G. Murray Thomas has been an active part of the SoCal poetry scene for over 20 years. He has performed throughout the L.A. area and beyond. He was the editor and publisher of Next... Magazine, a poetry calendar/newsmagazine for Southern California.  Next... Magazine was published monthly between 1994 and 1998.  News Clips & Ego Trips, a collection of articles from Next..., was published in 2012 by Write Bloody Press.
Thomas currently edits a monthly listing of poetry events for Poetix.net, the source for information about SoCal poetry. He is also the Reviews Editor for Poetix. His most recent book of poetry is My Kidney Just Arrived was published by Tebot Bach in 2011. His previous books are Cows on the Freeway and Paper Shredders, an anthology of surf writing. He has also published five chapbooks, and has been widely published in various literary magazines. More information can be found at http://gmurraythomas.com.


“Your Kidney Just Arrived At LAX”

The doctor told me as I lay in pre-op prep.
I envisioned a special chartered flight,
an entire airplane filled with organs.

Hearts with little heart shaped carry-ons.
They always watch the inflight movie
and cry all the way through.

Livers splurging on one last drink;
they don’t think they’ll be allowed
where they’re going.

The lungs eye the spot
where the oxygen masks drop.

Corneas stare out at the passing countryside;
they always get a window seat.

The spleens are always complaining
            about security
            about the length of the flight
            about the lack of leg room
            (although they have no legs).

The gall bladder always gets in line
before his row is called.

And there’s my kidney,
no doubt reading a book to pass the time
something classic: As I Lay Dying,
            or Great Expectations,
            or The Stranger.

All of them wondering
about the journey ahead,
about their new home,
about their new life.

From My Kidney Just Arrived, Tebot Bach, 2011


G. Murray Thomas


A Friend Passes Away While I’m Bird Watching At Bolsa Chica

To birds, time is a circle, the day comes around again,
the same patterns of light, the same cycle
of fish, fly, sleep; the year
loops, and the Western Grebe,
the Pintail Duck, and the Coot
return to the wetlands.

To humans, time is a line,
like the solid silver horizon.
It starts by the shore -- over there! -- and ends
with a poet’s final fading breath
this sunny morning.

To the water, time is a vibration.
The ebb and flow of its tides
mere ripples on its eternal, shimmering surface.
The ocean spreads out infinite before us.
The pelicans soar over it,
the humans watch.

And to the spirit? Does it know
that eternal surface? Does it know a space
outside of time? A space where eternity
is not just all time,
but no time at all?

The birds circle,
the ocean shimmers,
I walk straight back to my car.

From My Kidney Just Arrived, Tebot Bach, 2011


Wrong Numbers

Someone is dialing wrong numbers on my windshield.
The broken glass is an illegible scrawl across my driver’s seat.
I can only make out a few angry obscenities.
I never use language like that.
I wonder whose phone number is printed on my license plate.

Someone is dialing wrong numbers on my windshield.
The message on my answering machine is asking for spare change.
“Just twenty cents, please, so I can make another call.”

Someone is dialing wrong numbers on my windshield.
When I answer the phone, a voice asks about the earthquake last night.
“Did you feel it too?”
But it was just helicopters, low over the house,
their searchlights checking my driveway
for drug dealers, prostitutes and kids with skateboards.
Or else one of those monster jobs out of Pendleton,
hauling Marines off to exercises somewhere,
I hope it’s just practice this time.

Someone is dialing wrong numbers on my windshield.
And faxing me bills for toys I never bought.
I don’t even own a TV, what would I want with
the Time-Life video cassette library of history’s greatest massacres,
complete with annual updates.

Someone is dialing wrong numbers on my windshield,
and spray painting graffiti on my tailgate
and telling me it’s art.
There’s even a price tag on it.
I can tell it’s the real thing, because the price is so damn high.

Someone is dialing wrong numbers on my windshield.
The ringing in my ears
is an alarm clock ticking.

From Cows on the Freeway, iUniverse Press, 2000

2012 G. Murray Thomas

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