The Web Poetry Corner
DreamMachineThe Web Poetry Corner is a Dream Machine Site
The Dream Machine --- The Imagination of the World Wide Web
Google

The Web Poetry Corner

Thomas Michael McDade

of

Monroe, CT, US

Home Authors Alphabetically Authors Date Submitted Authors Country Submission Rules Feedback



If you have comments or suggestions for Thomas Michael McDade, you can contact this author at:
tom_mcdade@hotmail.com (Thomas Michael McDade)


Find a book store near you, no matter where you are located in the U.S.A.!


Cerzan

...the best independent ISP in the Twin Cities

Gypsy's Photo Gallery


Cornfield Across Route 152

by

Thomas Michael McDade

The TB hospital
we painted
Dutch Boy Deluxe
blinding white
had found a new life
as a nursing home.
Its long porch
was a stage
facing a cornfield.
Once Jimmy climbed in
the one corpse cooler
in the morgue
and scared
enough hell out
of Jackie
to make him cross
himself wrong.
In the library,
Augie found a volume
of poetry with strips
of candy wrapper
flagging a dozen poems.
J.D. said only Westerns
were worth reading.
A brain tumor killed him
as dead as Wyatt Earp.
We figured he drank
the cheap wine
to battle the pain.
J.D. often took
his medicine
from a Thermos
on the porch
he always said
was big enough
for a barn dance
as he stared off
into his audience
of butter
& sugar corn
like a man
whoíd leave a trail
in an old
poetry anthology.


The Foreman, 1968

by

Thomas Michael McDade

The Foreman just smiles
when guys joking around
call him, "Trigger."
Wounds in the war
bent his finger that way.
Wired like a puppet,
heís able to handle
the graveyard shift
at Lebanon Knitting Mills
where noisy machines fail
to drown out
a college boy singing
and strumming a guitar
when he should be
sweeping the floor.
The Foreman says no
sweat to a bobbin
tender who canít work
without her calico kitten
by her side just this once.
Joining his hands
he passes a knitter
yelling out Scripture.
He punches the time clock
for a turner whoís promised
to leave the Town Lounge
at "last call" on the dot.
He shows a nodding
spinner rolls of warm
fabric to use for a nap.
Some folks eye
the hairpin curve
of his finger and wonder
when the nickname
will finally fit.

Kerouac's Grave, 10/17/94

by

Thomas Michael McDade

The geraniums have given
up but not the orange
and gold chrysanthemums.
Shoes and knees
or booze poured
to anoint Jack
killed the grass.
The sun sops up
the last cheap drops
of a pilgrimís forty
ounce tribute.
A fuse of leaves
crosses gray soil
to a pumpkin yet to be
carved in homage.
A duo of cigarettes is poised like
ante of gamblers gone broke.
A young guy pointing at
a half done white candle
says only night visits count.
Once again, youth knows all
in smoke, beer and maybe
a Miles Davis tape solo.
The old ones labor
to crowd their minds
with poems and prayers
as fingernails slice mums
for cleavage or lapel.
They wonder which
of Jackís pages
will press best.

Alive

by

Thomas Michael McDade

In middle age
I find myself
talking often
of the wild ones
from my youth
who vanished
just to reappear
as survivors in
parentsí obituaries.
Scattered across
the country
I imagine them
lawless still,
on the run,
colorful pushpins
in a manhunt map.
Sometimes
in obit photos
the dead
are younger
than I
ever imagined
their reckless
offspring
would ever
live to be.

Miss Lena Raven, 1009 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, California

by

Thomas Michael McDade

"Hello Lynx," the 1928 post card starts,
(Itís the Victoria Bridge in Montreal.)
Iím here for a while.
Nice, lovely town.
Plenty of booze
and French girls.
Will answer your
letter soon.
Best regards,
Lenny.
Heís Drunk.
His penmanship is worse
than Dr. Perriniís
who pined for Lena
while abroad in Rome.
(A vista of the Temple of Neptune.)
Wait for me,
will return soon.
Later from Venice (The Bridge of Sighs):
Lena, Iím coming home soon.
Not quite sure of her address,
he wrote "1009?"
Lena studied her post cards
like a Gypsy at Tarot.
Some she balled up for the cats.
Some she vowed to clutch in the grave.
She imagined others
in the hands of curious strangers
and she heard her name move their lips.

