LONGEVITY The city and I have gotten older. When we walk arm-in-arm now for the sake of walking this is as good as it gets and we see clearer than ever before, as if looking through strange, new eyes—what lucidity. Here’s the dusk spooling over the avenue, slowly both closing it down and opening it up. There’s a rose on the sidewalk, a blue skateboard in the gutter and if we wanted to levitate it along with so many other things deep into the sky, we could— the magician’s touch on us, at last, like stardust. A VISITATION I NEVER TIRE OF One of the poets I love, one who no longer walks among us, still drops by the apartment once a year. And once again I’m surrounded by her lyrical intensity, her humor her imaginative leaps and storytelling. She tells me she reads my poems and enjoys them—I prefer to believe she’s telling me the truth, why not? We talk poetry and poetry until darkness shows up and escorts her out. I look out the window into the darkness at the birds, the ones you can’t see, but the ones you know are there, close by. HO CHI MINH CITY AT NIGHT The tiny boats on the river pulse like fireflies, reflecting off the windows of the French restaurant where our host has taken out a long table soon to be loaded with a vast array of foods. The tropical scent has made its way inside, palm fronds sketched on the walls to match the ones lined along the narrow drive way, torchlights perfectly spaced to assist with the steep curves. The conversation is both high-minded and trivial, the affairs of business taking precedence, wine toasts in the candlelight sincerely made, the entrees melting in the mouth while cigarette smoke swirls. The Vietnamese woman next to me praises the food, but confesses she misses the pho and the heavy noodles. Hopelessly American, I say I miss a steak and she smiles and adds “I am most grateful we are allies now.”
Tim Suermondt’s sixth full-length book of poems “A Doughnut And The Great Beauty Of The World” will be forthcoming from MadHat Press in 2021. He has published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine, december magazine, On the Seawall, Poet Lore and Plume, among many others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.