The Tree

Thanks Rochelle for hosting and thank you Scott for the picture.  All links can be found here.

Every neighborhood has a spot to hang out.  A generic name for a specific spot, the tree, the pit, the dock….

From Scott Vanatter with permission-Copyrigh-  Indira

I see a Dodge Dart, teeth collapsing in

Girls dancing to Southern Rock, someone standing on the hood

Overalls and hand me downs, a fist full of loving

The kind of hands that would collapse a man

Make him weep and see god, apologize

And realize

That he stood

On the wrong rod.

I see me

All In The Family

And you

The Tart Cart

The Earth shoe

A strange LSD hue

The coming of greed

Better weed

I see the tree,

The pit, the dock

Thom Mcan

Playing kick the can

On the block

Country rocks

Japs and jocks


the tree“The Tree”






43 thoughts on “The Tree

  1. Skipped out of order to read your poem. Your poetry always makes me think and, often, smile and you have a very distinct voice. I like that you included a picture of what I’m guessing is your actual tree/spot. This poem reminds me of “American Pie.” I can see the teens hanging out and doing “their thing/s.”


    1. Well Janet very nice of you to skip out of order for me. Yes that is “The Tree”. By the time I was a teenager the tree was no longer a hot spot we had “The Hill” LOL…the tree was where my brothers and their friends hung out. The tree is still there, the picture is recent but the woods around are mostly gone. Glad I make you think, sometimes laugh and that you find my voice distinct (That’s a good thing right?). Thanks for the time and comment.

      1. Yes, your voice is a good thing. 🙂 As for “American Pie”, it reminded me of the song. Never saw the movie.

        When I grew up, I lived in the city but we had so much fun that kids these days can’t have, riding our bikes all over the neighborhood, playing ball in the streets, army or cowboy around the neighborhood, etc. We used to put sticks and things in the gutter to make lakes when it rained. That’s probably illegal now. 🙂

        1. Too funny….we would race sticks down the block in the runoff from the rain…I should have known you were talking about the song. You are always bringing up songs in your blog.

  2. I really like this. Somehow I envy a youth like this… It’s like something out of a movie for me. But the way you describe it, I can certainly be there.

    1. Bjorn,
      I have to say I was blessed with my childhood. I grew up on a block and there had to be a hundred kids, easy. We rode dirt bikes (motorcycles) in the woods, horses at the ranch and had stores to hang out and play handball at..Of course the woods sort of disappeared and we no longer had a place to ride our bikes but yeah man, something out of movie.
      Glad you liked it.

    1. You know Claire I am not sure if she means the movie or the song….But for me this has 70’s all over it. Earth shoes, LSD and a Dodge Dart! Great… I will take that any day. Thanks.

    1. Sandra,
      The structure was meant to look something like a tree, a canopy of words on top with a truck of rhymes underneath. Thank you.

  3. Hi Tom
    This was great! I loved the change from longer lines to short ones and agree with the others that it would make a great song. One quick question – what’s a Tart Cart?

    1. elappleby,
      Thank you. Tart Cart is slang for the short bus, the bus they take the slow kids to school in..In my district they had a few tart carts for the troublemakers as well. It was an easy way to isolate them from the “normal” students. They also had a separate school called the Technical Learning center that was only for troublemakers and they would pick up the troublemakers because they were all over the district with a tart cart to bring them to TLC (Often jokingly called Tender Loving Care). Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Dear Tom,
    I literally hear your voice in this and it makes me grin. I’m really not a big fan of poetry but yours is something different. Hits hard…makes me think, see and feel. This one is no exception. I hope one day to own a volume by Tom Poet.

    1. Rochelle,
      Kind of you to say…I love poetry in all forms. Poetry doesn’t have to be all flowers, peace and love. Hard hitting is good and some of my favorite poetry. I hear poetry in rap music, folk music and in the everyday ways people express themselves. When we speak out loud we have a tendency to shorten our speech patterns and go into a natural rhythm. I somehow draw from the way people verbally express themselves to create poetry. Perhaps one day I will put a volume together…god knows I have enough! Thanks again.


