The Tongue 
Poems by Tom C. Hunley

    

This book is available at your local bookstore or from on-line vendors such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or directly from the publisher

The Tongue, 89 pages, 
ISBN 1893239284  softcover, $14.00.



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Like a Pop artist, Tom Hunley creates with bright colors and sharp lines. In the face of disaster, he responds with the kind of insouciance praised by Whitman and practiced by a Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd. "Meet me at the Cafe Nihilism," Hunley writes, and in poem after poem we're there, where the abyss and comedy mix, the poems are both edgy and tender, and Mayakovsky's bad-boy persona gets an American makeover. Some bonuses: Hunley wears his considerable learning on his sleeve lightly; as a formalist, he's the best kind--unsolemn and jazzy. When he asks from his students "mango-like writing" that's "tropical, sun-kissed," he's describing his own aesthetic. As you read this book, enjoy the juice spilling down your chin. 
                        -- Philip Dacey

Though nothing is what it seems in this playful debut by a promising young poet, there is no calculated obscurity here, only a gregarious embracing of the endless possibilities of language and life. Tom Hunley entertains, moves, and surprises us. Caveat lector! 
                        -- Joe Survant

What I like most about Tom Hunley's work is that he writes about the Other America: not the vitamin-enriched, fluoride-coated country where everybody drives an SUV or hopes to, but the weird, surprising country that's more interesting and more fun. The middle section of this book is called "The Hard Sciences," but aren't all sciences hard? When a reporter in one of these marvelous poems asks First Daughter Amy Carter if she has a message for American girls and boys and she says no, isn't that what most of us would say? The tongue will tell you all the lies you want to hear. But it will also tell you everything you need to know, and that's Tom Hunley's specialty. 
                       -- David Kirby

 
 
From the book ---
 
                 My First Car

My first car could go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds flat.

It had no get-up-and-go but I used to cruise the streets in it all
        night long.

There was a teen curfew in my town and I was 16, so I never
        dared drive after 8.

I had just turned 18 and I loved pulling into convenience stores,
        ecstatic about buying cigarettes legally;
                I would smoke and speed and flick ashes out the window
                        and kiss my girlfriend while driving through tunnels.

My girlfriend never kissed me because cigarettes made my breath
        stink Ė "like sucking an exhaust pipe," she said.

She wasnít really my girlfriend. She was just using me
        for rides in my convertible speedster.

My car was a VW Beetle. It could barely do 50, plus it was starting
        to stink, like my breath from the constant smoking.

I never took up smoking because my parents are always telling me
        about my granddadís death from lung cancer when I was 6.

I donít know what my parents are talking about.
        I have dinner with my granddad every Sunday.

I never knew my parents. They died when I was 6, but they left me
        a trust fund that paid for my first car.

I tell you truly I never had a car at all.

Iím a big liar driving by you
        with a banner on the door that says "Vote for Hunley!"

You can trust me.