"What's the world for you if you can't make it up the way you want."

-Jazz, Toni Morrison


Animals, A Morning in Spring, and This Was Scrawled on a Shop 'n' Save Receipt

Animals, A Morning in Spring, and This Was Scrawled on a Shop 'n' Save Receipt

Animals (for Dustin)

I am not in love with you,
and I hope you’re not in love with me,
Because “soulmates” demands immortal souls
and eternal love denies us change, exploration—
the most essential freedoms of inconstancy.
A year or a century—either way, it’s temporary.

Let's love as we are—like animals.

We are, for a little while,
like cosmic mayflies or the monarch butterfly—
Either way, we're temporary.
Taxonomic apes with thin skin and fragile limbs,
impotent but alive in a world of dying doves
and stained skies. We don’t insist
on static shooting stars or unceasing sunsets. So, why?
Why expend our respective blinks of God's eye
on establishing ties of unnatural perpetuity?

Let's love as we are—like animals.

Let’s stay alive. Let’s eat, let’s sleep.
Let’s take solace in sex and scent and body heat.
Let’s cling together like frightened animals in their dens,
and rejoice in the death of immortal Romance.
Let’s be free from gold chains and the fetters of diamond rings.
One of us will someday leave or die. But until then, we're brilliant. We’re alive.

Let's love as we are—like animals.


A Morning in Spring

Outside, an impatient drizzle.
The white light floods in,
over the grey, sticky wall-
the back of the sofa.

Passing into an instant of the deepest sleep.
Stretched out like something from an El Greco
trapped in a painting by Bosch.

Oh, god . . .
I'm disintegrating.
Upwards and inwards from the lower spine.
I'm blackening, flaking away into nothing.
Floating like ash in the updraft of a flame.
Dissolving in the endless luminous current.

Oh, God . . .
it feels like dying.


This Was Scrawled on a Shop 'n' Save Receipt

"HAVE A NICE DAY,"
It commands me,
at the top,
in a proprietary
variant of Sans Serif.
Fluorescence colors “DENISE”
yellow, fatigued. 
I hope she has “A NICE DAY.”

Below my “SCHICK HYDRO GEL,” 
my “EQ RUBB ALCOHOL,”
my “SCUNCI HEADWRAP,” “TAX,” and “TOTAL,”
Below “STORE SAVINGS $0.29”
in extra-large print, at the bottom,
and bordered
by lines of asterisks—
laborers’ eyes—
it commands me:

"VISIT OUR FRESH MEAT DEPT."


A note from the poet Tyler Mattes: "Animals argues against notions of romance and love as we know it; This was Scrawled on a Shop'n'Save Receipt is a commentary on postindustrial capitalism, and A Morning in Spring is an unflinching look at the experience of mental illness."

Photo by Chris Greenhow on Unsplash

This Road and Lord & Taylor + Tea Leaves

This Road and Lord & Taylor + Tea Leaves

American Massacre, Outcry, and Grim Reaper in Therapy

American Massacre, Outcry, and Grim Reaper in Therapy

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