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TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
In that night
there was a deeper night,
in sorrow a deeper sorrow,
in your sorrowful eyes more
more sorrowful eyes I descried,
the deep night of your eyes
as I lay beside you, your head,
then your head lying on night's
pillow, deeper than a hollow hole
filled with tender tears, as you told me
of the night, the deeper night of your life,
your hair wet with deeper tears
on night's side of your visage,
when you had to leave your son
to save yourself and him, a hurt
that still hurt, a deeper night hurt
you shared with me through deep night
sobs, deeper sobs, wetting your cheeks
and neck and night hair, the hurts,
the deeper night hurts that robbed
you of yourself and him, of how you
had to go in order to return, the sinuous
path, convoluted and constrained,
to leave the night, to come back in
the day. You knew day followed night,
but your hollow heart howled at the
rending end that began a deeper night.
All I could do was hold you in the deep,
the deeper night, and let you sob and
shake, only to awake to that brighter day.
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard
Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
I was 10. My dad stood in front of the bar-
room mirror watching himself as he practiced
his speech. He was running to become the
Republican nominee for Congress from the
1st District in Kansas. Whoever was the
Republican winner in the primaries was go-
ing to be the winner in the general election.
That's the way it was in 1954 anywhere in
Kansas. That's the way it has been virtually
anytime in Kansas. There were five running
as Republicans, three of whom were from
Topeka, the largest city in the district. My dad
was one them. I and four my friends, plus my
dog, Cinder, formed the "Hawks for Congress"
club. We went up and down 8th Street nail-
ing posters on telephone poles. I sat in the
back seat of one of the cars in a caravan that
traveled through northeastern Kansas small
towns where I would throw "Hawks for
Congress" cards through the open window.
Dad's problem was there were two too
many candidates from Topeka, breaking
up the city's vote. The night of the election,
a very large room in North Topeka was rented.
Early in the evening, it was packed with sup-
porters and well-wishers. It was a tight race.
Dad was in second place, narrowly out of
first. The candidate in first was from a
county up north. The candidates in third
and fourth place were both from Topeka.
By around 10 p.m. all the votes had been
counted. If all the votes from the candidates
from Topeka were added together, they
clearly outnumbered the votes received
by the candidate from the county up north.
But, of course, that couldn't happen, so Dad
narrowly lost the nomination. I learned a
lot about politics that evening, even though
I was only 10. I learned that a very large room
that had been packed for almost three hours could
be emptied out completely in five minutes or
less. And I learned that almost is not good
enough.

Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He recently finished writing his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
There are no people around,
only animals, popcorn on side-
walks, empty paper cups,
coke stains. The animals

are in their cages, where
they should be, not out and
about on the town. Clowns
are in the circus, the animals
in their place, and I am

alone at the Bronx Zoo,
kicking peanut shells, waiting for
Washington Irving to show up.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
The way we cry, and
if our cryings be heard,
the way they are attended to
will set the walk. The way we
are treated as toddlers, the way
punishment may be meted out,
will further the course. Kind-
nesses, magnanimity of spirit,
love--all will determine not only
the paths we are led down, but
also the paths we shall set for
ourselves and travel ourselves--
pathos, bathos, ethos--until
death deals an end to our
earthly peregrinations. These
spoors--the lives, the lanes,
the passages we shall be
traveling--will tell us, and
others, about who we are,
and were, and if we were
befriended ever by others,
and by ourselves.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Nov 2019
Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Bergen-Belsen,
Buchenwald, Chelmno, Dachau, Dora-Mittebau,
Flossenburg, Gross-Rosen, Janowska, Kaiserwald,
Majdanek, Mauthausen, Natzweller-Struthof,
Neuengamme, Oranienburg, Plaszow, Ravensbruck,
Sachenhausen, Sobibor, Terezin, Treblinka, Westerbork.

There were more than 15,000 of these death camps
spread over ****-occupied Europe. In addition to Jews,
other groups murdered were homosexuals, the physically
and mentally infirm, political and religious dissidents,
Gypsies, communists, socialists, Afro-Germans, Soviet
POWS, intelligentsia, beggars, alchoholics, prostitutes,
freemasons, and trade unionists.

