A Compilation of recent poetry (click the title to read the full poem)

  1. A Jungle Adventure
  2. A Quiet Raging Place
  3. Celebrity
  4. Did you find everything you were looking for?
  5. Fiery Tennis Match
  6. Forest Sanctuary
  7. Gathering and Cooking
  8. Joe Bob’s Canto
  9. Lay of A Partisan
  10. My Credo
  11. North Korean Prison- Fragment
  12. On Coaxing an Isolate Into the Infinite
  13. On Doing our Job
  14. On the Releasing of Sorrow
  15. Praying to the Old Gods
  16. Running Through a Ghazal
  17. The Day I Came to Stop all of this Being Stuff
  18. Things I am Forced to Endure
  19. Train Departure
  20. Tunneling

A Jungle Adventure
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

We walked around the farm’s cow pasture
Also a soccer field, Guatemala
And they looked carefully in the cow pies
for psilocybin mushrooms
To create in their minds moments
More wonderful than this one, dew soaked
The verdant jungle hemming us in
The macaques with their morning rituals
Later, I found they were unable to enjoy
The vertigo of their chemical carousels

We walked
Persephone’s pasture
a soccer field,
And they hunted down
mushrooms To try to create
More wonderful
than this magnificent one,
dew soaked verdant jungle
hemming us in with the macaques
screeching their morning rituals
Later, I watched and
they were not happy
In the deployment of
their chemical

We walked
Persephone’s pasture
Also a soccer field, Guatemala

And we saw many
Of those mushroom pies,
They hungrily harvested oblivion

There are few moments
More wonderful, in morning mist
Than this magnificent one,
Dew soaked verdant jungle
Hemming us in with the macaques
Screeching their morning rituals
One should have a mind of jungle
To regard this healing chorus
Of riotous foliage

2. A Quiet Raging Place
(in response to the first stanza of “The Constructor” by John Koethe)

by Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

I live in a fable
Of painstaking construction,
Working in a quiet,
Utterly undistracted study
I have rich hope and history,
Where the minutes
Come and swirl and memories
Conjoin with each other,

Leaving far too much
For the soul to do
I feel them as they flow,
And flow, raging into me

By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

If I look at you, you live
If I ignore you, you die
I have some compassion for your plight

But I never chose to hold this power
You shouldn’t have chosen
To have every minute judged by me

Just focus on the work
One day you could be rolling in dough
One day you could be in celebrity rehab
One day you could be clutching a homeless sign

It’s just a kiss away for all of us

Did you find everything you were looking for?
(a response to Dylan Thomas’s Villanelle “Do not go gentle into that good night)

By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

I want a door into the eternal
I am not concerned with reputation
Give me poems that quench this deadly thirst

Many poets with many agendas
But the one true quest remains oft untouched
I want a door into the eternal

In Village coffee shops, ultimate crèche
They push in vain at their computer keys
Give me poems that quench this deadly thirst

Scripture fades if it ever quenched at all
Popular music, the most meager fare
I want a door into the eternal

Proud aborigines chanting to ants
Where are your holy entreaties written?
Give me poems that quench this deadly thirst

I continue to search for those key words
I am exhausted as I lay me down
I want a door into the eternal
Give me poems that quench this deadly thirst

Fiery Tennis Match
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

I plopped onto the sofa after the match had begun
It was in Amsterdam and it had signs showing
Commercial Branding like AMRO or ARMO

And then I made a bet with Lucifer that it was ARMO
And then I looked at the schedule
And it was AMRO and my penalty for being wrong

Was that everybody in the stadium, players excluded
Was burned to death by hundreds of gas gets
Blowing fire and making every square inch

Of the stadium immediately into an inferno
You never see the burnt bodies
You only know that the Lord of the Flies knows

How to get to you through the destruction of innocents
I used to do this in business meetings
At long brown conference tables

Just short bursts of flame
To see how people would react
I think that the lesson here is that

