The Ceremonies of Famished Dancers/poem by Timothy Brennan

A schoolbus twins its yellow broad side to the face of a setting sun. In ceremonies of daily occurance, women paint images with colored sand on the ground, a man holds a caught fish lit from behind by sky and lake, another man sketches a nude just inches from her belly. 

At a different end of the imagination, sensual suggestion gives way to mechanical projection. Cards printed then delivered in crates constructed from the flesh of Canadian evergreens. The sublime finds itself repurposed. Another generation is lost tracing its trajectory in lined notebooks. No electronic apocalyptic reminder shows up on today’s calendar. The phone machine is still accepting submissions.

Three quarters of economic growth remain to go. Every door jamb or sidewalk surprises. Many recently replaced by open meadows surrounded by sketches of woods and the autumnal flashing of red and yellow lights. Somewhere we feel circular bands tighten against bone. 

Though cheered when that leaf-blower ran out of gas last night, we now wish the bells would stop guessing the hour. After that, we might feel a bit less foolish dancing in these magnetic spectacles.


After leaving college, Timothy Brennan worked at fine art painting and made his living as a carpenter in Providence, San Francisco, and Brooklyn. While taking a French class in his early fifties, he had to write a piece each week in French. Memories and observations translated between the two languages eventually led to writing poetry in one.

He worked with Kate Hymes’ Wallkill Valley Writers for more than ten years in New Paltz, and participated in seminars at Sarah Lawrence College with Thomas Lux and Stephen Dobyns, at Kenyon College with Linda Gregerson, and at UMass Amherst with Harryette Mullen.

Some of his poems have been published in Lightwood, ChronogramAwosting AlchemyThe Blue Collar ReviewLa Presa, and theWallkill Valley Writers Anthologies as well as Calling All Poets’ 2020 anthology and Mightier the Poets for Social Justice anthology edited by Poet Gold in 2020. 

He continues to work with Susan Chute on the Next Year’s Words Reading Series in New Paltz, NY, now in its eighth season.

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