      1. I should have qualified my statement about not caring for poetry. Rap is definitely a form of poetry. Good song writing. Some of my favorite singers were and are wordsmiths of the highest order. But it takes a certain type of rhythm to get me to sit and read. Your poetry does this for me.
        Sharon Olds is another poet I like. So perhaps I should think before engaging my keyboard.

        1. Rochelle,
          Very kind of you to say… Classic poetry can be a little hard to swallow sometimes…I didn’t read much poetry as a young man and received this nickname years later from a friend who never heard my poetry or knew that I wrote poetry. We had only just met at the time and he gave me the nickname because of “the way I went about life” caught on with others and soon I was reading poetry at the bars in town..That’s when I was turned on to Bukowski because someone said my poetry remind him of Bukowski’s work. I was shocked to see how similar our styles were…naturally I fell in love with his work. LOL! Bukowski is my favorite and if you can read my hack work you will adore that sick twisted man’s work. Some of the best stuff I have ever read. I think poetry is a hard pill to wash down for people but it doesn’t stop me and thousands of others from writing it.
          Much appreciation,
          Your friend Tom

          1. I am not sure if this link will work on here but this is the man himself reading one of my favorite poems of his….. there are others like TO THE WHORE WHO TOOK MY POEMS…THE SECRET OF MY ENDURANCE…all great stuff. Here is the link…

  5. Excellent work, Tom! Even the shape of the poem looks like a tree. But, the experience of the poem is sharp, crisp and clear! It has music without notes, man. Stellar stuff! Great work this week!!!

  6. Tom I loved this poem, and I loved the explanations you give below to what the words mean, like Tart Carts for example. When I read this poem I felt like the structure of the poem took me through it rapidly and it felt like a rap to me, so I can completely understand why some people would say it should be set to music. You have a very original voice and I look forward to reading your work each week. Salud!

    1. JWD,
      Thanks! Those are some fine things to say and although you didn’t ask I will explain earth shoes for anyone else who doesn’t remember them….They were shoes made by Thom Mcann back in the 70’s and they had distinct soles, almost like the top round edges on a scallop or those brinks with the round edge used for borders in gardens and flower beds…I am glad you take the time out to read my work, that makes me happy indeed.


  7. Tom PPPPPP……
    A perfect picture of the 70’s or 80’s right down to the Lsd…. 😉 I enjoyed it. It made me think of my childhood, half in the city and half in the country. I had two worlds.

    1. Jackie PPPP,
      You have a good eye…I did mention the 80’s “The coming of greed and good weed”. I am not sure if Jap (Jewish American Princess) was a term used in the 70’s but it was a label used in the 80’s. I think the suburbs I grew up in are just like your childhood half city, half country. I image our childhood hood’s were not all that different…ahh the LSD…Thanks for reading with such insight.

  8. How clever. Growing up in a small town, we kids had our favorite trees as well. I believe they are still there. Glad you explained what a tart cart was…because my mind went in another direction. We had tart carts but they weren’t school buses. If you get my drift. lol. Also love your profile heading.

    1. Lora,
      Lora did you call them tart carts? Are we talking about happy, light on the feet gay people? We had far more derogatory terms for them…Children can be cruel. I think a lot of towns have a tree or “The Tree”, we also had “The Pit”, “The Hill” “The Docks” etc etc. Thanks about the profile heading. I assume you mean my header with the mic and my name on the desk…My buddy made that for me.
      Thanks Tom

  9. Awesome that you connected the tree to a hangout spot… your poem does the spot justice with the wild, jammed-together images… I could hear the Skynyrd and taste the beer and feel the heat of the summer night. Cool poem.

    1. Well Dave it was a wild jammed-together group of kids. Thanks man….The taste of beer I hate hearing those words so early in the morning. I have to wait a few hours for a cold one but after 12 it’s on! Thanks!

    1. Not the straight six or slant six?…When I think of a push button I think of the Edsel…because I owned a 59 Edsel in 1986…glad you liked the poem.


  10. another brilliant piece.. i love the flowing rhythm and the vivid visions, the nostalgia, cherished memories, and that you shared with us a glimpse of your childhood.. great ^^

  11. Tom, I can’t seem to find time to read all the stories, but I always try to read yours. I love the feelings your writing evokes. You have such a strong lyrical voice. Excellent stuff, as always.

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