I received an MFA in Poetry from The University of Montana in 1999, so naturally I now sell insurance. My poems have appeared in some journals and anthologies, most notably The Best American Poetry 2007, and my chapbook Silent Partner won the 2013 Sow’s Ear Chapbook Competition.
To deal with death
you repeat mistakes
against which those
at its door warn you.
You are brick by brick
mortared by clock tick,
patched by pleasure,
You ascend to ascend,
a tower too tall and top-
heavy, engineered for
lesser winds. You sway
like the skyscraper
you inhabit in your
of its collapse, death not
coming for you in sleep
nor many years away.
You awake to discover
that fear of being buried
alive buries you alive.
I am sitting alone in a theater
viewing a movie that won’t end.
No closing credits, no readjusting
to the harshly lit world. The plot
keeps twisting, and each apparent
denouement spins into a new
climactic flourish. If you knew
how delicately this movie dances
between genius and stupidity,
or how strategically situated
the cup holders are, you’d grasp
how I could stay here forever.
Grinning, disheveled, leaning against yellowest
willow, a cut on your shin, smell of dead leaves
You step from cabs, bent knee birthed in streetlight
You half-sleep in hammocks under ruddy overcast
You should be by the willow, disheveled
I can't put dreams back where they find me
©2014 Matthew Byrne