Doug Tanoury: Selected Poetry
Poetry » September 2001

Midnight At The ATM Machine

It greets me by name
And asks quite to the point
Deposit or withdrawal
As I begin my starlight banking

To secure some cash
A collection of crisp twenties
That smell of ink
On new paper and

Dead presidents
Stare at me sternly in moonlight
Their images engraved
With serious rococo themes

New currency
Being bent or crinkled
Sounds like insects
In the night

And bills folded tight
Like mantis wings
Or the torso of a katydid
Bearing marks of the late baroque

My Ethereal Love

My Love is incorporeal and virtual
Like a vapor
Without substance and form
And I often think
That this is what the dead must feel
For each other and how spirits
Must love when touch has passed away
Into the distance of dark impossibility
And all sensuous trace is wrapped
In cold repose

I love you purely like a ghost
With mind and heart but mostly words
Not formed in throat or shaped on tongue
And launched from lips
Nor propelled on the warmth
Of my every breath
But silent they come to you
Like a midnight apparition
That hangs before your eyes
Untouchable and ethereal

From the underworld
My words reach you now
Where these lines appear
Inchoate on the page
And my voice that moves invisibly
From this nether realm
Is the sound of wind in the leaves
And is the ice-cold moonlight
Of a summer night


And somehow there has grown
An icy silence between us
That expands to fill the empty space
Between our words and transform them
Into awkward pauses
And there is a tightness slipping about us
Like a snake that slowly winds and constricts
With ever increasing pressure
Around its prey cutting off movement
Until neither inhale nor exhale can escape

Our sentences are laborsome
And talk tends to lapse as time goes by
Into periods of nervous quiet
That populate and punctuate the conversations
Of those long parted and seldom seen
And there is graceless effort about us
Like a broken wing bird
Unable to fly
That repeatedly tries but always fails
To get airborne once again

Doug Tanoury is primarily a poet of the internet with the majority never leaving electronic form. His verse can be read at electronic magazines and journals across the world.

Doug credits his 7th grade poetry anthology from Sister Debra's English class, Reflections On A Gift Of Watermelon Pickle And Other Modern Verse (Stephen Dunning, Edward Lueders and Hugh Smith, (c)1966 by Scott Foresman & Company) as exerting the greatest influence on his work. He still keeps a copy of it at his writing desk.

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