June 7, 2017

Tom C. Hunley

I LIE ON A HAMMOCK IMAGINING A TEN COUNT

Here lies Tom C. Hunley
on his hammock
swinging between two oaks
between a bird singing
and shocks of silence
between the danger of a stinger
and the yellow whirl of a butterfly
between his shadow sprawled out
on his long-neglected lawn
and the evening sky bruised
like the eye of a boxer knocked down
and fighting his way back up
who upon rising sees his body
still sprawled on the canvas
looking so serene he forgives himself
finally for not being a champion
for letting his father flatten his mother
over and over until he found the combination
that unlocked his fury and cold-cocked his father
and who gazing somehow into his own
dazed eyes sees that there’s more
to a person than he could ever fit
in his fists more than he could hold
clenched in his muscled oiled arms
more beauty than you can bottle
in something as soft and lightweight
as a body

from Rattle #55, Spring 2017

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Tom C. Hunley: “When I was a teenager, I was captivated by Kevin J. O’Connor’s portrayal of a teenage beat poet in Peggy Sue Got Married. Shortly thereafter, I picked up Allen Ginsberg’s Empty Mirror and read ‘I am flesh and blood, but my mind is the focus of much lightning.’ I felt that way about myself. Every decision I’ve made since then has been impacted by my desire to hang onto that feeling.” (website)

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