(Denver… 1995)

it’s a workin’ man’s bar
mostly plaid wool shirts
an’ jeans
juke box starts with pop
for the lunch crowd
but plays rock and roll
and c & w
after 5

the waitresses are young
and cute
and strut their stuff
gather tips
and an occasional
hug on the ass
the other women
that come with their men
are few
most look like they could kick
any man’s ass in the place
(if you know what i mean)

there’s a shuffle board
tournaments saturday nite
a pinball machine
2 pool tables
and an electric bowling machine

the bar stretches the width of the joint
20 stools
wood top
with scraped up fake paneling across its face
the booths are vinyl
and worn
the chairs the same
(you get the feeling they hose the place down
every nite after close)

conversation becomes a shouting match
mostly to be heard
but sometimes to make a point
that this is a workin’ man’s bar
a dive
a temporary escape
and when these men laugh
they laugh real hard
and when these men leave
they leave a big part of themselves

— tomas

Pleasing My Friend Reckless
(Ft Lupton, CO… 1996)

i often wonder
why he barks
at nothing i can see
or hear
or sense
out there
in total black

“what is it boy ?”
i whisper (for effect)
patting his head
“what is it ?”

he barks again
a deep throated war cry
i am not so sure as to whether
it is his imagination
or my lack of…


there was a time i would
yell at him
“Reckless, shut up !”
concerned about the neighbors

but he only barks
when there’s somethin’
to bark at
or he perceives something
out there

an’ just ’cause i can’t
sense it
doesn’t mean
it’s not

an’ besides that’s his job
we all got
our jobs
to do

so since i figured this all out
i encourage him
i pat him on the head
scratch behind his ears
an’ say
“good boy Reckless
ya’ ol’ crazy dog
good boy
you scared ’em alright”

he gives a final
half woof
half snort
and lies
back down


— tomas

One Simple Night at the Skyline
(Skyline Bar, Denver… 1991)

Waitress asks me
“you need anything?”
“no,” i reply, “i’m fine,
how ’bout you (?)
you need anything?”
she smiles
(nice smile)
and for some reason
i get the feeling
we are both lying

Weird funk tonite
running away
from a crowd of friends
to be with
a crowd of strangers
ya just ain’t lookin’
for sympathy
you’re lookin’ for
an’ a mild dose
of solitude
waiting for that one lost friend
who is happy to see you
because of distance
brought on by something
as simple
as time
someone who knows you
by name only
who hasn’t quite yet
figured out
which of the masques
they like the best
someone who cares
no more than
if they matter or not
if you matter or not
as if hiding
was anything less
than a gift

She walks up
to my solitude
“watcha’ doin’?”
she smiles
(nice smile)
my eyes traverse her frame
head to …
well, i sort it out
strawberry blonde
damn sexy
“drinkin’ beer
an’ writin’ poetry”
i respond to her question
what kinda’ poetry?”
she pushes
“uh well it’s not really poetry
in the literal sense
more like slices of life
on paper”
“like you do this for fun
or money
or what?”
“none of the above
i do it ’cause
i am very good”
she smiles again
“mind if i sit down?”
her lower lip curls
and as i put down my pen
she fades into
a completely different

— tomas

On Worshipping a God
(Lost Park, CO… 2011)

on a rock
in this wilderness
a small blue and grey bird
appears in a blur
a few feet away

it stares at me
aware of my presence
but unconcerned

i throw up my arms
and yell
“I am Thunder”
“I am Fire”
“I am Man”

and as it takes flight
it leaves
a pure white
at my feet


On War & Paranoia
(Ft. Lupton, CO… 1996)

There is this one
smart mouse
in my house

3 days in a row
i awoke to find
the mouse-trap sprung
its bounty gone
and no dead mouse

Ah-ha i thought
i’ll poison the little shit
advanced formula (!)
methodically washing my hands
after opening the nuclear box
and stashing it out of sight
to me or my dog

The next morning i awoke
to find little green pellets
of poison
carefully sprinkled
in a cooking pot
left in the kitchen sink
and in my dog’s dinner bowl

Now this is one
conniving mouse

So i’m sitting here
pondering all this
loaded rifle at my side
and my dog
he gives me this look
“you o.k. (?) ”

— tomas

(726 Albion St Denver… 1990)

She sweeps the sidewalk
with a vengeance
her eight inch picket fence
hammered into the ground
garden clean and ready
for a summer burst of color
i can’t help but notice
those white legs of spring
kept buried
under jeans
and comforters
all winter
now allotted
this warm spring day
to absorb some sun
and some admiration
from a poet
sitting on his front porch
smiling at the world
and trying ever so hard
to gain the attention
of this blonde denizen
of a pair
of winter white legs

— tomas

Lunch At The Brewery Bar II
(Brewery Bar II, Kalamath St, Denver… 1995)

sitting at the bar
2 guys putting down
the rest of the world
everybody’s wrong

2 stools down
a man eating lunch
a smothered burrito
must be hot today
he’s sweating

the other side of me
a guy flipping through
the pages of westword
keeps looking at his watch
(i get the impression
he’s always
looking at his watch)

i’m on my lunch hour
i’ve learned to pace my beers
exactly to the time clock at work
(including travel time)

the bartender yells
to my bar neighbor
“another beer?”
“yeah, one more”
as he glances at his watch again
i want to tell him
don’t worry about the time
i want to tell him
that last beer
is more important
than wherever he could be going

i want to say something
but i don’t
we all deserve our privacy
even the keepers of the time
there’s nothing more unnerving
than a barroom conversationalist
when you want to be left alone

2 ladies walk past
dressed to kill
i lose my train of thought

— tomas

Late Nite At The Colorado Cafe
(Colorado Cafe, Denver… 1993)

they jump ya’
gang bang ya’
keep the coffee cup overflowin’
not ’cause they’re lookin’ for a tip
(although that’s part of it)
but mostly because
it’s saturday nite
and the drunkards
trickle in
a little at a time
(myself included)
and this place is open 24 hours
and they’re used to the crowd
and treatin’ people with respect
covers a whole lotta’ territory
passive or otherwise
and on top of all that bullshit
is the fact that
she’s slim
and she’s blonde
and she’s cute
and i’m horny as hell
and i put my sarcasm
one notch below rude
which is probably
what she’s used to
and more than anything
i despise
what someone is used to

— tomas

it…….. The Art
(Muddy’s Java Cafe, Denver… 1993)

A friend of mine had some paintings hanging on a brick wall of this dive coffee house in Denver. Another friend, a poet, sat at the table with us across from the wall (unaware the artist was present); claiming, “Ya’ know, this stuff makes me want to run out into the street and scream!” My friend, the artist, sat smiling. He told me later, “Hey, at least it stirred some kind of emotion.”

‘it did what it was supposed to do’

the art
the catalyst
the poetry
the feeling
the failing
the touch
of one stroke
of a brush
to the forehead….

— tomas

16 x 25
(726 Albion St, Denver… 1990)

it’s been a cold winter
so far
days the Colorado sun can feel like spring
if you stay out of the shade
but the nights have dropped
to a numb indifference
the early morning start
for work
not quite awake
scraping the windshield
steering wheel so cold
it hurts to grasp
with bare hands

i’ve been chilled
every night
in this apartment
until tonight
i climbed into the attic
where the furnace is
and checked the filter
no air to feed the fire
no wonder the fan runs constantly
no wonder i’ve been freezin’ my ass off

i yank the filter
an’ suddenly i got heat
i’ll replace it tomorrow
16 x 25 x 1
an’ i’ll back charge my landlord
for my frozen bones

— tomas


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