Poems: Thomas Walton

The proportion of lawn games to a populace increases as civilization declines.

Father’s Day

I used to want thick beer on my pancakes
a stout black and rich as syrup
and then topped with a scoop
of butter pecan ice cream
but not anymore, that was before dad’s
fateful corned beef sandwich soaked in
gravy turned his heart to plum ambrosia
not that it’s his fault
who amongst us can survive
such onslaughts of cheese poutine
seventy some-odd years of roast beef
au jus, chowders, chilies, kitchen sink stew
not that he’s dead, of course, my dad
sometimes I just like to think of him that way

Classical Music Criticism (656)

      I love the way the dogshit smells when I’m at Kevin’s or on horseback. The sprinklers came on today, and when they did her blouse unloosed, the first lavatera blossom of the year. Dreadful . . . how the large and clumsy exhort.
      Horse bean see broad bean, nettle see addle, horror see spring.
      The birds we mistake for dreaming tremble in their dark nests. Interpretations of Liszt, who was so lovely with his etudes and lips, a far cry from Horowitz, who beat the piano unconscious. Oh Vladimir, so demure off-stage, but on it all in a rage.
      Earlier, at Kevin’s, came a shower so lovely the lawn, still, is laughing little silver glistening beads.

A Sheet of Horn (655)

      When you consider the radiance of Al’s jogging shorts, how they debuted at the Cleveland Public Library bathroom, it’s difficult to find a more luminous phenomenon in nature. Oh I don’t know, maybe I’m too prosaic for the library.
      The heavily armed foot soldiers of ancient Greece never had to deal with the blogosphere or thought police. Nor bags tossed into boxes, then grabbed while hopping. The proportion of lawn games to a populace increases as civilization declines. It’s a miracle any of us think at all, having only yesterday been weasels scouring the back barn for dogfood or eggs.
Thomas Walton edits PageBoy Magazine in Seattle, WA. His work has appeared in Gambling the Aisle, ZYZZYVA, Delmar, and Gold Man Review, and has been anthologized in Make It True: Poetry from Cascadia.

I also took the opportunity to ask Thomas about his numbered titles. What he said about them might surprise you . . .


Is there a particular significance to the numbers that are part of some (although evidently not all) of your titles? Occasionally I ask poets questions like this (for example, I asked Owen Lucas about his title-numbering system) and publish the responses if they’re compelling.


The numbered titles are from a project I’m almost half-way through. I’m writing a poem for every page in the American Heritage Dictionary (1993). Today was 764, ‘lap’–‘large’. Each poem incorporates phrases/words from that particular page in some way.

Now we know.

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