Sunday, May 9, 2010

Three poems by Matthew Byrne

Three poems
by Matthew Byrne

Where Not to Look in Missoula, MT

Two pigeons peck at spit,
those apostatized doves.
When you give change to the beggar
you are begging

to never be a beggar.
A freight station for lumber
sets this town's stage: the land
shudders as trains wrench away.

Try to look elsewhere. Try to see
the rotund earthen crystal
of her eye, its geography
only a sadist would disturb.

The weaving current of dreams—
crumpled wrappers floating through it.
What then, gentlest looker,
does the reddest wrapper stand for?


Ding Dong Disintegrate

The dead can't be bothered
flicking worms from their bones.
They are too busy
lifting themselves from manholes.
Then the oblivious volumes
of traffic to evade.
Then the sidewalks
strewn with hurried humanity.
Only a few make it to our neighborhoods.
By the time we answer
their feeble knock
nothing remains but an inaudible whisper
scattered on the stoop.


Because There Are No Cows Coming Home

I don't have any faith in the world, she says,
relieved. You must take a bubble bath, I advise her,
to suture your head to your heart again. She's hankered
for a cure some time now, and I spring
for such opportunities. I suggest she paint her toenails,
only to soften this extreme with allusions to matrimony.
She tells me even infants aren't cute, that they pale
in comparison to a house facing backward
on a would-be regular street. I fall for her, unrequitedly,
when she neglects to water the plants.

Author bio:

Matthew Byrne has forgotten why he writes "poetry", why, after a long day of work at the insurance agency, when all he really wants to do is suck down a bottle of wine and watch The History Channel to learn about underwater alien sightings, he begrudgingly lifts himself from the couch to stare into the abyss of another computer monitor, all with the goal of a non-paying journal publication, or a life-altering $1000 prize (after tax $750) earned from winning a chapbook contest judged by stoned, trust-fund rich, hipster MFA students, or pats on the back from family members and friends with their (genuine?) declarations of being "envious" he has a passion like writing in his life. Perhaps he thinks writing -- like doing crossword puzzles -- to be a good combatant to age-induced dementia. Whatever the case, he lurches on, perhaps because there is no reason. Byrne's poetry has appeared in The Best American Poetry 2007, The Kenyon Review, The Antioch Review, and some other journals. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, was a finalist in both the 2008 Diagram and 2009 Sow’s Ear Poetry Review chapbook contests, and received an International Merit Award from Atlanta Review in 2009. Byrne received an MFA in poetry from the University of Montana in 1999, and now serve as vice president at an insurance agency in Chicago.

1 comment:

Stephen English said...

Very cool, Good to see Matt is still writing. I miss that crazy bastard.