"Smarter After Midnight" by Timothy Tarkelly

Quite the two-dollar-you-call-it sophist,
I can often be found down among the dead men,
eyes half-surrendered, floating.

Quoting W.C. Fields, defending Rupi Kaur
from the liberal arts army gathered and chanting
lines from my diploma,
claiming that one cancels out the other.

They break out in some perspicuous mode
of dance as they sing, not of love, but orthology.

Of lyrics so dense, one must travel
with a ProQuest subscription
in order to weep at their beauty.

I just like to love things.

"Thirties" by Timothy Tarkelly

All this talk about worldview
about where do you get your courage from
to get up each day, to shave once in a while.
Jesus never really had to do his thirties, though.

We all just want to know
why and who we will become,
to nail our hands to it, having carried it
for everyone to see and they sing,
“It is right and just.”

The whole time, he had an idea,
someone filling his jugs,
changing them from bravado to wine

and he was actually doing it,
he was actually doing it.

"Have You Ever Seen a Sunset?" by Timothy Tarkelly

I don't mind saying that there are no sunsets

like Kansas sunsets, so much open space,

flat ground to fall to,
all knees and dropped jaws

at the pink, red slit in the sky.

Last time I was in New York,

a woman asked me if I had ever had a bagel
before and I wish we had that kind of arrogance.

That we were members of an elite
breakfast pastry society,
the only ones to have ever tasted
the things we hold dear.

And maybe arrogance isn’t the right word.

She was probably trying to be nice, offering
a small slice of what brings her to the ground,

so from now on, whenever I make introductions,
I’ll just ask “have you ever seen a sunset?”