Tony Morris’s Pulling at a Thread is a tour de force cross-country car trip through America. From the first pulse of heartbreak and hope in “Radar Love” to the beautiful sonnets on the seasons at the end of the book Morris takes us on the terrifying and tender journey of the heart’s road to wisdom. Parents grow old and die, children are born, lovers are lost and found in these lush and sensuous poems. There is a fullness and music that that will lift you up. Tony Morris is a true son of Whitman, but he has been nurtured by Dickinson. His voice is America singing.
~Barbara Hamby, author of Delirum
In Pulling at a Thread, Tony Morris demonstrates how following a single strand can reveal life’s patterns in their brilliant complexity. Whether focused on the green-eyed beauty of skulking foxes, Elvis or “monastic buzzards,” he is a reliable guide to the open road and “the coming dusk.” Vulnerability, rescue and escape are among his poignant themes, and no reader will forget the beauty of “the winter’s end a shelf of stars above my head.” This is a collection to savor and share.
~R. T. Smith, author of Outlaw Style: Poems
You must travel it for yourself.
It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.
~Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"
Linville Gorge Tipping East
We hike the trail at midnight,
raindrops tattering against
broad-leaved tickseed, brook
lettuce, Carey's saxifrage, tracking
with our lights the muddied cut
tracing a crooked line to Babel Tower,
a flat, broad slab of granite atop
a steep-pitched grade where we make camp
and after salted jerk and water, sit
firelight on our faces, smoothed stone against
our backs. Outside the ring of light
night time presses in,
black above the hips of distant hills, wind blasts
singing from the canyon, twisting, bent
limbs of cedar sweeping south,
granite face weathered into smooth
cups and dips, seams sketched like
across the surface of the rock
while above cold stars settle on the
tipped pines, geometries of scale—
angles, lines, tangents as we swing
from west to east, lean into night
and ride the spin toward first light,
the slow-ordered music
of true north slowly tilting.