The Beatles


TV gives  you  staph  infections. I've said it before   &

I'll say it again: a marmoset is squirt-shaped.   I  used

to tell my brother he could be  anything  he  wanted to

be. When he said he wanted to  be  a baby bear I told

him to launder the rain. The camels saunter past  the

emus.   The  emus  are  scary  looking.    On  TV  the

Beatles  look   squirt-shaped  &  rodenty.   They  hold

their guitars like eyelashes.


Lets  take  a train to the coast &   wander among the

sequoias  &  squirrels.  We can open cans  of  broad

beans  with  hunting knives.   We can tell our bosses

that  we've  been  infected.   We  have a bad case of



Oh no!  I fell asleep. I left the chair alone.  Nighttime

festers, reddens. The open chord. The harmonies. I

fell asleep.


Blues for  Plum Blossom


Only   piano   sounds   like   this,  a  handful  of  dried

petals  &  heavy  breathing.   We  went to the park  &

watched  a  child  try  to fly a kite only to have it fall to

the grass.    Green is unutterably green  on a Fall day

with  serrated  sunlight.    Only  a  flute can  fall to the

green  grass  with less weight.  The  flashlight  works,

you   just   have   to   shake  it.   The  contents  of  the

canteen     curd     into     daylight.       Botany     rivals

typography:    each  object  more  beautiful  without  a

context.   The  stamen  pulled  from  the  flower for its

single drop of nectar & ruck.


Piano  string  makes a  real  good  garrote.  Only rust

rivals  the  way  a  petal shrinks  into  paper. Only the

studio walls can  hold  more  piano  than  throat.     A

vocal chord Fall, ripped paper for a voice.


Do you  have  what it takes to kiss the  piano  player?

If so, go deeper. Faster. Keep breathing. Go grasser.


Perihelic Triangle


This   is   a   difficult   font   to   read,   what  with   the

seagulls  screaming  over  the  landfill  like that.  Your

banjo  sounds  pretty  good,  though.  Remember  the

time  dad  dropped the handful of ball bearings on the

glass-topped table?  Remember  how  we  traced  the

movement  of  the  sun with mascara?  It's  true  what

they  say:  you  can  only  touch  a  person  once.   So

you'd  better  wait  your  turn.   You'd  better wash  the

bedclothes with extra bleach.   And  turn  the  map so

that north is up.


The opposite of geometry is a red wheel stuck in the

creek.    You   can  tell  me  everything   you've  ever

learned  about  the  physicality  of  time.  I  won't  tell

anyone. I know you value your privacy.


An angle is only as good as a bunny's beating  heart.

I'd like to be a little drunk before the movie starts.


I'd Like Something Tasty for Dinner


You  say fox  but I  say  toxic.  You  say  pomade  &  I

hold  my  breath  inside   a  yellow  polyester   cushion.

Not  every  kiss  can  wad  up  like a boulevard receipt.

Not   every  skyline  can  strut  like   this.   Your mouth

tastes   closed   car.   Your   hands   are  shaking  like

corrections.  You say potato  &  I say there's a golden

baby on the way.  You  want  to drive to the beach.   I

want to tip the country.


You want to know a secret?  I used to hide below the

yellow daybed for  days  at  a  time.  I  only  emerged

when I smelled grandma's cornbread. And there was

grandpa  holding   his   Playboy  centerfold-sideways.


Everyone   important   has   a   yellow   knife  hidden

somewhere.  It's  not exactly toxic, but only what the

clock did.


AD 73


Tell   me   something   that   feels   like  eagles.    My

artifice   is   a   guide   for   you,    the   trace   of   the

paintbrush,  the  spoon  on the nose trick.  Teach me

the  trick  with the coins inside the cat's  stuff.   Fairly

soon  we'll  have  to  admit  that  we've  only read tea

leaves for a couple of weeks.  Inside an ocean wave

one   can   understand   why   bridges   want   to  fall.

Preferably  a  spectacle, not an oracle: we'll drink the

lead   that   has  me  searching for my blanket.  We'll

hold new maps to lamplit  eyes,  shingled  with  fever. 


Beautiful  oracle!  Terrible  bed  of  cold  elm  leaves!

Tell  me  the word that tears leaves from trees.   Tell

me the word that wrings sap from poems. 


All   winter  long   the   snow  has  fallen  among  the

chokeberry  bushes  &  you  have  hidden  your  feet

inside the wolf's mouth.   The  wolf with the very sad


Mathias Svalina
lives in Lincoln, NE where he co-hosts The Clean Part Reading Series & co-edits Octopus Books.  His poems have been in Fence, jubilat, typo, No Tell Motel & other journals.

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