Hispanic, 5 Feet 7 Inches Tall

by

Thomas Michael McDade

Razor wire
rimming chain link fences
is the grinning revenge
of a billion barbs
that kids,
thieves and adults
testing time
have scaled like stings
of rusty December stars.
But under a moon
that's a last ditch smile,
a man, late thirties
with no identifying papers
can make a fence
hopping name for himself
or be called
just homeless,
hair curley and black.
Arm and wrists slashed.

Grading Snow

by

Thomas Michael McDade

Memory may lie
about snow depth
but not the perfect
texture of a ball
of snow in my hands,
mitten flecks
sticking like shreds
of Popsicle wrapper.
The drumming
as they landed
on trucks and buses
was relentless but just
until the roads were good
enough for hooking bumpers.
In a ski crouch,
I breathed exhaust
as if training for suicide.
No one slipped under
wheels, or dropped dead
after a snowball hit
an eye or temple,
or got frostbite.
Voices shrill with warning
but never names tailed off
like the bouquet
of wet wool on radiators
after a cold snap
turned snow crunchy.

Wing Furl

by

Thomas Michael McDade

Returning from a wake
I'm speeding
and don't know whether
I'm trying to outrun death
or just don't see the point
of caution anymore
since death's so simple
old men do it in a snap.
The highway's a conveyor belt,
street lamps are mantis heads,
wings furled tightly
in disgust.
They know the wakes I've missed;
the ones I've used to see old friends.
Caffeine interferes when I try to pray
but I'm able to feed the cassette player
my favorite tapes as reverently
as Christmas or Easter hosts.
I dedicate the songs
to everyone, but especially
those who've sinned like me.
The music twitches corpses
and sleeping folk
are bolted upright like Lazarus.
The road's a stretch
of audio tape my tires caress
like heads unpaving every tune
that ever was, for every soul
who did or did not sing.
Christ knows I'm going too fast
but I need the speed of light
to outwit mantises whose weather
beaten wings threaten to unfurl
and wrap around me
like newspapers that didn't warm
a drifter sacked out
in a junkyard car--
my obit the last thing
he ever saw.

The Mount

by

Thomas Michael McDade

A wild west drifter,
a jockey in a post parade,
I'm riding Jess, a quarterhorse
with a diamond-splashed face,
on an Outer Banks shore.
A child's shell art
reminds me of my bulging discs,
but my back's not the worry--
rather the carousel ride
if I dig in my heels
and find no gallop.
Jess shows me who's boss
then, avoiding the surf
like it's glue, he runs
for all he figures
I'm worth.
I'm Shane, Hondo,
Shoemaker, Arcaro.
Hooves smash the kid's
long spine of shells,
but mine is thrilled numb.
Limping later
along the beach,
I'm an old bent scout,
tracking Jess and me.
Breakers covered our trail
and we got away clean.
It took fifty years
to get that mount.

Mr. Melucci, Tolman High, 1962

by

Thomas Michael McDade

He said he was
the only teacher
weíd remember.
Why not?
He taught
American History.
Who else advised us
to defy cops
invading loversí lanes
or alcohol proving grounds?
Roll the window down
enough to slip
license and registration out.
"Demand a warrant
beyond that!"
The chalky hands that
built homes in summer
chopped, dragged
and sliced the air.
Fist pounding desk,
palms flashing
like badges,
remembering
seemed no less
than the law.

The Valley Cafe, 1967

by

Thomas Michael McDade

The trumpeter who calls horses to Post
at Narragansett earns more
backing buxom women dancing off clothes
and sopranos belting out tunes
to warm up the crowds.
When a songbird is so good no one bangs
bottles on tables or shouts "bring on the stripper"
he feels like a Broadway musician.
Enter the project kids who used to skip
school for the track and heís back at the races.
Nine times a day they cheered him
as if he were Satchmo.
No fences to scale or cops to dodge here:
show your leer and youíre legal at the Valley Cafť.
It doesnít matter when these loyal fans appear
if a sweet child he loves like a daughter is holding
a note sheís been chasing since birth
or a stripper is bumping and grinding
a fresh theory of motion.
When the project kids shuffle in like new owners,
he rises and blares the most exquisite Post Time riff
in the annals of racing.
Counting this gang the best field of colts ever born,
this trumpeter canít help but wonder why
the hell not one ever took up the horn
got good enough to bless or blame him.

