The Works of Tim Suermondt

Tim Suermondt is the author of two full-length collections of poems: Trying to Help the Elephant Man Dance (The Backwaters Press, 2007) and Just Beautiful (New York Quarterly Books, 2010.) His third collection Election Night and the Five Satins will be published early in 2016 by Glass Lyre Press. He has poems published and forthcoming in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Blackbird, Bellevue Literary Review, PANK, North Dakota Quarterly, december magazine, Plume Poetry Journal and Stand Magazine (U.K.) among others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.

All Poems © Tim Suermodt 

A Poconos Wedding

The sky opens up with a charge of rain
        but it relents almost as soon
as it begins and no one has to scurry.

The bride doesn’t seem to have gotten
        a drop on her dress and so too
the groom in his black suit, dark

as the clothes his grandfather wore when
        picking at the walls of coal,
maneuvering like an ant along a narrow

corridor, peering around mounds of shale.
        The bride and groom slow walk
down a silver mat, to a clearing where

the dinner and the party awaits, everyone
        saying, if only to themselves, every
day should have elements like this

and it doesn’t matter that they all know
        it can’t, let the vows breathe tonight.
My wife sits on my lap and we watch

the dancing, each person juking as poorly
        as you’d expect, though the bride
and groom are tender, trying to do their best.

Like Evangeline Oak

Should I ever have the desire to paint on canvas
I’ll start off simple—painting not a country
but a room, a chair, a window. Young women
by a window worked wonders for Vermeer—
the light and shadow, the ubiquitous pitcher
and the mouse, unseen, loafing along the wall.
“What a wonderful room,” I’d like people to say,
a room that can withstand joy and heartbreak,
a room you don’t have to be a genius to live in.

September 1st, 2015

No troops, no tanks are rolling into Poland
but with so many conflicts underfoot,
what happened in 1939 seems almost quaint.

The sun dazzles today as only it can,
the joggers and bikers appearing in force,
bodies ready to move for the lounging later.

Since the dive bars are becoming chain stores
by the hour, not much is happening there
and the news, faster than ever, fails to startle

to the point of despair and the world is balmed,
bandages of cloth feeling like the finest silk,
streets and parks fooled by the brightest lights.