April 26, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Heather Mount photo



Thomas Wells







Lincoln never imagined

today’s white victim zeitgeist,

pouting persecuted supremacists,

their clenched jaws and fists.


Civil war rages in limbic memory.

Encoded somewhere,

the panic attacks and mirages.


Nobody is qualified because everybody is responsible.

So many whites have graduated from the struggle,

showcasing their diploma from the mill.


Lincoln never imagined

modern virtual vitriol,

merciless memes lashing out at specters,

infusing, inciting depravity among the sleep deprived.

These words are battleships aimed at the reviled.


The unshielded summon civility.

They beckon familiar principles.

But rabid cougars wait in hiding, eager to pounce.


All the feeble markets for platitudes have failed,

as subliminal cavities endure each generation.

Mental lynch mobs, rebel flags, supremacy’s utopia.


Lincoln never imagined

a 21st century cartoon president,

a white nationalist clicking social network epithets,

a whining overgrown tormenter

with a cult of Stalinist believers.


Where are the intelligible?

How is all this animated fury converted?

What is the lesson plan?

Who will bury the code?

How long this agonizing  journey into normality?

Lincoln never imagined.






Digital Persona



Cave wall shadows.

Plato warned us.


Like Prince Prospero’s Abbey.

A cyber-dominion of masquerades.

Anonymity is a collective loneliness.


Electronic patches and flickers that we create.

The naked selfies exposing our genitals.

Neon carnival signage of our disposable selves.


White nationalists and conspiracy theorists.

They savor a bloodthirsty authority to incite.

Nameless silhouettes that sway against the wall.


These figments were once billed as democracy.

Like oil, an indiscriminate flood of marketplace ideas.

But we are still constrained by cave chains.


We are children of apparitions and appearances.

We prefer the dimness of our dreams to the brilliance above us.

We believe our enslavement is safety.


Our narcotic electronic contours are our engagement, our toy selves.

Our faces stare hypnotic at cellphones, our glitter boxes.

Our façades on laptops convince us of who we are.


We enter new chatrooms, new social networks like drunks.

We think we know who we are in our costumes.

We think we know our friends, lovers and enemies.


But there is great danger in the endless party.

The peril of the red death awaits us behind our masques.






Thomas Wells

After several decades, Thomas Wells has picked up his poetry pen once again. His poems have previously appeared in numerous small journals including Visions International, Cafeteria and West End Magazine. In 1982 he also published a chapbook of poetry titled “Native Steel” available from Black Buzzard Press. He hales from San Jose Ca. where he enjoys most days of his retirement.

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1 Comment

  1. John DeAngelo September 23, at 05:57

    Tom, How kindred is our spirit. I too am also recently "Free at Last Retired." I too had put aside my artistic dreams: first to support a family, then to recover from Nam and pay child support and alimony and student loans and, and, and... And am finally able to fully embrace the creative life I once loved. In prep therefore, I have been seeking out magazines to submit to, came across your work and am impressed at your "presentness" and your politics. Perhaps, there is still hope!!!???? I too have missed myself and am hoping to find myself again both as a poet and visual artist


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