Holy Land, USA, Waterbury, CT

by

Thomas Michael McDade

After chin-ups snap
the crucified right arm
of Christ, the vandal
pummels lambs, camels
and asses, even saints with it.
At the Nativity, he shines
his flashlight on the EVERYDAY
IS CHRISTMAS stone
and wishes he could crown
the thieving son-of-a-bitch
who saved the Holy Kid
from his club.
Someday heíll stuff this
midget city into
its own creepy catacombs.
If Christís limb would bleed
it might have the power
to fall the tall steel cross
that glows nights
for highway motorists.
Thatís a joke, he tells himself,
cutting off a thought of a bloody
miracle flocking the pilgrims back.
Sparing The Last Supper mural
from a black lacquer coat
he turns
like a archbishop.
Placing two fingers around
the sacred chalky wrist he salutes
the fresh decapitated heads glowing
in cross light like ghosts of Waterbury
watch face painting girls snuffed
out by the miracle of radium.

Rollie Pariseau

by

Thomas Michael McDade

Itís not my lone high
school victory,
the 100-yard butterfly
vs. North Kingston
or competing
on the same team
with future Hall of Famer
Bruce Calvert that tops
my swimming reveries.
Itís Rollie Pariseau,
a gridiron coach
who took charge
at Tolman in 1960.
Gaps in his aquatic expertise
were patched
with inspiration and laps,
laps and more laps.
We practiced until
out chlorine weary
eyes blurred
the words-to-win-by
soggy signs taped
on the walls.
A critical training rule
was that every
pool exit be
treated as a pushup.
This drill is still so
important to me
that I resent the easy
egress oceans offer.

Healing Time

by

Thomas Michael McDade

Odie is eighty,
his third pacemakerís fried
and heís too weak
for surgery.
But it was the same
deal last cut
and heís still around
thinking how to kill
the healing time
on V.A. clocks
that thrive on
stays of execution.
Odie reckons heíll turn
to God again with the help
of the foreign docs
and nurses who speak
their native lingo
when heís faking sleep.
Their chatter reminds him
of long lost altar Latin and
their stethoscopes are as cool
as the Miraculous Medal
he wore on a shoelace
around his neck
when he was seven.
Odie can still hear it
stopping a stone
heíd called a bullet.

Navy YMCA, Norfolk, Virginia

by

Thomas Michael McDade

At the Navy YMCA
downtown Norfolk
there was a gymnasium
filled with bunk beds
like the place at Camp Barry
where you slept
your first boot camp night.
No free ride at the Navy Y.
Sleep was ninety-nine cents,
including a towel
and a bar of hotel ivory soap
without a wrapper.
There were no lockers.
Valuables and uniforms
were safe under mattresses.
Lifers said that was the way
sailors did their pressing
on the old ships.
Sunday morning there was
Bible study.
The girls who served coffee
and donuts free
supplied homemade cookies
Saturday nights
and danced like big sisters
except if payday was near
when they pulled an inch
closer to win a sailor
for Jesus from the Granby
Street girls who ignored
the Gideons at the Commodore
Maury, hung dress blues
gently in closets.

The Bat and St. Francis

by

Thomas Michael McDade

The bat hanging
from my curtain rod
like an exotic
pepper in a deli
imagines life
as a mouse
strolling
in my walls -
a nimble herbivore
napping in
pink insulation.
When a hell
of lamplight
interrupts
and my broom
dislodges him
he shouts small
rabies warnings.
Swept into
a grocery bag
he curses
his clumsy wings
and envies mice
their escape
agility.
Releasing him,
I feel like St. Francis
and the moon
is my tonsure.
But there are no miracles.
The batís wings still work
like reapers
and he canít grit his teeth
against the bloody harvest
for long.

The Door

by

Thomas Michael McDade

The adult day care
center used to be
the Canopy Club
and some recall
romances
with the place.
Still hearing
saxophonesí
familiar riffs
they taste
the tension
as a bouncerís
flashlight shines
across an ID
as fake as
they all seem now.
And with no hint
of the old
protesting, they
escort themselves
to the door
theyíd love
to exit and slam.
Oh, for those nights
they prayed it would
never shut behind them!