If you use a method to hurt people
That Old Scratch is going to use the same method
For your penalty when you lose one of those side bets

Because once you take off even one glove
He gets the same set of permissions
The worse you get the more license he has

Everybody knows this
Nobody talks about it
We all suffer the same consequences and ramifications

Being serious and thinking serious things
Won’t pull your fat out of the fire
By telling you this, I consign you to a worsened fate,

I also used to think that personal magic protected me
That the loving and beautiful things were talismans
The sooner you learn this is futile, the better

Psych, I’ve got Satan in a stoppered bottle on my desk
I pick the bottle up every once in a while and
Shake it vigorously and wait for the natural calamity

Forest Sanctuary
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

I have charted a course now, and go away,
To an abandoned conifer planet, deemed unprofitable
And a clear habitation dome my ship will become there, Just large enough for me to eat, sleep, and read
I will live alone for three hundred days.

And I shall have some peace there,
For peace comes of the continuity of doing
The best thing day after day without interruption
There midnight is dark under the forest canopy
Brightest noon is as twilight in these quiet depths

I arise to wakefulness now, and see the green orb,
It is hanging like a dark emerald in the void
I have chosen a site and to there now wing my way
The landing arms descend and the ship is leveled true
There is a clearing round about my home in the glade

While you stand on the roadway,
Or in the conference room grey,
You can hear it in your deep heart’s core.
Take up your ship and be like me.
These is no reason in doing what you are doing.

Gathering and Cooking
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 15, 2015

They were preparing chicken in the kitchen
Aunt Olive the Slave smoked alone out on the veranda
Uncle Charlie, wheelchaired in the den about Verdun
The children’s eyes glazed over

Horses sometimes blow blood from their nostrils
The rigorous straw on the floor of the tiger’s cage
Must not be re-used because of alpha male causation
But I know his vision has grown weary from the bars

And then I am called to dinner and take my place
Cheap poultry parts, backs and wings are nearly free
Uncle Charlie says; “Best chicken ever!”
The children devoured steadily, heads down

The veranda stinks of old tobacco
A sufficient quantity of rye, bitter stump water
Mutates the world of finites back into unknowns
Charlie wheels out, I noblesse to interest in Verdun

One needs to keep one’s vision of Cthulhu ever present
Otherwise, what will the characters fall off of?
Foot on the gunnel but if Charon glides off, all done
I am old enough to know there are no explanations

Silver white winters that melt into spring

Joe Bob’s Canto
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

“Joe Bob’s Poetry Emporium”,
Read my poems or I will hunt you down
They are actually just statements
That I took a shine to and then
Tried to arrange so they made sense
Then bound them in fascicles

Lay of a Partisan
(a response to Lays of Ancient Rome by Thomas Babington Macaulay)
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

Everybody dies, sooner or later
But the point is to die well and
How can any of us die better,
Than battling a relentless enemy
While we take cover behind the
Headstones of our passed family,
In the graveyard of the Church
Where we have all held hands
And sung Nearer my God to Thee?

My Credo
By Timothy Ford McGregor
27 January 2014

I: Tim’s daily voice

Each day I run my race
I forge myself anew
Alloying the found with what I am
I set rigid rules to walk two more blind steps
And I take those steps, tomorrow, two more

I can see the island in the dense cloud cover
I choose driftwood and flotsam and jetsam
I fit the wood into timbers
Spoke-shave, rasp, jackplane, awl, auger
I have a caulking gun and cases of caulk

I work carefully to avoid building a craft
That nobody can navigate, wouldn’t be the first time
Without fear, I don’t care; it is just another task
Without mortal fear, it is just another boat
In order to conquer pain, we must learn the darkness

But this is my life’s work
This is what I have fought for since childhood
The success of others warms me and inspires me
Fires me to a fever pitch
One good line is all I ask, one true plank

I have never done this before
But if will can out, it will be navigable
If discipline can out, it will be navigable
How will I know?
The proof is in the tacking well to starboard

