Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Matt Dennison- Two Poems

After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s
work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon
River Poetry Review
and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made videos 
with poetry videographers Michael Dickes, Swoon, and Marie Craven.

                                    We Were Nine

                        when my friend stayed on the high board until dark
                        (after which, for him, this story never ends),
                        afraid to dive, unable to jump. I climbed up
                        twice to check on him before going home
                        for the day, finding him increasingly
                        cold and weepy in his dull brown
                        moment as the hours wore on,
                        adamant in his refusal to shine
                        once he’d sat down at the end.
                        On my second trip up I believe
                        he asked me to call his mother,
                        though I pretended not to hear—
                        for this was the rule we all embraced
                        (himself included, before he'd begun his climb):
                        if not to dive, once at the top, then at least to jump—
                        but never to walk backwards through the gates of pride.

                        (originally published/print in Rabbit Catastrophe)

                Magazine Street

She screamed as you know all night long

            and banged on the wall and I'm sorry
            it's your wall but it's my wall too,
            stained where my hands have rested.
            Across the wall I'm sure you got
            the wrong impression but I never laid
            a hand, though she was crazy deaf
            from twenty years in the bed and it's
            the meanness that outlasts us all. 
            I imagine your wall don't hold as much
            slack grey hate as my rot-paper wall
            has swallowed through the years while I lay
            in the dark asking Can I take it no longer,
            only rousing to put my hand to the skillet
            with the same old grease, the same old flour,
            and wonder at the price and worth of endurance
            with none left to grieve our goingbut isn’t it
            lovely to have finally met? The funeral's Tuesday.
            What's left will be quiet.

            (originally published/print in Pembroke Magazine)

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