FALL 2011




Solidus Online

Thomas Buckley

The Presidential Debate
as recalled by: Thomas Buckley
I’ve forgotten how to lie, my pen a dragonfly flitting by, to and fro line and line. a razor spine, microphone eyes, ink spills from a silver-tongue wire.
my books transform matter, climb mime ladders, to the rafters! children’s laughter! faster! she pries for disaster. my pupils stare daggers past her. I’m her bastard.
a fuss. a laundry heap of lovelust, lovelorn loverust. a jar of honey, you are, lug-nuts we are sex robots before unplugged. red-faced as bugs flushed, red-faced, loveblush.
of gasps, feathered paths lain flat beneath nail-scratched backs. attack! brains wracked, massacred bedsheets trail in our tracks. relax. at last, our bodies compare, contrast, our bones shudder, crack. relax. this too shall pass.
four eyes flutter butterflies, a new child utters and cries. the camera shutter blinds. I remember, mother died at forty-five. we cried, slumbered beneath mother’s eyes singing lullabies, whistles born of whispered lies. but that’s life.
sex and getting by, dragonflies.



I am the wet dream of an inebriated Ezra Pound
a black bough’s torn petal
snared upon the head of a rusted nail
haphazardly hammered into earth
into a crust of numerological delicacy
into constellations formed of kitchen utensils
into the eye of the beholder
into and between the syllables dripped
from the sink faucet
with their skeletal chatter
with the throat gargles of brushing teeth
with radio veejay monotone
with falsetto laughter
a boxing match with Mark Rothko
Warhol digs through my trash cans for used tissues
the sidewalk is abstract expressionism
the sidewalk is ending Shel Silverstein
the sidewalk chalked with smoldering ashes
the sidewalk lined by ants marching in time

I am the silhouette silence of an unconscious John Cage
four minutes
thirty seconds
three seconds
inaudible claps of steel-toed boots
of soft-soled shoes
leather tanned upon the spine of the setting sun
leather bound upon the spines of Mice
and of men
Lewis Carroll drugs children in alleyways
buries their blue brains in rabbit holes
memories soak into the soil
bipolar trees spring forth from the dirt
carrying leaves of aborted sins
carrying unsealed envelopes addressed to Rilke
carrying tea bags laced with arsenic
laced with cyanide
laced with sugar cane fresh from the fields
laced with the building up of buttercups in song

I am the final resting place of a deceased Sylvia Plath
charcoal pupils and singed eyebrows
suicide dances a poetischen walzer
in the name of language
in the name of kings and further kings
in the name of ceasing desisting
Allen Ginsberg beats insignificance with a belt
beats Billy Collins until he speaks only in metaphor
in radio static
in photograph negatives
shadows linger by the doorway
lean against the walls of film
speaking in hushed whispers
of governmental infidelity
of excuses not yet used to justify war
of billboard commercialism and its sex appeal
of keyless pianos perched above doorways
raven-black claws sunk into the mantel wood
as Poe shivers earthquakes in the snow


Selling Books under Mainstream Genesis

One day God created mannequins
of all colors, the world littered
with fluorescent plastic figures
nameless and speechless,
all in his image.

He dressed his mannequins
in fabrics, denim and leather.
He called the designs Calvin Klein, Gucci
and spritzed each sparkling creation
with a splash of heavenly holy water-
cologne and perfume.

On the third day, God created money
and shopping malls, greed and gluttony.
He created humanity,
set his mannequins to work modeling
the clothing designs and agreed
to accept cash, credit, or check
as payment for his work.

God saw how good it was,
consumerism that is,
and on the fourth day,
rested in a Bed, Bath, & Beyond,
the Tempurpedic mattress beneath
him forming to his grace and glory.


Thomas Buckley

The poem is an extension of me.

Poems extend from me like transparent appendages colored with the pastel hues of nature- the greens of forestry, pale blues of clouded skies. Poems spring forth from my body, are pulled out of me to form new life- Adam’s rib multiplied to the hundreds. Thousands.

To quote the poet Robert Penn Warren, “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” I allow poems to conceive themselves in the imagination-wet confines of my brain, a womb for creative thought processes. I allow poems to swell for nine months, feeding on knowledge, engulfing “likes,” simile cereal for each morning’s breakfast. I satisfy poetry with the milk of my words and waters of my unconscious dreaming. At full growth, poems birth themselves onto my tongue, through my open ears, enter the world unaware of how to proceed- unsure of how to present themselves- what form?

I consider myself to be a poet’s poet. When you read poetry, I want you to be reading between my organs, finding metaphors written upon the bone of my ribs, the skin of my teeth. I want you to see images with each beat of my heart and meadows flourishing in the soup of my stomach. The poem is a process- thinking and releasing, it is as easy as inhaling and exhaling. If you write often, of course.

I write not dictionaries, but poems. I write not poems, rather poems write me, extending into the world transparent and soaking color from the surrounding world, a triptych hanging in the art gallery of my paint-splattered brain.