From New York City - Tom Pennacchini

Tom describes himself as "a flaneur from NYC, an actor and a scribbler of words". He has sent us the following poems. Go to our 'Reviews' page for a review of his poetry and where to access it.

A Bay Wolf in the Apartment of Eagles

   Come the dawning

   Regardless of mood

   I like

   To take some moments





   in the morn light of my room



   vibe and shimmy

   I do the spasmodic

   To the


   Amusing me self

   And digging

   The reflection of my Moves as


   in the Van Gogh prints

   On my walls

   Oh yeah

   I Got It

   A RocknRoll kid


   Get to Gone

   It's my




   Regardless of mood

   This is my private morning

   Clarion Call

   and my

   Free Flying

   Fuck It All

sense of reprieve

yes madness no

i cannot -


for all the talk talk ...

nor see

for the smile displays a horror


odoriferous stench

of the inevitable inimical political scientifical

is a rough toughie

I refuse the obligation when the


rankles to a treacle so

keep talking -

while I


a leaf

to feel my life

An Elliptical Labyrinth (Ob La Di)

The morning light has broken

Upon the wall


I watch it sharpen

While sipping coffee

It broadens


The walls entirety

Into a full gleaming twinkle

I sip

Feeling the vibration


in the concrete hades

Such loveliness

it can sometimes does

I am looking out the window with my classical on as I ponder the rigmaroles of existence discussing such with the most fascinating person I know.

Every time I feel I've made a valid point or observation during my ongoing convo I like to whip off my glasses to add further emphasis

while highlighting a point that's been made salient and to add further punctuating resonance landing on a note redolent of conversational flair.

For example as I gaze out I reflect to myself on the virtues of eschewing the virtual for the sake and embracement of tactility

and doing the sharp clean whip on eschew.

When I revelate that the only thing remaining is to become a saint there is a slow whipping on become. Like that.

Happenstance can work well and good sometimes.

Oh sweet exquisiteness, as I lovingly prepare an afternoon aperitif and just now at the ready of the first gentle sip (lord how I love my ceremonies!) the radio crows out "heroes" - Ah yes, aglow and a flow, I duly proceed to an illuminated bask.

The heart of the matter resides in the entire lonesomeness of the venture, and so dream, a much needed break from the prosaic, makes fantasy a much vaunted ally. So it goes, the garden of eden and myself with menagerie of profound friendships and equipped with a

fleet of canines are baying in unison at the rising moon each eve over the waters.

I think of a bovine at dusk by the side of a country road, looming and ruminating. Life can be so wonderful! And indeed the cat never ceases to contribute the phenomenal and to provide blessed insight into all things seriously absurd, a well rounded tutorial in surrealist burlesque,

It welcomes and relieves one from the strangulating confinements of love and isolation, providing a delightfully futile longing

for unencumbered innocence and a bit of air.

So it goes, the gallivanting ambition is to string two good days in a row together.

But for now, synchronicity dovetails to a tee and a thickening

of well and good in the here/now of slow nothing.


A step outside into the new morn

is immediately met by the old

hub and bub of an air full of cellular contraption babble imbued with the shrill and inconsequential

Cars whizzle by handled by louts with a preposterously overblown sense of themselves inhabited by a conjoinment

of emaciated sense of decorum and bloated commitment to stupidity and who sadly feel that to drive is to lean on the horn.

I step on in swift anticipation of my park sanctuary a few blocks due west.

On arrival there is one of the elevated finely sculpted steel receptacles housing potted bouquet bushes that are currently filled with petals of yellow

that ring wrought iron around the fountain.

I am duly summoned to my morning ablution which consists of a face full of plunge into its thicket and

a deep inhalation of glorious morning proper sustenance.

This day tho I had to approach with some trepidation as there was a squirrel on one side of the structure that had its own ritual to tend to - knowing their propensity for brazenness I approached with caution and

making sure there was a suitable bit of distance I take my ceremonial dip.

