ABOUT Tom C. Hunley

Tom C. Hunley is the author of two full-length poetry collections: The Tongue (Wind Publications 2004) and Still, There's a Glimmer (WordTech Editions 2004). He is an assistant professor in the English Department at Western Kentucky University. He operates a small poetry press, Steel Toe Books.

Pecan Grove Press

My Life as a Minor Character
Tom C. Hunley

ISBN: 1-931247-27-7

"Hunley is the next Young/ Hoagland/Ruefle, the next man/woman/child in our collective rowboat of poets. And as one of his speakers duly notes, "Someday you're going to know this. / Or you'll drown. " --Mark Yakich

"It is impossible to read My Life as a Minor Character without smiling. Not that the poems here are 'happy,' but that they are teeming with humor and tenderness and surprise. Hunley has a clear love for language, but there's nothing showy or precocious here. Honest without being earnest, each poem feels connected to a real person with real hopes and laughs and bills and bad days, heartaches and heartburn. I read this collection in one sitting. The world that I saw when I put these poems down and looked out the window was a different world, a richer, more meaningful world full of possibility and sweetness and genuine wonder." --James Kimbrell


In the Russian bathhouse on East 10th street
fiction becomes fact & fact becomes
the thigh imprint of someone who just walked out—
I clench my eyes to withstand the heat
& to stop gawking at naked breasts,
mud masks caked on the faces
of NYU frat boys,
& the long-mustached man doing
tai chi beside the furnace.
Someone who just doused himself
with a bucket of water offers
to rub me down with an olive branch,
& I know that before he asks for his tip
I’ll become steam, rising through the roof,
or soap, dripping down the drain,
& I’ll do my best to forget
the pain in that place called the world.

In Bryant Park when the library next door
is closed & the wind gnaws through my overcoat,
fiction becomes fact & fact becomes
a pile of loosening leaves—
dodder-gripped garden plants
sing spirituals & I see
someone has placed roses in the lap
of the statue of Gertude Stein.
I know Stein can smell them,
from the side we can’t see, and she knows
she’s helped feign a new sky
for that faraway place called the world.

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Most recent revision
November 11, 2003

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