about the author

Tom Hunley is a professor in the MFA/BA creative writing programs at Western Kentucky University, the director of Steel Toe Books, and the lead singer/guitarist for Night of the Living Dead Poets Society. His latest book is The State That Springfield Is In (Split Lip Press, 2016), which consists of forty dramatic monologues in the voices of characters from The Simpsons.

Bookmark and Share


font size

Two Poems 

Tom Hunley

I Freeze To Death

Tom C. Hunley leapt off the bridge
between a bridge and the word bridge
sturdy enough to give the word meaning
and the structure a name, not unlike
the name Tom C. Hunley, itself
a bridge between an aggregate of letters
and a man of letters whose hair turned
white and blew off—picture seed fuzz
floating away from a weed—no, picture
snow, now picture Tom C. Hunley
leaping off an actual bridge
only to land on soft snow and then
the desire to die thaws as life begins
to almost make sense again as he imagines
almost connecting with other people
the way some words almost rhyme—
forever and moreover for example
so he decides he wants to live forever
and moreover it seems possible
but then he sees blood leaping
from his head onto the snow
feels his knees going on strike
and screams I can’t get up
as the sky darkens and the ground
hardens and his words echo
off the ice, like coins tossed
to the ground from a bridge,

Running Out Of Breath

Here lies Tom C. Hunley
left for dead by thieves on a jogging path

A few fallen leaves crunch
beneath their sneakers as they flee
and shadows rat out the late-rising sun

Good Samaritans abound
all of them cicadas
who can only chirr under the chipped-blue sky

Their chorus rises like tossed rocks

Tom studies those notes
how they enter his body
even as his blood leaves it
though he knows that any music
passing through him
flickers and fades
like one of the lightning bugs
he sees, then doesn’t see

He shudders with each ecstatic flame
wonders how something so small
can burn him from the inside
then leave him to such a deep darkness,

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...