Tohm Bakelas

i chose the wrong path

she sold pictures of her feet
to strangers on the internet

“sometimes i make $400
in one week… and one time
i sold my panties for $2000”

“jesus christ” i said “have
you met any of these guys?”

“oh no” she said “i never
meet up with them”

i thought about the
$5 poetry books i’ve made
and couldn’t even give away

i had a few more questions
i wanted to ask her,

but the sun was setting
and not wanting to be
stuck in traffic

i decided to leave


the coin clips

Two am I woke up and flew to Texas.
Houston’s a lot different than Laredo
but then again, where isn’t?
I slept on and off for fourteen hours,
dreaming about your autumn eyes
and how much you mean to me.
You’d think by now I’d be used to this,
but every time I’d wake I’d feel more alone.
Sometimes I feel like a misshaped puzzle
piece, not really fitting in, not really having
a place to go. I know that every road
eventually leads home, and nine days
isn’t too long. The only desert out here
is the one in my mind. All the green
trees and blue skies make me wonder,
does this all mean something? Am I
chasing some dream without meaning?
Am I wasting time on an adventure
that will some day fall on deaf ears?
Blaze Foley sang songs about this.
Bukowski wrote poems about this.
I pull a coin out of my pocket and
toss it in the air: heads I call it quits,
tails I keep going. The coin clips my
fingertips and rolls down into a sewer.
I guess I’ll leave the doubting for tomorrow.


Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He is the author of 23 chapbooks and several collections of poetry, including “No Destination” (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2021) and “The Ants Crawl In Circles” (Whiskey City Press, 2022). He runs Between Shadows Press.