ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998.


Poems by Tim Suermondt



This afternoon the sun, rather comic like,
is being pricked by antennas on the roofs.
I hear the noise from the vast stadium nearby
and wait for a sizeable portion of the crowd
to invade the street, either in giddy or disconsolate
fashion strictly depending on the outcome.
With wine glass in hand I usually salute everyone,
the winners as well as the losers, the shadows where
boys and girls go to keep cool, the slightest ounce
of plushness I see and invent—even the silly toast
to time and its end hangs supremely in the air.




Some people are so beautiful
they make us look at them with awe
      and remind us that even in our

beautiful time we never possessed
such beauty and in those moments
     the dusk tends to arrive

rimming the rooftops before
the dreams of men who cause women
     not only to lose their breath

but their shoes and hats  dresses
and jeans  bras and panties  naked
     in the night with streetlights.





             I’m never lost. I always figure
             I’m going where I should be going.
                                       --Wally Robinson


But I really am lost—

    in a country I barely know,

in a language I know even less.

And huge sycamore trees like monsters

    line the narrow road at night.

If I disappear, what will my friends think—

    assuming they’ll think of me at all.

No, they’ll think of me—they’re good people,

    mostly, each one better than me.

I wonder if any of them will hear me calling out:

    “I’m fine. We’re all lost—I just got lost

more than the rest of you.”

    I wonder if they’ll imagine me happy

every time they walk down my street, enveloped

    in their own happiness I’ll miss most of all.




The array of the army
marches down Victory Square—

an expanse only a dictator
or the like-minded could love.

There’s no accounting for taste.

Bomb here. Bomb there.

It is a Sunday, and August.
The air conditioning is working

in my apartment. I’m a happy man—

don’t be too hard on me.




Rome in the 1950’s—
the stars poised precisely
over our couple. Everything
will be fine. Everything.
It isn’t nice to be reminded
that in his later life and career
Gregory Peck took the role
of Josef Mengele, acting
with the worst German accent
this side of  sleepy Dusseldorf.
It isn’t nice…but let’s return
to Audrey Hepburn as she scoots
around the Eternal City, lovely
in the ruins of movie making,
wearing outfits my mother wore
in her dreams—my father dazzled,
calling her Princess all night long.



Tim Suermondt is the author of two full-length collections: TRYING TO HELP THE ELEPHANT MAN DANCE ( The Backwaters Press, 2007 ) and JUST BEAUTIFUL from New York Quarterly Books, 2010. He has published poems in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Blackbird, Able Muse, Prairie Schooner, PANK, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine (U.K.), and has poems forthcoming in december magazine, Plume Poetry Journal, North Dakota Quarterly and Ploughshares. After many years in Queens and Brooklyn, he has moved to Cambridge with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

His work appears in Offcourse #51, Poems ; Pui Ying Wong's "Barn Life and Other Poems" appeared in Issue #53.

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