Three poems by Thomas Crofts


 My many-legged flight to Romania
reads like an early iteration
of Thomas’ Tristran
fragmented long before the tale
acquired the contours
familiar to you and me,

an expanding Tristran in prose.
Mine, to be sure, is a non-cyclical drug odyssey
for I also intend to split myself off
from my name
as in Tran-trist
or indeed Cel-an
or else by duplicating self out of control
so full of folly am I
and of such repulsive dimensions
is my carry-on.

Poetry is a many-headed mistress
crazy are her secret plans
but at least we can say this: you cannot do her job
and have white hands.




I saw Gregory Corso, Poeta
in the Cimitero Acattolico, Roma
I questioned him, I said:
If Shelley is divine, why
is he so hard to read?

Corso: You just answered your own question,
Divinity is unselfconscious experimenting
most of all.

While he spoke I watched over Shelley’s grave
a paper stomach
unfolding: see where it bloats,
and begins to glow
a flame is in it

I said: Well, Italy is
the most logical place to be buried
if your name is already Corso.

But he was gone, back beneath
his slab

Gregory Corso





That is what I said:

both the food and the housekeeping
in the printer’s house
were beyond description wretched

and yet

there is reason to suspect
that I am exaggerating
inasmuch as the scurrilous polemic of Alberto Pio
of Capri
could not possibly
go unanswered

because, with my last dying breath
by Christ
I’ll defend from all attacks

both the housekeeping
and the food

A professor of Medieval literature and Classics at East Tennessee State University,Thomas Crofts is also a drummer and rabbit farmer. His poetry has appeared in, among other places, The Madison Insurgent, The Texas Observer, Born Magazine, Tribeca Poetry Review, and, most recently, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Vol. VIII: Texas. His academic publications include a monograph on Sir Thomas Malory, several articles on Middle English Arthurian literature, and a translation and edition of the medieval Greek Poem ‘The Old Knight’.