my daily portion, flaneur

of neat gardens and

miles of chain-linked fence.

I pass the occasional

black who waves back to

the white guy who walks

everywhere.  If, as I believe,

flesh is the threshold

of wording, we are

already about to speak.

And sometimes we do.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

5 thoughts on “Suburbanity”

  1. Love the last lines of this poem, particularly “flesh is the threshold of wording,” an exquisite idea which had never occurred to me before this, and perfectly expressed. “Threshold” with its complex meaning as both noun indicating the doorway and the verb indicating the repetitive process necessary to get the golden kernel of meaning in all human discourse. What an amazing poem!


  2. I like this Tom and feel it to be a very successful poem. The threshold of wording idea conveys little to me personally, but the whole poem creates a scene that is physical, social and psychological , and it suggests a wider context of humanity. Economically done, as always, too. I like it a lot.


    1. Thanks, John! The phrase from Desmknd about flesh draws on phenomenology. Here it doubles as a reference to how in the U.S. the color of our flesh is “speech” ; “racism” is a extreme codification of that assumption. The ambiguity is important to the poem.

      Liked by 1 person

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