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  • Photo of The Middlewesterner by Dave Bonta

(c) 2004-2008
Tom Montag


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  • The endowments and the foundations won't, but you can help support my long-term exploration of the middle west, Vagabond In the Middle. Any donation to help defray expenses will be appreciated. Send to Tom Montag at: PO Box 8, Fairwater, WI 53931.


    "shelf life of prune juice" - The Middlewesterner

  • "elko + bar + bathroom + girlfriend" - Creek Running North
  • "what does a mole on the palm of the hand mean?" - Mole
  • "biro, slowly watching memory" - frizzyLogic
  • "pictures of someone who looks forgotten" - Blaugustine
  • "emily dickinson's address" - alembic
  • "heterosexual woman becomes lesbian in midlife" - Velveteen Rabbi
  • "if lost return to" - Slow Reads
  • "village voice newspaper headline when andy warhol died in 1987 village voice headline is god dead is god dead" - Marja-Leena
  • "I have no head" - Under a bell
  • "what can we do about privilege?" - Feathers of Hope
  • "stigmata montreal women" - Cassandra Pages
  • "Aztec sacrificial victims" - 3rd House Party
  • "ugliest woman ever" – Fishbucket
  • "prime number farting" - The Middlewesterner
  • "sasquatch beauty barn" - Via Negativa
  • "I have what looks like small pieces of bird seed in human feces my feces." - Nuthatch
  • "signs your girlfriend is not happy" - The Middlewesterner
  • "real tribe potion to become Immune to fire" - susannagig-jig
  • "does god blink" - The Middlewesterner
  • "Sleeping ovaries" - Find Me a Bluebird
  • "People find me offensive poem" - Find Me a Bluebird
  • "girlfriend taming" - The Middlewesterner
  • "naked librarians from north dakota" - The Middlewesterner
  • "signs a girlfriend is about to walk out" - The Middlewesterner
  • "naked girls at prayer" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what does 'behind the barn' mean" - The Middlewesterner
  • "basho farting" - The Middlewesterner
  • "white conic body lotion" - Mole
  • "what specifically is the emerald mole?" - Mole
  • "how to impress a tomboy girl" - The Middlewesterner
  • "ripon cookies for bear bait" - The Middlewesterner
  • "people who think they are cats" - The Middlewesterner
  • "crows and fog omen" - The Middlewesterner
  • "when you are walking in the spirit what does heat mean" - The Middlewesterner
  • "how to be more socialable" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what does making hay mean" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what does it mean to call someone an iowa farm boy" - The Middlewesterner
  • "What does it mean when there are 2-3 crows in your yard and you don't have a corn field?" - The Middlewesterner
  • "tomboy addiction" - The Middlewesterner
  • gunmetal tulle - findmeabluebird
  • mucho bonito senorita translation - findmeabluebird
  • "swollen rash" diagnosis - findmeabluebird
  • how to keep a kid occupied when sick and in bed - findmeabluebird
  • moose bums - findmeabluebird
  • uninterlaced - findmeabluebird
  • "red squirrels castrating grey squirrels" - The Middlewesterner
  • "short poems to impress a girl" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what is an important food crop in middlewest?" - The Middlewesterner
  • "the reason the elements of the writing process are important to poetry" - The Middlewesterner
  • "wallpaper, poet" - The Middlewesterner
  • "how to be a vagabond" - The Middlewesterner
  • "my jock strap hearts how can i fix it" - The Middlewesterner
  • "How do Hutterite deliver babies " - The Middlewesterner
  • "shelling corn slang" - The Middlewesterner
  • "lady of guadalupe as vagina symbol" - The Middlewesterner
  • "will the leaves still be on the trees October 21, 2006 in Davenport, Iowa?" - The Middlewesterner
  • "driving time between seydisfjordur and skaftafell" - The Middlewesterner
  • "impress a girl from north dakota" - The Middlewesterner
  • "how do tigers get born?" - The Middlewesterner
  • "jesus nude girls" - The Middlewesterner
  • "falling in love with a midwesterner" - The Middlewesterner
  • "shanties with cadillacs" - The Middlewesterner
  • "middle road sermon" - The Middlewesterner
  • "ephemeral as the summer fly" - Chatoyance
  • "how to paint ghost flames" - Chatoyance
  • "wine of cardui" - chatoyance
  • "kevlar bridal dresses" - Hoarded Ordinaries
  • "how to scold boyfriend" - Hoarded Ordinaries
  • "how to find your true self" - Hoarded Ordinaries
  • "it goes around the sun 4 times a year" - Hoarded Ordinaries
  • "how long does it take for a sprinter to regain his speed after a grade 1 hamstring tear" - The Middlewesterner
  • "understanding why crows like you" - The Middlewesterner
  • "customs and culture of the middlewest region of the United States" - The Middlewesterner
  • "naked girl in a pile of money" - The Middlewesterner
  • "dakota tom sandwich" - The Middlewesterner
  • "things to do in Middlewest US" - The Middlewesterner
  • "nebraska christian music thunderstorm" - The Middlewesterner
  • "naked girls performing prayer photos" - The Middlewesterner
  • "metaphysical stores in Davenport Iowa" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what does 'worthless as tits on a boar' mean" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what is silo liquid and why does it make the cats sick?" - The Middlewesterner
  • "names of the dinosaurs that live in water or pictures naked women" - The Middlewesterner
  • "alien + pigs + north + dakota" - The Middlewesterner
  • "poems for football players girlfriend" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what does 'making hay' mean?" - The Middlewesterner
  • "how do cows eat cabbage in south dakota" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what does a skunk mean in a dream" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what does the mole on the buddha mean" - The Middlewesterner
  • "hutterite bra" - The Middlewesterner
  • "when to planet vandalia onions" - The Middlewesterner
  • "The Republicans have been painting an unattractive portrait of Democrats roasting young children on a spit in the Capitol rotunda and what not" - The Middlewesterner
  • "kewpie doll karl rove" - The Middlewesterner
  • "Real photos of Mary and Joseph with Baby Jesus and a story how Mary got her baby, Jesus removed out of her stomach" - The Middlewesterner
  • "fog barn stillness beauty poetry" - The Middlewesterner
  • "redneck outhouse poems" - The Middlewesterner
  • "haiku farting basho horse" - The Middlewesterner
  • "signs that i'm a heroin addict" - The Middlewesterner
  • "how do you know if your ankle is sprung" - The Middlewesterner
  • "translations from spanish to english giving opinions about the preservation of wild cats in South America" - The Middlewesterner
  • "stealth bomber information" - The Middlewesterner
  • "emily dickinson with cowboy hat" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what causes bossy girlfriends" - The Middlewesterner
  • "owl hitting a windshield and meaning" - The Middlewesterner
  • "long arm handling gloves cat" - The Middlewesterner
  • "what does a rendering plant smell like?" - The Middlewesterner
  • "potion to become a superhero" - The Middlewesterner
  • "fried egg symbols of lesbianism" - The Middlewesterner
  • "when you are sixty years old should you move back to cold weather in michigan?" - The Middlewesterner
  • "learn poetry to impress a woman" - The Middlewesterner
  • "if you were asked to teach a character education program with which you found fault, what would you do?" - The Middlewesterner
  • "tractors porn" - The Middlewesterner
  • "does black or dark nail polish on a woman mean anything" - The Middlewesterner
  • "keeping warm in north dakota" - The Middlewesterner
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August 17, 2005



