Highlighted by the Florence Poets Society
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Meet Our January Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Tommy Clark

Highlighted by the Florence Poets Society

Tommy Twilite (aka Tom Clark) is the Founding Co-director of the Florence Poets Society (2004).  He is the long time leader of the eclectic rock ensemble, “The Tommy Twilite Orchestra”.  He is also the editor of “Silkworm” and the host of the “Twilite Poetry Pub” on WXOJ FM.   Tommy recently retired as a Captain/EMT on the Northampton Fire Department after over 30 years of service.  He lives in Florence, MA and devotes his time to poetry, art and music.  His poetry has appeared in various publications.  Tommy was the 2016 chairperson for 30 Poems in November, a literary fundraising event for the Center for New Americans. 
Poetic Profession   

I was a firefighter for over 30 years until my retirement and I write poetry because I have felt compelled to do so since Mrs Curran's sixth garde English class.  I do not have an MFA, or even an undergraduate degree, having flunked out of UMass in my early twenties to form a punk rock band.  I was going to be rich and famous and have lots of girls.  Haha!  Funny story, but that is where I picked up the "Tommy Twilite" handle, and I have kept it as my nom de plume, mainly because there is another well-known poet named Tom Clark.  My friend, the late Carl Russo, and I started the Florence Poets Society back in 2004 with the idea that poetry is the voice of the people and we would work to promote literacy and to encourage individuals from all walks of life to express themselves through the written and spoken word.  Our little group has been a great success and our monthly meetings are always jam packed with 20 or more poets eager to share and discuss their work.  And the quality of the work is wonderful and diverse and always improving, as demonstrated by our recent publication of Silkworm 9, which draws on submissions from the group, as well as the community and the world at large. 


show me the place where they found him
the place where the sun touched his face
the little secrets he knew

his hand
slipped from his father’s hand
as the boat capsized
out at sea

the boy washed up on shore
the image of him 
face down on the beach
stuck inside my head
he looks like my own son I said
when he was about three

I make myself look
it was almost like
when he took a nap 
on the living room rug
with all his clothes on
after playtime

on that day we played and played
with his blocks and little toy train
we laughed and laughed
until the afternoon sun through the window
and the purring of the cat
made us both dreamy
and we dozed off 

his little shoes
his favorite red shirt
his beautiful black hair
his sleepy head 

is he dead
yes he is dead
what is his name
it’s not important they said
it is important
what is his name

they don’t know his name

but I know his name 
because he is my son
and I know his name


The Florence Poets Society was founded in the summer of 2004 by Carl Russo and Thomas Clark so that poets could promote and share their writing with each other and with the public.

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a monthly installment from Mass Poetry. Each month we shine the spotlight on a poet affiliated with, and nominated by, one of our poetry partners.

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