“Surge” by T.R. Hummer

T.R. Hummer


At the Senior Center, nobody is playing cards. The tables are folded and leaned against the wall; the Queen of Hearts is stuffed in a box upside-down and backward, jammed between a joker and the three of clubs. Down the street, the local diner is emptier than a Hopper painting, bacon grease coagulating in a cold tin can. No one in the shops, no one on the street except one black-masked old man in a worn peacoat with a dog-eared paperback stuffed in one pocket, sitting on a bus stop bench, clenching his fists and weeping. This is the way contagion works. The tears of the poet were in the reader all along.

from Rattle #78, Winter 2022


T.R. Hummer: “Having been writing poetry seriously for over 50 years, I have belatedly come to the same conclusion I came to when I was in my 20s: I don’t write poetry; poetry writes me. When I was young, I knew that but misunderstood it; now I misunderstand it in a completely different way. Then, I wanted poetry to remake me in some radical and idealized way that was beyond me to do on my own. Now, I feel it in what I imagine to be Heraclitus’s way: ‘Listening not to me, but to the logos, it is wise to agree that all things are one.’ At 22, I would have thought that sentence was a three-part non sequitur; now, I simply concur.”

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