Monday, August 31, 2020

IF I WROTE 


If I wrote
only long
lines, I'd have

a lot of one-
line poems.



IF IT IS NOT 


If it is not
a good poem,
if it is not

beautiful, why
must it be
abandoned?

Don't the homely
moments still
mean something,

even when
I don't know
how to say it?

Should the lost
souls stay lost
because I have

failed? No.
I don't think so.
Let even

the bad poem
be good enough
for what we love.



ON MY BIRTHDAY 


Seventy-three years
now and still the moon

offers no wisdom.



Sunday, August 30, 2020

BEAUTY 


Beauty
is truthful.

If it isn't, it's
sentimental.



SKY COLD BLUE 


Sky cold blue,
snow a foot deep.
I am feeding

the birds who are
cold blue too, who
are fluffed on their

perches, waiting.
My fingers are
cold blue and numb.

Sun off the snow
is blinding, yet
hope will go on

into darkness,
as we do not
give up, those who

leave these seeds for
others, those who
gather them up.



Saturday, August 29, 2020

AT TEN 


At ten I lay wondering
what it all means. At thirteen

I learned. At twenty-one
I learned some more. In old age

now I understand. What it
means is you must remember

what it was that took your breath,
knocked you down, left you awed.



WHICH AMOEBA 


Which amoeba split when, then
so on and so forth, the railroad

going through my great-grandfather's
farm so he moved, so grandfather

could meet my grandmother and
my father meet my mother, and

so on and so forth. Think: if that one
amoeba had split another way, who

then would be filling the space that I fill
along this great chain of things?



Friday, August 28, 2020

SHAKE THE BOX 


Shake the box.
Words will fall out.

Wait until they
mean something.

Shake again.



THE POET IS NOT SO POOR 


The poet is not so poor he cannot
take a glass of wine upon the evening,

and so he does. As the light fades the red
of the wine deepens. Wind sings a march song.

The snow is going. Summer beckons from
a distance. The poet thinks the wine is

the color of blood, spilled and spilling and
still to be shed. That's the kind of evening

it is, too cold to go out, too late for
him to make any other plans tonight.



Thursday, August 27, 2020

PILE OF STONES 


Pile of stones
and boulders,

their deep heat
in summer,

their winter
nakedness.

The boy knows.
He sits there

among them
and knows some-

thing has changed.
It will never

be the same.



EVEN / THE SUN 


Even
the sun

in our
sky does

not crack
the ice

in this
hard, dark

season.
The wind

speaks its
foreign

tongue, its
bitter

truth, and
we wait,

we have
to, for

spring
to come.



Wednesday, August 26, 2020

WE TOUCH ONLY 


We touch only
the surface of

the world, what we
see is only

approximately
what is. The distance

from the hand to
what it touches

is infinite.
If we could close

the gap between,
wouldn't we all

die of wonder?



A HARD MONTH - JANUARY 2019 


Who leads the
light away?

Who brings the
evening in?

Finally, the
cold has

broken. Can
we keep what

we've taken?
Who lets these

nights fail? Who
will let the

stars come home?



Tuesday, August 25, 2020

THE POET SAW 


The poet saw
his other self,
a thin old man
hungry for love

and demanding
a hand-out. It
frightened him, that
he might be some

disheveled creature
who spends his days
talking to power-

lines, that what he wants
is farther than
he is going.



FEBRUARY SKY 


A cloud
takes the

shape of
a tree

branch out
there. How

lovely
the world

is now
making

things right
for me

in here.



Monday, August 24, 2020

WHICH IS IT? 


Is it that
the spider
tunes his web

or the train
comes through town?
I cannot say.

The darkness
I mean to
speak of blinds me.

There is nothing
left now but
what I touch

and what the
light refuses.



LATE AUGUST 


Late August.
The silence
of green dying.

The light
a kind of dust
in the wind.



Sunday, August 23, 2020

TODAY 


Tomorrow
is a blind man

and yesterday
fat with everything.

Today is a child
waiting for her parents,

who don't know
where she is,

yet her eyes
shine with hope.



STORM 


The sun
turning leaves
more silver

than green.
You think
it means

a storm is
coming. It is.
There's always

a storm
coming. It's
August.



Saturday, August 22, 2020

BEFORE AND AFTER 


Before, she
imagined
it would be

everything --
the sun at
Summer's Beach,

wind in her
hair, a taste
of ocean,

stars in the
soft darkness.

