Three Poems by Tom Healy

BOMB 104 Summer 2008
Issue 104 104  Cover

Gioconda on Seventh Avenue

She entered the diner as if
many men had rowed
to bring her here—

the sudden consequence
of distant thunder,
a storm in dry times.

We became the scenery
she needed, the backdrop
and the eyes within it.

What does the beauty
of a stranger mean?
There must be some physics

of emotion and need,
a law governing the lyrical
proximity of moving bodies

that draws us closer—native
and intruder—to the hour
we’ll be eclipsed or saved.

Local or Strange

They took the journey they’d talked about,
a Sunday drive on Tuesday.

They took lunch, took pictures,
took pleasure shaking their heads

when either lifted to light
the moth-flutter of

a neighbor’s forgotten name,
wondering whatever happened

to her, to him,
the stories they’d fled.

The past looked almost comical and frail,
in need of their help.

But they left it there,
both mother and son surprised

to settle for making it ordinary,
going back at safe speed

to a landscape invented before safety,
maneuvering only along the edges,

tracing circumferences,
the simplest geometry of roads,

only the boundaries of field and shelter
where memory stood waving

as farmers do, whether cars
are local or strange.


Mr. Stravinsky

You said your music
was best understood
by children and animals.

And you said you
were an animal
dying from people’s stares

into your cage at the zoo—
desperate eyes
hunting your fame,

murdering you by
flushing out what battens
only when it’s unseen.

And yet—you were
your own fiercest hunter,
stalking sounds

you said moved
in stealth in your mind,
that ran wild and

dove into black water
within you, their beauty
just out of reach

of any torch or snare—
panthers leaving
no tracks.

No trophies to haul back
other than anguish
at what escaped.

You raged at the cunning
of sound, its willingness
to starve or drown

rather than shiver
into clarity, into
the slavery of being shared.

That is what work is.
We set traps and hope
to be forgiven

the hunting and the capture—
the necessary evasion
of ourselves.

Forgiveness is not
the concern
of children or animals.

But Mr. Stravinsky,
the world still riots.
Something is out there.

Tom Healy’s poems have appeared in BOMB, The Paris Review, Salmagundi, Yale Review, and other magazines.

Two Poems by Tom Healy

Originally published in

BOMB 104, Summer 2008

Featuring interviews with Meg Stuart, Karen Kelley and Barbara Schroder, Kalup Linzy, Peter Saul, Mike Davis, Boredoms, Will Eno, and James Timberlake.

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Issue 104 104  Cover