Archive for the Tohm Bakelas Category

Tohm Bakelas

Posted in Tohm Bakelas with tags on November 11, 2022 by Scot


september night, october morning

She buys Sensodyne for my sensitive
teeth and a new blue toothbrush
because my old one was used
to clean crud from beneath
her son’s dirty fingernails…

At night we crack windows open
just enough to taste autumn,
just enough for the room to
grow cold for our bodies
to become one in sleep.

And in the morning
we begin the day
by making love.

Afterwards we talk
about life before
eating breakfast
around one pm.



autumn blues

i don’t require much—
just the occasional poem,
maybe just a bird or two,
perhaps most definitely you,
but it isn’t easy for me
when it all leaves.

and if i had to pick
only one to keep,
it’d be simple,
it’d be you.



somewhere in a dream

It is mid-October, another brisk
morning. Outside smells of
decaying leaves. December’s
icy fingers tighten around your
throat. Your breath dances in
white porch light. Unseen cars
are heard on distant highways.
And you taste dying chimney
smoke from neighbors’ homes.

You remember your childhood
years, reminiscing all the good
times with friends you no longer
see—raking leaves and jumping
into giant piles, carving pumpkins,
trick-or-treating, runny noses, horror
movies, and school breaks.

You dream of some place you
can all be together that isn’t
somewhere in a dream.

But then your kids call your name.
You’re thirty minutes late to work,
and still standing on your porch.

$40 fix by Tohm Bakelas

Posted in Tohm Bakelas with tags on February 18, 2021 by Scot

by the way he walked up to me
I could tell he was in bad shape—
his skin was 6 shades paler than his
usual olive tint, he was leaking sweat
all over, his jawline was tense, and
he never made eye contact.

“listen man, i need $40 to get
home. i’ve asked everybody, but
no one’s got cash, can you help me?”

“sure” i said “hold on.”

i dug deep in my pockets, fumbling
around chapstick, a fallen button,
loose change, and lint before
handing him two twenties.

that was the only time he looked at me.

“i’ll pay you back as soon as i get paid.”

“forget it, it’s all right.”

he walked away and never thanked me.

he was withdrawing at 2:45pm
on a wednesday at work.

i accepted the possibility
that whatever gas he bought
was going to be shot or snorted,
and that it could be the end of him,
but i couldn’t stand to see him
suffer like that.

a few weeks went by with him
being labeled a “no call, no show.”

i didn’t think much about it.

a few months later he called me
and said: “leave work early and come
down the street where the old
hospital was, i got something for you.”

twenty minutes before the shift
ended i drove to the place
and parked behind his car.

before i could get out he opened my door,
handed me a 12 pack of beer and $40.

he never said a word, then drove off.

i put the car in drive,
turned off the radio,
and drove in silence.



Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He is the author of several chapbooks, one full length book of poetry, and his work has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. He is also the editor of this press.



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