Poems by David Thornbrugh

DavidCafeMlynekDavid Thornbrugh is a Ring of Fire poet based in Seattle, Washington, USA. In his poetry, he strives to make sense of existence, and to lessen some of the gloom he feels as the natural world fades further and further into the past and the future looks less and less viable. He finds life without humor not worth the effort, and the idea of being a poet in America pretty funny.



Too Much of a Good Thing


Making concrete the concept of

too much of a good thing

isn’t difficult. Think alcoholism,

internet porn, cable TV, facial tattoos,

any genitalia piercing.

Or, to be specific, the meal

meat eaters Ric and Rieko served us

when we said “We eat fish”:

red skinned white flesh octopus

like geisha kisses

chunked with thin slices of autumn orange pumpkin,

green salad thickly questioned

by pink shrimp,

and two kinds of spaghetti,

one bloodied by tomato sauce glopping shrimp,

more shrimp, and the addition

of scallops cooked whole

the Japanese way, the guts still on

the muscle like a petticoat

clenching an oil drum,

the other pasta slick with oil

and garlic and O-ring body slices

of the unassuming squid,

all followed by slices of apple,

kiwi and strawberry,

plus three kinds of cheese.

All watched by the yellow eyes

of a cat named Lemon,

who doesn’t believe

too much of a good thing

is possible.

That’s why, three weeks later,

I’m still pulling strands of his fur

off my Polartec shirt.

Faking a Clean Sweep

Overnight, the spaceport sprouted

on the edge of town,

practically in our backyard.

No matter how hard I pointed,

Mamma and Sis weren’t interested.

“The stars are God’s smallest fire,

Mamma said, and every word

I speak to Sis is sand in her eye.

But I saw silhouettes of angels

standing on folded wings.

I knew there would be heroes

in glass armor, docile dragons,

glory and honor as close as coconuts

for those with long enough arms,

and women more beautiful

than storms at sea.

I have never not needed

to escape my life,

the slow erosion of broom bristles

abrading the concrete floor,

the broken glass my teachers fed me.



Pedigreed Pets Are the Most Expensive


We drove out into the country today

and dumped the phoenix.

Found a dormant volcano

and left it on a slope of black ash.

“Better than burning down another cage”

Dad said. Claims he didn’t know

the bird was mythical when he bought it.

“The guy didn’t speak much English.

Said something about a fire sale.”

When we got home,

our house was a pile of ashes,

with a tiny yellow bird nestled

in the embers. Now we’re in the market

for illegal asbestos.



Deep in the Jungle


We have arrived at the lost city,

just where the professor’s map said it would be.

None too soon; our native bearers fled, days back,

on the other side of the River of Ghosts.

My sense of being watched just grows stronger.

Amanda is frightened, I know, but she never complains.

She helps her father trace the worn incisions

in the stones obscured by vines and tree roots,

deciphering the hieroglyphics of the city founders.

If the professor is right, we’ll soon stand

where no man has stood since Noah’s ark

left the drowned land behind, and the doves

took three days to fly beyond the flood.

I don’t recognize these trees drooping branches

like dead men’s arms, and no animals eat

their clumpy, brain-like fruit. Hunger I can bear,

but the silence is like nothing I have ever known.

Not a bird, not a snake, not a rat or monkey or mouse.

The professor is shouting something, something about

the people of the long tooth. I don’t like

the way the sky is darkening.

What is Amanda looking at beyond the wall?

What did the native bearers mean by

“the ghosts of bad water?”

The door that wasn’t there before beckons.



The New Dispensation


White feathers from the chickens

I plucked for lunch drift the kitchen floor:

I am back to the basics, chopping wood

for fuel from the local park,

trapping raccoons for the fur,

home growing my own high.

We pee in pots for the sulphur

to make our own gunpowder.

For electricity, we generate our own

by spinning like dervishes, like politicians,

rub the static from the air by stroking stray cats.

Winter is coming on, and all good citizens

need to be prepared.


  1 comment for “Poems by David Thornbrugh

  1. October 29, 2015 at 7:45 am

    transcenderarts has for quite some time now appreciated the literature of david thornbrugh

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