ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Tim Suermondt


A couple of red hens amble along the edge
of the front lawn where people are waiting
for the bride and groom to step outside.
Since I love weddings, or the idea of weddings,
I mingle, moving as close as I feel comfortable.
Shafts of sunlight stretch themselves on the lovely
white facade and I think of Anthony Quinn
who danced so well, so manly on the beach in Zorba.
When the newlyweds appear, looking smart and shy,
the crowd lets out cheers and I shout something
suitable before turning and heading for the ocean.
I pass those red hens who have moved on too
and wave to a woman wearing a blouse stamped
with the word JAZZ. I feel younger about everything.



The trains loaf along on the tracks,
belying the busy start of another day
for many and I think of Pete Maravich.
When I was a teenager I had moves
to dazzle too, but none of them were
as immortal as the Pistol's—hard as I
tried in the old gym long gone now.
I put on some coffee for my wife and I,
start the computer and check yesterday's
carnage—crumpling up into a ball
the printouts of a pair of poems that failed
to deliver a touch of grandeur, tossing
them into the wastebasket, dead center
beauties every time, in every season.



Having stayed too late at a party
I do proudly remember, I walk around
rather zombie-like, trying to be as steady
as I can to help hide my condition.

I believe I see mergansers watching me
from the railing of a balcony tucked along
an old alleyway—god knows what I see.
The sky opens up with a brief shower,

the drops feeling wonderful on my face
and the sweet light after is already on
its way to producing a rainbow looping
over a church like a colorful nave added

to please the citizens and the saints.
I meander to the main square, seeking out
the table I occupied the night before
with friends who ordered a small feast

and took me like a tour guide to the party,
pointing out so much gossip and history,
all of which we toasted and toasted again
and again as our host and hostess coolly

kept the drinks coming and coming.
I wish I had slept in like my dear friends,
falling out of bed in the middle of the day,
the very fate of man addressed half soberly.


Tim Suermondt is the author of four full-length collections of poems, the latest one THE WORLD DOESN'T KNOW YOU. His fifth collection JOSEPHINE BAKER SWIMMING POOL will be coming out from MadHat Press in January 2019. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Offcourse, Galway Review, Bellevue Literary Review and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

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