Monday, May 29, 2017

Thomas R. Thomas

If you are at all familiar with the Southern California poetry scene then you probably know Thomas R. Thomas, Tom. A tall, usually bearded guy, often found under a hat who makes an extra effort to attend readings in support of other writers and who has established himself as a distinct figure as both a poet and a publisher. Tom was one of the first people I met when I started becoming involved in poetry, he was around at readings, as a participant and as part of the audience, always encouraging the readers. His own poetry is sharp, beautiful and sometimes brutal, brief but always robust. Tom economizes when he writes, exploring the tanka and haiku forms, in a few lines he can quickly deliver emotional blows and narrate vivid passages. A native of Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, his work often evokes the area’s unique character. It is after one of the geographical features of this area that he names his publishing venture, Arroyo Seco Press. Focusing on chapbooks by previously unpublished and upcoming authors Tom has given several poets the opportunity to present their work in print to a wider audience, I am proud to say my own chapbook Seaglass is an Arroyo Seco title. His own work has appeared in various publications, his books include Scorpio published by Carnival, Five Lines published by World Parade Books and Climbing Eternity by Weekly Weird Monthly. Arroyo Seco Press' newest book Seven Countries is available now and can be purchased from Amazon. You can read some of his work below.

Tom is a frank, sincere guy who seems to be always cheerful and always willing to offer a helping hand. I'm honored to call him a friend and to have him as the second feature for the month of May.


you’re not just
pushing the dirt
you’re cleaning

one two three four
step right
one two three four step

at the back
of your head
plays take five

in slow tempo
as you dance
with the broom

one two three four step
she lays light
in your hands

one two three four
step right
one two three four step

Untitled Short Poems

-quiet moment
spare in the breeze
one in the earth

-the ground 
shakes the
quaking grass

a giant
covers him

he cowers

-she lay quivering
in the grass

this smile
careens across
her lips

Saturday, May 13, 2017

T. Anders Carson

T. Anders Carson is a poet I have known and admired for some time now, so I'm very pleased to have him as the first feature for the month of May.  Trying something different I have asked a mutual friend, someone who has known and collaborated with Anders for some time, to write a few words about him.

Below you can read a poem Anders wrote about the day we did this photoshoot.  

T. Anders Carson has spent his lifetime wandering the planet and getting to know as many people as he can.  We are lucky in Southern California that Los Angeles is one of his favorite places to land.  He has become an important influence to so many of the poetry students in this area who come to the poetry events he can make it to.  His work developed out of a deep appreciation of the poets of this area, people like Gerald Locklin and Charles Bukowski.  His own work is often set in places as diverse as rural Canada, to India to New Orleans, but what every poem has in common is a fundamental and deep love for the humanity of everyone he writes about.

His books include I Knew It Would Come to This and A Different Shred of Skin.  Tonight, if he is not driving his kids to soccer practice or helping them with their homework, he is reading poetry to a group of people absolutely enthralled by his humor and intelligence.  
                                                           - John Brantingham 

You Can’t Hear the Freeway
by T. Anders Carson

In this park
but one dog owner
in picking up after
their pup’s business.

Across the street
a school at recess
children squealing with laughter;
games being attempted
friends joining in.
Not angry noises.

This is LA.

A couple of blocks over
and there is anger in that schoolyard
drug dealer cruises the street
looking for another customer.
A mini Monroe Doctrine
because this is mine
all of it.
I get it
but sometimes I don’t.

I know the cars on the freeway
are moving souls towards
their reflective destinies.
Clean cars,
so clean you can use
the three second rule
if you drop a crumb.

There are less crumbs being dropped.
Hands along freeway off ramps
asking for help
having served the flag
been kicked out of the circle
no one to call.
only heavens can heal.

Photos taken in an afternoon shoot
getting stuck in a tree
and having courage to laugh
at rudimentary fear
of heights.
Are you just going to sit there
or are you going to help,
my hopeful mantra
to get through
until noon.