ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Tim Suermondt


Enough times for me to say
I surrender to the city’s charms
like the most starry-eyed tourist.
But let the Tower Eiffel  and all
the other beauties speak for themselves
while I walk through a long afternoon,
along a line of rarely used train tracks
and make my way into the vastly ignored
park of Saint Cloud with its grotesque
statues and fountains blackened beyond
repair by thick layers of soot and grime,
a nightmare of Versailles soothed in the crisp
breaking light of this fall day I need like mercy.
A tall teenage boy actually streams Piaf
from his blue and orange boom box, the only
sparrow who’s put in an appearance, the three
of us alone and together now, indefectible.




The top part of the sky is dark as Guinness
but I stay on my bench, watch people scuttle by—
“quick ambling” as I’ve heard it said.
It won’t rain, let alone storm, and it doesn’t.
Within minutes a canvas of light routs the black,
birds fly from the rooftops, over the trees, bee-lining
toward the bridge named after an Irish king.
I’ve spent a good bit of the day sitting on this bench—
the best thing I could have done and the disappointments
are starting to fall away like barnacles from the hull
of a ship that’s kept them captive for far too long, finally.
A boat carrying alcohol in apricot colored kegs
meanders down the river, the sky so blue again.
Tonight I will celebrate, to celebrate.




The paratroopers check to make sure
everything is in order—so does my father.

When he and his mates say it’s a go,
my father smiles as wide as the Cotentin.

He jumps into the night and will survive
to say nothing about any of this, except

how the movies never, ever get it right.




“It won’t be the end of the world
when I die.”

Yes, but you’ve already taken
a part of us with you
before our time.

No place for morbidity
now that the flowers are starting
to bloom after the harshest winter
we’ve ever seen, your last.

The sun is shining to blind
but it can’t outshine you.
Damn, I knew it was true, you knew
it was true, all of us knew it was true.

The pretzels and beer in the house
are dancing because it’s the right thing to do.

Tim Suermondt is the author of three full-length collections of poems: Trying To Help The Elephant Man Dance (The Backwaters Press, 2007), Just Beautiful (New York Quarterly Books, 2010) and Election Night And The Five Satins (Glass Lyre Press, 2016.)  Pinyon Publishing will publish his fourth full-length collection The World Doesn’t Know You later in 2017. He has poems published in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, Bellevue Literary Review, North Dakota Quarterly, december  magazine, Plume Poetry Journal, Poetry East and Stand Magazine (England), among others. He is a book reviewer for Cervena Barva Press and a poetry reviewer for Bellevue Literary Review. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

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