Tim Tomlinson is the author of This Is Not Happening to You (short stories), Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire (poems), Yolanda: An Oral History in Verse (chapbook), and co-author of The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. He’s the director and co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and he teaches in NYU’s Global Liberal Studies
(After Image Thirty)
In the back story there’s hair. Hair and a scalp. But it’s just a rug, really, thrown over a trap door. In the back story, there’s a skull, intact. A skull in full. A skull was something to get out of, which he managed to do quite well most Thursdays. There’s a lull in his skull. Isthmus be his lucky day. In the back story there’s a story. Got a good reason for taking the easy way out. I think a no I mean a yes. Uh-oh, here come the abstractions. In Opus 23, Schoenberg … oh, fuck it. One side looks at the other side. They’re the same. Between thought and expression, the middle way, the three uses of a knife. The pope died and everything was canceled. And you know what? Amma git me a hammer. If you could read my mind, oh, what a tail my thoughts would smell. Comes a time when you’re drifting too far from the whore. I want a girl just like the girl, etc. Did I tell you that my bed’s on fire? So let us go then, you and I, through that aforementioned trap door (cueing us up some Amboy Dukes). Oh, big nuthin’. I got two bottles, one liver, and nine counties to cross before sun-up. You with me? Welcome to my vicious campfire. Hey, true fact: Ringo is Mr. Tambourine Man. The faster you go, the rounder I get. Ted Devil takes a free ride, heaven never treats you like yourself, and, I mean, who knows where the time goes? See, I got this rig that runs on memory. I remember this one time, long before the stars were torn down—you might’ve heard about it except you weren’t even born yet, were you? So let me tell you what: we’re gonna fuck this sleep mode, fuck the adagio, cause easy’s getting harder every day. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised, now that I think of it … ah shit—hold on, it’s Amazon. (Goddamn packages).

          Now where was I?

Twelve or More Brain Facts in John Cage’s Thirteen Harmonies

(in)Sufficient memory imprint

to transfer

to reach

two colors

two hats, with sounds


the Impossibility of


similar objects, forms

seeing is forgetting the name…



worry the object, do something to it

a single category, a generalizing


a unique

normal with

no central constant form

leaves the work

it becomes

a language enjoyed

without being understood

nonabstract abstractions

the mind already knows

light snow

What I am calling poetry is

bound up with

the telephone

or the airplane

silence symmetry zero ich

is never capitalized