Stirring : A Literary Collection

Frank Matagrano


It's good to be at the Pottery Barn, moving around seaweed
rugs, finding pieces of Karyn in things that cost too much to buy
back. My favorite is the Sumatra; I steal a catnap, twisting to one
side, leaving myself wide open before security tells me
that simple pleasures are not allowed on the store display.
I need fifteen minutes at most, it takes that long to ready
myself for the row of lamps. I hold memory to the light,
what it was like before there were birds to peck at the fat.
My brother loved a Jew, he broke an entire china cabinet
with his foot, he believed in affection. The diet made him
sick, not the Yiddish, not the doubt.

A rep in black comes this way, her breasts are what I adore
for the next five minutes; I am corrupt, I'm going to hell,
she's coming with me for being kind to her enemies
for all the wrong reasons. I should have married
in a quiet ceremony near Albany, made a home
out of haste, told the children what moved my brother
to dip French bread in salt water. I should've worn
a camera around my neck, I should've paid attention
to the billboards above me, I should've taken
photos of everyone I adored near the Cup O' Noodles
in the bleach of Times Square, enamored with a name
scratched in Japanese on a piece of rice for twelve bucks.

I sit at the dining table on the first floor to rest
from the wandering. Four plates, each of them blue;
the mats are an odd fabric, a little like Braille. I think
I could describe sorrow if I had to: no one has ever eaten
here, the plates are glass. I haven't thrown a stone yet.
I hate anyone who thinks they're too good to eat
with pewter and I hate the balance needed to live
with ruin, one hand holding all the right
answers, the other trying to catch a white breath.
I'm trying to understand how the lemon remains
afloat in the centerpiece without sagging to one side
or begging for mercy. I've been here for an hour
making the table more complicated than it needs
to be. I wish I was heartless enough spend
all of my money, I wish I was twenty again.

The woman to my left has her arm around a man
with a beard. I can't understand a word between them.
Something about milk, something about meat,
that anyone with half a heart comes back in the next
life as a form of nourishment: a piece
of swiss, a shot of vodka, a kiss on the mouth.
I have my own names for that kind of sweetness:
my pleated Dupioni, my Sienna, my Grether and its
one screw to hang its silver arm to the wall.

Location: Queens, New York
Publications: Exquisite Corpse, Cross Connect, Conspire, Snow Monkey, The Melic Review, The Avatar Review, Poems Niederngasse, Pudding Magazine, The Adirondack Review, Thunder Sandwich, etc
Book: Moving Platform

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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