Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

A musical memorial to Mama Cooter

This is the last text that I ever sent to Layne.

We had that creepy Campari clown hanging in our apartment junior year of college. Not because any of us drank Campari then (I do now), but because we found it in the trash on Beacon Hill and it had a frame, so we figured, why not? 

But Layne hated it. That clown creeped her the hell out. Still, she let it stay, and it became a running joke with us.

I don't know if she ever saw that text of her hated clown painting, or if she had already died from complications with diabetes by the time I sent it.

Here's a song I wrote when we were living together in 2007, and she was hospitalized for the same thing.

It's called "Electric Lights."


The selfish unawareness of
a window painted blue
electric lights that won't reflect,
but sound so clearly overdue

It permeates the smell of
sanitation and
of jaundice under skin that

has been peeled away
by saline soldiers,
crawling on their knees
across a bridge of gather lives;
maybe this time

she'll sound so much better
in this sweater than this dress
that leaves her back exposed
so all the coldest air can make a nest

All the stabbing
All the dripping
All the fevers and the cries
And poorly picked out tiles on the wall
have watched a million maidens die
underneath electric lights

She's so mixed up
like metaphors
it's better for her.
So when all
the shallow echoes fall
and settle in her cheeks
she's still demanding
all that I can V.