(poems) Tim Calhoun – The Foretopman’s Vision; No Way Out

Tim Calhoun 1984

Tim and his son jesse, circa 1984

The Foretopman’s Vision

I don’t know who they are–
those two with arms
paddling through a sea of drifting wheat,

I’ve forgotten
how love tacks
against the course of passion.

Their hands collapse on faces
like falling sails.
She arches over him
a human wave.

Then dusk-shadow of the barn’s rotting hull
covers them like a cloud
as they sink in deep
predatory gulls.

The wind beats my face A
making all these metal shrouds lonely swing.

Chants For the Root Cutter (1983; Burning Press, Cleveland)

No Way Out

In the far suburbs
when windows go black
and moon brings gauze
down to the rooftops,

while strangers cruise
listening for happenings
unable to sleep
because of neon,

I saw in a vision Theseus
lost and without his gold thread
running in backyards like a burglar
while in every bed

the minotaurs slept peacefully
knowing the maze had conquered.


In the aftermath of our mother’s passing, a lot of documentation comes to the surface. Well, we’ve been going into the archives.

My late brother was a father, poet, philosopher, communitarian, street prophet, Christian, lady’s man–this is my own reckoning with his personal hierarchy. He was a ‘vertical’ personality, and was so in almost–seemingly–reaction equal and opposite to my own horizontal personality. We were fraternal virgo twins.

As a poet he was prolific and self-critical, and it is now clear enough that his opus was created from 1971 until his death in 1993. His output is, today, residing in two crates and a collection of floppy discs. I didn’t live in Cleveland between 1974 and 1991, so I learned of his stature as an artist only upon returning, and this was just a small, brighter, part of the saddened learning.

Stephen and TimothyCalhoun (1958)

Stephen & Timothy - 1958

The Calhouns of Cleveland Ohio

Tim, Crede, Carol, Jean, Stephen

The only photo I’ve seen of the five of us, taken at my brother Crede and sister-law Carol’s wedding in July 1992.

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