Turning Point




Ordering Information: Bookstores and Individuals


Course Adoption


Follow Us on Facebook

Copyright © 2000-   WordTech Communications, LLC

Privacy Policy

Site design: Skeleton

Sample Poems by T.P. Bird

While Upon The Machine

[The self can] stand, as it
were, above the structures
and coherences of the world.
-Reinhold Niebuhr

That day in early '68
allowed windswept eyes,
while my body and soul
sat atop a dead machine-
whose iron tonnage rested
from dominance by a
towing machine-whose
center of gravity held it fast
to the foundation of the earth

The person I felt within
was sincere, anxious enough
to remain upon the sentinel
until he knew why he remained.
Thought superceded thought
until, for the first time in my
young life-I experienced
a kind of transcendence over
the mundane things of the world.

Yet, I knew I could not stay-
somehow aware I had places
where I would need to go-
pulled away by occasion and
motivations-some of which,
would possess far less distinction,
than this time upon the machine.

Desire's Road

Why would he want to go back to
those pitiless dark nights of youth
when he drove his tired old Ford
alone over narrow, deserted roads?

His only companion was loneliness,
a suddenly real God, the only listener
to his cry for solace. Why would he
want to feel again that curious sorrow

that often shrouds the unformed heart,
that biting desire to have and hold
love in the center of the chest, to
belong and build upon that longing?

The hidden asphalt greedily soaks in
the light from his car's headlamps,
embracing it for a moment, then
letting it go with the sigh of passing

tires. The lit dashboard stared at
him, amazed at his ardent pleas,
the rearview mirror absent of any
consolation or sudden burst of light.

The heater poured out warm air like
the breath of a person, but offered no
voice, no sounds of understanding.
He didn't care what route he followed,

but preferred the emptiness of country
roads, of remote highway markers
standing alone against the quick flash
of the car's lights. He could see himself

in their place, waiting for someone to
notice, waiting to be someone's loved
person. Why go back and experience
again that missing something, that

unborn happiness, the unrealized axis of his heart? He has it all now-the
poured out blessings, a shared life
of love and meaning? What could

he crave as his days grow short? If
you knew the yearnings of aging men,
you may come to recognize-he prizes
the memory of driving desire's road,

to again, take those solitary, wintery
rides-if only in his mind. To be a
young man anew, waiting for his life
to unfold, the first time feeling that

terrifying notion of being alive, aware
of what is essential and deeply needed.

In The Valley Of Shadows

Acting together with
character, circumstance
accounts for the chaos
of history-its twists and
- Jacques Barzun in
From Dawn to Decadence

After the prime hours
were over and smoke
hung like sheets across
dark alleys, we noticed
our endless talk left on
tabletops-dropped out
of our mouths like gum-
ball machines gone
berserk, falling where
they may between
cigarette ash and empty
glasses. It was from here

we recognized red flashes
in the near-perfect ions
of a distant space-
instantly turning away
to avoid going blind
with rage. Even in our
callow youth we realized

monsters had grown
from small pebbles
washed ashore where
the great cities spawned
a landscape of angst &
uncertainty, the sour
breath of millions
blowing constantly
through streets and
towers-built from
the flesh of the earth,
and by the hands of
avaricious gods.
The snug multitudes
managed to ignore the
counsel of wild-eyed,
sleepless prophets, who

again and again sacrificed
themselves on the altars
of alarm-leaving the
indifferent with thoughts
that usually ended with
a dangling 'huh?'

We watched old folks
nod their heads in city
parks-dozing and
dreaming the dreams
of loyal angels,
who recalled their
good wars, and passed
the time in repetitive,
fossilized conversations.
Once, they thought
themselves vital, but now-
content to see the past
as their ever-present
present, they offered us
nothing we could bear.

In the bright sun of
confusing days we beheld
the near-sighted pushers
of guns & butter propagate
their speculations offered
up in weighty analysis-
never believing we could
suffer a fool's death in
our time. With bile and
blood in our throats,
we marched away in
bitterness, the golden
days passing into a ten-
year blackness these blind
guides never foresaw.
Their ill-conceived
intentions never returned
in glory; ragged and torn,
scattered over the
ensuing years, their
fragments still wait in
the shadows of history
for a final shot at some
kind of redemption.

Understand this-some
who remain hide their
memories in a cloak of
duty, or some abstract
idea of freedom. Many
chose to forget it all.
We've grown too tired,
too distracted, too
compromised to admit
we once cared that too
many died for a cause
beyond any good reason.