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Matt Hart



Behind me, Cincinnati     I get

dumb and go dumbing to see you

Above us, something pink,

a rooftop or meadow

a sky without windows—

a sky of only windows

full of car parts of stars

Voluminous and luminous     I look up

your thighs     I look in a book

all the chances I get

I don’t get a lot of chances,

so I put them down on paper

When I do I record them

For instance     This inalienable nation

makes me feel like I’m talking to a gallery wall

filled with portraits of portraits of you

every second every hour every day

being called     But you’re unable or unwilling

to respond, or you do when I ask you

I don’t ask you, I tell you     It’s a song

I’m probably singing, feeling brighter

with every next glass of exuberance

or turbulence     I can take it mostly

when the meteor or baseball

or kiss hits my lips     It never ceases

to erase me     It never ceases

Shock and awe and tea for boiling water

not the other way around     No

it never seizes or it always seizes

the feelings, so blank and idealess

I know, I know     The rooms

are cluttered with almost ghosts,

things and phrases I’ve stolen

at length from the mouths

of Romantics and from the mouth

of myself, yourself, the squealing

radiator, the single cricket

No wonder life is weirder

than the pond in my basement,

than the questions and answers

on the standardized displacement

test of bald human being     I’m a thief

I’m a liar     I’m the king of all the lions

You’re alive     You’re on fire     You’re a hawk

with all its lights on     I wreck a lot

of deer, dear, but I reckon

I don’t think much      You uncross

your legs and re-cross them






The Man never has his heart

in the right place, but this man

would like to feel his way

through everything, so maybe

it can wind up in the right place

sometimes, or     Once

upon a Sunday, though the day

doesn’t matter, I put

a Defeater song on repeat

and wrote this poem,

because telling you now,

as little as you are,

doesn’t mean as much

as it will     Every single

experience should be written

down, so later you can retrieve it

when I’m moss or just fine

under the knife     I want you

to know you are the beginning

and end of all my love, my silence,

how the sun never stops blowing up

to warm us and keep us

alive until tomorrow

or a long long time,

whichever comes first







There is nothing

in the bag, or it’s something

weird like cancer in the throat

The sky is rife with shrapnel

ducks, cherry pits

and starlets’ ankles

Those aren’t metaphors

They’re manifestations

of my fears as they play out

against the backdrop

of my forties     This minute

I’m not even drinking a drop

of rain, so you can take it

or leave it at face value

Something’s changing

the ways I make myself

a monster    My friend Nate

writes the greatest show

on Earth and probably also Mars

Who the fuck knows knows    Why

the rock stars won’t answer

when I call them

remains a mystery even Woodsy

can’t solve, and neither can Smeltz,

intrepid vivid glory    These days

people call this naming the names,

but I call it reminding myself

I’m not alone with myself

Stacks of paper,

shadows on deck

Soon I will leave

to take Daisy to the vet

It’s one of those days

when finally it’s cool again

after long months of heat,


Now back to flannel

Feeling blanker than blank

Jammed to the teeth,

but it’s nothing you can see

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