If you win the support of a fastidious Leprechaun,
Your luck will be perfect
If you win the support of a sloppy Leprechaun
Your luck will be sloppy but still luck
Without luck there is no desire and the boats rot

Always this blindness
But I learn by going where I have to go

II. Tim’s evil twin voice

Each day I submit myself to this pointless crap
I change with the work and am unrecognizable
The new agglomerates to the old and the Golem moves
I do this and then I do that and stay in one place
Tomorrow the same futility but it beats mill work

There is whiskey and fast food on the mainland
I tinker with a diseased outboard; it coughs and spits
I lift the boat over on the shale beach
I beat the hull until the fetid bilge rot drops out
I pull off sheets of ancient dried and crusted paint

I work quickly to get off this God-forsaken island
As long as the scow makes the far shore
I could care less about anybody’s opinion
I have contempt for this piece of crap boat
I leave the lantern on in my sleep shack all night

Once I am off of this rock
I will never look back to these days of nightmare
I will rent a room over a butcher’s shop
I’ll drink whiskey and never get out of bed
All this hustle and bustle is such pointless crap

I have been fucking with shitty boats all of my life
I just grit my teeth and bear one more day
I am going to run this scow onto the beach
And just walk away; it will make be a good bonfire
It has to cross the five-mile sound and then die

I once had a Leprechaun family in a cage
I poured bleach on them and they moved out
A group of criminal Leprechauns moved in
I sprayed insecticide daily into the cage
Demon Leprechauns moved in and my luck went sour

There is nothing good about this life
But I will trudge wearily until I fall in my tracks

III. Tim’s aristocrat voice

Each day I greet the sun with Adamic bliss
I will read and converse and take on new attributes
That which I was will combine with today’s gold
I read the classics and mirror their sublime spirit
My golden manuscripts grow daily by leaps and bounds

I visualize the bee-loud glade and my pen flows
I gallop a white stallion across a darkened plain
I unroll a magic carpet and fly over the countryside
My tools are teacups of the finest China
And teaspoons of silver that clink softly
They punctuate lively conversations in my day room

I work quickly, confident of a receptive audience
I have been at this for some time but still take care
When I was a child, I spake as a child and cared not
Now that I have come into my powers as a grown man
I beat back Satan’s malevolence with fierce grit

It has always been my dream to live like this
I wanted it, I trained for it, I now perform it
The success of others warms me and inspires me
Fires me to a fever pitch of the Divine
Beautiful lines follow streaming; God is in His Heaven

I always knew I would be successful
My will is indomitable, even fierce
My discipline is of a country lad singing by a brook
How can I know that I do not harbor delusions?
My works brings many a smithy and parlor to gaiety

I have long cultivated the favor and respect
Of a family of Leprechauns that live in a glade
The land is within my estate so I assure their privacy
They are scholars and artists of their race
Many a happy afternoon have I spent in their company

Always I do war with the blindness of apathy
I happily learn by going where my chosen path leads me

North Korean Prison: Fragment
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

They sought to prove that they were right and
That I was criminal while a floodlit sleeplessness
While they broke, cut, shocked, bruised, drilled

The final strike of the baton that
Set me to bawling, begging them to cease
Created a second self that was outraged

That a political prisoner could
Be caused to have his soul annihilated
For having a different opinion

I was not unmanned in my new self
It watched them drag my broken husk away
That is the self that speaks to you now

At times I am surprised to encounter
While swimming in the sea at sunrise
The rough flesh of a scar where the drill went in

Operating for so many years since
As a replica self has some benefits
But I would like to know the smell of the ocean

On Coaxing an Isolate Into the Infinite
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

I have hunger to know the motions of the self
I mine it daily, my separate existence
You know, it lies in a vein of blackest coal
Embedded with sparkling crystal

It hides somewhere down behind my world
It is fresh and exhilarating work
I have no doubt but that I can continue forever
I have no doubt but that human life

Is coextensive with human youth
The Unthought within which I swing my pickaxe
Is an unlimited region within which all thought
That can be brought topside becomes knowledge

For much of the time while going at this excavation
I cared for no man, certainly not myself,
Thinking my pitiless abnegation a form of penance
And then my wits begin to turn, as on a heath

I put on a coat, stocking cap, gloves and a scarf
I thought on this turn and asked myself;
“How dost?” and I replied; “Most comfortable sir,”
Myself then replied; “May we get on with the task sir?”

