THOMAS S. EVANS

Poetry Matrix, 2012

The Poetry Matrix arose out of a desire to create an "exhaustible poem." A reader would cross words off across columns to create lines and stanzas. The Matrix is the result of an exploration into what sorts of combinations can be produced when words were repeatedly reused.

 

While the initial purpose of the Matrix was to investigate the iterative possibilities of a limited wordbank, its real worth proved to be in its interactive potential and value as a brainstorming exercise.

 

Co-developed with Patrick Mulroy.

Little Soul, 2018

in a small space

carapace

a little soul puts beak on shell,

cracks against a fragile bell,

tastes

fresh

air

Bone, 2018

wax long bone

crack fringe coral hot

feather fractal fungus moon

mist curls on pined branch

through pillared mosses

through slew ferns

thick lush dawn

blood drips like fast life

beat rust towers gong

a tunnel leading down and round

sewer full of rainbow bloom

dusty golden prism hope

mewling voice that echoes in

a ganglia of pipes

climb cave away

wailing of its empty veins

flosses out the wreck and flushes

flesh through shattered I

reflex to hormonal fastens

dump behind the eyes 

a force for eat and chew

rolls the brightened maze

a ritual of tongs and tonsils

clotting in the sun ash,

dirt, dust, and done

Thefro, 2017

Close the eyes

so heavy find

the grind behind,

the rind that whispers

off the sticky I that stands

between the empty mind and mind,

fuzzy slowdive static down,

the warmth found in release

saturn beast

shudders

baturn sheast

sudders

stiff comes the bleach of ego

off the deadskinned hand

your country fellow man

your words in foreign lands

a pradle for a coming sung

ding dublin cornoll thafrum tung

I say I see the hairpin sac

she threads three times und

faten back

soft heart attack

soft heart attack

keunyang I knowmy know my ring

utau now sing

umlaut king

the round that mellows

glorum in up table there

that fall desk pillow andeforth

that foll deks polliw dandefrot

thet flo dek plow danfro theflo

dekplodan flo thefro

One Hundred Times, 2018

If only I could live my life

100 times the drunkard,

beard long, sunk in sin

at an ancient pub with peeling paint -

green and trellis,

yellow-stained windows

and cocktail glasses - 

in the seat

of lost forgottens who wallowed, 

who rose and who fell

on the crests of waves

that crashed and flattened 

in silence.

Sat at a table lit by the light

of the summer sun

come in from the stones of the promenade,

an old parade there makes its noise.

I watch the scene unfold itself

in soft and gold and lush and shadow

and passive pleasure upon my mind,

a memory embalmed in the floating world,

one of God's little fleeting toys.

If only I could live my life

100 times the genius,

100 times the soldier,

100 times the craftsman,

100 times the fool,

100 times the merchant,

100 times the midwife,

100 times the scholar,

100 times the seer,

100 times the outcast,

100 times the invalid,

100 times the pioneer,

100 times the whore,

100 times the jester,

100 times the actor,

100 times the king and queen,

a thousand,

a million,

more

Clean Your Room, 2015

bit by liddle piddle bit

he ground the tooth into the lip

and cranked the sinew spun the bone

and found repose on blackbruise throne

he threw the shirts and trousers, jeans

on wire skeletons that screamed

to be sprung out from their dark home,

the smell of worms, the scent of loam,

the sounds of television thrown

into the walls that bounce and churn

the wavelengths into creamy foam

that settle in his ears at turns

between the sighing metal groans

of whirring drills and toxic moans

of nature's stolen feast -

They work to tame the least.

And the millions, billions pounds

of gas and rock in hills and mounds

mutter under great ape fingers

pressing deep in mine and town,

sniffing for the body's treasure,

thirsty balding hounds-

their greasy ears attentive,

pressed down upon the beaten ground,

poised to probe, a licking tongue,

a membrane wet and ready,

soon to sudden sickened lust

when mother's blood is siphoned dry

and left a hollow husk.

