Tom Broderick

Tom Broderick is retired and lives with his wife, Alfa, in Waterford, California, along the Tuolumne River on piece of property they first saw when its former owners, Mark & Mary Ann Hite hosted a Modesto Peace Life Center retreat back in the early 1980ís. Tom spent 31 years working for Stanislaus County in Community Services as a manager of Food Stamps, General Assistance, and Program Appeals units.

Tom is a Roman Catholic deacon for the diocese of Stockton and has been so for the past quarter century. He has also served as the chair of the diocesan Ecumenical Commission, a member of the Catholic Charities Board; and taught in the Adult School of Ministries including in the dioceseís onsite University of New Orleans-Loyola masters degree program. Currently he volunteers at the Hughson site United Samaritans Daily Bread project. He and his wife have three adult sons.

He received his BA in Philosophy at Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Ill and a MA in theology at Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, NY with additional studies in Japanese at Stanford University and in Liturgy at St. Vladimirís Seminary in Crestwood, NY.

As for peace and justice issues, Tom and his family have been attending MPLC events since the late 1970ís. In recent years, Alfa and Tom have hosted the annual summer Connectionís fund-raiser at their Waterford home.

Tomís interest in peace and justice issues began while an exchange student in Japan in1964 with a visit to Hiroshima guided by a survivor, Mrs. Kinoshita. In 1968, while in Chicago, he spent two semesters in a supervised internship with Monsignor John Egan whose inner city parish was a project site for Saul Alinsky community organization training. This was the spring of the Martin Luther King riots and the summer of the Democratic convention. The following year a workshop on Conscientization given by Paulo Freire was an epiphany for him of the politics of oppression and liberation in everyday life.

Tomís favorite poets are Emily Dickenson, Leonard Cohen and Pablo Neruda. Being severely introverted and right-brained, his favorite line from cinema happens between Pablo Neruda and the postman in Il Postino, as the super shy postman who wants to be a poet arrives at the insight ďALL IS METAPHOREĒ. That pretty much says it all. By the way, Tomís all-time favorite movie is The Milagro Bean Field War, and his favorite song, Wild Thing. Who knew?

 

River Ranch Dust

River Ranch Dust was my memorial to Indira for Samís passing.

Young twin foxes race in the evening dusk
along a dirt road to their lairs.

Summer natural grass twins their coats
As they scurry to their beds.

Aní so itís said: Foxes have their holes Ö
But the son of man has no place to lay his weary head.

© 2002 T. Broderick

In a Small Valley Town

In a one-fast-food town
with lots of mom & pops
que no hablen ingles,

Itís nice to stop under a summer oak
and smoke
and watch the cars drive by.

© 2002 T. Broderick


Sometimes, Mr. Frost, two roads converge in a wood

And we find our way home in confluences
Beyond us and within us and all around us.

Sometimes a chance meeting, the thought or phrase exchanged
Take on a life all its own and we find ourselves drawn home.

Sometimes the evening snow flake connects us to the a dried Inuit tear;
Or the whaleís blown spume, or kettle in a room we never knew.

Sometimes itís best to give the pony its head and release
The reins of dead reckoning for another time.

Sometimes, Mr. Frost, the two paths converge in the
bowels of the earth and the belly within.

And some years hence Ö. and some years hence Ö
Weíll sit and grin on a broken fence.

©2001 T. Broderick


Edith of Auschwitz

Adam shared a rib for his soul-mate.
For you, my lifeís equal, I share my very Breath.
Our shalom is one.

Fit you hand here into my side.
Receive the Breath I gasped
And pass it over to the world.

Do not let your heart be troubled.
Do not let your heart be afraid.
Behold! All things shall be remade.

©1998 T. Broderick


Ash Wednesday Ė 1999

How brief and beautiful, gifted and graced
this time we borrow is!
and borrowed too the elemental dusts,

The mineral compounds of our tears
whose gravity, center and natural resting
is so unrelentingly outside ourselves.

How tightly bound the mud and blood and loves of our days;
so tightly and so lightly bound within
and yet so bound to meet again!

©1999 T. Broderick


Lenten Diptych

I
Gnarled bare stumps lashed by the storm
Steel gray sky, and renegade blossom.
Lightning flashes from east to west
Behold the apocalyptic sight!
II
Gnarled bare stumps still wet from the storm,
Explode in almond blossoms.

©2000 T. Broderick

THOUGHTS ON THE DAY I TURNED FIFTY-FOUR

July 19, 2000 - Modesto

A Thought on the day I turned fifty-four: July nineteenth, nineteen hundred forty and whatever, I was born into Cancer's hut. Not a sunny sign to be sure but a luckier fate than untimely summoned to the family's summer estate.

Soul 54 where are you?

What can I say? Who knows why ?

Somewhere today a million babies are born and
greet the world with their lusty Apgar's bleat

Somewhere today two million people as they shower and dry,
or wrap their limbs about a lover's thigh

And notice a not-there-yesterday wrinkle/ sunspot/ freckle begin
and shrug, or cry at the mirror's indifferent spectacle of bones and skin.

Somewhere today, ten million broken hearts and ten billion broken strands of DNA
will refuse advice, pity, or rage, and, in the face of love or hate, indifferently spin out of control like a printer we forgot and left ' print all pages' on.

Somewhere today a billion strands of DNA, who knows why, because our parents joined together on a monday nite, not tuesday noon, or in a starless sky, bereft of moon; or, because our wounded hearts dripped blood not balm; because the pipes had lead or something that I said or left unsaid; or, fall out from a tested bomb half a world away;
a billion strands of wounded stuff wend on and on and on.

Soul 54 where are you?

What can I say? Who knows why? But half a hundred strands ignored the rule and strayed uncontrollably away like broken rosary beads and pennies tumbling from the widow's purse, rolling on just out of reach, echoing in the mid-day soundless church.

Soul 54 where are you?

What can I say or who knows why one man will not jog or dance or swim or wrap his leg again around a lover's thigh?

So, 54 where are you?

Then the young reb with closely sheared beard will kiss the bones and wash the new guest's feet. And wash the wounds with tears he learned to cry in a broken world before he learned to walk, before he learned to dance in ecstasy at the wedding feast on pieces of green broken glass.

© 2000 T. Broderick


On Locking the Front Door Against the August Moon!

Moon in the olive tree
Baby in the womb
Silver light defies the door
Drifting in the room
Welcome, unexpected guest !

©1979 T. Broderick

Noblesse Oblige - Despite the Contrary

You say Iím indifferent, vain & self-contained.
I donít beg, wheedle, or explainÖ
To your chagrin,
I donít play games I cannot win.

I think,
If God walked down the street
I would not follow
unless he turned and winked.

© 1996 T. Broderick