Tom Stock

Poet, Essayist, Photographer, Naturalist

Category: Poetry (Page 1 of 4)

Vape Me

Lay your cloud on me

Let your cloud ascend

Like the smoke from

A peace pipe

A Native American tradition

A lot less primitive

Their cloud is spiritual

Yours not so much

Allow your cloud, vapid one

To join with real clouds

Up there is the sky

Where all clouds belong

Let them pass overhead

As those with their heads down

With their faces illuminated

By glowing hand-held screens

While fabulous big, bulbous

Snow-white cumulus clouds

Glorify the day

Bringing us alternate patches of blue

Fair weather clouds they are

Yours not so much

From your vape sticks

Artificial clouds

Right there in your vape lounges

Add your cloud to the

Great mother of all digital clouds

Where data lives


Point Blank

A finger at the ready

On an ak-47 gun stock

A tad reach to the trigger

Only takes a second to fire

To kill, to injure, change everything

Pull, press, boom,

Or turn a toaster knob

To choose your darkness level

Or press the darken/lighten button

At the Staples Xerox department

To select the level of darkness

Like on an antique TV set with its dial

To change the brightness of the image

It all boils down to us

Who can lighten up or darken down

The mood, the circumstances

A finger to swipe, a click, a touch

Turn a page, or to kill

It only takes a finger

To point to ourselves and choose


Accelerate: The Poem

Faster internet?

That’s so 2000

Fast isn’t fast enough

Keep accelerating

Like how else will we reach

Trappist – #1 star to check out

Only 476 million light years from Earth

An earth-like planet

If we don’t go 100 times

Faster than the speed of light

We’ll never get there in our lifetime

Which lasts about ten seconds

Like a runner nearing the finish line

The sprint, the pour it on, pump it up

Fast enough to win a mile race in 4 seconds

Talk faster so you

Can talk about the next fast thing

No more calm, no more slow dance

Music performances so quick, you don’t even hear them

Work faster

Play faster

Do everything faster

There’s no time left

Time is running out

Rush rush rush

No more fast lane

Time for blur lane

Cars aren’t passing any more

They’re flying, like meteor streaks

Texting so fast

Fingers are sore

Finger tips hurt

A split second takes a nanosecond

e-mail so fast, the message gets there

Before it’s sent

Earth is rotating faster

We have to keep up

Time has been redefined

An hour only a second

Days weeks months, years

Much shorter as we wiz through lifetimes

Five minutes old – that’s like birthday number 7,900

The odometer on the dashboard

Starts at 220 MPH

The speed of light – way too slow

Birthdays so fast you’re and can’ blow out candles

Run on sentences the size of 1000 page book

Gotta go, gotta accelerate

Speed is everything

No time to stop and smell the roses.

What happened to the time? You ask

Daylight savings, forget that

Century savings is more like it

World trade center elevators – 3 seconds up and down

Two hour movie – one second, better pay attention

Heartbeat – 200 beats per minute

Breathing rate – no time for that

Go go go – phases of the moon

It’s full all the time

Can’t slow down

Gotta keep up

LIRR to Penn Station from Montauk – seat belts required

Cross country flight – there only jiffy flight

Clocks are having a problem

My nap is over before it even starts


All I have are photos

To imagine your life

I’ve read some of your books

And the books of others about you

I want to know you, befriend you, hang with you


I want to enter your cell to see how you sleep

To lie on your bed

Watch you at prayer

Follow you on walks in the meadows and hills of Kentucky

To attend you’re mass

Watch you write

See you look up and pause in thought

See where and how you dine

Hear you lecture to young monks

Stand beside you as you light a fire in the hermitage


But all I have are pictures

And books and poems and journals and letters

I want to be you Tom

Watch you take photos and see them

Hear you sing chants before daylight

Stand behind you as you write your novel in the rental cabin on the hill near    Olean


Eves drop on your conversations

See you kneeling, sitting, and working in the forest

Catch your smile, a Merton smile that lights up your whole face

Be at your bedside when you were hospitalized in Louisville

Stand on the corner of Fourth and Walnut when you had your revelation


Oh Tom, come for a visit, you’re invited

Yet all I have of you is on my shelf and a favorite small copy of a painting…

A small icon of you in lotus posture with a gold halo behind your head

You’re not a martyr, you are a holy man

I want to be in the Abbots room when you are there


I only met you when I was 63

When a friend Carl told me about you

I am blessed to have your name as well



Pump Jack – poem and illustrations

There’s oil down there

Bow to the black jack

Bend, pump, pull and pipe

Jack your pump

Jack pump, pump jack

Drill baby drill

Draw it up

Suck the field dry

That’s black money

Pe tro chem icals

Atmosphere expendable


Tank it, pipe it

Fractionate, fractionate

Barrel after barrel

Gallon after gallon


Step on the gas

Fill ‘er up

Top ‘er off

Pedal to the metal

Pump jack pump


Blow it out your tail pipe

Into the air

Earth’s air

Our air

Pump jack pump

Leaf blowers blow

Lawn mowers mow

Cars gotta go

Explore for more

Money, money

Pump jack pump

Man Cave

I’ve put on the mantle of cave man

Descending into the past, 4,000 years

In a limestone cave in Ireland

I come out into the light

Into the cold

Into survival mode

For food, water, fire wood

Tired of fighting off others who want my cave

I can start fire

Keep warm, watch the weather, stay close to the cave

My shelter, my home, my survival

I hunt with my sharpened stone on a spear


Oh to fast forward into the pleasures of a civilized life

I want to be a cave man on Wall Street

I wear a jacket, shirt, and tie

Cave life is tough, no question about it

I want the good life, to live large

Be able to grab a London broil

And throw it on a fire

To have a futon and warm blankets

When the cave gets drafty

And where are the women?

