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.


Celebrating, sharing and inspiring poetry throughout Wisconsin.


At the trough of his disease people with names I can't pronounce, like symbols. He posts daily from his phone. When he loses the phone he posts from hijacked computers at coffee shops, open labs at the college, university, long historic hallways, crumbling stone. Notifications like a tickertape on the unraveling, fraying of his mind, my mind. I don't know how I worked. Or held a conversation. Or managed to get myself to a toilet, that cool cell of isolation. Where I could hug myself. Was I really here? Was this really happening? He met Madonna and her paintings, her halo gilding a series of posts. He met a crowd of new friends at a street concert, river of music, video of the flow of bodies, light show, feet gliding, hard bump of quaint cobblestones. He met the smartest man he didn't know in a tavern on the square in a fedora, the fury of questions, ideological drinking. Splendor, yes. Enough to minimize the tiny dolls in his eyes. But murderers, too. And rapists. Whispers of a manhunt in his neighborhood, cops lurking. He's afraid to go home. He thinks he's harboring a fugitive. He's hungry. Over the phone I learn how to order calzones he can pickup in a paper bag. He's definitively harboring a voracity for loneliness. His girlfriend's left him an empty apartment. I can hear an echo in the long monologues he posts at each fingering of dawn. He careens between poles, so tired but unable to sleep. There's no button for off, and he records the disassociation, the manifest of symptoms, until the social network becomes a social psychosis that many unfriend, plenty post warnings, a few lash out meanly. How dare he answer when the screen asks What's on your mind? How dare he explicate his damage, starving a swipelight at the dark corners?

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