Lewis Turco


The world was washed away by a wall of water
That first became the horizon: a rising wall
That pulled the shallows outward and away
From the shores. The coastal sealife washed
Out to sea with the boats. For a moment there was
Stillness everywhere, and then the world

Listened to a roar that became the world,
The sound of a thousand thunders, not of water
Merely, but of the fluid earth. It was
Then that liquid turned to stone, a wall
Hard as rock that rose before it washed
Ashore and tore the screaming child away

From the mother, lifted the father, whipped him away
From the place he worked. The ocean became the world,
Crushed the buildings along the beaches, washed
Limbs and torsos into the trees. The water
Filled the wells with salt and blood. A wall
Of bricks became a gristmill grinding what was

Lying behind it into a paste. It was
Mud and plants and trees spun away
Into a maelstrom of single items now all
Things undifferentiated, whirled
In eddies and backwashes of polluted water
Where everything and nothing could be washed.

What could float, floated, what could be washed
Away was washed away, out to sea, was
Caught in a tree that held, held above water
Or drowned or buried in mud or floated away
Into who knew where? It was a world
That was unsafe ashore, but at sea the wall

Did not exist. It was safe above the wall,
On the surface of the wave that rose and washed
Away the earthen world, the solid world,
The world where creatures breathed an air that was
Lighter than liquid. It sent them far away
From breath, from sight, from the living world.

Instead, it gave them a whelming wall that was
Scoured into the minds of those not washed away
From the world of earth into the world of water.

A Browning Tailgater Bluesanelle

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways --
There are so many of them, many ways,
At least as many ways as there are days:

I love thee Mondays as thou dost the wash,
I love thee doing laundry, doing wash,
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways --

I adore thee as thou scrubbest floors,
On Tuesdays when thou scrubbest all the floors --
At least as many ways as there are days!

Wednesday I adore thee doing errands,
Never errant as thou dost the errands.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways --

Thursday thou art diligent while shopping,
Groceries, necessities while shopping!
I love thee till I’m nearly in a daze!

I’m too exhausted to continue, Dear,
Far too tired admiring you, my Dear,
At least as many ways as there are days:
How do I love thee? I can’t count the ways!


The Big Bang

How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world!
This multiplicity from a black hole hurled!


One man in his time plays many parts
Most of them, of course, by fits and starts.

The Gift

Did I deserve no more than a fool's head
Rather than a horse’s in my bed?


You will not pay for the glasses you have burst?
Then here’s a thimble with which to quench your thirst!


For you and I are past our dancing days.
We’re too decrepit for the latest craze.


Good friend for Jesus’ sake forbear…,
Oh, Hell, forget it. I don’t care.

Copyright 2013 Lewis Turco


Lewis Turco is a contributor to the recently-published Garnet Poems: An Anthology of Connecticut Poetry Since 1776. His most recent books, all published in 2012, are The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics, Including Odd and Invented Forms, Revised and Expanded Fourth Edition; Wesli Court’s Epitaphs for the Poets, and his second book of critical essays, Dialects of the Tribe: Postmodern American Poets and Poetry,

Founder in 1962 of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center and, in 1968, of the Department of Creative Writing at S.U.N.Y. Oswego, Lewis Turco now lives in productive retirement in Dresden Mills, Maine.