I put the paper to the pen

just to keep the inner peace.

my brain is out on lease

Bloom, 2012

vow avowed, vow avowed

naked feet grip coldbare tile

a shroud of cloud and lace dismayed,

dressed in pearls and bits of jasper

that shatter like glass on bedroom floor

petalhead drag the dead

through hall through corridor

down lilting ragged yellow rays

where mellow love lies wilting

shallow tear jogs jagged round

callow jaw, slow and tall,

crawling down from fleshy pore

for artifact and clue

so hesitant in nature seeming

reticent in bloom's allure,

harvestman and broom

too soon, too soon

to march into marbled tomb

or have you sought it since the womb?

The Gates, 2010

I.

There were wrought-iron gates by the riverside-
salvaged bits of a grandeur left untouched,
save for the bloody, hardened frost of untold years of creeping rust-
holding fast to shifting dirt, fascinating urban folk
and adding fuel to village lore, the mystic cause of children lost:
"Bodies pried from off the shores! victims of its demon claws
which wayward men invoked": this is the stuff of fairy tales,
which aging men stuff into tomes like photos into old shoeboxes.

So when young eyes were shied away in houses,
and hunchbacked trees bent about these gates-
in the days of dying that define the autumn;
the opaque days of winters lost to the beating down
of uncouth weather-

shuttered sunlight rolling down past leaves
blasted flakes of those gates' splintering red metal
to soothe over churning riverbed sediment,
crumbling into metallic stones smoothed over
from the glancing graces of thousands upon thousands of watery hands;
and cracking crayfish on the bellies of otters did these old relics sink
into blue Egyptian silt with the bones of their old possessors---
stirred in and bellowing with the riverside tides
of the earth's foreign sentiments,
where tumble and glide the endless confessors
of the silent and placid seas.

(and thus so it went,
that in the every minute which from it followed came a minute more, one...

two...

...and three hundred years would slowly pass
as the great ambitions of great-souled men
with all the wears of work and wine
would acquiesce to their too many days
let by them fly as purely wasted;
with altogether too many dreams,
expectations and aspirations
let slowly simmer to smoldering regret.)



II.

Blind old fingers of blind road builders groped in banks
of iron lakes and rivers- clutching moldy copper pails for stones to lay
for cobbled city paths and chunks of ore for molded hand-rails,
joking quietly to themselves of local legends they once heard tell
of magic portals, gates to hell, that once there stood as tokens of the
"Abstruse magicks of sorcerers past,
whose dabblings with demons fell to Peter's ticking time;"
while mild droning from the city's gentle breezes,
sweeping out beyond wheat fields as far as forest trees
(and filling these old builders' minds with something not quite silence),
carried all in one a thousand and some voices,
stories told from the very mouths of men of trade, and faith, and crime.

The pebbled roads and mortar made (in rivers set in stone
that stretched their splitting fingers past old liquor stores and houses
and curling steel painted black that guided rippled fingertips
to there and back on worn staircases circling down to sea)
the feet for all these busy lives- pears in sacks for midwife baskets,
crates piled by the docking spaces full of ships with tea and glue
all waiting for the moon;
while seagulls dump their noises in the box full of the sky,
golden heat retreats from radiant roofs:
The colors shift like wooden candles snuffing out their lives.

(And as stoics come and slowly go
and gnostic chanters give their glow
to children left on doorsteps, comets marching on and on
with dusty scraps caught in the flow light paths for fortune seekers;

Quiet eyes sigh across washed and dusty
stone floor tiles, redefining ancient truths
to fit new prejudices [to which they now
are circumspect],
and yell cross marbled and ivied courtyards:
"I can not wait but to indicate this to you!-"
Offering finger-pointed eurekas to the heavens
of troubled intellects.)


III.

