Thomas J. Erickson

Thomas J. Erickson
4646 N. Elkhart Ave.
Whitefish Bay, WI  53211

Thomas J. Erickson grew up in Kohler, Wisconsin.  He received a Bachelor of Arts in English Composition from Beloit College and a law degree from Marquette University.  He is an attorney in Milwaukee, where he is a member of the Hartford Avenue Poets.  His award-winning chapbook, The Lawyer Who Died in the Courthouse Bathroom was published by Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin Libraries in 2013.  His full length poetry book, The Biology of Consciousness, was published in 2016 by Pebblebrook Press.  His chapbook, Hailstorm Interlude, will be published in the fall of 2018 by Finishing Line Press.  He lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Daphne, and  is the proud father of Charles and John.

Hailstorm Interlude, Finishing Line Press; available for preorder here
The Biology of Consciousness, Pebblebrook Press; available for order here
The Lawyer Who Died in the Courthouse Bathroom, Parallel Press; available for order here


The Prison Visit

Because I’m an attorney and  know where I’m going, I don’t
need an escort to walk to the infirmary to see my guy
once I pass through security at the gatehouse.

A couple of inmates come up the path dressed in dark green.  Neither
is one of my old clients but you never know.  We don’t make eye contact
but our shadows touch as we pass.

I am visiting Paul.  He is paralyzed from the waist down and partially
blind after being shot by the cops.  He has a little goatee which another
inmate has to shave.  He’s been in for twenty years and will die before
he makes parole.  I don’t want to lie so I don’t bring it up.

He spends his days listening to music and lying in bed.  He tells me
he’s lucky because his room in the infirmary has a window. He can’t
see much of anything but the light is different and sometimes in the
morning, the sun touches his face.  He’s begun listening to classical
music and really likes Vivaldi.

On the walk back to the gatehouse, I realize I probably won’t see Paul
again.  It’s kind of a relief because I can’t do anything for him anyway.  
Plus, no one’s paying me anymore.  He’ll die in his room someday.  
His earphones will be in and no one will hear the symphony.

I Had a Dream

I was in an airport.  I saw a pretty young
woman in her early twenties.  I knew
instinctively that she was a Danish actress.  I
also knew instinctively that I was from Denmark
and an actor, as well.  We started chatting
and she told me her name was Addie Mae Collins
and we discovered, by coincidence, that we had
gone to the same small Midwestern liberal arts
college, years apart.  I knew I had heard
her name before.  Then I was in a library looking up
her name in old newspapers.  (It is a thrill to read
microfiche in a dream.)  I was right.  She was
Addie Mae Collins, one of the four little girls
who died in the church bombing in Birmingham
in 1963.  

I was back in the airport and I told her I knew who
she was.  She smiled at me and whispered in my ear,
You will never know.