And I tugged at the rope for a now full scuttle
To be drawn upward to the light of day
Now by scribing friends with cable at the pit’s mouth
My cruel shivering had ceased but my task was unabated

When I consider with alarm how my light is spent
I find myself working faster, reading more deeply
Getting up earlier, eating better, drinking less
Inhaling with mortal thirst the fresh draughts

Of those who have been where I am going
Are they not all the seas of God?

On Doing our Job
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

If we get’s one, we avoid the strap
If we get’s one, we’ll read in the parlor
And maybe all them fine ladies will applaud
And maybe give us some biscuit or tea

If we don’t, it’s cause we cant
If we don’t, the reason we sing
We dream our dreams after lunch
Arms and legs scrabble like mad lobsters to enter

Krito, what is it we owe to Asklepios?
Try to think of it and I will do the same
This is highbrow stuff and if you think on it
An important thought may come to you

They freeze us in baths to awaken our muse
They induce pulses of electrics to awaken our muse
We sit long hours motionless in the solarium
We stand long hours buried to our necks in garden dirt

Every day opposes us like a wall
Its blank face spread out to the right and left
We move forward slowly shouting encouragement
And any thought of progress is useless

We were digging holes in the garden
To bury the wailing extra babies
To get money to buy food for all our aging parents
And came upon large ingots of gold

I sat comfortably and watched my grandchildren
Rip open holiday packages, wealth unimaginable
The warmth of love and protecting suffused me
Were it ZyklonB, there is way to stop the screams

Madness is the reverse of the moment
When Helen Keller shouts, “Water”
Let us be gentle when we question
The guards in Pyongyang who work with dark lust

As a pilgrim, I try not to annoy the citizenry,
The regular inhabitants in my passing on my quest
In the early morning alone in Gothenburg train station
I boiled water with a blue canister for tea

On the Releasing of Sorrow
(In response to Kay Ryan’s poem
“Things Shouldn’t Be So Hard”)
By Timothy Ford McGregor

9 Feb 2015

I should
Know how
Deep feeling
Slow moving
Quiet people
Are built.
What do
Their internal
Clocks say?
How are
They able
To reach
Out and
Provide sanctuary
For slow
Flying dark
Of grief
While I
Have to
Gallop at
Full speed
And toss
A bird net
Over the
Wily fellows
And put them
In a cage
And sit
And watch them
Which looks
Like the
Same result
But is not
The same.
Quiet people
Do not
Have the
Hounds of
Slicing at
Their heels
And so
Can watch
The bird
And be
Just at
The right
To provide
Aid and comfort
And free
The sorrow.
Wired differently.

Praying to the Old Gods
(in the form of Terrence Hayes’ pecha kucha after Martin Puryear)
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

Voodoo Child

I stood at the top of the temple in Tulun
Purple robes rippling in the wind
Golden crown and bracelets of the purest gold
Reflecting the brilliant sun of the tourists
Before the authorities were able to cuff me
And haul me off to book me for public lunacy
I felt briefly what those ancient priests felt

Harshly Strong Iced Tea

O Come ye hounds of hell!
And bound after my fugitive lethargy
Rip it to shreds and consume the foul meat
That I may work to some good end
And not on the Dole come to depend
Except for those fresh chunks they sell
Alongside the roads in Hawaii

Sub Specie Aeternitatis (soob speche-ay eterneetatees)

I knew that certain things were true
Regardless of your dogged opinion
I knew from early childhood
That there were pillars of absolute truth
That could not be abraded by the sands of time
Nor your relentless antagonism
To enforce your dark gospels; I found them.

