Matt was born and raised outside Philadelphia. His work has been published in Poetry Quarterly, Penumbra St. Louis U Madrid, and SurVision. When he grows up he wants to play second base for the Phillies. Right now, his goal is to put everything into poetry.
Yelling “Fire” at the Crowded Drive-In
Ego should be like
Democracy high on dope;
The greatest good for all.
My friend, who does a lot of driving,
Once turned to me and said,
“Stan,” Though my name is Bob,
Waving his two o’clock hand across the windshield
Like he was polishing a mirror,
“What was once before us is now all gone behind us.”
I fell for it,
Sticking my head out the window
Looking for its disappearance
In the new horizon chasing our tails
I got my head lopped off
By a rural route mail box.
Now I can’t decide chewing my cuticles
Until they look like a badger’s midnight snack,
Am I a ghost or a myth,
An apparition or an aberration?
“Look”, he said,
“I’ve been driving this car
Or one very similar to it for years,
Along interstates, down boulevards,
Across this land of ours selling, selling, selling….”
Here’s where I picked up the thread of his yarn,
The cut of his jib so to speak and continued
“I can spot one like you a mile away:
You’re what a kid conjures in the mirror
At twelve o’clock midnight by saying
Your name three times and when you appear your
Red, white & blue colors don’t run…
They just go drip, drip, drip…”
The day had already been long enough
By the time we dropped our shadows off a nearby motel
And headed for a nightcap.
Suddenly he grabbed my arm with righteous fervor
And addressed the emptiness where my head had once been,
“I sincerely hope something speaks to you, soon, before it’s too late…”
I’m a member so I get 10% off all purchases (certain restrictions apply)
And have already formulated the discount in my head when I place my purchases
On the counter between bookmarks depicting the latest Vampire enterprise
And drastically reduced Easter candy.
Oh Chekhov she said I never read any Chekhov.
I wonder how anyone can get a job in a bookstore without having read Chekhov
And better yet or worse still how anyone can get a job in a bookstore without the common sense
To not mention having never read Chekhov.
The Philip Levine I can understand as I am new to him as well.
His proletarian poems stop your throat with smoke and stain your hands in mechanic’s blood.
Sixty years of history have still not washed away the blood to leave the rosy lens dilettantes and aesthetes alike prefer.
I await an inquiry that never arrives.
Once outside I check the infallible receipt in discord with my fallible mathematics
And realize why my checkbook remains unbalanced in perpetuity.
A man walks ahead of me on the strip mall’s wide sidewalk,
A plastic bag bulging in his hands,
A swollen canvas gym bag over his shoulder,
His thick gray hair cascades from beneath a baseball cap
And unfurls across his broad shoulders and back over a khaki green army jacket.
Dressed too warmly even for this damp early spring morning
He’s a hobo waiting for a train that stopped running by here decades earlier
If it ever passed through here at all.
I’m between jobs willfully so rush home to write this
Balanced precariously between the antipodes and
Choosing to live rather than work in this brief lapse.
In a democracy everyone goes to heaven, right?
The Turning of the World is Accompanied by a Constant Ringing
Let’s pull some jobs & move to Bolivia
With your Spanish tongue
And my eastern European good looks
We’ll retire in the sun
I’ve always like those little bowlers
And even if I don’t look good in one
Fuck it, we’ll have enough scratch not to care
And you can be Katherine Ross
Or whoever you want to be
Just keep your eyes
Those blue eyes clear as ice.
Our dreams will have a cinematic quality
And the flavor of a chocolate milkshake
Our lives a dream in a siesta;
Just keep an eye out for Strother Martin
Or is it Dub Taylor?