After, she
wondered, Is
that all it

is? He gets
want he wants
and I might

get pregnant?
We know that
innocence

is always
a long way
from wisdom

and now, yes,
she knows too.



SUN CHANGES 


Sun changes
the field. The wind
changes it back.

It's August,
if you know
what I mean.



Friday, August 21, 2020

EVENING, THE FIRST OF OCTOBER 


We go out
and stand waiting,

as if the stars
would talk to us.

We know we know
nothing and grow

smaller at the thought
of it. The stars,

as they always do,
say little.

Whatever you want,
what you get is

wind in the trees,
this forever sky.



AUGUST MORNING 


Wind from the west.
The sun comes up.
All seems right with the world.
I am almost happy.


Thursday, August 20, 2020

WORDS 


Far from the
knife edge of
the moment

they are but
the empty
husks of dead

insects trapped
in a sill.
Try as you

might you can't
breathe life back
into them.



I CUP YOUR 


I cup your
breasts, as if

I could hold
that which is

of the love 
gods desire.



Wednesday, August 19, 2020

I CAN STAY BUT / A MOMENT 


I can stay but
a moment in
all those lives I've

glimpsed. Some were saints,
some were sinners,
some are still to

find their place. It's
as if I'm on
a train rumbling

past and they are
in their kitchens
making supper,

in their bedrooms
making love. All
I can say is

this: I saw you
and I heard you
and I love you.



JUGGLER 


Juggler
on another
planet.

Poet
surprised at
the weight

of things.



Tuesday, August 18, 2020

I CAN'T 


I can't care
anymore.

You finally
broke me.

Good-bye.



IF I NAME-DROPPED 


If I named-dropped my 
friends' names in my poems

as often as Bernadette
does, I'd be called

a minor regional
poet. Oh, wait, I'm

already called that.


Monday, August 17, 2020

NOT KNOWING 


Sometimes
not knowing

helps with
understanding.



ONE NOTE 


If you could be one note,
just one note, which note would

you be, in which song, and
how long would you want that

one note held on whose tongue?



Sunday, August 16, 2020

WISDOM 


To understand, be
the fish in water.



CARDINAL CITY 


Cardinal city, there,
under the bird feeder,

an early Pentecost,
winter fire in the snow.

It means what it means, though
what that is you don't know.



Saturday, August 15, 2020

THE AWE 


The awe of
what opens when

everything is.



STATIC 


Static
of this
world be-

coming
patterns.

We have
this need.



Friday, August 14, 2020

SMALL HAWK 


Small hawk with a mouse
dangling lifts. Image

of a world where what
you eat is what you are.

To be hawk, or mouse --
no difference in the long

run, for any of us.



LIGHT LIKE FIRE 


Light like fire
in the leaves.

The wind their
undoing.



Thursday, August 13, 2020

WHAT YOU 


What you
wish for --

truth,
beauty,

the light
of angels.

What you
need is

sleep -- sleep
and another

chance at
morning.



SOMETIMES 


Sometimes,
naturally,
the rhymes

come lovely
as a snail's
trail,

slick with
mucus.
Our eyes

see
the chime
of language

as a wet
marker
left for us

on a dry
land, the way
our ears

hear
the echo
echo.



Wednesday, August 12, 2020

THE SKY SMEARS 


The sky smears
the day grey.

Loss is so
common you

no longer
feel the pain.



EVEN THE GREAT ATTRACTOR 


Even the Great Attractor, which
we cannot see, is being pulled
by something far beyond our
understanding. This universe

doesn't need any of us
and yet it keeps us safe in its
infinite fling of darkness, its
equal pull of light. You cannot get

there from here, and you cannot not
make the journey. Light and darkness.
Gravity and the force of our

momentum. Joy in our last
embrace of things. Beyond all our
understanding, at the end, yes.



Tuesday, August 11, 2020

LOVE 


Love

like two birds

turning together
in hard wind.



WE NEED 


We need
the hard

sounds, the
harsh ones,

those which
form at

the back
of the

throat, those
which come

like a
cough. Crows'

talk, the
kii-ii

of hawk.
These are

poet
sounds which

hurt our
ears and

fit our
hearts.



Monday, August 10, 2020

WHERE I WAS 


Where I was when
I learned language:

the cottonwoods
teaching me to

speak only when
necessary.

Wind is a kind
of wisdom you

will wish you had.
I mean, if you

understood what
those old trees might

have been saying.



IT DOES 


It does
no good

to say
you know

nothing.
You must

know
you know

nothing.
Nothing

must know
it too.



