The Shadowman By James Tate

The Shadowman By James Tate             In the backyard, I saw the shadow of aman, but I didn’t see the man. I walked towardit, and the shadow backed away. The shadowmanwas taller than I was. It mocked me. When Iwaved my arms, he waved his. I ran and itfollowed. When I stopped, it stopped. And allthe […]

Pity Ascending with the Fog By James Tate

Pity Ascending with the Fog By James Tate He had no past and he certainlyhad no future. All the importantevents were ending shortly beforethey began. He says he told mama earth what he would not accept: and Ikeep thinking it had something to dowith her world. Nights expanding intoenormous parachutes of fire, his eyes were […]

The Painter of the Night By James Tate

The Painter of the Night By James Tate Someone called in a report that she hadseen a man painting in the dark over by thepond. A police car was dispatched to go in–vestigate. The two officers with their bigflashlights walked all around the pond, butfound nothing suspicious. Hatcher was theyounger of the two, and he […]

The Government Lake By James Tate

The Government Lake By James Tate           The way to the toy store was blocked by a fallen treein the road. There was a policeman directing traffic down aside street. I asked him, “What happened?” He said, “Lightningin the night.” I took the turn and drove down the streetlooking for a […]

Fuck the Astronauts By James Tate

Fuck the Astronauts By James Tate I Eventually we must combine nightmaresan angel smoking a cigarette on the stepsof the last national bank, said to me.I put her out with my thumb. I don’t need thatcheap talk I’ve got my own problems.It was sad, exciting, and horrible.It was exciting, horrible, and sad.It was horrible, sad, and […]

Cryptozoa By James Tate

Cryptozoa By James Tate I wish the stone lady would come to me.Parakeet or no parakeetthe night is a vial of lighterfluid.And I have been good, composing the perishable songof my childhood: one dollar, one frondmeekly but loyally exploding the oath of circles.I have been the best wound a diamond ever knew. But what can […]

Bounden Duty By James Tate

Bounden Duty By James Tate                I got a call from the White House, from thePresident himself, asking me if I’d do him a personalfavor. I like the President, so I said, “Sure, Mr.President, anything you like.” He said, “Just actlike nothing’s going on. Act normal. That wouldmean the world to me. Can you do […]

At the Clothesline By James Tate

At the Clothesline By James Tate Millie was in the backyard hanging thelaundry. I was watching her from the kitchenwindow. Why does this give me so much pleasure?Because I love her in a million ways, and becauseI love the idea of clean laundry flapping inthe wind. It’s timeless, a new beginning, apromise of tomorrow. Clothespins! […]

Thinking Ahead To Possible Options And A Worst-Case Scenario

Thinking Ahead To Possible Options And A Worst-Case Scenario By James Tate I swerved to avoid hitting a squirrelin the center of the road and that’s whenthe deer came charging out of the forestand forced me to hit the brakes for all Iwas worth and I careened back to the otherside of the road just […]

The Wrong Way Home By James Tate

The Wrong Way Home By James Tate All night a door floated down the river.It tried to remember little incidents of pleasurefrom its former life, like the time the loversleaned against it kissing for hoursand whispering those famous words.Later, there were harsh words and a shoewas thrown and the door was slammed.Comings and goings by […]