Tommy Swerdlow

Tommy Swerdlow

Tommy Swerdlow blew into Long island jewish hospital in august '62 and trouble ensued… He was at the march on Washington in a stroller… His childhood closet was filled with medical supplies meant for the viet cong… Of course due to this he hates politics but does like Lord Buckley, Sweet Eddie Poe and Japanese cinema… he has orpheus delusions, and struggles with structure… He had one shot at the big time… He blew it so fucking beautiful they are still not talking about it…. Here are some poems… if you don't smell the garlic your nose is fucked up.


Three Poems (August, 2013. Issue 41)

How to call a feminist a dirty little whore and have her thank you for it

You look
You look at her
You look at her like you can actually see her
You look at her like her doubt is the most beautiful thing
You have ever seen
And you… have no doubt
No doubt that one way or another
She is going to do whatever it takes
And she understands that you understand that she understands this
And when she needs to be asked, you tell her
And when she needs to be told, you ask her
And you make it clear that you have no illusions
That it is a given that she is superior
And that the world would be a better place
If women were in charge of the things that really mattered
And men, knowing how to do their jobs correctly
Offered them the relief that those responsible
For the survival of the species so deeply need

You get your feminist to thank you
by telling her profound truths and savage lies
By nurturing her and assaulting her with energy
By twisting her pigtails into flowers of death
You offer her taffy and salvation
You create her and destroy her and get out of her fucking way
You tell her,
"Take this force and swallow it
Chew on it, consume it
Take it inside you and perform your alchemy
Take the battered atoms we can only see the edges of
And grow them into living things
Make sense of me
Crawl to me
Honor me
Wander into this ridiculous forest
Let me grow strong on your need for protection
Let me make you safe by tearing you apart
Let me drown you in subconscious water
Let me make you a cup of tea

You know this is hopeless
You know there is nothing the gender can't endure
You're winning at business, but you're losing at scrabble
Why don't you let me teach you how to use your words"

I will lift you to heaven with the thrust of a jailbreak
Then I will drag you down until your mouth is full of mud
I will take your face in my hands
With the strength of a shaman
I will reach up inside you and pull the cum out of your guts until the sky behind your eyes is redeemed
I will take your murderous rage and hold it for safe keeping
I will call you a dirty little whore
And you will thank me for it.

Headed For The Medicine

it is half past utopia
& the moon is a cobra
orange eye of death
we are blasting with precision
tucked in the ziplock habitat
of our mojo bavarian rocket

stretched on a razor
black major chord
wet with hours, exits & appetite
we bend to the trance
we rise to the dance steps of asia
burrowing deep in the metallic lung
of the freeway midnight
waiting on our sacred loaves

clear the passing lane
for the basics are being passed on
true love now slings hash next to the bearded lady
& natural ecstasy kiss my out strung ass

pull back the string
on the highways haunted bow
we are headed for the medicine
& nothing shall come in our way.

I am lance corporal relentless
I've braved the bog of crocodile bayou
ma barker shotgun tribes
I've slain the saint of south bronx
desperate trey bag
hopped the train to machu pichu
& shivered in the cactus moonlight
singing to the medicine.

I am shiek mohamed ben ra blue typhoon
a million adjectives
to any man who brings me sensibilitie's head.
I am through splashing
in the chains of my better judgement.
it is time for the human cannon ball
it is time to fly the skull & cross bones
I am headed for the medicine
I live only to pursue
it's priceless hide
I bathe in the chivalrous flame
of it's stated vendetta
I burn to taste the embryo nostalgia
of it's warlock chocolate smoke

just one shake
of the rattle snake
& I am 'all detriot'

I am buddah,
I am barnstorm.
I am anything for the team
I am headed for the medicine
I am destined for the dandelion tea
I am always as if you dared me
loyal subject to a sweetly lethal she
I am headed for the medicine
I weigh only my goal
I am headed for the medicine
I stick my head in the velvet womb of the gentle chinese night.


Lisa Garfinkle wanted a cheeseburger, but we didn't have any cheese. It was a real problem, and she was pretty upset. We were drinking Frosteds, the milkshake in a can. Her can was brown, chocolate; my can was blue, vanilla. It was 1968. We were six.

Lisa Garfinkle lived on Vista Drive, which was at the bottom of Stewart Hill on the way to the park. The park was by the water and you could see the Throgs Neck Bridge… Frog's neck, Throgs neck… Lisa had buck teeth and olive skin, or maybe this was before she got her buck teeth, but her skin was olive for sure.

Lisa had a creamy chocolate mustache on her upper lip darker than her olive skin…
I don't know if it killed me then, but it's killing me now…
Her hair was dark and reckless to her shoulders. …
Her lips were brown and red…
She didn't seem six years old to me…

Lisa always had this expression on her face like she had no idea what was going on, and she was perfectly fine with it…
Mine was the opposite…
I knew trouble was on the way, so I did what I could to accelerate the process…
But that day I was glad she had come over and I was feeling unusually calm…
It was all possible and I felt a strong pull to the left, but I didn't want to light matches in the garage with her like I did with Evan Reese.

I don't remember walking up the stairs to the third floor,
I just remember being in the attic.
The dead-gray smell of the mid 60's luggage… Lark luggage, 'cause my dad who sold nylon to them got a discount on it.
There was an old, heavy, olive green sleeping bag, but not the same olive as her skin.
It had that musty smell and the inside was flannel and soft as electricity…
The print on the fleece was a camping motif:
Canteens, logs burning with wisp of smoke, tents, canoes, that kinda thing…
Real American…
Real innocent.

We disappeared inside in the sleeping bag…
Nothing has an odor quite like time…
It smelled of the dark…
A place you could visit, but never stay,
and I don't know
that one day I am going to die and there is absolutely nothing i can do about it…
I'm not sure what Nina isn't thinking.

I don't remember her taking her clothes off, I just remember being naked with her in the sleeping bag…
The smell of her arms and hair, moist and alive against the death smell of the attic…
The smell of her rainy mouth as it opened and closed…
She rubbed her flat chest against mine quietly…
I had never concentrated so hard…
I wanted everything she had…
Her flesh, her love…
This was the first thing that had really mattered…
That she was naked with me and that it was wrong and that if she was willing to come up to this dark and unknown place to do this
then I must really be alive…
Separate from everyone else, but part of something…

And then we turn over and rub our bare bottoms together back and forth and I don't know that nothing will ever feel this good again
or that I am doomed in a way I will never make peace with…
I just want her to remember me…
I just want her to be willing to go all the way down the line…
As far as it goes…
I want to have sex with her…
I don't know how and I don't try
but I want to enter her and own her forever…
She's so much softer than the sleeping bag…
Sadder than even the attic…
She looks at me different than other women…
Like I never did a thing to her…
Like even though we have done something terrible, it is all going to be okay…
She makes a pact with me…
We learn the ruthless magic of secrets

The Legendary