Arthur won’t be coming home this year


Elsie’s meringue weeps more than she’d like today.
She hasn’t lost her touch for turning it the perfect golden
nor stacking it a proud four inches deep.
She hopes one of the grandkids will drop by for a slice
of lemon pie on the way home from school.
She sure could use some company.
Rolly is her favorite–he takes the time to admire
her collection of black glass knick-knacks.
She has so little left to her name.

Her kids sold off the farm and most of her possessions
to pay bills when Arthur passed–
then moved her into this tiny shoebox house.
They’d said, It’s big enough, Mother. Grandpa won’t be
coming home no more.

Arthur won’t be coming home this year–or next.
Or next.

Elsie wakes each morning thinking she’s been robbed.
What’s happened to her coalpail, her pitchfork, her mess
of baling wire for fixing things?
She devotes her time to marking everything she possesses.
She embroiders Elsie on her undergarments, scribbles it
on every card in her Canasta deck, even somehow manages
to scratch it into her kitchen dishes.
Though one might well expect to find the odd lard mark
here or there in anyone’s cookbook, in Elsie’s
Household Searchlight Recipe Book,
     the pages are smothered with her name–

and on one page, she’s written,
had one cookbook stolen, want it back.
She smears her name with lipstick on the back screendoor.
She carves it into the arm of Arthur’s platform rocker

as she stares dumb-eyed at the snowy TV screen.

Arthur won’t be coming home this year–or next.
Or next.

And then she starts another pie.
If one of the grandkids doesn’t show up, she will dump it
in the backyard and watch the squirrels make a meringue
circus of themselves.
She whistles Swing Low Sweet Chariot.
And one of these days she needs to get around to finishing

the pages of her bible.
The paper is too skinny to write on.
It rips when she applies pressure with her pencil and when
she uses her blue fountain pen, the ink blobs
and musses her dress.
She wouldn’t be in this predicament if Arthur hadn’t passed.

She’s afraid to ask one of the sons to try to fix the snow
on the TV.
Maybe it’s her eyes and she’ll be forced to spend money
she doesn’t have on new glasses.
She drops her favorite heavy brown ovenware bowl as she beats
the egg whites.
One less bowl–and this was the one that had been the most difficult
to scratch her name into.

Her upper lip rattles–oozes shiny balls of sweat–
then goes hard.

She prays if she ever gets to the other side
she won’t bump into Arthur.

I might’ve told him


Mark Saunders and ten others
made the Honor Roll
on national TV.
All of them Americans
under the age of twenty-seven.
The famous news anchorman said:
“In silence, here are eleven more.”
Like always I started counting
uniform pictures of proud soldiers
and wishing they were not dead.
You don’t expect to see somebody you know.
Then oh my god
there was Mark’s picture.
More like a crummy snapshot.
Him looking kind of high
leaning against the cockpit of a jet.
I had to stare at his hometown name
to believe it was him.
Mark never knew it
but I fell in love with him
after Junior Prom
after we dumped our chicks
after we didn’t get laid
after we hooted it up
till sunrise
after we went for a mess of bacon at Denny’s.
That’s when I fell in love
with Mark Saunders.
I should have but
never got around to
telling him
he had amazing hands.

(c) 2006 the poet Spiel From Spiel chapbook, 2006, come here cowboy: poems of war.



(c) 2004 spiel   ” bad boys”

A 2004 variation on an image originally commissioned as a silk screened Mardi Gras poster in 1992. That poster was signed by Taylor as “Tom Thom” another of his several pen names.  



we live
our lives
in mirrors


our reflections
will not

(c) 2004 Spiel
Previously published by: Free Verse, Skidrow Penthouse, King’s Estate Anthology, Pudding House Publications, Chiron Poetry Review. Also appears in: it breathes on its own, the Spiel chapbook, available on the Spiel Books page. 


“(c) 2007 Spiel”
An anguished self-portrait, the first full painting done by the artist after a long period of reticence as a painter which followed the 1996 revelation that he was soon to die from life-threatening illness.

breaking rules


breaking rules robs energy
i do not have the will to spare
i make my own instead   do so
not to appease your familiarity
but cast in light
to disrupt the core
of discomforts
we may share
for what we share in common
in our darkness:
the burdens of our closets,
is where we lift our care


(c) 2005 Spiel
From it breathes on its own
a chapbook by Spiel, published by Pudding House
also, previously published by Abbey


 “Everything will turn out O.K.”  57″h x 68″w x 13″d

 (c) 1987 Tom Taylor

from The Quintessential White Bread Exercise.

@ Pirate, A Contemporary Art Oasis, Denver Colorado



no one dies
we all live on

beyond our time

the blessed curse
of unscrupulous medicine

and clinging loved ones
whose lives

are merely shadows
of our dreams


(c) 8/7/03  Spiel
From Chiron Review 


“Grief”    (c) 1999  Spiel


  “Starry Night 1890/1990”   52″ h x 36″ w x 10″ d   (c) 1990 Tom Taylor

Taylor’s 100 year anniversary tribute to the suicide of Vincent van Gogh with whom Taylor shares the fate of mental illness. This turbulent piece is skillfully drawn with unpredictable expansion foam. It includes bared teeth in the stars, a bulging moon and a pistol in the visceral area where van Gogh originally painted dark and weathered cypress trees.