It is estimated that between 15,000,000 to 20,000,000
human beings were murdered by Nazis during the
Holocaust. ****** assumed power in 1933, **** Trump
in 2017.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
We wonder where love comes from,
where it flies, through clouds and skies,
ferns and forests, where will it lie?
Curtains of sadness cloud our view,
grey hues we hope will turn to blue
and brightness. Angels and archangels
light on our hearts, evoking the lotion of
love that spreads through our beings,
bring blue hope to our spirits,
elevating our souls to zeniths of well-being
and sweet tonnes that assuage our many
hurts. Angels and archangels, beneficent
intercessors, ******* our sorrows,
peeling away the anguish that visits us in the
middle of morning or night, sweet music
that atones for our transgressions, a
progression of expiation that leaves us
higher than the clouds, closer to God.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
We are more concerned with goods than goodness.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
May we be servants to all others and masters of ourselves.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
If a man doesn't keep his word, he soon finds out he has a limited vocabulary.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
The mountain is deeper than it is high.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-right advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jul 2019
The only thing our country really recycles well is pain.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
In the finite, we are relative. In infinity, we are relatives.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
Repentagon

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jul 2019
Are you shocked to find out that I am human and therefore imperfect, or are you embarrassed to realize that you are the same...?

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jul 2019
The Second Coming will be the coming to the realization that each of us is sacred and all creations are divine.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jul 2019
Take the high road. There's less traffic up there.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights activist his entire adult life. He is now working on his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jul 2019
It is easier to find a publisher than to find your heart.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He is now writing his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jul 2019
To save Earth, you have to planet.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He is now writing his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jul 2019
"Intrinsic worth" is a redundancy. "Extrinsic worth" is an oxymoron.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He is now writing his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jul 2019
Beliefs expressed anonymously are cowards's clothes.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He is currently writing his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Sep 2019
The problem with some is that they write with their mind, not their spirit.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
aphorisms
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jul 2019
We used to just waste human lives. Now we turn lives into human waste.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He is now writing his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Sep 2019
God, it seems, is the only being who realizes that only infinity is reality:  omnipresesence, omniscience, omnipotence.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
aphorisms
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Sep 2019
A paradox is paradoxically not paradoxical.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
aphorisms
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Sep 2019
Truth is my religion.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
aphorisms
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Sep 2019
I am crazy with clarity.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
aphorisms
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Nov 2019
War has no warranties.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Nov 2019
THE GOOD NEWS:  Our next World War will be our last.

THE BAD NEWS:  It will last only ten minutes.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Nov 2019
Know truth by untruth.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He has just finished writing his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Nov 2019
Titles are like band-aids. In short order, they fall off.
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He has just finished writing his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
The progress of humanity toward egalitarianism over millennia is best characterized not as "slow motion," but as virtually "no motion."

Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He recently finished his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Dec 2019
Knowledge won't get you there. Wisdom is there.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He just finished his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Dec 2019
Wetopia.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He just finished his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Dec 2019
All people live downstream.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He just finished his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH..
The most important vote cast in any attempt to resolve differences is the last:  the lethal bullet fired from the assassin's weapon the enters the intransigent opponent.

Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He recently finished his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
Less commerce, more mercy.

Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He recently finished his novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
Are we all not idioms,
peculiar to ourselves
in construct and meaning?
Are not all of us
syntactical anomalies?
Do we not all have elliipses,
lacunae, egregious gaps
in our beings? Lack of
parallel construction in
our lives, dangling like
participles, a pronoun
without its antecedent?
Are not our lives run-
on sentences handed
up by unconscious wishes
and unmet needs? Too
bad we could not be
more declarative and
less rhetorical or
imperative.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate for his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
The air is thin. To begin
again, I must breathe. My head
is wreathed with thorns. I hear
celestial horns calling my ascension.
I must rise above this dissension. I
must put aside the flood of memories
that endear me. Blood drips from my
side where you spread me. I must
wipe the wound clean. I must flush
the meanness from my soul, to make
me heal, to make whole again.
My sins I repent;  I am spent.
O Holy Host, deliver me:
forgive her, forgive me.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
Pardon me, sir.
May I borrow
your squalor
for a photograph?

I love
the repetition
of those wrinkles in your brow.
Hold it, please.

The contrast
of your brown skin
against the white plaster chipping
is marvelous.

When I
get them developed
I'll send you a print.
They'll look great in my portfolio.

