“In the moonlight

I met Berserk . . .”


I.

Seven men, a pale woman and a dog

Circle the indoor, rubberized track

Like strangled moose.


II.

Orpheus rolled through his sleep.

Eurydice read a popular novel, a period piece

Involving a ménage a trois

And the strangling of a moose.


III.

Dear Mr. Farnsworth,

I’m sorry. I swear the black elk looked

Like a black moose.


IV.

A moose and its brown neck

Are one.

A moose and its brown neck and my hand

Are one.


V.

He read every third word

Of all of Leibniz.

Of each evaded word he made

A sharp, viable noose.


VI.

October. Bitter, early winds.

It sure was a big moose.


VII.

I listened and listened

To the cries

Of the softball fans.

The shortstop on deck

Reached for an aluminum bat

And grabbed the furry neck of the moose.


VIII.

I know the efficient sheen

Of otter, the orthodox

Tumult of moths. But I know, too,

That the moose could care less.


IX.

Bip said:

“I can imagine the calmest reality,

Containing a large fork-lift

And a bull moose...”


X.

The eyes of Proust are oblong and veined.

The wind combs its hair.

There is a monastery in Melk, Austria.

I did not see the moose there.


XI.

There is so much pleasure in the world:

An affable star, a warm bath,

The sordid strangling of a moose...!


XII.

The Sartrean moose. The Hegelian

Moose. Enigmas and structural myths

Of the moose. Meanwhile I’ve chosen

Freudian cactus?


XIII.

The air today is a fetid air.

The green grass is brown.

The moose coughs.



From the Editors: Freight Stories still doesn’t publish poems. Except this one, which we offer to you because of our deep respect and love for Tom Andrews and his wonderful work. We’re grateful to Ray and Alice Andrews, Tom’s parents, for uncovering this previously unpublished poem for us. The editors got to know each other in a class Tom taught at Purdue. The world is less bright without him in it.


Ray Andrews writes: “Alice was trying to help us downsize and found an unpublished item of poetry Tom wrote while still a student at Hope College, in Holland, Michigan. Tom often was an iconoclastic wag in his writings, as you no doubt know. We think this was done in 1983 or 1984.”




Tom Andrews grew up in Charleston, West Virginia. He studied at Hope College; at Oberlin College, where he was an intern with FIELD; and at the University of Virginia, where he was a Hoynes Fellow. He subsequently taught at Ohio University and Purdue University. In 1999 he went to Rome, as Poetry Fellow at the American Academy.


His publications include three books of poetry, The Brother’s Country, a National Poetry Series winner chosen by Charles Wright and published by Persea Books (1990); The Hemophiliac’s Motorcycle, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize and published by the University of Iowa Press (1994); and Random Symmetries: The Collected Poems of Tom Andrews, published by Oberlin College Press (2002). His memoir, Codeine Diary: True Confessions of a Reckless Hemophiliac, appeared from Harvest Books in 1999. He also edited collections of criticism on two contemporary poets: On William Stafford: The Worth of Local Things (University of Michigan Press, 1995) and The Point Where All Things Meet: Essays on Charles Wright (Oberlin College Press, 1995).


Tom Andrews fell ill in Athens, Greece, in the summer of 2001 and died in London that July.




Back to Freight Stories No. 3

 

Tom Andrews

Thirteen Ways of Looking

at a Strangled Moose