Friday, January 29, 2010

Feature: T.M. Göttl Day 6

Memory of the Tree Falling Apart

“A-bra-ham. Lin-coln.”
“My. He-ro.”

The slow recitation, bad poetry,
I repeat into the receiver over and again,
these, the unlikely passwords to freedom.
I never thought it would begin like this.

“Beige. Rug.”
“Black. Cof-fee.”

They came with stones, boxes, reams of heavy-weight paper.
They came with box-cutters, paintbrushes. They came with
crowbars and chisels and afghan blankets.

“A-bra-ham. Lin-coln.”
“Beige. Rug.”

Remember the day when it wouldn’t rain?
That day, holy, just as every day is holy,
holy like the 60 watt bulb
hanging from a chain above my desk tonight.
I ran home with a brown paper lunch bag
full of Orion’s Belt,
because it was the only constellation
that I could name,
and constellations will remain wild
until you can call them by name.
Do you remember that day?
Shoving unbloomed buds of plastic roses
among your incense-lined shirt pocket.

“Beige. Rug.”
“My. He-ro.”

I hate to disappoint you
but now that it’s over, there won’t be any songs
about rainbows and fireflies, no
blossoming love sonnets about German chocolate.
I want to be held in the arms of the sun,
and I want to sleep in the arms of the rain.

Let it burn, that early morning late night fast food poetry,
let it burn.

“Black. Cof-fee.”
“A-bra-ham. Lin-coln.”

And where are the pigeons and the war cries?
What about the ancient Hebrew psalms
escaping from the countertop stereo?
Who are these people, pushing lightening anthems
of mountains and lighthouses
into a six-by-eight window, while
the faucet leaks a gentle copper cadence.
I don’t want to step back
into that puddle of purple vertigo.
But for today, we dance. Today,
we dance.

© T.M. Göttl

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Q: If you could meet any famous writer/poets or historical figure from the past or present who might they be? And why would you like to meet them particularly?

A: Two of my literary idols immediately come to mind. The first, the late Czeslaw Milosz, who is hands-down my favorite poet ever. I discovered his work in the summer of 2005, while getting new tires put on my car. The shop was going to take 3 hours to do the work, so I took a walk down the street to the shopping centers in the area to kill some time. Lo and behold, the temporary location for the Medina Library (which was being remodeled at the time) was taking up residence behind one of the shopping centers, so I strolled in. I turned down the literature aisle, Milosz’s collected works popped out at me, I grabbed it, sat down at a table, and the next thing I knew, three hours had passed. I went home, immediately thinking that I wanted to write this man a letter and tell him how his words had touched me, but I was crushed to learn that he’d died the year before, on my birthday. Really, I’d just like the chance to tell him thank you.

The second literary figure I’d like to spend time with is Neil Gaiman. I spent an hour waiting in line in the cold to hear him speak at the Cleveland Library this year, and he was incredible. I already loved his work--Neverwhere changed my life. But listening to him, I felt like he was speaking directly to me, even though there were a thousand people there. And even though he’s a novelist and graphic novelist, he spoke very passionately about poetry and the role it played in his life.

Q: What are your favorite rock bands?

A: Minus my local favorites…U2, seeing them live was a religious experience for me, and I have plans to see them again this summer. Friends have turned me on to a lot of not-so-mainstream artists, like Dave Barnes, Matt Wertz, Andy Davis, Trevor Hall, Griffin House, Katie Herzig, Nathan Lee, Tyrone Wells. I recently got more into Prince. I enjoy Coldplay. Marc Broussard. Regina Spektor. I grew up on a combination of classical music (which made me a fan of Tchaikovsky) and the music my dad listened to, like CSNY, The Doors, Harry Chapin, Elton John…but I still consider myself pretty “culturally inept”, a term my best friend in high school coined for me, and then proceeded to make it her mission to educate me in pop culture. It’s an ongoing process.

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Study in Hot Chocolate


  1. This has been a wonderful series. I think of these poems as having been written by the love child of Cesar Valllejo and Emily Dickenson. I look forward to seeing the new book.
    -Michael Henson

  2. Thank you so much to my friends at Mnemosyne and everyone who has left such kind and encouraging comments over the past week! It's been great to hear from so many different folks and be able to reach new people! To say thank you is not enough.

  3. This was amazing! wow. thank you for such an
    authenyic piece of peace. wow.