Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feature: T.M. Göttl Day 4

Heartbreak and an Empty Hotel Room: Tax Day

Today, the morning broke, from black to grey,
just like every other morning
on every other day
in this town where the noon-time scarecrows
burn away all the hope
by afternoon, along with all the iron
and a canvas of fumes.

I heard the dwarrows in the woods,
conferencing with faeries, and howling:
“We only have two options:
the slow crawl of the coward,
or the shotgun exit of the brave!”

A blue dove
sat above my head,
mocking me from an aspen limb,
because I mumbled about building roses,
while holding a rusty, eleven-year-old knife.
And I’ve been holding that knife for eleven years,
just in case I needed it again.

Because you might see silver spiders
falling across my face,
but there’s no magic me. I’ll never see
Ezekiel’s green-wingéd angels, and I’m afraid
to break the silence of your stone.
I want to be everywhere tonight.
I want to eat dinner in an attic with your ex-girlfriend,
reading tarot cards and talking about
anonymous movie theaters.
I want to climb the windows
of every downtown office, arms opened up
to the honey waiting on your fingers,
to the golden eggs, and the golden eyes,
and the golden halos, kicking around your ankles.

But mostly, I want to sit
at the top of a cast-iron spiral,
watching, down,
because even when you’re not around,
they’re talking about
NPR, and the Mayan calendar, and
the last of the American Bison.
Why can’t you just see me?!

See me!
drowning in the
afternoon caldera
of wildflower wine!
There are no more timepieces,
pulling fleece from the irony
of an apple blossom rain,
the warp and the weft of a diamond riot.

See me!
with the asphalt and quartz in my hair and
under my palms, cracked,
like the bell of an ivory horn,
sounding the call of the vagabond messengers.

See me!
falling to my knees
because no one will hold me up
You never learned how to bring your own sun,
so how much brighter must I shine
before you can see?

See me.

And tell me, when will you write a song for me?
About how brave and stupid I was on Good Friday?
About how I scheduled a resurrection
while the swallows and pigeons shot arrows across
the unfiltered sky?
About the clover above my head?

I’m leaving, tonight.
I filled the back seat of my car
with sleep and doorways, but no ceilings.
I tucked Nike’s crown under my arm,
scratching psalms into copper collars, and
chasing blue lights down the highway,
chasing my enemies, chasing every
herald and beacon, and running with the army
of blue-coated angels. Just
see me.

© T.M. Göttl

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Q: What aspects of poetry and its performance/sharing do you like and which do you fear or dislike?

A: I think performance and presentation are just as important as the writing of the piece. Poetry existed long before the written word, and I believe it still is, at least in part, intended to be an oral tradition. That doesn’t negate the value of the word on the page, but too often, the way that a piece is read and presented, I feel, takes a back seat to the writing of it. I think all art should be experiential, for the creator and for the audience. If you can’t climb inside of your art—be it a painting, song, or poem—and take your audience by the hand and invite them to climb inside and dance around in it with you, I believe you lack as an artist. I know that I don’t always achieve that, but that’s the ideal for which I strive in my work.

Q: You are sold out of your recent poetry book… or nearly sold out. Can you give us an idea of what you’ve got planned for your future projects? Any sneak peeks you might be able to share?

A: I’m in the process of compiling a manuscript for a second full-length collection that I’m hoping we’ll be able to put out in the first half of 2010. Other than that, I don’t want to say too much, for fear of having to eat my words later. Stay tuned for now!

Q: You’ve recently taken on some journalistic writing. Do you find it different from doing poetry? And do you enjoy it? Does it help or compliment your other writing or is it very different for you?

A: My journalistic pieces and opinion essays came naturally, because I’m already attending all these poetry events around Northeast Ohio, so it made sense to write about them. I think it helps keep my writing fresh. Blogging can get sloppy, but when you’re putting something out there for someone besides your friends to read, you take more care. Poetry helps with that—paying attention to word choice, getting the idea across in as short a space as possible. But of course, it’s very different. I haven’t done much straightforward writing since college, and it’s good to keep those muscles in shape again.


  1. So many unique images in this poem TM... It's interesting how different it is to see these on the page for me. Even though I've heard some of these pieces several times it's like reading them afresh.

    I like your comments about performance. Being new to poetry reading this last year I've had ambivalent feelings about it. But your right it is part of a long tradition in storytelling for it to be oral. And a good storyteller distinguishes themselves in their art. Two sides of a coin perhaps... the written and the oral. And it also enables the audience to hear it presented as the author meant it to be.

  2. Oh.. I think the reason they hit me differently on the page is I'm a very visual person and reading them especially stimulates the images for me as opposed to hearing them. Not sure why... but it does for me.

  3. I felt a vicarious life going on in my different head. A tango of image and rhythm that kept me riveted to the end.

  4. This poem is a good example of just how different a piece can be when you hear it performed versus just reading it. I have heard this one performed several times and it never fails to have an emotional impact. I don't feel that same impact when I read it but I love seeing it here.

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  6. As incredible as T.M. is live, I like her work even more in print. The print versions, in effect, let one spend more time with the poems and allows the depth of her words to come through.

    Plus, whether her poems are presented live or in print, the musical quality of her work remains intact.

  7. Wow, I was competley immersed in this. x