end to end

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the old canoe
the only piece of roof
left on the shed



end to end
three Ramblers take part
in the overgrown field



everyday she waits
at the bus stop;
just to wait



the summer it rained
all summer…
dwarf sunflowers without faces



cleaning the poop out…
his little Superman
underpants



Modern Haiku vol. XXIV, no.1 Winter-Spring, 1993

a work of love (chapbook)

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A Work of Love  (1997)  Tanka

from Tiny Poems Press ( out of print)

*
*
*

midnight again
the furnace cycles off
and no wind-
for a while the quiet
becomes a longing

*

*

*

between chores
I study my hands
as if they might hold
something
I should know

*

*

*

tiny bluets
all around me
and over there
a couple,
very much in love

*

*

*

I can’t help my desire
glancing over
to her terminal
after little bits of decent
time have passed

*

*

*

by spontaneous consent
our subtle flirting
has played itself out–
our friendship will be
all the better for this

*

*

*

she’s not here
to see it
but after breaking the stick
I perfectly fit the broken ends
back together again

*

*

*

as if one
were not enough
I daydream pleasantly
of several women
I know

*

*

*

her look guarded
as she tells me
she may be late–
what great news this is,
she still will come

*

*

*

so intent with feeling
that her warm greeting
to someone just beyond me
gave me a moment so sure
she was greeting me

*

*

*

seeing her by chance
I once had a dream about her
years ago–
over time it has taken on
a substance of its own

*

*

*

what a surprise
she wants to take a photo
of us together–
I keep thinking
about it

*

*

*

Queen Anne’s Lace and
Black Eyed Susans
by the thousands along the road
and to think
you married me

*

*

*

as we gaze across the fence
my wife asks what I think
about a cow’s life,
honestly it looks quite okay
except for the flies

*

*

*

far from home
in the car
my wife mentions in passing
the name of someone
we don’t see anymore

*

*

*

in the company of friends
our marriage takes on
an air of comfort
as we all attend to things
other than ourselves


*

*

*

after supporting
their divorce plans
I write them a Valentine;
suggest they reconsider
it all again

*

*

*

beyond this life
that one old friend
I bump into over and over
promising that we’ll get together
again, someday

*

*

*

deep in the night
letting the phone ring
and ring…
then for a long time
wondering who?

*

*

*

when I think back
six years ago
when my mother had the stroke
I can’t remember who
I was back then

*

*

*

under a tree
we talk of mother’s passage
from this life–
inchworms suspended
all around us

*

*

*

I had it all
figured out,
this little wisdom of mine,
then in the night
the rain so hard

*

*

*

who knows what she thinks
or desires
yet the rain this Saturday
steady, as my wife reads
I watch her carefully

*

*

*

these days housebound
if only we could agree
to keep our words
silently
to ourselves


*

*

*

wanting my old life
when I wanted
my present life
stirring the soup she made
as a cold rain falls outside

*

*

*

some days seem
altogether too much
but then
so welcome it becomes
the night

*

*

*

after a rough day
she props her head in hand
a few inches from my face
and asks intently:
“do you really like me?”



*

*

*

the house quiet
and cold
this early morning alone
saddened to know how much
I desired just this



*

*

*

the envelope to me
sealed carefully with tape
on every seam
when opened, reveals
absolutely nothing



*

*

*

tolerably melancholy
to sit here while the kids play
and be lost in myself–
on a path nearby
she walks in the sun



*

*

*

for over a decade
we’ve talked–
still you want our talk
as much as I want
the silences between



*

*

*

nothing special
about deja-vu,
feeling down–
once long ago I felt
young and free



*

*

*

even though
we’re always together
my wife asks if
I’ve tried
the new pizza place

*

*

*

I look over
the three sleeping bodies
beside me–
to think a whole decade
I felt all alone



*

*

*

instinctively
for old times’ sake
I reach out, half awake,
to give your breast
a quick little squeeze

*

*

*

this rainy fall Sunday
I write poems and watch
steam rise from my tea–
as she passes she rips off
a little piece of sandpaper for me



*

*

*

my youth spent
gathering strength and solace
of friends near and far–
these short years later
losing them one by one

*

*

*

the cold walk,
silence
between us,
the creek running
under ice



*

*

*

every few bounces
the robin pauses on the lawn
to look and listen
as if that were all
there was to do

*

*

*

I have much to do
it is obvious–
what I will do is exactly
what she wants,
her little two year old heart



*

*

*

the tentative start-up
of talk…
to a new friend?
begins the old doubt
of just who I am, again


*

*

on end

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she’s waited up…
to have some last words
with me


a solemn part
another baby
babbles



the plumber
kneeling in our tub
– talking to himself


staff meeting-
he stands his pen
on end



our son spills his milk –
not an iota
of reaction from him



sentinel pine-
roots running every which way
showered in moonlight



back to its hole-
the woodchuck shot through
its hindquarters



Modern Haiku vol. XXIX no. 1 Winter-Spring, 1998

laughing to myself

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Laughing To Myself, by Tom Clausen, Michael Ketchek Publisher, 125 High St., Rochester, New York, 14609, mketchek@frontier.com, 2013. 8.5 X 5.5 inch paperback, 25 pages.
Review by Dennis (chibi) Holmes

I’ve known Tom online for a few years. He has written in the short poem venue based upon the Japanese haiku, senryu, haibun, and tanka since 1989. His book, Laughing To Myself, spans then until now with poems plucked from publications such as Bottle Rockets, Brussels Sprouts, Empty Ring of Stones, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, and Upstate Dim Sum, to mention a few.

Laughing To Myself, is strewn mostly with three line poems together with a two and few one line poems. The poems are personable, mostly, containing a “nature” theme. The poems are easy to read and resonate with an inner calm, offering a polite “ah” with a thoughtful yet enjoyable “ha.”

A good three line example from Tom’s book:

riverbank swallows
  my beer label
     peels easily


(It’s probably my penchant for puns, but, I read “swallows” as word play, although, I do not know if that Tom’s intent.)

A two line poems:


losing control of my son
 —and myself


(I’ve been there and do/did that!)

A one line example:


in the theater spotlight dust falls

(the imagery quite fetching)

I would hope to see more of Tom’s poems in future publications. I’ve smiled at his poems in, Laughing To Myself.

review by Dennis (chibi) Holmes in Lynx XXVIII: no. 3- October , 2013