Thank you
and your wife
and your eight kids
for this pose in poverty.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
"Casablanca" is my all-time favorite movie.
I usually only watch a movie once. If it is a
great movie, twice. "Casablanca" I have
watched probably 50, 60 times. Why is that,
you ask? There are many reasons. Every
scene is iconic. Bogart, who was expelled
from Andover, the school from which I
graduated, is not handsome, yet he emotes
a singular masculine appeal. I wish there
were a real Rike's Cafe Americain. I would
go wherever it was, even though I neither
drink alcohol nor gamble. Virtually every
actor and actress plays her or his part in a
scintillating way. The story line keeps me
rapt, even though I have seen the movie
so many times The Paris scenes are the
most romantic I have ever seen. When
Bogart helps the young married couple
from Bulgaria get enough money to get
to Lisbon, then to America, by cheating his
own casino, my heart, too, is softened.
And the dialogue at the end of the movie
is trenchant, unforgettable. But, to be
honest, the most compelling reason I have
watched "Casablanca" so many times is
that when Ingrid Bergman and her movie
husband first enter Rick's, I instantly press
"pause." Then I spend as long as I wish
staring at Ingrid's face, the most beautiful
woman's face I have ever seen, and I have
had the good fortune to see many beautiful
faces of women up close in my life, but none
as radiant and mesmerizing as Ingrid's.

Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He recently finished his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
Speak in tears when you lie
next to me and your heart is
troubled so. Let sorrow pour
from your eyes and wet the
sheets. Meet your heart and
greet it openly, though it be
filled with sadness. Let your
body shake against mine, as
my love will absorb its blows;
I know what it is to hurt.
Let empathy soak up your
sorrow. Let your catharsis
become chrysanthemums.
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
They were like cut flowers,
arranged but deranged in some
basic way, which is to say, their
smiles were frozen, never chosen.
They did not cheer;  they mirrored
one another. They did not lead;
they followed. Their laughter was
hollow. Their problems stemmed
from being cut from their emotional
roots:  They'd root for the home
team, but it seemed they'd never
grow, never know the joy of letting
go, only the cant, the chanting
of school yells, a fool's hell
for not feeling. At best, their
beauty was pressed and dried;
Too bad they died, devoid of
themselves. We must put them
on our shelves to gather dust.
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
Tuesday morning the green leaf
was bent, not broken. Red pickled
beets held up the book of San
Francisco poetry. I spread apple
butter on hot toast. To someone
less discerning, death seemed far
away. Had I not noticed the
slight curl, I might have cheered
the yellow sun. But Friday, death
came. Without lament, the leaf was
grey, not green, mud-brown and brittle.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Dec 2019
Some people love only a
particular kind of face, only
a certain color of skin, only
a distinctive accent in another’s
voice, only a spelling of a
last name like their own.
They probably prefer a blank
canvass to one of Picasso’s.
They need no eyes, not even
a heart:  bigotry blinds their
sight;  the suffering of others
they do not feel or see;  their
soul is dark and sick. I prefer
different faces, eyes as blue
as robins’ eggs, brown or black
as Mother Earth from which we
all come. Show me different
dances, different clothings,
different customs. Teach me
of the variegated ways so
many others live and fall in
love, making babies of skin
colors, one different from the
others, but all crying for mother’s
milk like infant members of a
Greek chorus. We need a
deus ex machina to turn
racism into the rhapsody
of love.
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He just finished his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
DIRT POOR, SPIRIT RICH

I am dirt poor, spirit rich. I wouldn’t
have it any other way. Wealth is
not worth. When Jesus spoke to those
who gathered round him, he did not
tell them how to get rich. He told
them to love one another. This was
spiritual teaching of the highest
order. Do not confuse spirit with
religion:  they are antonyms. My
father wanted me to become rich,
very rich. That’s why he sent me
to Andover and Columbia. Instead
of becoming a Wall-Street lawyer,
I became, and remained, a poet and
a human-rights advocate. My life
could not have been richer. Religion
is man-made. Spirituality is heart-
felt. That is not to say religion
doesn’t have bits and pieces of
spirit in it, but religion to me means
the untold wealth and worth of all
world religions, while billions of
world’s human beings remain dirt
poor. When Jesus spoke to the
poor, he did not  speak to them at
the Vatican, in a cathedral, in a church,
or in a mosque. He spoke to them be-
side the sea or on a hill. If you have
spiritual truths to share, you can do
it in a vacant lot. The few years I
spent in a cathedral were vacant,
vacuous. The years I have spent with
the homeless, the hungry, the hopeless
have been rich and full. Where does
the Supreme Spirit spend her/his
time? The answer is she/he is omni-
present, as we all should be.

Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He recently finished his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Nov 2019
Our eristic world, can we make
it irenic again? Can blue skies
make our blue feelings dissipate,
our intemperate feelings sanguine?
When shall we realize that you and
I are one, that all rivulets become
one stream, that all streams become
one river, that all rivers flow into one
ocean? The air that you breathe is
the air I breathe. John Donne was
prescient:  When one dies, all are
diminished. The bombs we build
now traduce us;  weapons make us
weak. Blood in our bodies is meant
for our hearts and tributaries, not
to sodden ground into gore. No
more, I say! Our hands are meant
for helping and for healing;  our
eyes for seeing inequities, iniquities
that still abound. All around are
injustices that penetrate, that per-
meate our souls. Was Earth meant
to perpetrate these wicked ways?
Is Earth dearth of goodness? Surely
not. It has been turned inside out.
We must ameliorate. This is our fate.
So Adam ate an apple…. Earth was
once Eden. Is God so vindictive as
to keep us thus enslaved? We need
not pray forever to make this change.
All rivulets fall into one ocean. You and
all others are one. Our hands and hearts
are joined. God gave us this Earth.
Let us all be good gardeners and
give Him back his Eden. Amen.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate for his entire adult life.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
It will get dark soon.
The white, yellow, and pink
houses will turn grey,
then black. The cacophony
of car horns will turn into
the chorus of locusts.
Summer's night will lay
a sheet of tranquility over
a city harassed by exigent
matters that matter not.
Soporific silhouettes will
soften the cityscape,
allowing us to escape
the frazzle of the hot day,
exchanging the frenetic
for the peaceful, the welter
for a sense of the well being.
The susurrus of the evening
breeze blows the exhaust
of our polluted lives into
a distant day. Children play
in yards back and front and
laughter wafts through
neighborhoods like the sweet
smell of barbeque, not the
fetid odor of finance and
foreclosures. There is a
sense of closure to this day.
As the sun sets, our eyelids
close, and we pray for the
soft rain of forgiveness.

Copyright 2019 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate for his entire adult life.
EXTRA INNINGS

I have outlived my mother
and my father. But I am getting
older, not younger, each inning.
Could I steal bases running
backwards? My poems scatter
the outfield. Some have been
home runs. Iambic pentameter
is playing shortstop. I sit now
in the dugout writing my novel.
The words I throw are strikes.
But I am playing in extra innings,
and I do not know when this
game will end.

Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He recently finished his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS Jun 2019
Trees that were green
now are brown, yellow, orange.
The grey sky lies
like a depressed woman
on hilltops and in valleys.
Where is hope? Is it
in the red and rashness
of the berries and seeds?
May I touch the fallow land
like a little country boy,
quick and peripatetic,
finding joy under cracked
leaves and limestone rocks,
hazelnuts and hickory?
The raccoon tells the deer,
"Eat the green leaf,
eat the green leaf
before it dies." Skies are grey;
trees huddle. A forest
is a place for rest.
I lie with the lizard.
I fly with the hawk.
I eat red berries.
I lap the water
that flows between
oak and walnut trees.
The white of winter comes:
I enter my heart
with the brown bear
to keep me warm.
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and a human-rights advocate his entire adult life.
FOR MY DEAR FRIEND, ****

I met **** when we both entered
Roosevelt Junior High School. In
9th grade, we both ran for Student
Council President. I beat him. We
both started on our city championship
basketball team, he playing one
forward, I the other. **** was smart
as hell. He sat right in front of me
in algebra class and got better grades
than I. I was told **** wrote a paper
about me in an English class some-
time while at Topeka High. I regret
that I never had a chance to read
it;  I left my junior year to attend An-
dover. One summer night before
college, **** and I doubled-dated.
His father had suffered for years with
manic depression and had spent a
number of years at Topeka State
Hospital. The night **** and I double-
dated, his father had gotten a pass
from the hospital to spend the night
at home. The next morning, I heared
that ****’s father had shot himself
in the head as he sat at the kitchen
table. **** attended KU where he
was elected president of Beta Theta Pi,
the most prominent fraternity on
campus. Years later in the fall of 1979,
I returned to Topeka from Phoenix.
I had heared that ****, too, had
fallen victim to manic depression.
His wife had divorced him. **** had
spent a long time at Topeka State
Hospital, shunned basically by vir-
ually all his former friends. I found
out where he was living and called
him. I was still his friend. In early
November, we drove through the
northeastern part of Kansas where
the leaves had turned beautiful
colors. Every Saturday morning,
I picked **** up to go have break-
fast together. Then we would re-
turn to his apartment where we
would spent the afternoon and
early evening playing cribbage,
watching old movies and sporting
events, and listening to Anne
Murray sing her many hits. ****,
over these years, used beer to
calm himself. He had a favorite
tavern he would go to. One
morning several years later, he
was found dead halfway home.
Nobody ever found out for sure
why he had died. He remains,
even in death, a dear friend of
mine.

Copyright 2020 Tod Howard Hawks
A graduate of Andover and Columbia College, Columbia University, Tod Howard Hawks has been a poet and human-rights advocate his entire adult life. He recently finished his first novel, A CHILD FOR AMARANTH.
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