Spiel is published worldwide in independent publications such as:

Abbey; Alpha Beat Press; Anthills; art mag; AscentAspirations; Barbaric Yawp; Barking Dogs; Bathtub Gin; Big Intersection; Blind Man’s Rainbow; Bogg; Buckle &; Broomweed Journal; Chiron Review; Chiron Review Press; Cliffs Soundings; Covert Poetics; Cranial Tempest; Creative Juices; Dana Literary Society; Denver Post; Dodobobo; DogEar; Drama Garden; Empty Shoes Anthology; EnCompass; Erased, Sigh, Sigh; (The) Espresso; Eye-Point Press; Fight These Bastards; First Class; Four Sep Publications; Free Verse; Frisson:disconcerting verse; Gargoyle; Gestalten; Gin Bender Poetry Review; Gloom Cupboard; Happy; Hecale; Iconoclast; Impetus; (The) Independent; Iodine; Jaw Magazine; jendireiter.com; King’s Estate Press; laurahird. com; League of Laboring Poets; Lilliput Review; Lost & Found; Lucid Moon; LuVER Radio; Lynx Eye; MadmanInk; Mainstreet Rag; March Street Press; Marymark Press; Muse Artist’s Guild; Muse’s Review; Neotrope; Nerve Cowboy; New Verse News; Nicestories; No Exit; Open Cut; Opium Poetry 2.0; Origami Condom; Oyster Boy Review; Patrick T. Randolph; Parting Gifts; Passport Journal; Pearl; PenHimalaya; Plain Jane; Poems-for-All; Poesy; Poetalk; Poetry Motel; Poets Against War; Pudding Magazine; Pudding House Publications; Pueblo Chieftain; Pueblo Poetry Project; Pueblo West View; P.U.L.P.; Quill & Parchment; Ragged Edge; Rain Mountain Press; Rejected Notice; RFD; Remark; Rocky Mountain News; Secret Press; Shoes; Skidrow Penthouse; Slipstream; Small Press Review; Snapdragon; Snow Monkey; Storyteller; Strangeroad; St. Vitus Press & Poetry Review; Sugar Mule; Thunder Sandwich; Touchstone; Transcendent Visions; Under the Banana Tree; Unlikely Stories; Velvet Box; WestWind Review; Winning Writers; Word Riot; World Poets Society; Zafusy; Zen Baby; Zygote in my Coffee; ZYX;

Solo Exhibitions as the visual artist Tom Taylor aka Thoss W. Taylor aka The Poet Spiel

(as Conceptual Artist, as Wildlife Artist, as Political and Statement Artist, as Alternative Space Artist

Museum, University, Gallery, and Private Solo Exhibitions, 1964 to present, in alphabetic order


Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Aspen, CO, (x2)

Born Free Gallery, Evergreen, CO

Bradford Junior College, Bradford, MA

Brand Library Art Center, Glendale, CA

The Breckenridge Gallery, Breckenridge, CO

California Institute of the Arts, Burbank, CA

Center for Idea Art, Denver, CO

Charles Cowles, New York City, NY

Colorado State University, Pueblo, CO

The Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C.

CORE New Art Space, Denver

Edge Gallery, Denver, CO, (x2)

The Eugenia Butler Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

First National Bank, Loveland, CO

The Flanders Show, Longmont, CO

Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD

Gallery East, Loveland, CO

The Gallery at Hudson’s Bay, Denver, CO, (x2)

The Gondolier, Boulder, CO 1964, #1 (first solo exhibit), (x2)

Harris Fireside Lounge, Longmont, CO

Hunter College, New York City, NY

Immaculate Heart College, Los Angeles, CA

The Landmark Gallery, Longmont, CO

The Loft, Pueblo, CO

The Longmont Museum, Longmont, CO (1989 retrospective)

The Moote Home Show, Ft. Collins, CO

Newport Harbor Art Museum, Balboa, CA

Nova Scotia College of Art, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Pioneer Museum, Longmont, CO

Pirate – A Contemporary Art Oasis, Denver, CO, (x2)

Prince Georges College, Washington, DC

Pueblo Community College, Pueblo, CO

Reese-Palley Gallery, San Francisco, CA

The Rex Evans Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Royce Galleries Ltd., Denver, CO, (x2)

Rubenstein-Serkez Gallery, Denver, CO

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

San Juan Gallery at PCC, Pueblo. CO

Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

Sotheby Park-Bernet/ Houston Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, TX

Two Squares Gallery, Denver, CO

University of California, Davis, CA

University of Colorado Memorial Fine Arts Center, Boulder, CO

University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO (1983 retrospective)

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT

Wildlife Conservation Society of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia, Africa

Wildlife World Museum, Monument, CO

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