Mudlark Flash No. 81 (2013)

Three Poems by Tim Suermondt

Say Goodbye to the Scholars

I loved them for their learning and wisdom
they wore like a sharp, well-made suit

everyone could see coming a block away,
and marvel at, 

Truth and its dispassionate pursuit on the make.
Oh they were spectacularly grand

and it’s too bad they met such an unspectacular
decline in an age 

where everyone knows everything
about everything before they know anything.

A few diehards carry on, hunched over
like Spinoza grinding his lenses in poor light,

shadows of their words on the thick curtains.
I miss them, hunched as I am over this poem.

What a Man of Simple Means
Knows about Paradise

That you can travel anywhere
and forever,
the woman you love content
to roam in white dresses only.

That poetry there is bread,
butter and jam,
beautiful as cobbler pie,
rugged as a carpenter’s hammer—

that it even
has a bowling alley.

Cultivating the Women

Or are they cultivating me, while
they take over the apartment?

Some dress so fine the word dazzle
will not do. Some dress more mundanely

and one at the end of the couch wears
only underwear, crossing her legs, proud

to be provocative yet a little aloof.
So many women huddled in the tight space

but we wouldn’t change it for the world—
this planet as strange to itself as it is to us.

Is trying a tango step by the kitchen island
the foolish endeavor I hope it is?

And is that a Roman legionnaire we see 
flying smoothly by, red as the night sun?

Tim Suermondt is the author of two full-length collections: Trying To Help The Elephant Man Dance from The Backwaters Press, 2007, and Just Beautiful from New York Quarterly Books, 2010. He has published poems in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Blackbird, Able Muse, Prairie Schooner, PANK, Bellevue Literary Review, and Stand Magazine (U.K.) and has poems forthcoming in Gargoyle, A Narrow Fellow, and Plume Poetry Journal among others. After many years in Queens and Brooklyn, he has moved to Cambridge with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

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