Thomas DeFreitas


An Ordinary Sunday

The ol' carpe diem's fresh outta giddyup;
the morning's few bright aspirations
have stalled and halted,
sullen by the greyside.

Sweet stilts have wilted.
Stubbed-out drag-ends of Joie de Vivre 100s
fust in the ashtray.

Nuke me up a mug of élan vital, wontcha?
Perk my jerky nerves
with a dram of instant vim.

Or chalice me a brute doozy
till my cup stunneth over
with astonishment's
primo vino!

Tease me from thought
with neat sweets, Keats.
Lark me, Percy B: spark my dark
with hail! and hark!
William Cullen Bryant,
loft me a lyric on the fringe.

Smack me with thankworthies,
windfalls bonking me on the noggin,
delicious red-graced gifts,
palpable and tart as birth-tears.

Win me back to winsomeness,
muse-mother, god-giver, chancy-dancer.
Alert me to the burgeonings and budges
of all that is new and striving and lively.



98th Letter to Elena

Hornet's nest
on my porch.
Hope it's dormant.


Branches greening,
proclaiming April!
Why am I testy?


Beneath her tread,
plush grass
aches with love.


Daffodil's yellow:
could you be
more proud, more loud?


Muddy reek
as sun-warmed earth
softens, unclenches.


At the sound
of a certain name,
an old man's heart
does cartwheels.


99th Letter to Elena

Early morning walk
Took me to Starbucks
Where the young woman
With blue hair
Gladdened me palpably
By calling me honey

Now I lie abed
Hoping to trap sleep
For a few hours

And I listen
To a YouTube mix
That has taken me
From Kester Limner
Singing O the deep
Deep love of Jesus
To Nick Lowe
Singing All men are liars

Books for the waiting room
Later today
Robert Llewelyn
Thich Nhat Hanh
Alison C. Rollins

Someday I hope
To memorize the Canterburys
Back to John Bird Sumner

Let the world
Begin its commerce
Without my contribution

I think her nametag
Said Rebecca

So much depends upon
A barista saying honey
To a man in his 50s
Hazed with lacksleep
Beside the scones and muffins


100th Letter to Elena

On YouTube, Bryan Ferry croons "Oh Yeah";
his plaintive falsetto from forty years ago
touches the tender spot where tears come from.

Then, Natalie Merchant, with that throaty ache
does Patti Smith's "Because the Night." Again,
I weep. These faces from the distant past—

distant, or closer than my heart's own hurt?
I've spent drowsed hours watching videos,
hearing grace-notes that make my soul quake.

Ferry's hand brushes a stray forelock:
he's '50s-lounge-lizard casual-cool.
Merchant's voice is pregnant with a sob.

I'm no longer fifteen and I'm still fifteen,
switch-hit crushes, romantic pop, the Cool Kids
mocking my dweeby taste in music.

Natalie dervishes and ululates;
Bryan leans and lilts, languid and dapper—
voices from a time sweetly perished
press the live nerve which gives birth to tears.





Thomas DeFreitas was born in Boston in 1969 and graduated from the Boston Latin School. He attended the University of Massachusetts in both Boston and Amherst. His poems have appeared in Dappled Things, Ibbetson Street, Muddy River Poetry Review, Plainsongs, Soul-Lit, and elsewhere. His first chapbook, Winter in Halifax, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books toward the end of 2021.