September 11, 2012


Thom Ward

THE THING IN QUESTION

        From the start He-Got-It got it, perhaps because he came from a long line of indefinite pronouns.
        Good morning, sweetie, said his Mother, I-Take-It-You-Agree. Darling, even though you get it, I will get it for you the rest of your life.
        Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, said his father, You-Can’t-Avoid-It. I hate it when you help him get it. He’s got to learn to work for it or he’ll never get anywhere.
        And so it went. Knocked in all directions by I-Take-It-You-Agree and You-Can’t-Avoid-It, so much so that some nights He-Got-It couldn’t recall what he was getting, what he had got. Then came the day his mother gave birth to smiling twin girls: It-Must-Be-Love and Isn’t-It-Adorable. Suddenly, it was too late to get it, hide it or run from it. And so he changed his name to Make-It-A-Double.

from Rattle #26, Winter 2006

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April 14, 2011

Thom Ward

THE INVENTION OF HOW

No algebra or chemistry equations required. Each Sunday at precisely seven a.m., he walked through the automatic doors of the giant, automatic supermarket, pushing a shopping cart full of potatoes, milk, bread, cheese and peanut butter, napkins and chicken cutlets, dozens of items for the cupboards, freezer and fridge. As his truck was parked in a space alongside the cart hangar, where the orange sign read Return Shopping Carts Here, the rest was simple. Removing each item from the cart he carefully stacked the heaviest ones on the bottom, the light ones on the top, building a small pyramid of perishable food on the asphalt. Smiling at such architecture (a single lemon like the star atop a Christmas tree), he’d release the door to the truck’s empty bed, place the shopping cart on its side, push it in, shut the door, climb into the cab, twist the key, and–without hesitation, nostalgia, remorse—drive off.

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005

__________

Thom Ward: “I don’t like to shop in supermarkets, for that matter, I don’t like to shop at all. He’d rather read philosophy, swim in Upstate New York lakes, or floss. Especially the latter, flossing is one of the most underrated ‘How” activities ever invented.” (web)

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August 14, 2010

Thom Ward

RUMPUS, COHESION, MESS

The bed sheet knows the vices I’ve slept.
How quickly it nooses my feet. Someone said,
we’re wrong men in a right world, all that
zigzag anger. Not quite—that’s another movie.
We’re wrong men who’ve built a wrong world,
each with a knapsack full of crushed glass,
cigarette butts. Photos of our children march
off the walls to a music only the dog can hear.
Rumpus minus cohesion equals mess. So many
weapons, I’m waiting for the plunger to make
the first move. Why should the water play fair.
Is that a cross around your neck or the last bird?
Things forgotten scream out for help in dreams
but not as loudly as things remembered.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
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Read by Tim

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