Matt Hart co-edits Forklift, Ohio.
Brain as Odd Turnip
To me it smacks of someone who can’t draw.
Is it art if I can’t draw? How ‘bout philosophy?
I place my ear against my coffee, it’s brewing
another fadeout. We see this kind of thing all the time
in Wittgenstein and Lewis Carroll. A gun goes off,
which we understand (I don’t know if I can stop it!),
but the prize is always denied. Meaning merely lurks
in my non-existent green motor-home. Verisimilitude
I understand as the appearance of truth. Logic thrashes
round in the moral of the poem, e.g. Last night,
Melanie and I went to dinner with Eric and Tricia.
They shared an entree, something with lemon grass –
and for once they managed not to get into a fight.
The evening was lovely. We all felt satisfied
and even came away with leftovers.
Shadowy rabbits. Last supper of frost.
Something inside me keeps biting my tongue.
Structure disappears before morning.
In my favorite one-act, a lobster waits
behind a scrim for more than an hour, then delivers
solace to a woman posing as Verlaine. Bravo,
I say for the first time since we parted.
Broken space, then singing machine.
I heard the music from four blocks away.
Why didn’t I know where any of it was going?
The stick figure said, Goner.
A window closed, but only a crack.
Down the street
the beast wouldn’t take my devil,
the one who was 3’3” exactly,
the one who came to me, and who I nailed
together waiting for you to say the things
I’ve squirmed to hear: my Indefensible, my As You Are.
Where oh where is my Absentee? Linoleum mistake.
Half-exploded dish. I’m defending you – myself,
somebody… Eyelids bent. Corsage on blocks.
If you want we can do it tonight.
Shag Carpet Gala
Hello, Mrs. Jones. Hello, Mr. Smith.
We’ve got a thing going on.
I think I need my scissors.
The world in a swirl.
Ice cream on the wall.
Watch out for the banana peel on the escalator.
And watch out for the remains of the mouse behind
the refrigerator, too. I’m not trying to be a bossy.
I don’t believe in authority figures. They’re like symbols,
and I don’t believe in symbols either.
As a result, my best efforts at interpreting
texts always fail, because I can’t let myself see beneath the waves.
I fall asleep on the surface before the depths
catch my breath. I couldn’t care less
about crushed flowers or expired milk, and definitely not
the importance allotted to images by artists.
But when you say eternity and then twirl your body,
forcing your dress to come up over your knees,
I feel immediately an expressive urge
to respond with singing, but singing
with all of my might in your ear.
To me it feels like hitting you with a hammer.
And what do you care, being almost deaf?
Can defeat be nearly as close as it feels?
What about the end? Is there anything left
to get worked up about in the world?
While you’re thinking, I’ll stare like death at the passing parade.
Oom-pah, my darling, says the beautiful tuba,
killing two birds with one brain.
“I should scribble you out, but you’re all I can fathom,”
speaks volumes, not only about the canary in my anus,
but about the spot removers and politicos in general.
The King says, “Cough Syrup,” with the abandonment
of a house boss. Then an egg he places on the sidewalk
and roasts it. In some closed kitchen,
the dog-boy mewls neglected. A goat consumes a cannery
and someone cries art. Also, in this house
of illusions and sailboats: bra-strap filmstrips
and decorative chandeliers. “I hear way too many
peasants – I mean, pheasants – and a pining in the distance
to care very much about explosions of soul.
What me worry? I’m a cancer. I got a lot a jets,
In my dreams a behemoth and a burning down low.
Colloquy of maggots. Ocean of bread trucks.
Antibiotics do dwindle the infection, but no one considers
how haunted it returns. And spreads to the sky
like the raging of China.
Dear sunshine vagina,
what a charitable world. The fund raiser went off
without hanging or hitch. And when the press corps entered,
I made revisions, more or less – except for the ducks
in the legs between the lake – they still eat a shepherd,
a pantoum, a sestina, the son of sonnet’s dumb luck.
a love poem and never sends it with love,
but instead shocks the world in an afterward of fainting:
Away in the hoopla of death and spray painting,
it’s always much funnier when the shotgun’s a rose.