Sharing a Poem for Father’s Day: “My Father’s Tools”

One of the typewriters my father fixed

Our father repaired typewriters, a lost art. Here is a poem recalling his shop in the basement where he let me help him when I was young.

My Father’s Tools

Leaning over typewriter frame, hands
ink dark with calluses, my father reaches
around type bars and brackets, levers
of tempered steel, hooking a spring,
placing the smallest screw
with magnetized driver. He adjusts
to touch, aligning letters
until they flow in perfect lines,
finger strike to paper.

Broken machines wait on bench
with glass jars of spare parts,
needle-nosed pliers worn smooth,
small torch for soldering type,
hooks, benders, crimpers,
oil can with long nozzle,
cleaning tub with black solvent.

He lets me scrub the type
and pivots, bathe them in oil,
wipe them dry until they shine
like reborn souls. Now the typewriters
are gone but I keep his tools,
fixing any problem. I show my son
how to grasp each one, correct angle,
knowing the tool by its function.
He adds his layer of fingerprints,
imagining machines he will build.


This poem is included in my collection, The Poet’s Garage.

The Poet’s Garage Pod Redux

To celebrate the first birthday of my poetry collection, The Poet’s Garage, from Unsolicited Press, here’s a brief podcast of the title poem.

Based on a true story, the poem tells how we learned there was another Terry Tierney, a suspected felon, living in Lincoln, Nebraska when we moved there. My arrival aroused several official computers. The police and the social services department thought I lied about my quiet life as a graduate student supported by my tolerant, librarian wife.

Ironically, when I wasn’t distracted by writing poetry in Lincoln, I was working on my dissertation about William Makepeace Thackeray who casts his various protagonists as doubles of himself. Those doubles have much less contrast with one another than me and my apparent double.

The cover of The Poet’s Garage depicts the poem, complete with pools of grease where lines have spilled, the cardboard box of active verbs, and the files of proper nouns. As in the poem, the poet has eluded arrest, so far.

The Poet’s Garage Pod

The Poet’s Garage is available from Unsolicited Press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other retailers. You can also support your local bookstore by searching for them on Indiebound.

To learn more about the Poet’s Garage, please check my poetry page.

“Greyhound” new flash fiction story in Club Plum Literary Journal

Thank you to Club Plum Literary Journal for including my story “Greyhound” in their current issue.

Like the character in the story, I logged many miles on buses, assuming I could afford the ticket, especially when it was too cold or wet to hitchhike. As much as I love Jack Kerouac, I always seemed to have less money than Sal Paradise.

The link below includes a soundtrack from Calpurnia, also entitled “Greyhound.” Very cool.

https://clubplumliteraryjournal.com/terry-tierney/

“Escape” new story in Flash Fiction Magazine

Grateful to Flash Fiction Magazine for publishing my flash fiction story. Although the story is inspired in part by my father-in-law’s history, the scene and characters are pure fiction.

“Ink dries like scabs on his fingertips, sticky on the wheel of his Dodge pickup. He shifts it like a Mustang, winding out the clutch with each gear until the engine screams the next octave. His elation accelerates with the pickup until both are moving too fast for the gravel road. But he knows there’s still time to turn around….”

https://flashfictionmagazine.com/blog/2021/01/15/escape/