Drumming Lessons

5 years ago I was
a store manager of a California retail lifestyle clothing bullshit store
dealing with humans and their California retail lifestyle clothing bullshit needs
and I was high as fuck.

Currently, I am high as heck,

but back then, I was high as fuck.

What’s really great about retail
is that there are fitting rooms and clothing racks
so doing bumps and lines and losing the Kafka
in me, I became
centered, narrowed, I
a single white line,
that’s all I was a tally,
a mistake, a smudge,
a chalkboard erased.

I did not make a difference.

It did not make a difference
whether I was living or
working in retail, dead
to the world out there
and in here
but in this new Thomas
of a body
I dare to hold
someone else’s hand
as someone else
holds mine.

I’m learning
what family is.

I’m finding
that I’m
just beginning
to understand
the things that
matter most.

I don’t work in retail anymore.
I don’t push people away anymore.
I don’t do coke anymore.
I don’t make inappropriate jokes at funerals anymore.
I don’t care about believing that happiness
is intertwined with paper and product and
fine wine porcelain
but at least as a poet
as an educator

I am selling myself

or rather

I am giving myself away

and I like that.

I like throwing myself into the storm
if only to feel the rain in my hair, Ahhhhh
the rain.

Earth’s mightiest Minerva.

Rain makes me
Hulk. Makes me

I don’t know how to make a difference
but I do know how to try
and isn’t trying about doing
something you want to hold onto?

Isn’t trying worth trying for?

I am deciding to hold onto me
to not let go just yet.

I’m going to try and understand
the world around me for a change.

I’m going to try and understand
rather than just agree with everything
Thomas has to say.

You know the thing about thunderstorms,
raindrops fall into each other creating
bigger rain drops and then splitting apart
like living cells into other drops of living
rain, forming, changing this lonely
of heart.

You are all
to come on in
and listen
to the rain

to hear the soft
beats boom
on my rooftop.

Mother Nature is a drummer indeed
or whatever you perceive god to be
either way

I am a drummer

and so are you.



Thomas Fucaloro

The winner of a performance grant from the Staten Island Council of the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Thomas Fucaloro has been on six national slam teams. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the New School and is a co-founding editor of Great Weather for Media and NYSAI press. He is an adjunct professor at Wagner College and BMCC where he teaches world lit and advanced creative writing. He teaches poetry at Prison Writes. His latest chapbook, There is Always Tomorrow was released in 2017 by Mad Gleam Press. Since 2016, Thomas has helped in building a community of poets in Staten Island, focusing on making poetry accessible to all, either though the Life*Vest*Poetry Slam, The Who Needs Healing? Reading Series, or the free workshops offered at Staten Island Libraries and other various organizations. 


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 00:06