Mouni Kid Manifestation

It’s not that unusual to see youths of indeterminate age loitering about in public, cadging smokes, change, exchanging a little conversation. At this particular spot, a small, rather old and run-down bit of strip mall in a gentrificated neighborhood, there is hardly enough bourgeois pedestrian traffic to support two beggars — it gets busy in the middle of the day, when people are eating, visiting the local insurance agency or having their VCR tapes converted to DVD, and then again later in the day when the tavern (used to be a Latino food place) cranks up — but most of the time you see only a few people sitting at outdoor tables.

This kid appeared, Judy said, out of nowhere, sitting at the table outside the Subway, between Cool Beans Coffee Emporium and the shop run by Sikhs. He was not conspicuous at first. Nobody paid much attention. Some people gave him cigarettes, probably, but he said nothing to anyone about anything.

This began to bother Judy, and the others.

There are many reasons for such a silence, was her feeling. All of us have speechless days, composed of how many unspeaking perhaps tightlipped hours strung together. People ask What’s wrong? and you say, Nothing, I just like being quiet.

By the second or third day, the kid was becoming a subject of worry. He just sat there, a sort of 108-yard-stare to his gaze. The only thing she got out of him was a vague statement about his father dropping him off there at the strip mall. Judy was wondering whether she should let him sleep for the night on the old couch in the back. She believed in compassion.

–He’s shown no sign of violence, she said.


Harinam, the Sikh patriarch, used to wear his turban but they stopped that practice in recent years, so now he looks like any other middle-aged hippie slumped in a metal chair sipping chai, as the business-people hereabouts did in the mornings before things start picking up.

–It’s hard to tell about someone who never speaks, you know?

–No shit.

–Do you think he’s, like, simple?

–I saw him get very alert the other afternoon when he heard someone use that word, though they were using it in another sense and it had nothing to do with him.

–That’s odd.


–So what do you think, Hari, should I let him sleep in the back on that old couch?

–I wouldn’t let a dog sleep back there in the condition it’s in, but — he shrugged.

–Maybe just for one night. Then we’ll try to get something out of him and find who he belongs to.

–Like a lost dog.

–Like a lost dog.


© 2007 Thomas N. Dennis

American Idyll

I wish I lived

out in the country

biscuits, coffee

feet beclovered.

Baby bees. Wood bees. Kill-deer,

the bird.


Honeyed cunt,

twelve-string guitar melodies

heard from that porch

No thermometer

no phones or light

No measurements

No shadows with false light


Yes I wish I lived

up in the mountain village

— Colorado, yes –

throngs of stone

summer snow…


“My house would be

a hostel for angel

and devil alike”


Trails lead here:

you forgot your horse

your wagon, your bike, your phone:

there is nothing here to

travel away from.


Chinese molasses

drips from my cock.

Flocks of sheep,

few people, a


I think not.



© 1976 Thomas N. Dennis

Bad Breeze Blues 2

There’s a stinking wind blowing

There’s a woman shooing blues

I see a child scared of animals

I see tattered old stranger shoes

There’s odd wind blowin’, yeah

It’s blowing and it ain’t right

It stinks this way in the mornin’

and it stinks that way at night

There’s an unhappy wind blowing

There’s a woman shooting blues

I watch the animals in the rain

At the  ancient non-human zoo

I dunno how it’s gonna go

You can’t predict a broken trail

Sometimes the entire flow

Vanishes from sight & surely fails

[mandolin musical interlude]

Can you say how it might go?

Would you look into that maw?

Find me she who tells the future

Who can’t unsee all that she saw

I can ask her and she might answer

And she might turn her head and sigh

Knowing all that she knows

Seeing all that she has seen

( spoken: I’m sure the truth will make me cry)

There’s this squalid breeze lashing

You see that princess with no shoes?

I see a child scared of animals

I see poets clipped by booze

Find her for me and ask this question

Were all the good things found in vain?

Will people always fuck everything up?

And July, it will be deleted by rain?


© 2017 Thomas N. Dennis




Listen. Do you hear that?

the retrograde sound,

gears shank against one another

the bruxism’s icky grind-sound:

distant crashes in faraway night dreams:

These are the sounds

all forms of repression make:

when you try to forget all

the bad things that happen:

a sharp click barely heard

through all the sounds of the world.

(Ineradicable. Won’t leave the world of sound.)

Listen, through the birdsong, even

through the trees trying to bud:

an up-flutter of negative potential

of entropy made visible.

Radio Free Retrograde

is not on the air.

[a tableau]

Sunday morning oranges

and cat-stained coverlets:

The young pre-wife nestles

against her hubbie-to-be in three

they suck down a smoky dab or two.

Libertarians, they think they can

avoid the Big Heel somehow

they ain’t worried

Hey honey where

we goin’ for breakfast?

Is that noise the train?

O look at this…!

© 2017 Thomas N. Dennis

Babies in Bars

(for John Berryman)


In every tavern I enter

There is a baby at the bar

—watching “Wheel of Fortune”

—sippie cup.


In the Fuzzy Mule

There is a

Baby bartender

grousing the usual yuckage

“I have to be a psychologist”


At one a.m.,

In the expansive sushi bar downtown

a large baby dressed in black

checks identification just inside the door:

“I work too much” it gurgles, then belches.


“Infants Drink Free”

“Half off Jaeger Shots”

*Toddler’s Night*

*proof of underage required*


Two tall drunken infants

heads a-bobble

sit out back

by the fire-barrel

near the Only Bar

sharing stories.


©  2017  Thomas N. Dennis