Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton is actually a sandwich. 
Like any sandwich, 
Thomas Merton is composed of various elements. 
There is the element of love. 
Love is the equivalent of shredded lettuce. 
In Spanish, the word for lettuce is lechuga
I have some theories about this: Thomas Merton is thistle. 
I understand that I have already said 
Thomas Merton is a sandwich and that 
sandwiches are not the same as thistle.
How could they be? Thistle grows in ditches; 
sandwiches do not grow, sandwiches are made. 
Thomas Merton—did he ever make a sandwich? 
But how would that follow? 
Can a sandwich make another sandwich? 
The mute, shredded lettuce offers up its body 
and the cold men surround it with a clap.
This does not bode well for love. 
No one makes whoopee inside a bun. 

I have thought about this for a long time 
and this is the conclusion I reached: salt and pepper 

is nice way of saying you are getting old. 
I am actually the one who is getting old here.
You can tell by the piles of leaves I set on fire.
Not so much by what I say—there will always
be moments when some neat burst of spring
finds me saying something outlandish—but by 
the manner in which I say I love you 
to the men and women I know
passing through this life. Piles of leaves 
are not sandwiches. We have established that
already. I am moving into the thickening place
where the gruel of blandishments 
pushes me into inconstant theories 
such as this—I want to kill John Milton 

but he is already dead. Nonetheless I move;
timorously I move toward the great lettuce 
of knowledge. There are various elements 
involved and each one is another possible 
chart. Thomas Merton is graph paper;
John Milton wrote incredible sonnets 
about graph paper; there are melodies
about sandwiches; of the many golden melodies
in pain, perhaps I am the most sorrowful. 
No one makes whoopee inside a bun.
The proof is in the flowers you press
in pages of your book at night. Thomas Merton died
with a hat pulled down over his penis.
It is not the way I want to die;
I want to die in a nice delicatessen 
with all the lights off except for one,
the light on the bread. I would then
stand beside that light and read books.
If anything can slow the going into death 
good light is probably that thing. John
Milton went blind. Thomas Merton 
wrote letters from prison in the dark.
What did I ever write except for this note?
If you do not want to be my wife
I will understand. I wouldn't want 
to marry someone so obsessed 
he startles the wind into thistle. 
Lettuce is only code for needing you. 
Thomas Merton buried his sock under a tree
because he was incredibly sad. 

To read more by Jono Tosch, please click here to purchase jubilat 21.