When I raised my head from the sweet intoxication the squirrel does so simultaneously and the critters face was a bearded coat of fresh soil 

right then staring direct- a sod pasted kisser - the air crackles with a flash of frivolous whilst enhancing and abetting a most enjoyable slow exhalation.

My dear friend you have provided a most blessed respite from the hum and drum and

so many many thanks for this divine bit of illuminating simplicity in action and clarification of levity’s mandate.

Good morning


He would come to the door ever so slow

Deep into dotage and well past prime time

I waited amid discomforts shade

Eager to collect and be on...

I liked the design of my route

All customers were conveniently located next to each except

for one lone house down the street a ways which was a drag on Sunday morning because that was the day I had to stuff all the papers and stack them in a grocery cart instead of the rest of the week's thin editions which were easily fitted into my portable sack and slung over my shoulder for an easy afternoon delivery stroll around the block (Saturday mornings I trucked out my bike and then I would treat myself to breakfast)

Sweet Bitch Memory

/man oh man...

the frowzy chippy who blurted on

about the doings and going ons of the scotland yard

(what she meant specifically I could never ascertain)

the one who insisted I give change to the tune of a dime

on her 90 cent weekly tab

(my young self indignant at this outlandish chintz)

I henceforth always made an elaborate spectacle of fishing and searching all about myself for her "dime" whenever I collected from her (but always coughing it up eventually - I was a good kid) 

it was the year 1977 (we were there)

I had heard thru the neighborhood vine about her demise and

went up to the white house to collect

He trudged to the door and we made our transaction

both of us looking down until the close of business then

He said to me looking up "my wife died" and I responded "I know"

He slowly lowers his head backing away just as slowly shutting the door

I do my own slow lower into the realization (vague) that happens (if you're lucky?) that a goodly bit of life consists of pain and fear -- so much goddam sadness ...

I stood a moment - left and was

glad to go on and get away

Lo here in the current deep up to the neck of the boo radley years

paid up in full

my bridge burner dues

losing bits piecemeal

/ it's not so vague

I have often sensed the imperative of getting away ... kinda sorta before the reality boom lowers -


and now

I didn't make it

kid hope

The children are being led like cattle across the grounds. They have yellow life jackets on and are holding on to rings around a rope.

They are surrounded by grownups (a funny word). The children chirrup and look blankly around while being led around.

I go back to my reverie and when I look back one of them has somehow shed the yellow life jacket. Another grownup points this out in passing to one

of the minders (another funny) who scuttles back to get it while clamping on to one of the little ones. Elsewhere on the grounds are

a number of people taking pictures of themselves (not funny). The one who broke out of the uniform looks blithely on. I stir slightly with a glimmer for this ones prospects.

Little ones it is a good life innit bouncing between a nap and a frolic to a meal and back.

But before you know it they get ya roped and tethered. You have provided Inspiration just now. Luck and Hold. Don't let the multiple kisses of institutional mort consume you -

family-school-career-obligations-upkeep more-repeat... Throw that yoke off!... you are gifted golden just now child ... just now

Ahhh if only it can remain eternally unvarnished...

if only...

Ah hang in there--

Thanks for the lift kid

Teaching English at Friendship House

Although he came from the mountains

(this much I learnt)

he didn't understand my words for snow

I fluttered my fingers

in front of him

but he only saw the wings of birds.

I led him to the window

wrapped myself in my arms

at the shivering sky but he only stared.

It was slow and involved

the elimination

of sun, wind and rain but we got there.

Sometimes I think of him

back at the border

I imagine his mountains their fingers of shadow

the stutter of gunfire

the quietness of snow

Copyright Maggie Sawkins

December 2019

This poem is by local poet Maggie Sawkins, winner of 2013 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.

She is the founder of Tongues & Grooves in the Community and runs creative writing projects in and around Portsmouth.

The poem from Maggie's collection "The Zig Zag Woman" published by Two Ravens Press investigates the complexity of language and outlines the loss and pity of forced exile

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Maggie on

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