A place where the body moves without memory, well-remembered events never happened, and the long-ago dead are not truly gone.
The poems in Thompson’s Passenger explore what it means to live with a mind and body that sometimes travel together and sometimes head off into wildly different worlds–blurring the lines between the past we miss and the future we cannot live without.
“Balaam in Winter” from Passenger
And so it is with me as it was with Balaam, the confused prophet who blessed when he had come to curse.
Among stinkbugs under the snowpack, among Indiana bats, Norwegian rats, and woodchucks big as bouncers, among hospice managers shivering in goose-down and cubicle dwellers agitating to the square inch, among the ragged, the crooked, the strung out and the shining, among Spanish clementines aglow in balsa crates and pear buds dense under bare branches, daffodil bulbs packed in plastic and stacked out on the street, among baked brick buildings that sculpt the air in great shoves and cold shoulders, first I sat quietly; then I squeaked like a mouse in distress. All my predators and consumables alike were occupied in separate torpor. I sat by a hole in the ground and I waited—for the curse to come, for my hunger, for fear, for someone to bring me flowers for my bed, for rain, for locusts thick enough to eat, for a talking donkey to tell me what to do, for one frank death or a vision of what comes next.
“Tom Thompson’s Passenger is a complicated, possessed portrait of the storms that inhabit, course through, and animate our minds, in and out of time…” —Catherine Barnett
“With radical hospitality and good, dark humor, Tom Thompson encourages a care for the world and the imagination in ways that few other poets do, in ways I never thought (in Dickinson’s word) ‘possibler.’ He’s one of my favorite writers, and it’s a pleasure to know what he has to say.” — Graham Foust
“…The book’s passengers go on journeys that are visionary and sometimes disillusioning: through parenthood, faith, illness, death and love; intervening in and altering the lives of living things, from children to geraniums. Passenger is a beautiful and moving book by a masterful poet.” — Geoffrey Nutter
“…This is a small but beautiful book and one that deserves to be cherished. Poetry lovers will be attracted like magnets and, thankfully, won’t be disappointed by their connection. …”Read the full review.