Archive for May, 2014

spring song

31 May



why no vernal revelry?


why no vernal revelry?

why no strings? no music

no whisper like sand between her lips

keep going

no reality

no relative truth

no elastic in the process

no exercise in poetry

no begging, no vagrancy

no belonging to the club

no vacancy at my table

jewelry, lightning storms

I’ve got cloudy skies

not enough tattoos

never enough skin

who no vernal revelry, my friends?

why no vengeance? no applause

no summer toes like wind chipping off the face of parking lots

no more of these long sentences

keep going

no news

no myths

no exploration

no explanation

none necessary

but may I suggest

that instead, my friends

say yes

or more precisely, say

empathically, alright!


new breath

27 May



A Train (“una furtiva lagrima” by Enrico Caruso, 1911)


            like a prowling midnight wraith it passes

            like dust

            we travel

            all a temporary kin

            we are survivors

            thrown and shaking

            across bridges, tunnels and bad news

            sitting together, shoulder to shoulder, god to god

            locomoting through

            no destination

            where memory and culture try to find a solidarity


            so close we sit

            the kids dance for smiles and dollars

            swirling around polls as though the metal was a light and it was summer and there was cooking and we were flies alive, abound and peckish with curiosity like an explorer’s hide made grim by wanderlust and rain when it domes over you like falling locusts, like a growing parasol, like the flash of cameras over the pale skin of an American actress smiling for the last hello

weeks at a time

            I watch them before going back to my book

            out of respect for other artists

            struggling to make a buck

            I’ve tried performing on these trains as well

            but I’ll take the street instead

            too shy to preach the underground measure

            a cement that my boots could grab is good enough for me

            I have witnessed prodigies (in the archaic sense)




                                                through the blocks

            I have seen surrender and true love

            I have seen not all, enough

            with more a still filling drink

            a name

            a new name

            all we seek

            all we must change

            if balalaika’s life and banjo death

            then we must change the name along with the tune and season

            and meet again when we are all unconditionally different people

            still traveling to something new


A Terminated Contract (8 x 8 is back)

23 May



8 x 8 (In Neon)


In Hinduism you aren’t allowed to the let the books touch the ground. All of them, any of them. The ones that mean something to you and even that cheap mystery chapbook you bought to help you sleep on an apollonian train ride across a gold, idyllic countryside where nothing is meant to remain but time. This literature is the one you can climb into like into a bottle, soak up the words like alcohol, so that even when you climb out it remains with you, seeped into your skin, a constant smell, a new shade for you to wear. Impassioned, bardolphian, prone to flame, a match-head between your index and thumb.


a neon freedom across 23rd
and a plastic fish
disproportionate, kitschy
sitting on the wall
angled down
mouth agape
we’re waiting for our drinks
and our seafood appetizers
scallops, clams and shrimp
they’ll keep it open
because it’s raining outside
and the waitress likes me
a silver necklace hanging amethyst
for those purpled crimes
she winks with a beer for me
on the house
a neon freedom across 23rd


My little messes, I love all of you, of the literary and non-literary sort – pity, pity, but you are all living history! It’s up to you whether you’re recalled or not. Whether you want to be. Or safely collect dust – like all those passing footsteps that we drugged ourselves past – or trinkets (a snow globe or that little red riding horse in the corner, painted by hands now departed through a hospital bed, I don’t even remember the location, nary a cross street ) retired from childhood.


Mine is a city of missing sons. My neighborhood a sinkhole. Everything gets erased. But sometimes it can feel like home. No matter how warm and inviting, there are ways to designate us as prisoners within it. Home or prison, your mother’s womb, nineteen-eighty-eight. Surely there was crying. We were all eight years before. We had a chance. We were all potential.


Two sparrows kissing at my feet
I wait
to ride
hungover to my job
it’s Saturday
but that no longer seems to matter
because there’s bills to be paid
and honesty to charge
I’ve seen this platform
much too often now
a bench positioned next to refuse
I sit
we sit
we wait
to ride
hungover to the job.
Two sparrows kissing at my feet.


She liked the writers that we apolitical. I liked the ones with some sass. Especially the French. Revolution, rebellion and death. I can smell the gun powder, like she could smell the lyricism that lay underneath the language like a thin layer of sweat underneath a tired summer top. Green in her eyes, green smoke, green breath, we dance outside the offices that pay both our rent and our regret. We are the last ones here. She suggests that we get some bourbon. I’d rather touch her, read on the subway on our way back home. And there’s this, at least this, and likely more to come.

We smile because this is our sentence. Our moment to become the world we want.


Returning Into Something New

11 May



a blending of color
a blending of skin
this is how the world begins
this is us
this is future
this is past
this is crisp nothingness
            and Babylon
            and torch songs
            and freedom
            and the right to elect crooks with friendly smiles
this is America
and the third world
and endless ocean
and thinning air
rising gas prices, art
something sacred
something sold
something that resembles an emerald lost in a dead purse
money and history ignored inside a little pill
a shadow of sleep underneath your eyes
this is a graceful exit and a fresh start
this is cake for breakfast
this is a blending of color
stardust, eternity, all the other flowery bullshit that poets write about
this is the blending of skin
stay in bed, a hangover, late to work
this is how the world begins
this is us


Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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