National Poetry Month: Two poems by Nathan Tompkins

Muted 

By Nathan Tompkins 

 

No aerial chants 

through the window 

honour another morning, 

just the canine chorus  

clog dancing, 

outside the bedroom…again. 

 

Lips, yeah, 

I read them 

but that damned book 

is heavier than a feather, 

the tonnage wears 

down the  

bloodstream. 

 

Living 

in a muted world 

where 

captioning 

flares on a tv screen, 

it’s a comfort 

like 

watching  

winter fire 

drink oxygen. 

 

Moulded  

      amplifiers 

wired   

down ear canals 

paint shadow pictures 

of sound 

on the white walls: 

 

an avian moshpit 

shaking  

the lines, 

 

the whispers 

in the children’s kisses. 

 

the strangled echoes 

of life 

crunching 

            beneath 

tire treads. 


They’ll Come Again  

By Nathan Tompkins 

 

 

Take the space between the molecules. ball the fucker up, shove it into the heart. 

Life’s water in one hand, joint in the other. 

Christy and Shane dance on the iPod. 

Drown in a writer’s tears. 

Fly with the ravens. 

Dream of swans. 

 

Or 60 watt bulbs in glass eyes. 

Lips on the moon, ricochet between planets. 

Grunt…moan…cry…moan…cry…grunt… 

 

Newborn Changeling, ass still dripping with fog. 

Eyes always searching the lake for a swan. 

Ears gaze west for Danu’s children singing in the shadows of the bonfire. 

Feet always digging the trail north for home. 

Home is a shadow of youth, an otherland sanded to the bone by the winters. 

Home is a cemetery for stories buried alive, facing the path of the sun. 

 

Puncture the gut with a marlin spike, stick a funnel in the hole, pour the fat inside. 

Beneath a cairn of blankets a clock lies on the floor, it’s face kicked in. 

Time doesn’t live in darkness though the leaves may fade to white. 

It takes a harper’s note to crack the door.[Text Wrapping Break]Flakes of light scutter through the storm, guide the currach to the dawn.[Text Wrapping Break]Fry a salmon in the rain, taste the knowledge carved into its meat[Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break] 

Kiss the ravens goodbye, they’ll come again. 

Shove the heart in a wicker cage, set the bloody thing on fire. 

Don’t fucking dream of swans. 


Nathan Tompkins is a writer based in Portland, though North Idaho will always be home.  His work has appeared in many publications including Quail Bell Magazine, Into The Void, and Windfall:  A Journal of Poetry of Place.  His latest chapbook, Howl Drunkenly at the Moon, was published in 2018 by Alien Buddha Press, but all remaining copies were needed to solve the Great Toilet Paper Crisis of 2020.