Sunday, August 09, 2020

THE ROCKS SING 


The rocks sing
in the sun.

They tell of
far stars, of

loneliness
and loss, of

desire. Yes,
the heat of

afternoon
has filled them

and they can
no longer

keep in what
holds them here.

They sing
in the sun.



FORMLESS- 


Formless-
ness and

form -- what
is there

between,
where things,

all things,
begin?



Saturday, August 08, 2020

OLD PINE 


Old pine,
like a love

remembered
all these years.



WINTER TREES 


Winter trees
hold their stars.

How lovely
the love is

between them.



Friday, August 07, 2020

MIRROR 


My father in the mirror:
how did he get there?



THE LONG SUN AT EVENING 


The long sun at evening.
Wind in the hairs of your arms.

What descends in the coolness
is the darkness of knowing.

From here to the horizon
anything you touch will

change who you become.
Listen, the wind says. Listen:

you can go, you can't go back.
This is where you came from.



Thursday, August 06, 2020

EVERY SLEEP 


Every sleep
is death

and every
waking is

being born
again.

This occurs
every day

until one day
it doesn't.



LINKS TO PUBLICATIONS FEATURING THE WOMAN IN AN IMAGINARY PAINTING 


POEMS: THE WOMAN IN AN IMAGINARY PAINTING

Atticus Review
https://atticusreview.org/from-the-woman-in-an-imaginary-painting/

Cacti Fur
https://cactifur.com/2020/04/08/tom-montag-from-the-woman-in-an-imaginary-painting/

Hamilton Stone Review
https://www.hamiltonstone.org/hsr42.html

Ink Sweat & Tears
http://www.inksweatandtears.co.uk/pages/?p=21764

Mad Swirl
http://madswirl.com/poetry/2020/07/from-the-woman-in-an-imaginary-painting/

The Miscreant
https://miscreantmagazine.com/2020/07/28/feature-tom-montag/

Orange Blush
https://orangeblushzine.wixsite.com/home/obz1

Otoliths
https://the-otolith.blogspot.com/2019/11/tom-montag.html

Sheilanagig
https://sheilanagigblog.com/volume-4-3-spring-2020-the-poets/tom-montag/

13 Myna Birds
http://13myna.blogspot.com/2013/02/13.html

Trouvaille Review
https://www.trouvaillereview.org/home/10-poems-from-the-woman-in-the-imaginary-painting-by-tom-montag






I KISS 


I kiss your lips.
Shoulder. The back
of your neck.

Lobe of an ear.
Woman, I touch you.
I rub one breast,

the other.
Your hip, thigh,
back of the knee.

The moist place
where surprise
meets joy. How

do I love you?
Let me count
the ways.



Wednesday, August 05, 2020

AUTUMN TABLEAU 


Wind in
the grasses.

In the distance,
a cemetery.

Beyond that,
cranes gathering

for winter.



IN THIS WORLD 


In this world
sometimes something
comes to pass

and brings a
poem with it --
goldenrod,

Queen Anne's lace,
water running
in a creek.



Tuesday, August 04, 2020

WISDOM'S MOMENT 


A boat
on the water.

Its wake
laps the shore.

Tomorrow
we will know

nothing more
than what

we learned
today.



THIS COW TOWN 


These plain clothes of mine.
I'm only a boy, green like

the weeds in this lot beside
the bar full of cow men

badly in need of a bath.
I can smell them even

here. The wind picks up
dust off the dirt street, carries

it farther than imagination
can run, farther than

the sheriff will go without
armed men beside him.

That's how this town is.



Monday, August 03, 2020

IS IT BETTER 


Is it better
to stand in
the stillness

or to make
of it a
poem? Some

argue one
way and some
the other.

I smile, nod,
bow my head
to blessing.



NUMBERS 


One is
a l one.

Two is
what two
do.

Three is
what rises
when one
stands alone.

Four is
the doorway.
You cannot
come back.

Five is
almost perfect,
except for
what two do.

Six is
what you like
morning, noon,
and night.

Seven is
next to heaven
though you will be
lonely there.

This is
how you count.

These are
what the numbers
mean,

which is
why math
is difficult.



Sunday, August 02, 2020

LONELINESS 


Loneliness
the color of

winter coming.
No one wants

to listen
and I have

nothing I wish
to say.

Learn from this
what you can.



Saturday, August 01, 2020

WITNESS 


Witness
to the
brightness

an out-
of-body
moment,

as if
lifting,
as if

silver
sears through
you and

beyond,
the idea
of heaven

farther
than you
can go.



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