Released Time

by

Thomas Michael McDade

On Wednesdays
we weren't
due in class
until ten
so Catholics
in public
school could
have weekly
instruction.
Those mornings
in the project
between the ninety
and hundred blocks
chalk stubs
numbered hopscotch
squares and
jump ropes
raised dust.
But as God was
busy elsewhere
no one thought
about commandments
or death not
even the abortionist
leaning out
her apartment window
dropping cigarette
butts long enough
for boys
to fistfight over.

Gunplay

by

Thomas Michael McDade

After sawing
the branches,
I let the dogwood
stand for a week
as if a family member
might claim the trunk,
find a will in cells
the blight forgot.
Recalling its showy days,
I consider the legend
of Christís wounds
living in each flower.
Axing the roots,
I expect gushing blood
but thereís only an urge
to plant a tree
that will not die
so conspicuously.
I save a length
to carve and whittle
a cane for my father.
But he dies and I was never
much at woodwork anyway.
So, I carry my relic stick
walking in the name
of fitness.
Aiming at
the Roman helmets
streetlamps wear
I squeeze a trigger
my saw left.
Banging my weapon
on the blacktop
for delayed
gunshot noise,
sometimes I feel
like an old man
demanding sunrise.

The Pirate

by

Thomas Michael McDade

He use to hang around
the project drinking
quarts of beer
when we were kids,
telling stories
about the Army,
teaching us jujitsu moves
he'd learned in Japan.
But he never told
how he'd scuttle a boat
for a piece of insurance loot
or steal one complete
or just outboard or sail.
Never mentioned getting shot
in the leg robbing lobster traps
or midnight quahoging
in polluted water,
selling his catch
bar to bar.
When I see a young guy
wearing an earring
like Captain Kidd,
I think of the only pirate
I ever knew --
how he never wore one.

My Old Man's Steps

by

Thomas Michael McDade

I insist
on feeding
the jukebox
after a tipsy
old lady leans
over my table
at the Hitching Post
dancefloor edge
to tell me what
a fine dancer
my late father was.
She puts down
the whisky glass
sheís clutching
like a corsage
and we waltz.
Iím not
my clumsy self
for a change.
I reason Death failed
to sweep clean
and Iím following
some of my Old
Manís steps.
But soon they
trail her
out the door
and a young woman
impressed by
my moments of grace
helps me
find myself
awkward again.


A Nickel

by

Thomas Michael McDade

Garbage pickup long ago
in Prospect Heights
was metal banging
and brakes
screeching high notes
before the rising
hopper roared
like a herd
of circus elephants
but there was no hint
of cotton candy
in the stench.
The garbage pail
set in cement
by the step
had a trap door lid.
One foot on its edge,
the other on the pedal,
there was banging
to be done
with a drum in mind
or soft rocking
just to pass the time.
The collectors left
behind a world
of maggots
as thick as rice
or coconut.
Five cents bought
a Hood bottle full
of kerosene at Thorpeís
Garage to purify
the garbage pail
and flames shot out
like a cannon firing.
Kids without nickels waited
for the maggots to turn into flies,
grabbed them mid-flight
to bounce off a brick wall.

A Plea Ignored

by

Thomas Michael McDade

Before the tornado
ash trees absorbed
the barking of dogs
and blocked
the phantom
rod of light
trespassing now
through an east
facing window.
It falls on the back
of a yet another
door on the west
side of the cottage,
exposing a sudden
creeping crack,
a knock-high
reminder
of an ancient
pounding,
a plea ignored
that led to mayhem.
Prayers the yelping
will someday be
tolerable at least
go unanswered.
The hounds never chew
the haunting wires
to halt the glowing
entry scar or shock
themselves mute.
Shades donít hold
their tongues.
Blinds rattle
to the floor.
The slightest breeze
kills new trees.

Past

by

Thomas Michael McDade

I want to know everything
from minute one
but my recall
is a short, sneaky fuse
in need of repair.
So I run to the past
like a centaur
returning
to a burning myth to share
stalls with memory mares
their flaming manes crackling
hints of my history,
sparkling lies for all
I care.
So skillfully grafted
other trips,
Iím a fireproof raider
galloping
into the whitest heat
of remembering.
Then reaching
like a trick rider
in a wild west show,
I grab a ball of asbestos
yarn from the devilís cat
and try to set a brand
new trail
thatís just another fuse
flaring as fast
as a beadless rosary.