Jon Thompson

A Panic That Dares Not Speak Its Own Name

Sapphire-blue pools & palm trees;
stillness of the strictly pacifico.

Luxury like a pill-whitened

Freeways that spaghetti the city
are one way

of easing it.
Watching the low smooth mountains

take the afternoon light
is another.

Landscape with Emotion
(The Wizard of Oz)


We have lost the way & do not know how to get back.
The sky is dark, darkening, black & blackening, poised
like a curse over the land

a-whipping, a-disheveling a-disordering
the unpaved road runs flat to the horizon, everything warped
& weathered

a land stripped down, sepia-brown, seen at once
as it is and as it was, a hard land
with leafless trees

& wind-blown fences, gale-force winds rending ripping & roaring, the blistered clapboards screeching, the fierceness of the desire to make this dirt-blown patch

the desire to find in the world’s uncontained ferocity an incommensurate
love stronger than the gale-winds that rage round the child the child
ooking for anything like home


Letter to John Huston
(Key Largo)

                                                                            Long way over
a wayward blue– fey innocence of the Atlantic, sparkling
in the invitation of open air. Palm trees bend down
whispering secrets of old sins.       The shoreline halts
before bright sunlight          skittering free across sateened water. 
What’s most free is most destructive     the becalmed water rises up
in a fury of wind          white waves roll back into black water
the key    a thin strand of sand is         battered again & again
as if in revenge for all the insults.             O hooded-eyed romancer, 
the insults have only gotten worse.    Nature
is out of joint            & fix-it-all heroism
is a fondness       from a silver-screened world.       
The earth wants us gone.