The Evil Hours

Trauma destroys the fabric of time
You get unstuck in time
And you visit your nightmare often
Imprisoned in a slaughterhouse while Dresden burns
Cuffed to a wall in a North Korean jail cell
And relentlessly beaten until you scream
Everybody screams. It is just a matter of time

Slippery People

What’s the matter with him? (He’s all right)
How do you know (The lord won’t mind)
Mimes, scops and skalds are as necessary as
Soldiers and shopkeepers in making
This whole thing function smoothly
The future is entering into us
To transform us long before it happens.

On All the Fuss About Awakening

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.
This is the code of the pilgrim
This is also the code of the drunk
Both come from one world into another
Both stumble around until they find what they need
One exalts life. One dissipates the essence of life.

My Weather Station

There is a sensor outside under the eaves
It is dark and featureless where I work
This LED display tells me at a glance the status
The current status of God’s creation
I like working in a hot bathtub that gradually cools
It neutralizes my physical self amniotically
I have found this, over time, to be a good thing

Voodoo Child (slight return)

I was fined for stealing the robes and adornments
I was fined for disturbing the peace
I was fined for desecration of a National Monument
I contributed to the local policemen’s benevolent fund
After my wife paid my fines, they let me out
We had a fine dinner and slept the sleep of the just
Next Spring we will go to that place in Peru

That huge temple complex where Pink Floyd played

Running through a Ghazal
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

I run in the early morning, not a sound
Through the rows of houses all locked for the night

She came from another street was at my side
Our breathing soon entrained and our steps were light

This sad woman must be as lonely as me
My heart soared with chance on the wind as a kite

We ran straight ahead at center of the street
Neither wanting to query or end the night

I then broke left without a word of farewell
Two hours of breakfast and Tim feels less tight

The Day I Came to Stop all of this Being Stuff
(from Richard Hugo’s exercise in “Triggering Town”)
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

Belief in kissing can ruin me
Your throat curves in a cool, blue line
Somebody else is in here. Me.
Some-thing else is in here with me
Why should I care what a seer says
I bruise the slag in a frenzy

For a long time I was frog
Surprising flies, a long tongue
I am soft, I am cool, trust me
I made a wavering cut, two
Sharp cuts ruin me, please cut me
A patch of cloud is vain and proud

You think you can scan my lines, fool
After a while I thought like frogs
A seer showed me out of the maze
Belief in kissing ruined me
All that blood loss, one subtle phase
The slag dissolves the ladder’s rung

Things I am forced to Endure
(from Richard Hugo’s exercise in “Triggering Town”)
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

Tamaracks are members of the
Largest commune of greenery
That dog stood in the bay water
And tried to bite a sharp tossed rock
I felt it was quite important
I had to swing the deal that way

Her eyes were burned, caustic soda
We should go to some good clinic
I hugged the switchback doggedly
The glacier was not much further
I was feeling sticky and hot
She told me then to tough it out

Train Departure
(in response to Rae Armantrout’s “Apartment”)
By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015


I know some people
In the main kitchen
And they are willing
To provide me with food
For the long train ride
If we can all get together
If we can get to the station


I have a suitcase
That has never been mine
And I put things in it
And they fall out on the way
I know the hotel well
But I end up lost
Confused. I rededicate myself


There is artillery bursting
On the trimmed lawns
Of our suburban homes
We must have just moved in
For there are no trees

I tell them it is a dream
But they still run in fear
We find the station
But we are not together
And must start again

By Timothy Ford McGregor
February 16, 2015

We live by tunneling
For we are born buried alive
Walmart, Microsoft and NASCAR are
In a nearby grotto
But hold no recompense
Those are the aimless tunnels
There has got to be more, farther, farther on
Fellow moles

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