Breaking Spring

Matt Hart

seems like a good way to say
I spent all last week feeling helpless
and talking about it in terms of not being

Why can’t compassion change our lives
even half so completely as a suicide bomber,
or half so immediately as a natural disaster

Big ideas get me nowhere, so
the fact that breaking spring feels better
than cracking up is at least a start

toward a walk through Washington Park,
its trees in pink blossom, its white-yellow-purple
Tomorrow I will talk about Frankenstein

in bed and then I will talk about it with people
who are sleeping    I will say that it’s a book
about artistic responsibility    I will

say it’s alive     It’s alive     And some number
of eyes will stare back at me without believing
any of it matters, or without believing

it matters for them       And what can I say
to convince them     I have only my love
to recommend it beyond what it already is

My suspect credibility upon the rockets
of birds, the soft parts of people, the oceans’
inevitable, cyclical weeping     Who has time
for poetry has more time than they deserve
 

More by Matt Hart

Electron Face

It's true that two hummingbirds singing
in exactly the same pitch
can shatter the blackest of mountains.
But it's also true that the missiles
in those mountains can shatter
a hummingbird to pieces of hummingbird.
The end. But this curled mess of black
yarn, this series of concrete barrier
entanglements, means that we have to be ready
for no matter what, for whatever
might befall us—hummingbirds, missiles,
those drugged-out runway models. I'm telling you
man, we know each other like we know
the ghost knowing each other,
and I'm so fucking grateful
I could fly a kite about it:
this terrifying state of the seasons,
this half-baked smell of church.
I lurch forward to go backward,
awkward to go on the record. I just can't
get over those blues at the window.
And the tiny bit of yellow, like cats' teeth
spitting sparks. How lucky we are to have light,
how marvelous to scribble over fate.
The reason it's good to have faith
is the reason for everything good.

Her Name Was Name

I had a girl, I named her soap.
I had a soap, I named her cat.
One day I played the accordion on paper,
and it sounded like a birth certificate
drifting into the sun, a disintegration station
in a vast bewildered wilderness—
which sounds like a slide whistle at first
but later like the back porch flytrap I named
jungle. I have never before mentioned
these names in the airway, and neither has the girl
I named name ever faltered—
though the question of remains
in the hallway remains: Does one's imagination
also disintegrate, or does it flutter forever
like a boa constrictor, circling the world
or a warthog? The warthog I named babe;
the boa constrictor I called pasture.
The last time I found myself ensnared
in the pastoral, I imagined a rope
and escaped by climbing up it.
Then I named it laminate, but I called it
overwhelming. Me and overwhelming
covered in skulls. One superhero
to another to another. I boiled a lobster,
I named it travel. I had an agent,
and I named her mob.
Then I took out the garbage
and went running with my dog
ostensibly to prove my existence,
if not also my purchase. I made a purchase,
I named it purpose. There is nothing so bright
as a toddler on fire. We don't need no water...
I named the water deathstar.

In This Light

nothing and nothing
gets by you, but I get
so distracted
that my notice
has been put on notice
for birds and for traffic
For instance,
the constant
slap of the sound
of waves
against gutters
gets by me
Grass stain on my hands
from falling down
at the hospital
gets by me     Physics
Sequined dresses
The Olympics get by me
Meanwhile,
the mountains are,
so far, only distant,
and some days
I am even making my way
through them
with my pants on,
which is lucky,
though at other junctures
sunflowers and pine tree
needles     my arms
in full blossom
as you appear
around a corner
kaleidoscopically
The day looking up
between us
pink clouds

Related Poems

Engines Within the Throne

We once worked as clerks

        scanning moth-balled pages

into the clouds, all memories

outsourced except the fuzzy

        childhood bits when


I was an undersized girl with a tic,

they numbed me with botox

        I was a skinsuit

of dumb expression, just fingerprints

over my shamed


        all I wanted was snow

to snuff the sun blades to shadow spokes,

muffle the drum of freeways, erase

        the old realism


but this smart snow erases

        nothing, seeps everywhere,

the search engine is inside us,

the world is our display


        and now every industry

has dumped whole cubicles, desktops,

fax machines into developing

        worlds where they stack

them as walls against


what disputed territory

        we asked the old spy who drank

with Russians to gather information

the old-fashioned way,


now we have snow sensors,

        so you can go spelunking

in anyone's mind,

let me borrow your child


thoughts, it's benign surveillance,

        I can burrow inside, find a cave

pool with rock-colored flounder,

and find you, half-transparent

with depression.