I have a club, I’m ready to grab one

By her hair and drag her into my cave

Share a meal of London broil with her

Let the fire dim down to romantic

Sleep with her, let her clean and decorate OUR cave

Protect her when another real estate agent

Comes by to check out the square footage

I can scout further away while she guards the cave

I can find food for US

Since she arrived, the cave is more comfortable

It’s not a man cave any more

The World Of Dogs Museum – Prose Poem

The canine world all under one roof/sectioned into galleries –all dog / dog lovers can browse many galleries/listening room of barks with cute yips, scary growls/ a whole wing devoted to breeds/display of evolution from wolves, with specific branches where you can trace your mutts pedigree/ /great Danes, chocolate labs, hairless and shaggy/ all shapes and colors/ don’t miss the performance room – for the drug sniffers and the security guys/ a room set aside for the famous – Toto; Rin-Tin-Tin; Lassie; RCA Victor dog who tips his head to listen/video’s of dogs in commercials/a visitor center to record your favorite dog storiy/ films; interactive exhibits/ it’s all here under one roof/ an extensive research library/ a huge gift shop with over 50 different treats and any accessory/a large book section /tips on showing for those who want their dog to win best in show/ best breeder/ best agility/ obedience demonstrations on the hour/ dog history section/ “ask the Vet” service/ dog art/ a display of stuffed dogs/ dog cemeteries and where to find them/ information desk/ daily lectures/ membership benefits/ no dogs allowed in the museum, leave yours at home please.

Don’t Try This At Home

In fact, don’t try this anyplace
Don’t put yourself in danger
You can’t imitate that you saw on TV
The person who says this knows something you don’t
Trust them
If you saw this on the stage in “real time”
Stay safe
Think before acting
This is for your own good
Take it from me, I tried this at home
Don’t you make the same mistake
It didn’t work
Something unexpected happened
I’ll never do stuff at home that is scary
That might explode
Try someplace else if you must
It’s OK to try things
That’s how you learn
Your home should not be a place for dangerous experiments
Which you have no idea what will happen
Your home is your safe haven
You should not be trying risky experiments
Google first, do your research,
Ask the person who did this in the first place
Use common sense
Know the difference
Between what you think will happen
And what might happen
Take care of yourself
If you’re not sure
You ought to read this poem first
Try this poem at home
When someone suggests “Don’t try this at home”
Take them seriously
They know what’s going to happen
You don’t
Listen. They are concerned for your welfare
They don’t want to be blamed if you try this at home
And it blows up in your face.
Just because they did it
Doesn’t mean you can
This is their save harmless clause
They are protecting themselves and you at the same time
You’re not a scientist
Rather to be safe than sorry
Ask advice from a friend first
Don’t take chances
This warning is to protect you
Don’t put your family at risk
If you must try, notify your doctor
Notify the police
Tell your neighbors
Tell your pharmacist
Tell your lawyer
Your neighbors too
Wear safety goggles
Check your smoke detector
Make sure you have good water pressure
Have a fire extinguisher at the ready
Take every precaution necessary
Ask yourself, “It this worth doing?”
Just because a magician
Shoves a sword down their throat
Doesn’t mean you have to
You might kill yourself
Read the manual
Follow the instructions
Know the consequences
Maybe leave home
Leave town
Leave the country
Go someplace isolated
Try this at your own risk
Yes, be daring
Yes be on the cutting edge
Yes you are taking your chances
Yes you are on the frontier of t Ruth
Yes you are on a journey into the unknown
But NO… don’t do it.
If you must
No explosions
No unidentified chemicals
Try the garage
Try a forest
Keep trying and don’t give up
There has to be another way
So YOU don’t have to say
Don’t try this at home
Have a plan B


Long yellow necks
Reach high above
Rooftops and skyscrapers
They are cranes, not birds
Lifting buckets of concrete,
Iron, and building materials
They eat the sky
Dominating the cityscape
They roost and puff their chests
Saying “No space left down there”
Up in the operaters box
A tiny figure in a yellow cab
Pulls levers to hoist tons
To add floors to the sky
To build the bones
Of superstructures
Cells for corporate dealings
White men sitting behind empty
Shiny, reflective desks
With no way to expand horizontal
It’s now vertical
Tourists chant “look how tall!”
More square footage
To create shadows even at noon
They puncture clouds
Aim for the stratosphere
Their mating call …lift lift, lift
Until every square inch is filled

Tom Stock January 24, 2017

Up There

The ascent: sweaty and tiring

Grab trees to pull myself up

Frequent stops to catch my breath

Swig water, feel the mountain breeze

Where is the summit?

I long for the top

Views, the rest, the silence, the peace


Step by step, break by break

Swig by swig, tree by tree

How did all this rock rise

To puncture the sky?

The mountain slowly surrenders

I look up and see light

In the under story of forest

I’m close, I know I’m close

The mountain starts to level off


Breakout into overexposed gray rock

Relief, joy, vastness at my feet

A landslide of vistas and panoramas

I memorize the shadows

The mountains overshadowed

By mountains further off

Rounded summits far away

The sound of wind in the pines

I sit on a fissure with moss, an ant

I suck drafts of open space

Don’t let this end

Tom Stock

Page 1 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén