View from

Prima Facie

“‘Sometimes all a man needs is a horizon/in which to vanish,’ I thought.”

It was death-by-rhinoplasty. You touched my inner calypso.

Night cleared its throat, while inside my head,

shimmering aphids pretended to be stars.


Did the oompah band shower us with affidavits?


Did someone padlock my pogo stick?


Passing by the half-empty granary, I beheld an oxymoron disguised as the moon.

“Show me your major premise!” I cried, but avails had I none.

At such times, I missed my Friedrich Hegel starter kit, for the journey was fraught

with antitheses and empty canning jars.


I wanted to say “The journey was metaficial,”

but “metaficial” had yet to become a word.

I could feel it, though, twitching inside its chrysalis.


“Sometimes the whole poem is a chrysalis

for a word waiting to be born,” shouted the priest,

who appeared, gratuitously, wearing a monocle on one eye

and an eyepatch on the other. He made the sign of the cross,

tossed me a T-shirt on which the words “Pecco Ergo Sum” had been silk-screened,

then fired up his Husqvarna and rode off in search of lariats.

I watched him disappear over a distant crest.


“Sometimes all a man needs is a horizon

in which to vanish,” I thought. “Thank my lucky aphids, I’ve got mine!”

By then, my calypso was smoldering.

You were nowhere to be seen.

A plastic surgeon stood at the foot of the bed,

waving a bloody strip of gauze. “I’m afraid I’ve got bad news,” he said.


Thomas Townsley has published four books of poetry: Reading the Empty Page, Night Class for Insomniacs, Holding A Séance By Myself, and, most recently, I Pray This Letter Reaches You In Time, as well as a chapbook, Tangent of Ardency. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including SurVision, The Decadent Review, Stone Canoe, and Doubly Mad. He currently teaches in the Humanities Department at Mohawk Valley Community College and spends ordinary evenings in New Hartford, New York. 

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