Daniel Thompson was a Clevelander. One of the best we ever had. He was a poet. One of the best we ever had. He was an organizer. One of the best I've ever seen. He was a friend, a confidant, a sage, a sounding board, a wise cracker. He was a cracker jack, a jack of all trades and master of none. Except poetry. He was a friend to those who had no friends and a shining beacon to those who saw only darkness. He was a man. He was a good man. He was a good friend to a good many people. Daniel bridged the generations in a way that no one else could match. He was an inspiration to young people with his quiet self-confidence and intuitive organizing powers. Young artists naturally flocked to him as a guru, not only because of his impressive frame, his wise demeanor and his full beard, but because of his gentle nature and quiet enthusiasm for art and artists. He loved Cleveland poetry and Cleveland poets, especially Hart Crane, Langston Hughes and d. a. levy, and was always organizing memorials, readings and special events in their honor. But he also honored all living Cleveland poets active today. One of his main roles was to organize readings and poetry events for emerging young artists and poets. And he started doing this long before the current coffeehouse poetry slam renaissance. Organizing is a role that few artists can play, and one that will be sorely missed.

Source: cool cleveland

Wikipedia entry:

Read his poems:


Women at the River's Edge
by Daniel Thompson

When woods turn into words
And the words yellow
Under the sun's thumb
Into pools of dead air
On a dog day in a deaf year
The women at the river's edge
Their hearts beating wildly
Smash their lives
Without permission
On the blind rocks
Sharpened by the mind's eye
Broken, bred on silence
Their hearts heal in the river's dance
Time and again rising in love's anger
Toward the danger on the map...


Small Tragedies of the Junkyard Poets'
Auto Recycling Dog, No Nukes, Pro Garlic
Poetry Festival - Sunday, August 7, 1983

for Myron
by Daniel Thompson

Forty pounds of hot dogs disappear
Seven chairs walk away
The chicken doesn't move
The books don't move
The winning dog, Phineas T. Muldoon
Bites the Master of Ceremonies
The Master of Ceremonies moves
To the Emergency Room at Kaiser
Gusti turns the color of garlic
Has to leave
Alex Beven, coming since July 7
Never shows
Professional heckler overcharges
Wait till next year


Beauty and the Bird
by Daniel Thompson

Out of loneliness
I have fashioned
A bird that does not sing
Save when rare occasions bring
Stark beauty
Then bird and I are one and we
Go mad with song and beat our wings
And through Imagination's eye
We even fancy we can fly
Beyond the skin of things
Then earth's
Sad face comes round again
Reminds us of the cage we're in
And how stark raving mad we've been
To think we're saved by beauty


by Daniel Thompson

Out of the body politic dying
Nights without bread
Led to the carnival knowledge of color
At the nip and tuck of the budding revolt
In naked beard and scandalous sandles
I was overcome by the shallow, wee town
And contrary minds of the city sprawl
My mustardseed faith moved the mountain on me
And the flowers crushed on the sidewalks of time
Were my seedy bedparnters in crime
Rocks from the cradle and the billy club rub
Were wisdom cracking the star-spangled fang
After the dogbite the rabbis returned
With plastic priests and pasturized milk
So I wrapped God's news in an old fish story
...and man swung from ape's umbilical cord
Till guilt edged the serpent under the heel...
Bruised legacy and the bootstrap snapped
When all the innominate, hump-the-dump bones
Were grinding the stones and sticks to fire
While I Adamed an apple off the knowledge tree
And turning the other tongue in cheek
Slicked my good hair in her downhome desire
Then shifting to high gear in the wilderness streets
Where pot and panic handlers begged to differ
Of necessity tripping fantastic light
I turned on the system, the dark riders circling
Brother, can you spare a victim?
And moved on as thin as a praying mantis
...alive again; deadly as sin...
On the nit of my grit and the grin of my skin


Chocolate and Roses
by Daniel Thompson

We met and immediately
Wanted to be rich. That was a year ago
At last we've decided to pool our tears
Sell them to the International Salt Company
Become millionaires. What do we want
But a life of chocolate and roses
Steaks for Truffaut, our greatest dog
Trips abroad, candlelight suppers
New curtains for the bathroom
I'll feel so respectable, she says
Is that a bad feeling, I counter?
I'd like a new image
Shave everyday, tie, stickpin
Shine on my shoes, spats, perhaps
Do you know how to jitterbug, she asks?
Ah, what makes the heart leap
Its waters flow to a shining sea
We swim toward the bank and dally
Till the weather changes. Now
Out of hiding the fugitive sun
Announces the dream is over
We smile, stay broke
And settle for ecstacy


Freedom Rider Graffiti
by Daniel Thompson

Poem scraped with contraband
Fifty-cent piece on the prison wall
In Parchman, Mississippi
Summer, 1961

Know now
No hero here
No how
If ever
On tree
The way
They done
I'd be
I guess


by Daniel Thompson

Meow, say the tongues
When cats catch up
With them. Cat got mine
And more, got throat frog
Got lung fish, got bird breath
I sink in miasma and gasp, grasp
The heartstrings of my fellow sufferers
Wheeze the people allergic
Pussy feathers, duck dust
Poland, uh, pollen
We cough our days away
Tap our feet to a ragweed beat
Grin and barely endure till Theo Dur
Or sometimes in that airless hell
I, I, Isuprel...Aahh sss hupp
Cough coUgh cOuGh
CoUgH coUgh couGh
CoUgh cougH coUGh
COugh coUGH cOFF
Ahhh another PHLEGMboyant
Asthma attack over wow