John Timpane, Three Poems. Sept. 2012



autumn bereaving

rainswept thrusts time in broken

sequence glittering

passages fall like whispers

destiny space dense beyond

(beyond dense space des

tiny whispers like fall pas

sages glittering

sequence broken in time thrusts

rainswept bereaving autumn)


October’s inner

weathers turn changes exchange

sufferings bright suf

ferings exchange changes turn

weathers inner Octobers


taste after summer

concentrate soilsalts rainsweets

tang tomatolin

gus tangsweets rainsalts soil con

centrate summer aftertaste





                                                                      Greta Garbo

World’s biggest name, you stamped namelessness on your life. Famed
Wraith/vamp/tramp, you took as your calling traverser of the city
Skyscrapers columns of text each window a letter. Fifteen years in movies
But your great career?  Walker to unexpected where or what.  An I and a she
Conspiring to dissolve the you. To make your hermitage the urging
Serpentine down Fifth Avenue Soho Spring Street Washington Square
Rockefeller Center Battery Park Columbus Circle walk with
Be and sweet alone, loss and nothing, unbelong and love. Swarm was
The groom you remarried daily, your veil winter cloud of mingled breaths,
Hundreds of streets aisle for a footsore bride. At how many watercoolers
Were sightings reported! Taxi door swing, reveal storied film star. Seen at
Grocery store buying cornflakes, tins of tuna. Scene of a jewelry heist:
You asked a shaken girl, “Are you all right?,” were told, “I just want to be
Alone.” Groans of frustrated newspapers. You went where you meant to;
Only those who thought they chased you thought you ran away.
They called you former actress when you were present walker, a present
Where you walked. You stole absence from all places, an island your secret.
Any where, any one you were, thousands undulant on rain-black sidewalks,
Sun-scarred Sundays, you witnessed. With them. Slim elder sylph avoiding
Nothing, annihilated in miles of shrug all but happiness, that baritone
Background roar for daily, fleshly step around a town of millions, towers,
Words, contrary peace, ideal city. No woman ever less lost, you found
Only in the crowd your privacy. Not to find self, but in the pell-mell of selves
To let go the chase. You’d make love to any crowd as long as it did not know.
At length no throng in Manhattan held you. A niece thirty-five million richer.
Implicit companion, your blessing was to be the unspoken in every throng.



 Pitcher and Glass


grace          a glass pitcher

cool water on a hot day

arcs pitcher to glass


the light aching through them   clouds

sweats chill and condensation


heavy   heavier

gravity outdoes tension

one tight bead builds from


what’s new weeps down the surface

a streak of cold clarity


comet through the fog

come to me humility

since I cannot be


more gentle since I cannot

be more attentive may I


make others pregnant

with their possibilities

I pour my spirit


slake cool condense not losing

my level   till they shiver




JOHN TIMPANE is Media/TV/Books Editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. His poetry has appeared in Sequoia, Vocabula Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Per Contra, 5_Trope, Wild River Review, and elsewhere. His books include (with Nancy H. Packer) Writing Worth Reading (NY: St. Martin, 1994); It Could Be Verse (Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed, 1995); (with Maureen Watts and the Poetry Center of San Francisco State University) Poetry for Dummies (NY: Hungry Minds, 2000); and (with Roland Reisley) Usonia, N.Y.: Building a Community with Frank Lloyd Wright (NY: Princeton Architectural Press, 2000) and a book of poetry, Burning Bush (Ontario, Canada: Judith Fitzgerald/Cranberry Tree, 2010).

57 thoughts on “John Timpane, Three Poems. Sept. 2012

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