House of the Tomato

If a woman wants to be a poet, she must dwell in the house of the tomato. -- Erica Jong

Regional website for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, in partnership with the Reader's Loft.

GREEN BAY / NORTHEAST

Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.

IMAGINE Poetry Reading

  • The Reader's Loft 2069 Central Court, Suite 44 Green Bay, WI 54311 USA

May: A Festival of Poetry

Tim Walsh & Kathryn Gahl

Timothy Walsh Timothy Walsh’s most recent poetry collection is When the World Was Rear-Wheel Drive: New Jersey Poems. His awards include the Grand Prize in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition, the Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize from North American Review, and the Wisconsin Academy Fiction Prize. He is the author of a book of literary criticism, The Dark Matter of Words: Absence, Unknowing, and Emptiness in Literature (Southern Illinois University Press) and two other poetry collections, Wild Apples (Parallel Press) and Blue Lace Colander (Marsh River Editions). Find more at: http://timothyawalsh.com

Timothy Walsh

Timothy Walsh’s most recent poetry collection is When the World Was Rear-Wheel Drive: New Jersey Poems. His awards include the Grand Prize in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition, the Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize from North American Review, and the Wisconsin Academy Fiction Prize. He is the author of a book of literary criticism, The Dark Matter of Words: Absence, Unknowing, and Emptiness in Literature (Southern Illinois University Press) and two other poetry collections, Wild Apples (Parallel Press) and Blue Lace Colander (Marsh River Editions). Find more at: http://timothyawalsh.com

When the World was Rear-Wheel Drive

It was all a game of blouses, bras, and illicit beer.
Seventeen in New Jersey back in ’75
with Bruce singing about muscle cars and motorcycles,
            fathers and factories.
This was back when everything was rear-wheel drive,
            gasoline at fifty cents a gallon.
Bias-ply tires, not those European radials.
Butterfly windows, high-beam toe switches,
            hand-crank windows.
Hood scoops and racing stripes with rear ends jacked up
            like cats in heat.

I remember cars with bench seats big as beds,
            cars that were half like houses—
brash boats of cars with thirsty carburetors,
            growling V-8s,
the drive train running the length of the car in a visible hump
feeding power to the rear wheels,
rear wheels that rocketed you onward,
a force from behind like the hand of God obedient
            to the slightest pressure of your toe on the accelerator.

In the firefly twilight of the dashboard light,
            you learned how to undo a bra clasp with one hand,
finagle troublesome zippers on tight jeans,
and then came the long, slow slide of silky underwear
            down satin thighs,
the telescoping radio antenna drawing music from the sky
            like a lightning rod.

Nowadays, compared to that innocent extravagance,
            driving seems a paltry, decaffeinated thing,
inching along in our compact cars,
front wheels digging in like fingernails,
pulling us parsimoniously along as our hybrids
            take hummingbird sips of gas.

Still, the revving of a motorcycle
            or some old heap with a shot muffler
brings back those days when we cruised the night
            each in our personal roaring apocalypse,
our polished chrome rebellion
            rolling along so sweetly on mag wheels.

-- Tim Walsh

Kathryn Gahl After being a model, teacher, registered nurse, and single-parent, Kathryn Gahl studied writing at Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Iowa, Taos, and Vermont College.Her fiction and poems appear in many journals, including Margie, A Call To Nursing and Life Drawing Class, a poetry manuscript with watercolors. She believes in the transcendent power of red lipstick, dancing Tango, deep sleep, and the light of her littlest love, her grandson Leonidas.A performance poet, she lives in Wisconsin. 

Kathryn Gahl

After being a model, teacher, registered nurse, and single-parent, Kathryn Gahl studied writing at Bread Loaf, Sewanee, Iowa, Taos, and Vermont College.Her fiction and poems appear in many journals, including MargieA Call To Nursing and Life Drawing Class, a poetry manuscript with watercolors. She believes in the transcendent power of red lipstick, dancing Tango, deep sleep, and the light of her littlest love, her grandson Leonidas.A performance poet, she lives in Wisconsin. 

The Mechanic's Wife

She is but exhaust in the room
as he grinds one bolt
threads another and
fills the grease-gun
with amber thick stick-to-it-iveness.
With each grunt he creates
friction. In the shop's shaky light,
he squints, stops only for a 
soda and a cigarette, fires
an air-gun while her ears shriek.
He fills the house with stains that
preach since she has yet to come to
him willingly.
Soon the sun will beat
through the pane, pour crystals
on the calendar girls he keeps nearby.
She will bleach his fingers
with kisses and talk dirty,
swear she likes it
gritty and extreme.

-- Kathryn Gahl
 Appeared in Amarillo Bay, 2014

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