Tom Thompson is the author of The Pitch (Alice James Books, 2006). He lives in New York City.
Crowds Surround Us
agile founderings and piecemeal flotations.
The crowd constitutes a gravitational field
that slaps back at the ground, numbed
and maddened by ground’s constant suckling.
The crowd embodies a depression in fabric
more than an attraction. Its angled, arteried, fleet
fantasias of need sway in
a loopy, bobbing dance without strings.
It’s this sense of movement the organism uses
to believe in its own existence, the palpable presence
of an intangible parade, uncertain
planetary marches, a supernumerary of stars.
In its mania for artifice the crowd has sewn the sky
with these shiny extras. Embodied
adoration, they snap the organism shut
before tickling it open again
with reedy gestures. Breathe.
The crowd’s louche body
clings and parts in place, an ovation
rigid and adrift, alive. It is the sea
that sweeps the sea.
Broom tight with inner bickering.
A mortal scour. Meaning,
how the crowd hates the crowd.
Outwardly. It admits you or me
as an enormous lidless eye admits glittering
beams. Endless watching, washing us in.
The crowd’s object, its point,
is always vanishing into its own mass. It is a sea
with no concern for us, even as it scores.
"Crowds Surround Us" from The Pitch. © 2006 by Tom Thompson. Reprinted with the permission of Alice James Books.