A rebirth of man-made monoliths bearing down on their creators
framed a new paradise of recycled cardboard and corrugated steel,
And peeping voices pouring sound into cacophonic overtones
that buzz and hum into the earth and through the walls and windows of
historic old brick palaces (left standing as a quaint antique and left
to rot in nostalgic molds and mosses) gave birth to aural organisms
that crept between the city blocks and crawled to nest in urban brains-
brains that jumped in sad amusement at the creature's sudden absence
in the peace of placid countrysides.)

The quiet slap of leather soles on grimy sidewalk cracks,
and nervous hands on windowsills with anxious eyes bewildering,
(who, for all their intermittent gulps,
Will not consider what they've got at stake:
In the words of the old philosopher,
"One swallow does not a summer make")
are measured by the pulsing beat of cars and taxis sifting through
the narrow lanes of thoroughfares,
and asphalt-layered streets.


And in the time intuited
between eyes that cross with eyes,
and puzzled bits of shape and shade
and sound and scent and softness
that somewhere speak of reason when
all made and packed in words,
understanding names itself
the instant of becoming-
where senses cease to struggle with
the notion of the oceans,
and of stars and sticks and birds.



IV.

There were wrought-iron grates by the roadside,
where old and grimy rainwater drops into sewer pipes,
persecuted by bits of trash and the gripes of window-wipers
from rubber tires and metal shells that roll like beetles
down worn-down Indian trails, spiked with orange traffic cones,
covered over, over and over with tar and flecks of stone;
someday left behind to grow dangling vines like prehistoric temples,
forgotten like two young lovers aging, who crumble into bones;

Written into tiny bits of lightning caught within the grips
of fiber-optic flax (long and stringy tendons laying
the skeleton of a birthing world without the limits
of night or day, drawing close together lips
to foster conversations) are the offhand thoughts of modern heroes
conjured up from crying Ids to connect with fellow
dreamers: worlds on top of worlds escape the pagan fears
that once drew lines around the Earth (those age-old myths
of non-believers and enthroned and vague redeemers);
searching for the 'übermensch' in dark and sinister lexicons of silicon.

(The bright rooms of blind potential
which strike out the outlines of trespassed doors;
and the hungry hands of the average man,
with all his glands and hairs and pores
that can seek no form of progress but
the conquering of foreign shores:
these things are one with my desires,
lying fetal on the floor;
There's tea on the table waiting yet,
the feeling's fickle, to be wanting more.)



V.

With the passage of time there was only iron, left behind,
scattered fragmented Ozymandias memories-
left barren like wrought-iron gates that point to a time
long lost, standing still: grey-scaled skeletons dead to a stillborn, littered sky,
once decked with the flesh and defiant spirit of 'mankind's everlasting quest';
they lay like ancient angels under all their ash and grime in rest-
and maybe all for the best.

Wondrous legends grew up around
the gods of old with metal birds, palaces that touched the sky,
and magic boxes of light and sound;
while green shoots sprouted up past lonely long-dead finger bones
by a river, with wrought-iron gates at its side,
the salvaged bits of a grandeur left untouched,
save for the bloody, hardened frost of untold years of creeping rust-
holding fast to shifting dirt, fascinating urban folk
And adding fuel to village lore, the mystic cause of children lost:
"Bodies pried from off the shores! victims of its demon claws
which wayward men invoked": this is the stuff of fairy tales,
which aging men stuff into tomes like photos into old shoeboxes.

A Makeshift Lampshade, 2011

Two arms twisted, spouting out light
like ferocious blood spurting from the
stumps of the Venus de Milo

mashed wooden skin warped into
a Mobius strip, stitched together
with shirt pins found shoved in the rug

a haphazard wrapping asking,
fasting,
a curtain too ready to fall

stark red and spined by a floral
design that folds out of sight and
returns again fingering edges

with leaves that weave static
and flow, like wind blowing through
the hair of the Venus de Milo.

Back Home, 2017

A light that falters on the wall

You wonder what you came for as

The beam dissolves, the car drives past

The window empties into black

The echo of the hollow street

Rebounds as circles through the ground

You feel the floor reverberate

The gentle fate of settling down

In a quiet, quiet town.