Two Poems | Tohm Bakelas

wayward bastards of a dying america


blessed with misfortune
we write poetry with the rain

these highways hold ghosts,
their reflections are visible
in passing windows

our spirits have been broken
by the dull beating drum
of repetitive days,


days so fixed you can feel an

endless pulse of pressure


days so regimented you can watch as

twilight hours thin and memories burn

there is a permanent tension

that we have been told to ignore,


as if all the black years of hell meant nothing
as if all the sleepless nights meant nothing
as if all those blue sky mornings shouldn’t

be counted as victories

time weakens bones,
but our stride mustn’t slow

we refuse to accept this

we are fighting back against

all the stolen days
all the wasted nights

we are orphans of war,

we are poets and nonpoets,

we are custodians of light,

we are wayward bastards
of a dying america,

we are alive,

we are alive



desecrated stability


my heart constricts in the night,

are pain and sorrow and hate

all i will ever know?


i lie awake searching

the ceiling for answers—

the clock slows,

the faucet drips,

the spiders pace,

the shadows move,

the walls shrink,

the kids snore,

the cat hides,

the moon

is gone.


defeated, i grip the pillow.

it is cold on the underside.

i flip it and place my head softly,

afraid of life, unable to weep,

waiting to die.


Photo by Ryan Carpenter on Unsplash



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 19 chapbooks and several collections of poetry, including “No Destination” (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2021) and “The Ants Crawl In Circles” (Whiskey City Press, 2022). He runs Between Shadows Press.


Tohm’s poems have appeared all over the world, including: 16 Pages, Aireua Press, Alchemy & Elegy, Algia Zine, Alien Buddha Press, Amethyst Review, alt.ctrl.jpg, As It Ought To Be Magazine, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Beatnik Cowboy, the Beautiful Space, Between Shadows Press, Beyond the Bleak Zine, Black Flowers Journal, Black Poppy Review, the Black Shamrock Magazine, Blo͞o Outlier Journal, Blue As An Orange, Bold Monkey Review, Borderless Journal, Budget Press, Cactifur, Cajun Mutt Press, Cephalo Press, Chasing Shadows Magazine, Cold Moon Journal, Cold River Press, Death Of Workers Whilst Building Skyscrapers, Deuce Coupe, the Dope Fiend Daily, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Dumpster Fire Press, Duane’s Poe Tree, Elephant, Empty Skull, Fevers of the Mind, Fixator Press, Fleas on the Dog, Flemington DIY Zine, For the Many Not the Few, Fragmented Voices, Freakly Digest, the Gasconade Review, Ghost City Press, Glove Zine, Goats Milk Magazine, the Grind Stone, Heroin Love Songs, Hickathrift Press, Holy&intoxicated Publications, Horror Sleaze Trash, Hudson Valley Writers Guild, Impspired, Inefável, Ink Pantry, Iniquity Press/Vendetta Books, Laughing Ronin Press, Lemon Peele Press, Live Nude Poems, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Loud Coffee Press, Lucifer’s Retreat, Lummox Press, M58, Mad Swirl, Medusa’s Kitchen, Medusa’s Laugh, Misfit Magazine, Monterey Poetry Review, Mythos Zine, Nauseated Drive, Need Zine, Nerve Cowboy, Newington Blue Review, Nixes Mate Review, North of Oxford, Nota Bene Zine, Obscure Quarterly, Oddball Magazine, Oddville Press, Open Skies, Outcast Press, Outlaw Poetry, Paper & Ink Zine, Paper Good Press, the Pen Name Newspaper, Piker Press, Pocket Lint, the Pine Cone Review, Prole, Pure Sleeze Press, Pyre Publishing, Ragged Lion Press, the Raw Art Review, Razur Cuts, River Dog Zine, Roadside Raven Review, Rust Belt Press, Rusty Truck, the Rye Whiskey Review, Salem Black, Salt Weekly, San Pedro Review, the Scriblerus, Scum Gentry, Sequoyah Cherokee River Journal, Sheila-Na-Gig, Snitch Publishing, Soup Can Magazine, the Stillwater Review, the Sunshine Review, Terror House Magazine, the Tower Journal, Trailer Park Quarterly, Two Key Customs, Vlasinda Productions, Willard & Maple, Winamop, Winedrunk Sidewalk, Word Vomit Zine, the Zen Space.





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