So beautiful. Having read this, I have to say what I often think: I wish your blog included a little more of what you're thinking and writing right now. Anyway, I shall keep this, in my heart and in my drawer. thank you.

Jean M Domel

Wish I had some pithy comments or observations but I'm one of those "babbling brooks" as opposed to "still waters". All I can say is "wow!", I loved it!,and I have to agree. Thanks.



This was beautiful, such an encapsulation of so much that I feel and think as well. Profound. It was something I am very glad to have read, something I will keep near me.


I also found this very profound, beautiful, moving and putting into words what I've never quite been able to say myself. Thank you for this, Tom - it's a real keeper.

Tom Montag

Hello, Jean--thanks for the good words. Yeah, I wish my blog had more of what I'm currently thinking and doing too. I took part of my time on the trip to Montana to think about the blog. Conclusions: #1 I will continue to do it for the foreseeable future; #2 I will try to use it to help me get my work done; and #3 I will use it to help me write new stuff. So this is a piece of new stuff. I drafted it in my notebook on the plane ride home, but putting it up on the blog made sure I finished it and tidied it up. So you *might* see more....

Tom Montag

Hi, JMD--and thanks for stopping. I appreciate your good words. I checked out your blog. You are a VERY BUSY creature! As you live in Chicago, you should know that there is some "tongue in cheek" in my poem at my Vagabond site casting Chicago out of the middlewest....

Tom Montag

Thanks for the good words, Ross. I appreciate hearing them - and appreciate hearing from you. I'll e-mail you soon....

Tom Montag

Hi, M-L--Thanks for your good words. I have been trying to dig myself out of the "dark night," and saying this did help.


Glad to hear you're considering putting more stuff like this in your blog, Tom. That'd be great.

It was good to get a general statement of beliefs, but I beleive I could have extrapolated most of it from eighteen months' worth of Morning Drive Journal entries! Personally, I feel that anyone who seriously believes that the earth will still have multicellular life forms in 300 years is a wild-eyed optimist. But I don't feel the logic of an argument from transience to meaninglessness; on the contrary, I am deeply suspicious of anything with pretensions to immortality. It's only in the flux that true joy can be found, in my experience.

