Photo of poet Tohm Bakelas

Three Poems – Tohm Bakelas

eyes in the dark

a town beaten by dawn
rebuilds itself at dusk…

how many times must
i feed the birds before
they recall my face?

how many times must
i clean the litter box before
the cat uses the toilet?

how many times must
i drink to summon ghosts
i’ve long buried away?

these poems i write
keep me alive just
a little bit longer

and in spring, when my bones
thaw in the sun, will you wait
while i rise from sleep, or
will i awaken alone?


beneath the frosted full moon glow

One man, with a dying name,
walks along a dead end street.
He watches as dried autumn
leaves drift across his path.
He listens to their music, to
their fleeting fallen song. And
as the wind drags them across
cold concrete, they disintegrate
into broken pieces, tiny splinters
that can never be whole again.

He thinks of his own life, once
so young, once so whole, now
just fragments of yesterdays and
yesteryears where ghosts pass
through like a revolving door.

And tonight, beneath the frosted
full moon glow, walking around
alone has never felt so all alone.


as the city sleeps

Four months from today
I’ll be 34, my hands have
been trembling for some
time. Sleep hasn’t been too
good these days, exhaustion
and boredom overwhelm me.
I fiddle with death thoughts
while microwaving leftover
food and wonder why I am
the way that I am. Long gone
are the days where uncertainty
meant absolute freedom. These,
days, every day is predetermined
by responsibilities to myself, my
job, and my children. Going
through life afraid of shadows
once had its appeal, but now,
as the city sleeps, I dwell in
shadows, I am a shadow.


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 been printed widely in journals, zines, and online publications all over the world. He is the author of twenty-four chapbooks and several collections of poetry, including Cleaning The Gutters of Hell (Zeitgeist PressPress, 2023). He is the editor of Between Shadows Press.

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