Tomatoes Why were women called tomatoes in the Thirties when depression shrouded the rumpled continent? We watch too many old movies, their gray shades overlapping and their dialogue too brittle to ape in ordinary life. The actors died so long ago their photo-imagery has thinned to one dimension, their contracts expired in dusty sighs. Sporting your tomato-red parka, you stalk to the frozen river to watch for eagles returning for spring. Too early. The windy part of March arrives tonight, banging trash cans and snapping tree limbs to kill the power and douse us in dark. We might waste a day or two with the generator whining so loudly we can’t think aloud. No one in old movies worries about windstorms toppling trees onto their sound-stage housing. But in every film some chubby guy in a bowler calls some woman a tomato, and no one objects. We wonder why that vinous fruit rather than an orange, a squash, a grape, apple, or cauliflower? We don’t grow tomatoes
In This Place I expect the morning light to end. And it does. It does. The sun reminds me which way is west. One less thing to guess about. Take me away from my plowed down routine I’m mostly lost. The dreams I wake with don’t stay close. Last night I dreamed about walking among flowers. This morning, one window frames the consolation of an empty field. Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee and has published widely. His many poetry collections include: Red Dirt Souvenir Shop (Analog Submissions), Journeyman’s Suitcase ( Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle) , and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He served as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review and currently serves as an associate editor of Unbroken .