Tom Montag

Well, Dave, the very reason I need such a statement as this is that I tend to make the leap from transience to meaninglessness. And so I have to steel myself with the loveliness of the moment.

Hmmm, you could discern much of it in the Morning Drive entries - you would be pulling strands together, no doubt, and yeah this is probably what it comes to. I wrote a short poem series for a dance/drumming company a couple years ago, and that is really where I started giving my clearest voice to this. Then the great tsunami at the end of last year only pushed me farther....


just lovely Tom
I'm so happy to hear/read
you're going to do more new writing

as for the thoughts espressed

of course every femtosecond of it has
just however much meaning you can give to it
by attending to things
micro to macro and all the

all in the mind

the whole she-bang
is a glorious long display

isn't that meaning enough
if you play with it?


300 years, eh
to wipe out the terran all?

I think it wiill take longer than that
humans might well be gone
by then

or operating
in a revised version
of the Good Life


This was wonderful to find and to read here, Tom. I agree with what others have said, about being glad to read more of your current, personal thoughts along with the descriptions of other people and place that you write so well.


Yes, this is wonderful. It's like going through a near-death experience, seeing the light and changing how one lives as a result. Only without all that painful near-death stuff! ;-)

Tom Montag

Hi, Suzanne--Thanks for the good words. You're right, it's the whole she-bang of this moment, this right now, micro- macro- and all in between: that's all we've got. Sometimes I forget that I've really got everything. And I have to take a moment to remind myself.

The other part about my use of this blog that you guys maybe didn't pick up on is that I want to use it to help me get my work done, my Vagabond work & whatever else I think belongs on my list. So some of what you see might not be so much "personal thoughts" but outlines of classes I want to teach, etc....

Tom Montag

Beth & Leslee--thanks to both of you for your good words. You know how you go along everyday doing your usual good job, but things are quiet and you wonder if anybody is paying attention? Then all of a sudden, an influx like this reminds me that - yeah - we're connected; that I've said something, and someone heard it. So the answer to the question "Is there a listener" is: yes, there is, but the listener speaks only occasionally. Thanks....


Tom, what they all said.
And also, since I've been struggling with the same thing (trying to decide if I can "blog the gnovel") I do appreciate and admire how you manage to resolve this problem,
And about the credo: what strikes me about any credo (including what I'm saying right now) is that *whatever* we think , however wonderfully we express our beliefs, however much or little our experience/education/religion/culture etc. has influenced us, there is still absolutely no way that we can know whether what we believe is true. I mean "true" in an absolute sense. There, you see, I've just expressed a belief in "absolute truth"! And I have no way of knowing if there is such a thing. Like the Magritte painting, I have to end up showing a picture of a pipe on which is written: Ceci n'est pas une pipe.

Tom Montag

Hi, Natalie--if you're going to blog the gnovel, you don't want to give the whole thing away - we have a saying "Why should we buy the cow when we're getting the milk for free?" So I give them a preliminary "journal" version of what I'm doing, hoping to entice interest. You perhaps, would only give episodes, or only early drafts??

Part of the battle for the soul of the world is between those who think truth is (or can be) absolute, and those who think truth is temporary. I am of the latter. I try to be okay with that, though that's not how I was raised to think (there's a lot of absolutes in a Catholic education).


Tom, good idea about early drafts. I have loads of those, mainly visual of course. I do agree about the cash cow and have come to the conclusion that I don't want to blog the whole gnovel - that would be too grovellish.

Oh I'm not in the camp of the absolutists either! I'm more inclined to be in that story about the elephant. I don't remember how it goes exactly, only that none of the observers sees the whole elephant and from each of their different positions, each gives a completely different report of what "it" is.


What a glorious post. Thank you for this, Tom. To whatever extent my credo post sparked this, I am glad that it did so.

In short, I guess I believe that it doesn't matter that everything means nothing; I have to live as if it does.

Yes. Beautiful. Thank you.

Tom Montag

Natalie--part of the beauty of life, for me, is you can see different things when you stand different places. If you stand by the elephant's leg, you think the eleppant is like a pillar; if you get hold of the tail, you think it is like a rope; if you stand back and see the whole elephant, you really want what you've got. There are some who are frightened by this kind of "relativism" and would tell us there is an absolute elephant we must all accept. I can't accept the idea that there's an absolute elephant that is the same for all of us. Life as I know it is not like that.

Tom Montag

Rachel, you said: "it doesn't matter that everything means nothing; I have to live as if it does." That's almost exactly it; and for me, the reason I "have to" is almost esthetic.

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