Thomas Zimmerman teaches English, directs the writing center, and edits two literary magazines at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His chapbook In Stereo: Thirteen Sonnets and Some Fire Music appeared from The Camel Saloon Books on Blog in 2012. Tom's website:http://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com/
The fish stew’s bubbling on the stove, and I
am simmering and shimmering before
the heat of you. We’ll spawn, and then we’ll die,
you promise, but we just don’t know much more.
The soul can fly, we’ve heard and dreamt, so far
beyond our thumping cages, over seas
and streams and oceans, living as we are,
between the spaces of the known. The breeze
is turning pages of the books we want
to read but don’t. Their words could pad the sharp
and glinting edges of our thoughts that haunt
and hunt along the bottom. We’re just carp
that taste of mud and cannot breathe the air
of beings larger, used to finer fare.
It’s Brahms this morning on my iTunes: rich,
too sweet, but satisfyingly complex,
much like a sonnet or a port. No niche
exactly fits, as we’d expect. For sex,
he went to prostitutes, and profit stirred
his genius every morning to compose.
He played the market, gave to charity.
His unrequited love for Schumann’s wife,
his burning of his lesser works, the blows
(in print, at least) exchanged with Wagner: strife
and storm that I admire and abhor.
But to examine him with clarity,
to move beyond the words I’ve read and heard,
I need to live and think and listen more.
Along the Nishnabotna, sycamores,
a cloud of gnats, a cawing crow, the sun,
and Grandpa Horace Zimmerman, long dead,
is under them with banjo, mason jar
of moonshine, mouthing someone else’s song.
And Dad, who’s dead now seven years, is on
his second beer, Hank Williams on the hi-
fi soft, a crossword puzzle on his lap,
three-quarters of it solved. The coffee’s gone:
I’ve drunk it all. There’s tea this afternoon,
and microbrews tonight. The river flows,
it winds and rushes forward, floods its banks,
or dwindles to a dirty string. Because
it’s everything I need, I must look back.
©2014 Tom Zimmerman