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Travis Denton

Travis Denton

Travis Denton lives in Atlanta where he is the Associate Director of Poetry@Tech as well as McEver Chair in Poetry at Georgia Tech. He is also founding editor of the literary arts publication Terminus Magazine. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies, such as Barrow Street, Five Points, Ghost Town, MEAD: a magazine of literature and libations, The Atlanta Review, The Greensboro Review, Washington Square, Forklift, Rattle, Birmingham Poetry Review and The Cortland Review. His second collection of poems, When Pianos Fall from the Sky, was published by Marick Press.  

Tom Lux Memorial

What a joy to work with Tom for so many years at Poetry@Tech (it's gone by like a bullet), to learn from him, and most of all to be his friend. Each day it seemed Tom had a new and glorious scheme as to how we'd get poetry in front of more people and to serve poets in general. He always loved to give poets a check after reading–that was one of his favorite things. There is a button outside Tom's office door at Poetry@Tech with Homer Simpson on it—the kind of novelty item that speaks when you hit it. Each morning when Tom came in he'd walk to my office door and yell "YO, T," and then hit the Homer Simpson button to make Homer say, "This is the greatest day of my life!" Tom meant that—every day. I miss him.

The picture here is a polaroid taken by my daughter of Tom and me one morning beside that same button just seconds after he gave it a whack.

 

"Ode to the Unbroken World, Which is Coming" is a poem that reflects Tom's intense optimism AND unapologetic realism about the world and all of us folks in it. Isn't it some comfort to think that chances are—"There's always a punch bowl, somewhere, in which floats a ... ."

Ode to the Unbroken World, Which Is Coming

It must be coming, mustn't it? Churches
and saloons are filled with decent humans.
A mother wants to feed her daughter,
fathers to buy their children things that break.
People laugh, all over the world, people laugh.
We were born to laugh, and we know how to be sad;
we dislike injustice and cancer,
and are not unaware of our terrible errors.
A man wants to love his wife.
His wife wants him to carry something.
We're capable of empathy, and intense moments of joy.
Sure, some of us are venal, but not most.
There's always a punchbowl, somewhere,
in which floats a...
Life's a bullet, that fast, and the sweeter for it.
It's the same everywhere: Slovenia, India,
Pakistan, Suriname—people like to pray,
or they don't,
or they like to fill a blue plastic pool
in the back yard with a hose
and watch their children splash.
Or sit in cafes, or at table with family.
And if a long train of cattle cars passes
along West Ridge
it's only the cattle from East Ridge going to the abattoir.
The unbroken world is coming,
(it must be coming!), I heard a choir,
there were clouds, there was dust,
I heard it in the streets, I heard it
announced by loudhailers
mounted on trucks.



from To the Left of Time, Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016

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