Two Poems by Richard Peabody






Merton in East Asia

Those days
that carried him

never carried him
far enough

Thomas Merton foresaw
his death in a vision

and still flew to Thailand
on a speaking tour

An accidental
crown of thorns?

Cruel electric
short-circuiting fan

though he was dry
and not wet from a shower


Hardly the done thing
for a man of the cloth

A 19-year-old lover
makes you contemplate

many things
but not suicide


Snuffed by the CIA
as part of 1968’s

poster boy
collateral damage
though it smacks
of Merton in the movies

and countless
conspiracy theories

In photos he is bald
and roly-poly

master of
verbal judo



like Watts

Ram Dass
or Castaneda

Holy Trappist
Brother Louis

A monk who might
have lived out his days

in Kentucky

Yet chose to relay
spiritual keys

A rock star writer,
thinker, believer

Those days
that carry us

never carry us
far enough

Crepuscular Report

Stairways and gateways
Dead ends

Porches and landings

A solitary gizmo

Corruption a la mode

Shameless sinners
draped in burgundy


with copper flakes

Nothing as far
as the ear can hear

Fish on the bottom

Rocks in the shed

Richard Peabody, born in Washington, DC., raised in Bethesda, MD., and now living in Arlington, VA., is a poet, writer, editor, teacher, publisher. The author of a novella and three short story collections, he taught graduate fiction writing at Johns Hopkins University for 15 years. His Gargoyle Magazine (founded 1976) released issue 76 in August 2022. The magazine has since moved online. His most recent poetry volume, Guinness on the Quay, was published in Ireland (Salmon Poetry, 2019). The Richard Peabody Reader, a career-encompassing collection, was released in 2015 by Alan Squire Publishing, as the first book in their ASP Legacy Series.

Image: aismallard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; author photo by by Caroline Hockenbury

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