his oft told story
about his son
moon shining with miners.
“He was a saint,” he says
and yes, I believe him.

Devotion is beautiful
when it’s done right.





                for Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Last night, after the storm,
I tried to write about the night
as I saw it through
the skylight in the study.

Lyrical butcher that I am,
I gave up on the attempt early,
but not before musing
over how Mandelstam and Lorca—

surrounded by rabid wolves
on all sides—would have pulled
it off with astonishing ease
and a gratitude capable

of breaking the most mature hearts.
I kept only one line: “I’m a lover,
not a fighter.” It was the best
I could do. It was a start.


A Birthday

Out of a sense of obligation, today
he’s retiring from the fray. Let the world march
forward in its significance, its banality
without his participation.  His idle mind
is dreaming with the gods and the mortals:
“Justice needs rest as much as agitation.” –
“That is a great wrench set you got yourself.”
He’s grateful for the peace, the quiet democracy.
“Thank you, Olympus.” “Thanks, Tackle Hardware.”

Tim Suermondt is the author of "Trying to Help the Elephant Man Dance" (The Backwaters Press, 2007) and "Just Beautiful" (NYQ Books, 2010.) He has published in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Blackbird, Able Muse, Prairie Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine (U.K.) and has poems forthcoming in The James Dickey Review, Gargoyle and Hamilton Stone Review. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

This is Tim Suermondt's first appearance in Offcourse.

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